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Pakistan to US: Are You With Us Or Against Us?

January 24, 2010

PKKH Editorial

The tide has shifted dramatically in recent years. Resurgent Afghan Taliban, better armed, trained, and deadly effective, now have control over 80% of Afghan territory. There has been a significant increase in offensive targetting of US and NATO bases and Afghan government officials and buildings in the last couple of years, with even Kabul coming under increasing pressure.

On the other side of the border, the CIA and Indian supported TTP has been getting a hiding at the hands of Pakistan’s armed forces with even the US and NATO stunned at the efficiency and success of the army operations against TTP militants in Swat and South Waziristan. For the first time in 8 years, Pakistan now has the upper hand and has started to dictate terms to the US, starting last week with the rejection of US request to extend the operation to North Waziristan where Jalaluddin Haqqani’s faction allegedly operates from. Anticipating an imminent turnaround in Pakistan’s Afghan policy and fearing the US supply lines into Afghanistan may come under pressure, the US immediately sought to pacify the Pakistan Armed Forces with promises to deliver 12 ‘unarmed’ shadow drones – which hasn’t worked.

The White House and Pentagon are in shock, as this turnaround by the Pakistan Army couldn’t have come at a worse time for them – with the recent attacks on CIA’s Chapman outpost in Khost, a failed civilian government incharge, an incompetent Afghan army, and with 30,000 US troops on their way to what many now realise is a lost cause.

And now the New York Times reveals an interesting conversation between Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and an unnamed senior Pakistan Army official that took place last week. The biggest sign yet of the reversal of fortunes comes with a simple but symbolic ‘Are you with us or against us?’ from the Pakistan Army to the United States. The NYT article follows:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Nobody else in the Obama administration has been mired in Pakistan for as long as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. So on a trip here this past week to try to soothe the country’s growing rancor toward the United States, he served as a punching bag tested over a quarter-century.

“Are you with us or against us?” a senior military officer demanded of Mr. Gates at Pakistan’s National Defense University, according to a Pentagon official who recounted the remark made during a closed-door session after Mr. Gates gave a speech at the school on Friday. Mr. Gates, who could hardly miss that the officer was mimicking former President George W. Bush’s warning to nations harboring militants, simply replied, “Of course we’re with you.”

That was the essence of Mr. Gates’s message over two days to the Pakistanis, who are angry about the Central Intelligence Agency’s surge in missile strikes from drone aircraft on militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas, among other grievances, and showed no signs of feeling any love.

The trip, Mr. Gates’s first to Pakistan in three years, proved that dysfunctional relationships span multiple administrations and that the history of American foreign policy is full of unintended consequences.

As the No. 2 official at the C.I.A. in the 1980s, Mr. Gates helped channel Reagan-era covert aid and weapons through Pakistan’s spy agency to the American allies at the time: Islamic fundamentalists fighting the Russians in Afghanistan. Many of those fundamentalists regrouped as the Taliban, who gave sanctuary to Al Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and now threaten Pakistan.

In meetings on Thursday, Pakistani leaders repeatedly asked Mr. Gates to give them their own armed drones to go after the militants, not just a dozen smaller, unarmed ones that Mr. Gates announced as gifts meant to placate Pakistan and induce its cooperation.

Pakistani journalists asked Mr. Gates if the United States had plans to take over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons (Mr. Gates said no) and whether the United States would expand the drone strikes farther south into Baluchistan, as is under discussion. Mr. Gates did not answer.

At the same time, the Pakistani Army’s chief spokesman told American reporters at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Thursday that the military had no immediate plans to launch an offensive against extremists in the tribal region of North Waziristan, as American officials have repeatedly urged.

And the spokesman, Maj. Gen Athar Abbas, rejected Mr. Gates’s assertion that Al Qaeda had links to militant groups on Pakistan’s border. Asked why the United States would have such a view, the spokesman, General Abbas, curtly replied, “Ask the United States.”

General Abbas’s comments, made only hours after Mr. Gates arrived in Islamabad, were an affront to an American ally that gave Pakistan $3 billion in military aid last year. But American officials, trying to put a positive face on the general’s remarks and laying out what they described as military reality, said that the Pakistani Army was stretched thin from offensives against militants in the Swat Valley and South Waziristan and probably did not have the troops.

