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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

CIA given go ahead to increase drone attacks in Pakistan



In response to Pakistani demands that drone attacks cease and in spite of the fact that Pakistan has made stopping them a condition of reopening supply routes, Obama has obviously given the go ahead not just to resume attacks to increase their frequency.The move is just one aspect of what is becoming more and more open criticism and impatience with Pakistan. The U.S. has not made any attempt to meet another demand of Pakistan an apology for the killing of 24 Pakistani troops in an incident on the border with Afghanistan last November. This was the original event that caused Pakistan to close the transit routes.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spoke of the U.S. reaching the limits of its patience. Perhaps Pakistan is also already at the point where it has reached the limits of its patience and has no intention of reopening the supply routes. The Pakistanis have their own priorities and plans. No doubt some of the contingency plans involve insurgent linked groups. This is hardly a novel tactic. The U.S. used the same tactics in supporting Islamic radicals against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

But Pakistan is supposed to immediately act upon whatever the U.S. considers its own interests in spite of the fact that Pakistan has already suffered many losses through fighting terrorism and also subjected the tribal areas to terrible devastation and the displacement of thousands of people.

Panetta made it clear that drone strikes will continue. Panetta said:"It is difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan," If the drone strikes are so successful how can there be safe havens in Pakistan?

The pace of attacks in increasing. Since the Chicago conference alone on May 20 21 there have been eight attacks. In the 5 and a half months before the conference the CIA logged only 14 strikes in Pakistan.

Javed Qazi a retired Pakistani intelligence head said:"They are trying to send a message: 'If you don't come around, we will continue with our plan, the way we want to do it,'" He continued this is "superpower arrogance being shown to a smaller state.... But this will only increase the feeling among Pakistanis that the Americans are bent on having their way through force and not negotiation."

Panetta levelled charges against Pakistan while speaking in India. To do this shows absolute arrogance and is apt to make Pakistan even more paranoid about developing close U.S. India ties. That Pakistan now seeks closer ties with China and better relations even with Iran should hardly come as a surprise. Panetta confirmed that the U.S. is not just targeting the remnants of Al Qaeda but any group it thinks may be attacking the U.S. in Afghanistan.

The Zardari government will soon face elections. Apparently the U.S. does not care that the result may be the defeat of the Zardari government and the election of a far more anti-American government. For more see this article.

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