Battle For Pakistan 2007-2019: Pak-US Ties and Civil-Military Relations

Shuja Nawaz's "The Battle For Pakistan: The Bitter Friendship and a Tough Neighborhood" looks at key events of the last decade that have characterized US-Pakistan ties and civil-military relations in Pakistan.  One of the biggest developments in the period covered by Shuja Nawaz's book is the rise of Narendra Modi and the Hindu Nationalists in India. His book is a well-written treatise but it is strangely silent on the implications of this major development for South Asia region and the world.

Author Shuja Nawaz

US Raid in Abbottabad:

On May 2, 2011, US commandos raided a house in Pakistani city of Abbottabad and killed Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden. There are many stories about who led the Americans to Bin Laden's hideout. The story that Shuja Nawaz appears to confirm is the one about ex Pakistani spy Lt Col Iqbal Saeed Khan walking into the US Embassy in Islamabad to tell the CIA station chief the exact location of Bin Laden. This spy was apparently well rewarded for it. He now lives in San Diego, California where he owns a multi-million dollar home and drives a BMW convertible.

“Col. Saeed, who ran a security firm in Islamabad, may have been responsible for providing logistic and surveillance assistance to the Americans in tracking and locating movements related to what turned out to the final lair of bin Laden in Abbottabad,” says Shuja Nawaz in his book. “Col. Saeed’s office in Abbottabad is reported to have been used as a listening and staging post. He is reported to have been recruited by Lt. Col. Hafeez, his predecessor at the helm of the 408 Intelligence battalion, who had been hired by the U.S., and according to one report, was even in the U.S., and that CIA Director George Tenet once brought him to a meeting with Gen. Kayani,” it adds.

Imran Khan's 2014 Dharna (Sit-in):

Shuja Nawaz confirms what was widely reported by Pakistani media in 2014: Pakistan ISI was behind Imran Khan's Islamabad dharna. He cites US Ambassador Richard Olson as his source. Olson said the following in a January 2017 interview with the author:

"We received information that Zahir [-ul-Islam, the DG-ISI] was mobilizing for a coup in September of 2014. [Army chief] Raheel [Sharif] blocked it by, in effect, removing Zahir, by announcing his successor...[Zahir] was talking to the corps commanders and was talking to like-minded officers....He was prepared to do it and had the chief been willing, even tacitly, it would have happened. But the chief was not willing, so it didn't happen."

Pakistan Military Dominance:

Shuja Nawaz argues in the book that "the armed forces, and in particular the army, continue to dominate decision making in Pakistan" in spite of the fact "the constitution of Pakistan established civilian supremacy". He explains that it is "largely because of its (army's) experience in running the country through successive military regimes and, to some extent, by the inability of civilian regimes to exhibit the political vision and will necessary to exert their constitutional control over the military".

Going back to the 1970s, Shuja Nawaz says in his book:

"The elder Bhutto (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) had wished to cut the military down to size, demoting the commanders-in-chief of the services to chiefs-of-staff. But, he failed to understand that their power stemmed from their disciplined and organized institutions, while the political party that he headed, not unlike other political parties, tended to be fractured and weak, especially on governance.....family rule was the order of the day. Civilian leaders failed to empower the people who elected them time and again, and they failed to deliver on the promise of economic development."

Shuja Nawaz's Silence on Rise of Hindutva:

The biggest development in the period covered by Shuja Nawaz's book is the rise of Narendra Modi and the Hindu Nationalists in India. His book is strangely silent on the implications of this development for South Asia region and the world.

Clearly, Nawaz did not foresee what has happened in India and Indian Occupied Kashmir with the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution and the passage of highly discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act. Nor did he see Modi's dangerous gambit with attack on Balakot in Pakistan. The Indian action drew strong Pakistani response with Pakistan Air Force crossing the Line of Control in Kashmir and shooting down two Indian fighter jets.  Pakistan also captured an Indian fighter pilot shot down down in Azad Kashmir. It was Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's deft handling of the regional crisis that prevented further escalation into a full-blown India-Pakistan war that could have gone nuclear.