“They don’t have the ability to go into North Waziristan at the moment,” an American military official in Pakistan told reporters. “Now, they may be able to generate the ability. They could certainly accept risk in certain places and relocate some of their forces, but obviously that then creates a potential hole elsewhere that could suffer from Taliban re-encroachment.”

Mr. Gates’s advisers cast him as a good cop on a mission to encourage the Pakistanis rather than berate them. And he was characteristically low-key during most his visit here, including during a session with Pakistani journalists on Friday morning at the home of the American ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson.

But Mr. Gates perked up when he was brought some coffee, and he soon began to push back against General Abbas. American officials say that the real reason Pakistanis distinguish between the groups is that they are reluctant to go after those that they see as a future proxy against Indian interests in Afghanistan when the Americans leave. India is Pakistan’s archrival in the region.

“Dividing these individual extremist groups into individual pockets if you will is in my view a mistaken way to look at the challenge we all face,” Mr. Gates said, then ticked off the collection on the border.

“Al Qaeda, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Tariki Taliban in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Haqqani network – this is a syndicate of terrorists that work together,” he said. “And when one succeeds they all benefit, and they share ideas, they share planning. They don’t operationally coordinate their activities, as best I can tell. But they are in very close contact. They take inspiration from one another, they take ideas from one another.”

Mr. Gates, who repeatedly told the Pakistanis that he regretted their country’s “trust deficit” with the United States and that Americans had made a grave mistake in abandoning Pakistan after the Russians left Afghanistan, promised the military officers that the United States would do better.

His final message delivered, he relaxed on the 14-hour trip home by watching “Seven Days in May,” the cold war-era film about an attempted military coup in the United States.

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24 comments

  1. This is what I have been saying for years to those who say that Pakistan is in no position to dictate or influence the United States. This has been a big lie from the very start when Musharraf went out on national media before the Afghan invation. While some people in Islamabad and in our news channels do still hold this view from their airconditioned rooms the reality on ground speak differently.

    The strenghts of Pakistan vis a vis America:

    – their supplylines are controlled by us.
    – their military strategy is based on our co-operation.
    – we still have some open channels to the Afghan resistance (according to US).
    – our armed forces are to be reconed with.
    – we are a nuclear and rocket power.
    – we are the 6th largest nation on this earth of 180 million (soon to cross the 200 mark) people.
    – we do still enjoy a great standing in the Muslim World and even beyound.

    It is time we start demanding something too.

    Our first demand is: INDIA MUST BE KICKED OUT OF OUR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRY!!!


    • Everything has a time.

      If u understand this, u will understand all that u cannnot understand right now. TC


  2. pakistan and pakistanis should understand that usa is obviously working against pakistan. People like ron paul are openly saying that America now is controlled by the CIA and CIA alone which is controlled by the Jews. This is a war against pakistan and they are hypocrite to their bone marrows. When robert gates say we are with you, he actually means im a hypocrite and we want to kill you with a sweet knife. Only pakistan and pakistanis are with pakistan. USA is readying bharat to wage a war on pakistan. Holbrooke, gates, hillary and obama are talking on behlaf of india. what business does gates has in saying that india will attack pakistan or holbrooke saying the same. American officials are openly pleading the indian case and instigating and encouraging bharat to go to war with pakistan. the signal has been given and preparation are made now only to find an excuse at the right time. this is what they really think they can pull off against pakistan.

    “F-16’s from US will only help Pak lose war against India ‘a little slower’: US officials”

    “Another squadron of F-16s means they [Pakistan] will lose the next war with India a little slower,” the newspaper quoted a Pentagon official, as saying on conditions of anonymity.

    “They are not going to defeat India because we gave them a squadron of F-16s. The military overmatch India enjoys is just too great ,” he said.

    But…Pakistan is ready, Mr.Gates, Mr.Holbrooke, Ms.Clinton, Mr.Antony, Mr.Manmohan, Mr.Ehud Olmert, Mr.McChrystal, Mr.Zardari, Mr.Malik.


