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US disquiet over 'Af-Pak' strategy

Mark Urban | 18:32 UK time, Wednesday, 6 May 2009

US officials regard Wednesday's meeting between President Barack Obama and the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan as an important diplomatic landmark.

The emphasis on combating militancy is a key part of Mr Obama's foreign policy - some indeed would say it is the central issue of it. The Washington meeting though has brought to the surface all kinds of tensions about the Obama approach.

A defiant, bellicose upland people have already made their anger felt - I'm referring to the US Congress. During Tuesday's hearings on Capitol Hill, Richard Holbrooke, the administration's "Af-Pak" envoy, came under fire from Congress men and women who believe America's aid to Pakistan looks too much like a blank cheque.

They want "conditionality", linking the flow of dollars to Pakistani co-operation on everything from fighting the Taleban, to reining in the ISI (the country's military intelligence organisation), securing nuclear weapons and gaining access to AQ Khan, the scientist accused of proliferating nuclear technology to several countries.

The US gives Pakistan around $2bn each year in military aid and is now increasing its civilian aid package to $1.5bn annually. Over the next five years US aid could total $17.5bn, and help from international financial institutions another $14bn.

During Mr Holbrooke's session he came under fire both from congressmen like Ron Paul, who expressed broad doubts about the wisdom of the new US strategy, to others like Robert Wexler, who are closer to White House thinking, but want guarantees about the spending of US funds.

Mr Holbrooke said the administration did not believe in conditionality but accepted that benchmarks are required to measure Pakistan's performance. Whether or not the US aid is linked to specific yardsticks, many Pakistani officials find the approach patronising.

Since those who believe in co-operating with the US are already characterised by the opposition as foreign hirelings, the conditionality policy might offer further political ammunition to the militants.

If Congress is reluctant to bankroll Pakistan unconditionally, their decision stems in part from the experience of the past five years. Despite billions invested, the Pakistani army remains inept at counter-insurgency operations, causing large civilian loss of life and suffering high casualties of its own.

As for other issues, even Mr Holbrooke described the refusal of the last Pakistani government to let US agents interview AQ Khan as "inexplicable".

From the Pakistani side, the government was nettled at being called "fragile" by Mr Obama. It feels also it must reflect public anger about US airstrikes in the tribal areas - although Pakistan actually facilitates these attacks in various ways - and it regards US pressure to confront the militants militarily as unwarranted.

At a US State Department session with Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari placed great emphasis on the democratic values shared by Pakistan, the US and Afghanistan.

And in truth democracy and sovereignty may provide Pakistan's best counterweight to those Americans who call for conditionality of aid.

Talking to the Taleban and attempting local truces are after all policies that the dominant political party in the tribal areas ran on during last year's elections. US pressure for military responses in these places, it can be argued by Mr Zardari, flies in the face of the people's will.

Watch Mark Urban's full report on the Obama administration's 'Af-Pak' strategy on Newsnight at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm sure such discussions will be pretty academic to those who have lost loved ones at the hands of the American military-industrial complex...

    I can't wait to see as well how AIPAC tries to overthrow a democratically elected President over middle-east foreign policy...

    Was it ever thus.

  • Comment number 2.

    Holbrook has form. We have still a divided Balkans because of him, Serbia was demonised and a great wrong blaming the Serbian people but it suited Clinton and the west but the repercussions will last for a generation. Don't trust Holbrook.

  • Comment number 3.


    Is winning office though a 'money no object' campaign, democratic? Is it not akin to winning a war through force of money rather than of right? While few realise they are being manipulated (even if joyful in their ignorance) how can universal suffrage-based voting, equal democracy? Perhaps the two thoughts meet in the 'mercenary army'? Limitless money buys unlimited fighters (voters), who deliver a win for the paymaster. I can't help feeling that only an electorate comprised of voters-of-competence (resistant to manipulation) can underpin even proto democracy.

  • Comment number 4.

    is conditionality or benchmarks present for all US aid to foreign states?

    which state is adept at counter insurgency?

