Salient features of Obama’s new strategy
- From: PakistanPal <pakistanpal@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2009 20:13:48 -0700 (PDT)
Col Ghulam Sarwar (R)
A lot of intellectual effort seems to have gone into the preparation
of Barack Obama's new strategy. This study, as spelt out by him,
envisages more troops and more money for Afghanistan and Pakistan. It
is widely hailed in most of the Western capitals and is rated as
realistic and achievable. It will be recalled that in response to 9/11
attack, former President, George B.Bush, had formulated his own policy
for this region. His policy was primarily based on steadily increasing
the number of American and NATO troops in Afghanistan and pumping more
money for rebuilding the infrastructure and the institutions of the
war ravaged Afghanistan. Although all major issues have been touched
in the recently launched new policy, Afghanistan's nation -building
aspect, has surprisingly been ignored.
Instead, greater emphasis has been laid on deploying more troops. As
such, as many as 21,000 more US troops are being deployed to confront
and then destroy Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Incidentally, to meet this
challenge, top military commander, General David Mckiernam, had asked
for 30,000 additional troops. It was expected that the US President
would also order deployment of 10,000 American soldiers in
Afghanistan. Incidentally, 38,000 American soldiers are already
deployed in Afghanistan, and if sanctioning of 30,000 more troops, is
agreed to, the number would reach 68,000 by the end of the year.
Additionally, there are 32,000 other foreign forces, fighting under
NATO command and President Obama is planning to seek more troops from
the allied countries. If this demand is agreed to, the number of US-
led foreign forces in Afghanistan, would swell 100,000 and the number
of NATO and allied forces will get closer to the level of 1,20,000.
With this force at their command, the US and its allies, have been
fighting for about eight years.
However, Victory is not yet in their sight. The US, on its part, has
learnt the hard way that in view of Taliban's tough resistance, it was
not possible to win war in Afghanistan. However, the US maintains that
the war against Taliban could be won only if the state of unstable
Pakistan is stabilized and militants are denied sanctuaries in the
tribal areas. Hamid Karzai also asserts that the root cause of
insurgency in his country is due to the ability of Al-Qaeda and Taiban
fighters to operate from the Pakistan's side of the Durand Line as
they cross the Pak-Afghan border with relative ease.
Commenting on AF-Pak strategy renowned political analyst, Mr. Rahim
Ullah Yousaf zai; asserts that Obama, in all likelihood, would not be
overtly concerned if his new policy causes destabilization of nuclear
armed Pakistan, while aiming to win the war against the Taliban in
Afghanistan, and save the lives of American soldiers.
Towards that end, no wonder, President Obama is seeking for
reconciliation with "moderate" Afghan Taliban. However, by treating
the two sets of Taliban, the hard liners and the moderates
differently, the US President is seen showing distrust in Pakistan's
initiative. Obama's insistence on using the CIA operative drones to
target the militant's, hide-outs in Pakistan's tribal area, also
sterns for his belief that Pakistan could not effectively do the job.
However, the US administration is hesitant to concede its failure to
defeat the rag-tag Taliban army, despite being a super power.
Mr Rahim Ullah Yousafzai, further remarks that apart from unstable US
policy of making greater use of the pilotless Predators and reapers to
kill as many Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants as possible in Pakistan,
the new Obama strategy offers substantial non-military aid to the tune
of 7.5. billion over a period of five years to Islamabad. Pakistan, no
doubt, would thus get its share of the American dollars, but the
amount appears to be too meagre. However, notwithstanding this peanut
aid from the US side , this time, it is not going to be a "blank
cheque" as President Obama mentioned in his speech. He, however,
categorized this amount as "down payment" towards securing American's
future for terrorism.
Things as these stand today, will not be easy for Pakistan to fully
satisfy the demanding Americans in view of the expected escalation of
the conflict to neighbouring Afghanistan. The US could , thus,
withhold payment to Pakistan and continue asking it to do more to
enable to win the war in Afghanistan. President Obama was very
unambiguous when he declared that "Pakistan must demonstrate its
commitment to root out al-Qaeda and the violent extremists within its
borders. And we will insist that action be taken, one way or the other
when we have intelligence about high level targets.
These words indicate quite clearly that there will be no free lunches
this time. Obviously , US resolve is to sort out matters beyond the
niceties of respecting the sanctity of international borders of the
target country.. In view of these aggressive US designs, Pakistan
seems to be in for trouble. May Allah help us!
Article Source : http://pakobserver.net/200904/28/Articles03.asp
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