  3. […] Pakistan to US: Are You With Us Or Against Us? […]


  4. Pakistan must evolve a strategic plan with China to counter the situation in Afghanistan, on the Pak-Afghan border and in Balochistan, where agencies of India,Israel and USA are working, even few muslim countries are also involve in Balochistan’s situation so it is really very important for us to make China a strategic partner to eradicate this all nonsense. Its good for us and for China also.


  5. TO HELL WITH THE AMERICANS NEVER CAN THEY BE TRUSTED
    JUST LOOK TO PALESTINE AND GAZA THESE PEOPLE THE AMERICANS CARRY THE IDEOLOGY OF THE ZIONISTS ISRAELIS
    SONS OF BITCHES
    NUJAT PATRIOTIC PAKISTANI


  6. @Yousuf,
    You are right.Military strategy is not so simple.
    I remember Mush having said that a very senior statesman(probably Mahathir Mohammad)has advised that if you face a hurricane,let it pass over you rather stand against it.
    Mush always used to say “convert a challenge into opportunity”.
    We must listen to the Words of wisdom,even if from an enemy.
    Without being a supporter of MUsh,I am beginning to think that our 2001 stategy is paying off now as the enemy has been encircled and is not in a position to run away,like USSR.We could never have faced the enemy head-on.
    As Zaid Sahib says that the mistake we made was that the we did not clarify the definition of terrorist and terms of use of our space.


    • You got it mate!

      Wait a little while and ALL decisions made by Mush will prove right. In our national interest, as he often says.


  7. salam to all Keep it up allah will be with you now and future. Ameen HASEEN


  8. You are right.Military strategy is not so simple.
    I remember Mush having said that a very senior statesman(probably Mahathir Mohammad)has advised that if you face a hurricane,let it pass over you rather stand against it.
    Mush always used to say “convert a challenge into opportunity”.
    We must listen to the Words of wisdom,even if from an enemy.
    Without being a supporter of MUsh,I am beginning to think that our 2001 stategy is paying off now as the enemy has been encircled and is not in a position to run away,like USSR.We could never have faced the enemy head-on.
    As Zaid Sahib says that the mistake we made was that the we did not clarify the definition of terrorist and terms of use of our space.


  9. We need to show the US our backbone as Pakistani nation. I ma sure, if this has happened in reality, then Pakistan Military has determined already “it is the right time”.

    Pakistan Zindabad


  10. Things are changing very fast and as long as the Pakistan Army has the support of Pakistani’s, it will act as our sheild from threats both from the inside and the outside.

    If today our leadership develops courage and stands up againt the US blackmail, believe me things will change in a matter of days, but unfortunately our filthy leadership has not even a single drop of morality and shame, so we cannot except anything from the present leadership.

    However, a new ummeed is emerging from within, more than 30 PPP senior party workers (not ministers) have decieded to call it a day and stand up against the tyranny of AAZ and in the coming days will demand his resignation from PPP.

    Good times are coming, we just have to stay firm on out faith and believe in ALLAH & MUHAMMAD (P.B.U.H.)


  11. US wtih us or against us???? Are we still asking this question when we already know the answer that US is against us from day 1.

    Trust Deficit – How can we still trust the yanks??? 1947 we could have solved Kashmir UN – American Agency passed resolution on Kashmir and pakistan complied. Did india??? no never, US pretended to be on our side but always backed the mother of terrorism india who commited heinous crimes against humanity in kashmir. China India war US tells pakistan not to attack kashmir why? because US against us. 1n 1965 US indirectly supported India. In 1971 war we were waiting for the American ships which actually blocked us in the sea rather than came to rescue us. After Afghan war put a lot of sanctions on us why??

    After 9/11 the romance started again and Mush was told by US and Brits that if pakistan supported them they will support pakistan’s kashmir cause, our nuclear assets will be safe (which are still safe by the grace of Allah almighty but these thugs have all the intentions to takeover them but InshaAllah they will fail) and pakistan will prosper economically. Did US & Brits fulfilled their promises?? No none. Americans and Brits everyday saying they are not interested in Kashmir and supporting india with its terror activities in Kashmir. Second promise of nuclear was broken by the americans and they have been trying to overtake by giving false and dirty statements against it and trying whatever way to control it. Third promise economic prosperity was also broken and we have suffered badly and our economy is crippling and US pressures our friendly countries like Saudia to not to help us so that they can pressure us to give into their demands. NOW INDIA IS AGAIN PLANNING TO STAGE A DRAMA LIKE MUMBAI ATTACK AND AMERICA IS BACKING IT AND GATES SAYS THAT INDIA WILL THIS TIME ATTACK PAKISTAN?