  • Comment number 5.

    There can be little prospect of a successful 'Af-Pak' strategy unless and until the American people grant to the humblest villager of the region the same fundamental rights as they grant to their own citizens under their constitution. (I.E. don't bomb wedding parties in the region, and if you do, treat the perpetrators in the US army and security services the same way as if they had bombed a wedding party in a village in Vermont.)

  • Comment number 6.


    Has anyone got the native American view on all this? Didn't they used to be strong on wisdom before the - the - what is N/A for 'Holocaust'?

    And where is super-negotiator Tony? Much beloved of the Lord Obama. Or was that just politics?

  • Comment number 7.

    "Conditionality" (such a ugly word) must be part of ANY aid package (military or humanitarian) on offer to a country such as Pakistan, when the benefits of past financial support are so tenuous.

    No doubt the Pakistani authorities will be outraged by such outside interference, especially when it cuts off their personal gravy train.

    They will however eventually accept what the rest of us have known for years. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

  • Comment number 8.

    The apparent cordiality between Presidents Asif Ali Zardari and Hamid Karzai is very important. This state of relations must be maintained and cemented.

    Perhaps America might assist, instead of going in with their usual heavy-handed, highly visible presence, which has occasioned such resentment and retaliation, by sending in a number of key military helpers to join and engage with the Pakistani army on a protem basis, and by adopting the Pakistani uniform.

    A clear demonstration of America's humility, and a genuine respectful willingness to engage, would go a long way to removing some of the distrust felt by the people in the 'Af-Pak' region, and have positive diplomatic repercussions across the world stage.

  • Comment number 9.

    The (Af-Pak) Surrogate War


    Military Aide: (9B)

    Economic Aide: (5.6B)

    International: (10.5B)

    Total: (25.1B)

    This total does not take in the cost of one day of (AIE) military operations of (1.14B) One-point-fourteen Billions Euros (per day), (415.1B) Four-hundred-fifteen-point one Billion Euros per year for (5) five years, (2.08T) Two-point-zero-eight Trillion Euros.

    Throw Tax-payer, money at it;

    (*) An additional (300.3M + 1.5B) Three-hundred-point three million Euros, (1.5B) on top of One-point-five Billion Euros in military aide, for a total of (1.8B) Euros per year, grand total in military aide (9B) Nine Billion Euros for (5) years.

    (*) (AIE) American Israeli Empire Economic Aid (1.13B) One-Point-thirteen Billion Euros per year, for (5) Five Years in Economic Aide, or total (5.6B), Five-point-six Billion Euros.

    (*) International Aide (10.5) Ten-point-five Billion Euros and you know it will be much higher than that, More Time, More Money, More Troops, More Mission Creep.


    All this in an attempt to simply pay off people, in an effort to win over Afghanistan and to topple the Taliban and Al-Qaeda when those who are believed to be operating with the (AIE) are already characterised by the opposition as foreign hirelings, while giving further political ammunition to the Islamic Freedom Fighters is absurd. The idea of paying a Taliban fighter who is getting (165) One-hundred-sixty-five Euros per month, the (AIE) would offer (173) One-hundred-seventy-three Euros per month, and thus attract that given fighter to side of the (AIE) and the government that is supportive of the (AIE), seen as foreign bought stooges . The Islamic Freedom Fighters are not monetary based fighters, fighting for the ideas Islam represents, and the reward of Paradise awaits those who die in its defense. In (Af-Pak) tribal territories, where some of the most wanted jihadists are thought to be hiding, the (AIE) is up against a centuries-old tradition called "pashtunwali". The Pashtun code of conduct that makes tribesmen resent any uninvited intruders, while protecting those seeking shelter. A code of honor were kicking the door itself is the biggest insult, inviting revenge. No one can dare kick my door, it is not allowed, because you are then declaring war against my household. Anyone caught betraying a fellow Muslim risks finding their family dishonored for generations. (Af-Pak) is a region that has never been conquered and must be treated with extreme caution and precise decisions in order to win over the population, the approach of the dominant political party of talking to the Taleban is the only solution everything does not pivot around money and when it comes to Osama Bin Laden, it pivots off of religion, if Pope John Paul was a true (Vicar of Christ), and some Roman Catholics truly believe Saint John Paul then, Osama Bin Laden to the Muslim world is the12th Mahdi, their version of the messiah

