Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pakistan Fails Obligations still gets billions from US

According to the Obama administration, Pakistan is not making progress toward ending military support for Islamic militant groups or preventing al-Qaida, the Afghan Taliban or other extremists from staging attacks in Afghanistan. 

In spite of that fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has quietly informed Congress that she’s waived the legal restrictions that would have blocked $2 billion in U.S. economic and military aid to Pakistan. Disbursing the funds, she said in an official notice, is “important to the national security interests of the United States.”

The first question that came charging into my mind when I read the report on this was: "Can she do that?"  "Can she spend 2 billion dollars without approval from Congress?" -I guess the obvious answer is "Yes", because she is....

The next question that came to mind was: "Why?"  "Why would we want to give two billion dollars to a country who has done nothing to earn it?"

Well, apparently the administration has determined that, even after a near break down in relations, this "payment" is necessary to ensure Pakistan’s cooperation in the uphill U.S. effort to prevent Afghanistan collapsing into all-out civil war when American-led international combat forces complete a withdraw by the end of 2014.

I wonder, however, if this might not backfire. These payments for 'services not rendered'
 could encourage Pakistani commanders to think that their cooperation is so important that Washington will continue overlooking the Pakistani military’s refusal to end its support for Afghan insurgent groups or to shut down militant sanctuaries.

Naturally, Islamabad vehemently denies charges that the army-run ISI is aiding the Afghan Taliban and allied groups, such as the Haqqani network, as part of a strategy aimed at preventing rival India from gaining influence in Afghanistan after international troops withdraw. -But, to many who have been following events in that theater, the evidence of ISI support for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network is overwhelming.

In her Sept. 13 notice, Clinton informed Congress that she was waiving provisions of the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act and the State Department’s 2012 budget requiring that she certify that Islamabad has met certain conditions before some $2 billion in economic, military and counter-terrorism assistance can be disbursed.

Pakistan was required to have made progress in “ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistani military or its intelligence agency, to extremist groups,” especially those that have attacked U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. Islamabad also was required to have made progress toward stopping al-Qaida, the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and allied Pakistani extremists “from operating in the territory of Pakistan” and staging attacks in neighboring countries. It also must move toward shutting down “terrorist” bases in the tribal areas and other parts of its country.

In her notice to Congress of her decision to waiver the requirements, Clinton didn’t disclose which specific prerequisites Pakistan failed to meet. Those details were 'classified'.

Until now, Clinton had certified Pakistani compliance even though U.S. commanders in Afghanistan and other U.S. officials had for years charged the Pakistani army and the ISI were supporting the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. In September 2011, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explicitly accused the ISI of aiding Haqqani network attacks on U.S. targets in Afghanistan, including a strike against the U.S. Embassy.

Now, I am not saying it was the right way to do things, but I can not help remembering that, not long after 9/11, Dick Army supposedly got some excellent cooperation from the Pakistani government when he told a representative of that government, in confidence, that if they did not cooperate in the war on terrorism and if they did not stop aiding al-Qaeda, we might consider them an enemy and "bomb them back into the stone age"....... I'm just saying...

Live Long and Prosper....

No comments: