A Nasser Hussein, A Saddam Hussein or Someone Worse with a Nuclear Arsenal?

When an Enterprise or a relationship goes bad, it usually keeps getting worse. Regardless of how negative expectations get, the reality keeps turning out to be worse. We saw this in the crisis at Lehman Brothers in 2008. At every stage, experts looked at the evidence, the data and came up with their expectations of how bad it could get. And at every stage, the actual facts proved to be far worse than the most negative expectations of “experts”.

But no authority in America stepped in to act decisively because the solution was deemed too painful. Finally Lehman defaulted and the US economy plunged into a nasty recession. As we write this, Greece is following the same glide path to economic hell and European Authorities cannot summon up the will to get it resolved. So the can gets kicked down the road.

That is exactly what is happening in the worst Enterprise on earth and in the most unsuccessful relationship in the world today. The can in Pakistan is being kicked down the road because the solution is painful and a major political problem for the Washington Establishment. Frankly, Greece and Lehman are minor compared to the disaster unfolding in Pakistan.

For decades, Pakistan has been called America’s ally in Asia. Since 2001, it has been hailed as America’s most critical ally first in the War against Terror and now in the War against the Taleban. America has showered $20 billion in aid to Pakistan and looked the other way when that aid was used primarily to get weapons for use against India and to fund terrorist groups.

The Obama Administration came to power steadfast in its conviction that the stability of Pakistan was the overriding objective and such stability would create the necessary conditions for America’s successful exit from Pakistan. From the very start, it was clear to almost everyone that this was too dreamy a policy. But convictions and ego make a powerful combination. So whenever Pakistan’s reality intruded, the American Establishment told itself that they needed patience and time to get the Pakistani Generals to see things America’s way. 

Since “stability” of Pakistan was the top priority and since the Pakistani Military had to be kept happy, the Obama Administration ignored what was going on in Pakistan. They meekly allowed the nuclear deal between China & Pakistan to go through without even a murmur of protest. They kept silent as the Pakistani Military began acquiring nuclear weapons to collect the 5th or 6th largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

Then the Obama Administration found Osama Bin Laden hiding in a safe house in the Pakistani Military Garrison town of Abbottabad. The raid on the safe house and the death of Bin Laden stunned the world.  

The stunning success of the Bin Laden raid was supposed to send a clear message to the Pakistani Military. They were supposed to realize that they could not play a double game anymore. They were supposed to realize that America could take more unilateral actions if the Pakistani Military was not sufficiently cooperative. And of course, the $2 billion in annual aid would be curtailed or frozen.

Again, even the most negative of American expectations proved too optimistic. Pakistan essentially warned America against future unilateral aids. The Pakistani Army replaced the American made software for their Radar with local software. This week, Pakistan arrested 5 of their citizens for helping America in finding Bin Laden.

In brief, Pakistan has not taken a single step to find other Taleban leaders, not a solitary step to assist in capture of Taleban leaders hiding in Pakistan-controlled areas. Instead, they have taken a series of steps to damage America’s capabilities and efforts inside Pakistan.

But the worst of surprises, the most grim sign of reality came this week from articles by Jane Perlez in the New York Times and by Karen DeYoung and Griff Witte in the Washington Post. They report that General Kayani, the Head of the Pakistani Military, is under enormous pressure from his own top Generals to reduce ties with America. Read their own words:

  • Wash. PostKayani “is fighting to survive,” said one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of current sensitivities. “His corps commanders are very strongly anti-U.S. right now, so he has to appease them.”…..Outspokenness by battalion commanders is virtually unheard of in the strict Pakistani military hierarchy, and open criticism of Kayani “is something no Pakistani military commander has ever had to face before,” another U.S. official said. “Nobody should underestimate the pressure he’s now under.”
  • NYTPakistan’s army chief, the most powerful man in the country, is fighting to save his position in the face of seething anger from top generals and junior officers since the American raid that killed Osama Bin Laden……The Pakistani Army is essentially run by consensus among 11 top commanders, known as the Corps Commanders, and almost all of them, if not all, were demanding that General Kayani get much tougher with the Americans, even edging toward a break, Pakistanis who follow the army closely said.
We have warned for years that the Pakistani Military is facing a deepening radicalization among its ranks. This process began in 1980 under Zia Ul Haq, the Islamist Army Chief & Dictator who first made Pakistan a sanctuary for Islamic fighters. The soldiers and junior officers that joined in his era have now moved into regional leadership positions in the Pakistani Military. And the radicalization increases as you go down to the junior officers and the rank & file.