    (The Prize)

    The War on Islam is nothing more than a Surrogate War between the (AIE) American Israeli Empire and the Russian Federation over resources;

    (1) The Nabucco gas pipeline: which is to be laid through the territories of the Former Soviet Republic of (Georgia), into, Azerbaijan into the strategic Northwest Iranian territory or Shi-ite Persian Iran were currently (4) four- million Kurds are concentrated in Iran, waiting to declare a Kurdish state, and with Russian peacekeepers in place to protect the new formed Kurdish state from Georgian or Iranian aggression, onto Turkey and the Tabriz refinery, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria to connect Europe.

    (2) The Central Asian Pipeline: from Turkmenistan which is rich in hydrocarbons and the building of the Central Asian Pipeline system transporting (NG) across Afghanistan to the ports of Pakistan, Karachi, and round the globe in (LG) Liquid Gas from, to waiting markets, with a branch line to supply the needs of India.

    (3) The Caspian Sea Basin: to supply the Nabucco Pipeline with its estimated at (7.25 Trn.Cu.Mts.) Seven-two-five trillion cubic meters, yet to be developed underneath the Caspian Sea, along with (1/5th) One-fifth, (20%) Twenty-Percent of the remaining global oil reserves.

    (The (AIE) Vs The Russian Federation Surrogate War)

    The (Af-Pak) War is more about the enemy of my enemy is my friend, or as the old Chinese saying goes, I would rather not be a high official but I love the chance to pull the Emperor off his high horse, both the Islamic Freedom Fighter and the (AIE) represent threats in the (21st), Century to the Russian Federation, long term one on Religious bases the other on its view of foreign relations based upon the Hierchical Structure with the (AIE) at the top. Why, not let the two fight it out weakling both in the process, with the victor unable to be a threat in the (XXI) Century. Let each be the surrogate warrior of the Russian Federation against the other, it is a win/win, situation. And, those European nations that become involved will the surrogate target of revenge, if (19) nineteen Saudi Arabian Nations on (4) four large aircraft can reach half way around the globe, to bring vengeance upon the (AIE), unmolested how much easier to cross into Europe, and cross a channel, to exact an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth for their sake?

  • Comment number 10.


    Now, in all fairness to mothers day some of us got along with the old dame and some of us didnt, but love them or hate them they are still our mothers. The two things that bring joy to both on mothers day is the day that one of us left home and everyday since that we remain apart. But, it is still mothers day, and we are just going to see who out lives who, just to spite the other. So, here are some ideas of Will Rodgers on Mothers Day.

    WILL RODGERS: This is Mothers Day. Of Course the mother I know most about is the mother of our little group. She has been for twenty-two-years trying to raise to maturity four children, three by birth and one by marriage. While she hasnt done a good job, the poor soul has done all that mortal hum could do with the material she has had to work with. (May 11th, 1930).

    Does that fit some of us, when you get to deal with your mother in an offspring, and if there is a deity or deities they must have decided to make your life a comedy, what goes around, comes around, leaving you with as good a material as your mother had to deal with, you start to wonder what was I thinking, you can not kill them, and you wish you did not have to keep them, the court will not emancipate them, you can hope they run away, and you move before they come back, but now you have the cross that your mother had to bear to test your moral strength.

    WILL RODGERS: You know, there ought to be some kind of a star given to any woman that can live with a comedian. Now that little compliment ought to repay for the flowers that I forgot to get on Mothers Day. (May 12th,1930).