    TIME AND AGAIN WE HAVE SEEN US DECEIVING US, USING US AND THEN THROWING US AWAY LIKE RUBBISH AND WE STILL ASKING THEM THAT ARE THEY WITH US OR AGAINST US? OF COURSE THEY ARE AGAINST US AND THAT’S VERY CLEAR NOW. WAKE UP PAKISTAN PLEASE WAKE UP!!!!


  12. Asalam o Alekum Pakistan

    The day is not very far
    when Inshallah we’ll have an upper hand on these Non Muslims !!!!


  13. THE WHOLE HUMANITY IS WITH PAKISTAN EXCEPT EVIL POWERS LIKE USA.


  14. INDIA STILL THINKS THAT CONSPIRACIES AGAINST PAKISTAN WOULD WORK .THEY ARE LIVING IN A FOOLS PARADISE.THEIR EVIL DREAMS SHALL NEVER BE FULFILLED.


    • YA dude u r right. Insha Allah we’ll have an upper hand on these Non Muslims one day


      • Shahzad bhai

        Do you seriously believe that all Indians are Non-Muslims? I think they have almost the same no. of muslims as Pakistan and Bangladesh.

        More importantly, what does being muslim have to do with being right all the time? Do you mean to say just because someone is muslim, he or she cannot do anything wrong?


  15. No Blackwater firm in Pakistan, asserts Anne W. Patterson on Nov 25th, 2009.

    //ISLAMABAD: The US ambassador in Pakistan Anne W. Patterson Wednesday ruled out the presence of private US security firm Blackwater, adding the US officials and programs in Pakistan are solely aimed at serving people and Government of Pakistan.//

    Robert Gates Confirms What U.S. Government Has Denied for Months: Blackwater Is in Pakistan on January 22, 2010.

    //The Pentagon has gone into damage control mode after Defense Secretary Robert Gates appeared to confirm that security contractor Blackwater is operating in Pakistan.//

    => Oops, Ms.ambassador, something just went right. please enlighten us if were we lying all this time about blackwater in Pakistan, or were you? Robert Gates tells us, you, an american ambassador in pakistan, were lying. That makes you Anne the shameless liar. And guess what, you and this whole creep show is lying about everything from A to Z and we know it, but that doesnt change anything about you, you still remain a liar.


  16. these so called blackwater merceneries are in pakistan
    of course these lieing fucks americans are going to deny their presence in pakistan it is in their interest to deny it
    nujat patriotic pakistani


  17. nujat,

    brother, don’t make use of abusive words when you talk and if you want yourself to be heard well across. Maintain your honor and respect. Hope you don’t mind and i’m sure you as my muslim brother will listen to me = ] thanks.


  18. Some things HAVE to be done, and checking AND curbing US intervention in Pakistan is at the top of the list. It’s good to see some steps being finally taken in this regard…

    It goes in the beginning of the article:

    “…For the first time in 8 years, Pakistan now has the upper hand and has started to dictate terms to the US, starting last week with the rejection of US request to extend the operation to North Waziristan where Jalaluddin Haqqani’s faction allegedly operates from. Anticipating an imminent turnaround in Pakistan’s Afghan policy and fearing the US supply lines into Afghanistan may come under pressure…”

    I’ll be quoting the Daily Express here, this rejection made to the newspapers on Jan 22.

    http://express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1100832979&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20100122

    The next day, lo and behold…

    http://express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1100833975&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20100123

    Could someone please tell me who’s BSing the people, the govt., the army, the media or the US?


  19. Well; good to hear that and to me at-least it means one thing that our defense is in intelligent and reliable hands. .


  20. Every peace loving human being will be with PAKISTAN, I was ,am and will with Pakistan .
    PAKISTAN ZINDABAD



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