But the specter of all 11 Corps Commanders speaking out together against the Army Chief is new and chilling. The Pakistani Military has always been a dedicated force, loyal to its commanders and its Chief. This is as close to a revolt as Pakistan has ever seen in its turbulent history.

Such conditions in other Muslim countries have resulted in coups by middle level officers, especially Colonels. Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was a Colonel when he launched the coup in Egypt with other officers. Saddam Hussein was a Colonel when he staged a coup in Iraq. And Muammar Gaddafi was a Colonel when he staged a coup in Libya.

But Pakistan is not Egypt, Iraq or Libya. No one could ever have contemplated a “Colonel’s coup” from Pakistan’s disciplined army, that is until now. Read what Jane Perlez wrote in her New York Times article this week:

  • Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani,……..faces such intense discontent over what is seen as his cozy relationship with the United States that a colonels’ coup, while unlikely, was not out of the question, said a well-informed Pakistani who has seen the general in recent weeks, as well as an American military official involved with Pakistan for many years……..if the general was pushed out, the United States would face a more uncompromising anti-American army chief, the Pakistani said.
But as we said, convictions and ego are a powerful combination. So the Washington Establishment and their “captive” Journalists jumped to provide optimistic spin on this ominous development. Read what David Ignatius wrote in the Washington Post:

  • It’s not bad that Pakistani corps commanders (and some leading Pakistani journalists and politicians) are questioning the army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. This dissent frightens Americans who worry about proto-jihadists in the army, but that fear is overdone. Pushback against the military leadership is healthy, and Pakistan needs more of it, not less.
David Ignatius is a brave man who always speaks the mind of the Washington Establishment. But this is a bit too much. Open rebelion from ALL 11 Corps Commanders against the Army Chief? That is not a “healthy pushback”, Mr. Ignatius! It is a Mutiny!

Rather than express our outrage, we quote the words of Colonel Ralph Peters from his interview on Bill O’Reilly’s Factor:

  • Stop, Stop pretending that Pakistan is an ally and treat it as the rogue state it is. Bill, Pakistan’s Military and Intelligence Services, those who really run the country are addicted to terror as a tool of statecraft. They are terror junkies. And giving junkies more money doesn’t help the addiction.
  • Pakistan, we have given them as you pointed out $20 billion plus over ten years, what did we get for it? They actively hid Bin Laden, they knew where he was..they are helping the Taliban kill and maim American Soldiers, Marines and Navy Corpsmen every single day, they support a wider range of terrorist groups than Iran does, they give safe havens as you pointed out to terrorists, they launched terrorist attacks against India, how is this a good deal? I am fired up about this.
  • They (the Obama Administration) are not going to do anything to make the Pakistanis angry. It is a joke. We are afraid of the Pakistanis. It is crazy.
The comment by Colonel Peters about “Pakistan supporting a wider range of terrorist groups than Iran” is the first acknowledgement, we believe, on American Television of this widely known fact .

Remember the Taleban attack on the Pakistani Naval Base near Karachi? When fears mounted even within Pakistan that the Taleban would attack nuclear weapons depots, the Taleban issued a public statement. The Taleban stated publicly that they would never attack a Pakistani Nuclear Installation to steal Nuclear Weapons. Why? Because they said their ultimate aim is to take over Pakistan.

How could they take over Pakistan? Not by attacking the Pakistani Army. It would be much easier to do so from within, by getting a General sympathetic to their cause to take over the Pakistani Military.

Now, that would be far worse than the most negative of expectations.

Send your feedback to [email protected]