    Still holds true today, on Dancing With The Stars, shaking that booty, could have dividends, unlike the stock market of the (20s-30s) or the present one, (75) Seventy-Five years, some things just do not seem to change, no dividends out of the stock market and you better be working that booty, and giving those compliments if you expect any dividends at home.

    Now, for you young men out there that are married, and do not get along with the mother that had you, or passed away or mother-in-laws that wish they never met you wondering why your mother did not practice birth control, mothers day would seem as just another day, if you expect any dividends in this government, or out of this stock market, well (75) Seventy-five years has proven that neither have a clue what is going on and is a fools errand, but you sure can get short, and long term dividends on mothers day if you butter up that bride you took, mothers and mother-in-laws, do not nearly provide the return on the investment, in fact if you only remember the little woman, you can forget about the other two until Halloween, send them a new broom.

  • Comment number 11.

    as the Pakistani army is currently conducting operations in the Swat Valley, it's perhaps to early to question the Pakistani government's commitment to the defeat of the Tailban, after a few weeks it will be clearer whether the Pakistani Army really intends to crush the islamic insurgents or just going through the motions!

    the worst thing the U.S. can do now is seem to be forcing the Pakistani's
    to conduct military operations that are see to benefit the NATO forces in Afghanistan.

  • Comment number 12.


    There will be a nuclear attack on a major city somewhere in the world

    Osama Bin Laden had a Pakistani nuclear scientist come visit him because terrorists are seriously trying to get a nuclear bomb and use it to kill hundreds of thousands in a particular city, and this is a fact.
    One nuclear bomb exploding in one city will change history, says Graham Allison, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University (Source: Russia Today)

    London is the VERY BEST target, a long coast line, a large Pakistani population, and when the (AIE) American Israeli Empire, starts killing as it always does in large number without descrimation, members of families within Britian will be killed, along with support from the (IRA) Irish Republican Army, London is only a channel away not two oceans away, and in the back pocket of the (AIE). It is the only logical target.

    This is not Korea, this is not Vietnam, which were political wars this is a completely Religious War, its never been a War On Terror, but a War on Islam, and Resources, establishing a Hierchical Structure New World Order with the (AIE) at the top. The (IFF) Islamic Freedom Fighters will bring the war to their enemy, and those that support them, they have done it, they are doing, and will use a nuclear weapon if thats what it takes to wake the world, getting its attention.

    Its up to Europe to stop this if not, Europe will by logic pay the freight for the (AIE).

  • Comment number 13.


    The Figure Head Post

    The United States of America does not exist, it has transformed into the (AIE) American Israeli Empire, and the head of the (544) Five-Forty-Four, Imperial Court is just a position without any real authority. It simply does not matter who sits in the seat they are just puppets. We are far past this point, the government, Wall St., and the Media is controlled by (AIPAC/AZC) American Israel Public Affairs Committee/American Zionist Council, they have built the Empire and placed it at the pinnacle of World Power, with the benefits of that position. The fly in the ointment is the Global Power Structure Struggle, The Hierarchical Structure, with the (AIE) at the apex, top of the pyramid of power. Or, Spheres of Influence, the (AIE) as just one Sphere of Influence among others, the (BRIC), Brazil, The Russian Federation, India, The Peoples Republic of China, the German & French Axis, and the British Commonwealth all are in fact spheres of influence among others.

    The Empire

    The (AIE) American Israeli Empire was created by(AIPAC/AZC) the (544) Imperial Court and their descendants have been given places of power within the New World Order Government of Hierarchical Structure by (AIPAC/AZC) American Israel Public Affairs Committee/American Zionist Council, a (100K) One-hundred-thousand membership neo-conservative Jewish lobbyists group who loyalty is first and always Israel, connected to various caucus members of influential members of the (AIE) pro-Israel lawmakers The (AIE/COS) American Israeli Chief of State Rahm Emanuel and (ACOS) Assistant Chief of State David Axelrod both, Mossad agents, the puppet masters, were selected to be placed into these special positions, to ensure control of the Emperor of State, and to guarantee that the (AIE) policies will go where (AIPAC/AZC) and Israel what them to go, ensuring that (AIPAC/AZC) has control of the policy process top to bottom, ending any serious public discussions, or the publics ability too exercise independent judgment about matters of great importance to the (AIE) it allies, through the exercise of a veto (pack the audience crucify him, crucify him), over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, substituting (AIPAC/AZC) political correctness for analysis, excluding any and all options for decisions other than those set by (AIPAC/AZC), dictating (AIE) foreign policies ensuring the (544) Five-Forty-Four, only have to go thru the motions of governing, they maintaining its position of power and authority, the (AIE) is the top of the food chain, (544) control the public they represent, getting the benefits of the structure.

    The Figure Head

    The Figure Head can not be a nationalist, head of one country, but the head of the Global Community, an Emperor, head of an Empire, under the control of Israel via (AIPAC/AZC), if an individual who was a nationalist were to be placed into the position, the worm would turn, and Israel would be just another block in the pyramid. And, this is were the (544) Five-Forty-Four, enter into the picture, they pick the puppet, the figure head, maintaining the stability of the Hierarchical Pyramid of World Power. Israel controls (AIPAC/AZC), who in turn control the (544), who in turn select the figure head (4-8) four to eight year Emperor Figure Head, of the (AIE), which is at the top of the Hierarchical Pyramid of World Power, of which the citizens of the (AIE) gain the most benefit. The position of Emperor of the (AIE) must remain just a figure head position, a strong leader would upset the apple carte, a type of Coup détat, the (AIE) Emperor can never be a permanent position, absolute power, corrupts absolutely, creating a raison dêtre (reason for being), a deity selected the Emperor personally to rule the world, the present (AIE) structure works to this system.

  • Comment number 14.


    Type A Ego Maniacs, MAN NOT MESSIAH

    Type (A) Ego Maniacs, is a good term to describe all politicians, and the Imperial Media Messiah President, is no different from the rest of them in fact today most of them are appointed by the same group (AIPAC/AZC) American Israel Public Affairs Committee/American Zionist Council, they have built the Empire and placed it at the pinnacle of World Power, and they select and appoint the (4-8) four to eight year Emperor. Now, the Messiah wants another term in office, and going out on the limb to support Gay Rights, is like going out on that limb and sawing it off between yourself and the tree at a very high level, put the legacy issue, these Type (A) Ego Maniacs have a thing about their legacy, Bill Clinton is still smarting about Impeachment and Gray Davis about the Re-Call, and the General in Afghanistan will no doubt retire and hammer the Messiah.

    Business As Usual

    It is a tough life, this being President and trying to please everybody, well, not exactly everybody, but enough to be re-elected. (Source: Will Rodgers, September 22, 1929).

    Now, old Hillary had (18M) Eighteen Million votes and Ego that is bigger than Mt. Everest, but the votes were not there, Bill cut the legs right out from under her campaign and she could not separate herself from the problem, and with the Gay Rights Issue it is a matter of what do you gain and what do you loose, the Messiah cut ties with Rev. Wright when he was costing votes and became Rev. Wrong, and that would apply to the Gay Rights Issue, wrong issue to be re-elected upon.

    The Gay Right Way

    The Gay Right Way, is the hard way, grassroots (bottom up), State by State, one by one it is a long road but There is an ancient Chinese fable called The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains, It tells of an old man who lived in northern China long, long ago and was known as the Foolish Old Man of North Mountain. His house faced south and beyond his doorway stood the two great peaks, Taihang and Wangwu, obstructing the way. With great determination, he led his sons in digging up these mountains hoe in hand. Another grey beard, known as the Wise Old Man, saw then and said derisively, How silly of you to do this! It is quite impossible for you few to dig u these two hug mountains. The Foolish Old Man replied, When I die, my sons will carry on; when they die, there sons will carry on; when they day, there will be my grandsons, and so on to infinity. High as they are, the mountains cannot grow any higher and with every bit we dig, they will bee that much lower. Why can not we clear them away? Having refuted the Wise Old Mans wrong view, he went on digging every day, unshaken in his conviction. God was moved by this, and he sent down two angels, who carried the mountains away on their backs. The Gay Rights movement has made up its mind to dig them up, and the correct way is to pick up the shove, stand up, and dig together, city by city, county by county, and state by state. The Messiah in Washington is looking for votes to stay in office and his legacy, not Gay Rights.

  • Comment number 15.


    (Hierarchical Structure)

    The Hierarchical Structure is a type of New World Order Structure with the (AIE), American Israeli Empire, and Israel at the apex, creating a better behavioral and efficient structure, with the Imperial Media Messiah World President and (CEO), as the head of the World State, with the other world leaders following and working for the good of the group. The New World Order, geo-political structure would be controlled by (AIPAC/AZC) American Israel Public Affairs Committee/American Zionist Council, a (100K) One-hundred membership neo-conservative Jewish lobbyists group, connected to various caucus members of influential members of the Empires pro-Israel lawmakers the (544) Imperial Court. The New World Order Geo-Economic Center, the (IMF) International Monetary Fund and The World Bank, made up of member countries representing around (90%) Ninety-Percent of global gross nation product, (80%) eighty per-cent of world trade and (66%) Sixty-Six Percent of the worlds population now, and would continue the dollar based world currency system, the (NYSE) New York Stock Exchange would act as the World center of economic investments and trading with other world branch markets, under its control of the. The (AIE) would be the Geo-Para-military World Police Force, drawing on military assets, provided from member countries, with no restraint upon its authority, with over (300) Three-hundred military bases, located within (130) One-hundred-thirty countries scattered around the globe, financed by the (AIE) taxpayer, and every country that holds, treasury bonds, government securities, and short term treasury bills, at a cost of (1.14B) One-Point-Fourteen-Billion Euros per day to keep its military installations and personnel functioning not only at home, but abroad. The (AIE) would have Global Domination, as a benign Manager State.

    (Spheres of Influence)

    What stands in the way of the realization of the New World Order is lack of time, and the resistance that has been encountered to obtain control of the energy markets of the world, in particular the Islamic Crescent States. The Russian Federation and other world States reject the Hierarchical Structure Theory, in favor of the Spheres of Influence Theory, rejecting the concept of the current (AIE), standing against military adventures, that (NATO) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the (AIE) are engaged upon. Such as the (AIE) building of a missile system surrounding the Russian Federation, and the establishment of an Empire Hierarchical World Order Structure, of totalitarian, and authoritanism, violating the sovereign rights of people to exist independently, without foreign troops within their territory. The (BRIC), Brazil, The Russian Federation, India, The Peoples Republic of China, the German & French Axis, and the British Commonwealth all are in fact spheres of influence, and they are in fact flexing their collective muscles geo-politically-economically-militarily, to prevent the establishment of an (AIE) Hierarchical World Order Structure.

    (Removing the Wedges Breaking the Impasse)

    The combined resistance of the countries of the Sphere Structure Theory, geo-economically, and politically, combined with the military resistance of the countries of the Islamic Crescent have all but stopped the implementation of the Hierarchical Structure Theory. Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, (500 B.C.) Five-hundred years before the birth of Christ, (2.5K) Two-thousand-five-hundred years ago, said in (Waging War, There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the STATE will not be equal to the strain). The armed forces of the (AIE) are on suicide watch, with the highest self kill and comrade kill rates in history, with large portions taking medication for (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Economy of the State lay in ruin, The Infrastructure of the State lay in ruin, The Geo-political Influence lay in ruin, and the only option now open to breaking the impasse is the Nuclear Option, the combined pre-emptive attacks by both the Western section of the Empire (America), and the Eastern section (Israel), upon The Russian Federation, and its ally the Shi-ite Persian Republic of Iran, taking control of the Geo-Energy supplies and markets, providing new revenues both benefiting and ending the strain upon the State.


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