Summary:

"The Battle For Pakistan" by Shuja Nawaz covers the period from 2007 when President Musharraf fired former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to the beginning of 2019 before Balakot attack by Indian Air Force. The book is strangely silent on the implications of far-right Indian Prime Minister Modi's rise for South Asia region and the world.  Most of the book is devoted to discussion of US raid on Osama Bin Laden's hideout in Abbottabad, Salala incident that took the lives of 24 Pakistani soldiers, Memogate that led to Husain Haqqani's ouster, Dawn Leaks incident that soured relations between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the military and Pakistan Army operations to defeat Pakistani Taliban. The author appears to confirm stories about an ex ISI colonel helping CIA find Bin Laden and Pakistan ISI's instigation Imran Khan's 2014 Islamabad  dharna (sit-in). One of the biggest developments in the period covered by Shuja Nawaz's book is the rise of Narendra Modi and the Hindu Nationalists in India. His book is strangely silent on the implications of this development for South Asia region and the world.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

India: A Paper Elephant?

Modi's Hindutva

Imran Khan's 2014 Dharna in Islamabad

Seeing Bin Laden's Killing in Wider Perspective

Top US CIA Agent on Pakistan ISI

Shuja Nawaz on Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Ownership of Appliances and Vehicles in Pakistan

CPEC Transforming Pakistan

Pakistan's $20 Billion Tourism Industry Boom

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Op Ed by Daniel Runde, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Without #Afghanistan, #Pakistan and #UnitedStates need a new basis for relationship. Under this arrangement, "We would see Pakistan not as a problem to be managed but also as an opportunity as a potential South Asian economic tiger." #economy #trade #FDI https://thehill.com/opinion/international/477903-without-afghanistan-pakistan-and-the-us-need-a-new-basis-for#.XhyYHjMtuvs.twitter

Pakistan’s population is in the same league as other democracies such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Nigeria. The United States has security ties with each of these democracies, but it also has economic ties, people-to-people ties, and ties in technology, education, and innovation. We should have similarly broad and deep relations with Pakistan.

Although there are valid criticisms in the United States of Pakistan, we need to engage the country in a more rounded way. A broader, more comprehensive engagement would likely require Pakistan to also have a more comprehensive vision of its own role in the world — one also less-viewed through the prism of a single country, namely, India. Pakistan places a disproportionate lens on its military and defense, it spent 4 percent of its GDP on the military in 2018. In contrast, Pakistan only spent 2.9 percent of GDP on education in 2017.


Pakistan’s Potential

Pakistan could become another Argentina or Ukraine in terms of agricultural potential. Agriculture accounts for 20 percent of Pakistan’s GDP and employs 43 percent of its workforce. Agriculture also plays a huge role in Pakistan’s exports, accounting for about 80 percent. But Pakistan’s agricultural productivity currently only ranges between 29-52 percent and could be much higher, with broader use of improved seeds and farming techniques.

Pakistan also has very significant tourism potential. It is best known for its ancient historical and religiously significant buildings, such as the Madshahi and Grand Jamia Mosque. It also has immense natural beauty, such as the Hunza Valley and Desoi National Park. However, Pakistan is one of the least competitive countries in South Asia in regard to travel. Pakistan had 1.7 million visitors in 2017, compared to Sri Lanka’s 2.3 million and Jordan’s 4.2 million. Introducing a recent e-visa program was a great start to opening the doors for tourism but much more needs to be done.

Pakistan has significant hydropower potential but has only developed one-tenth of its 60,000 MW potential. If this resource were properly tapped, it could play a huge role in tackling the power deficit in Pakistan and the broader region.

What would a reframed relationship with Pakistan look like?

On the U.S. side a reframed relationship would require a broader and larger set of stakeholders. We would see Pakistan not as a problem to be managed but also as an opportunity as a potential South Asian economic tiger.

Most members of congress who had an interest in Pakistan — especially outside of the military relationship — have left politics, so a new coalition in Congress needs to be rebuilt. The relationship is poisoned by disappointments, accusations, fear and distrust.

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Education is also key to reframing the relationship. Student exchange programs are beneficial in improving relations between countries. In 2016, the last year for which we could find numbers, there was an 8.5 percent increase in the number of Pakistani students studying in the United States — which is still just 11,000 Pakistani students. That is half of the 22,000 Pakistani students studying in China.

The United States must revisit its foreign aid program to support Pakistan in reaching its full potential. From recent informal conversations, it’s clear that neither OPIC, now the USDFC, nor EXIM Bank have sent a mission to Pakistan for many years. That needs to change. Our foreign aid has dropped drastically and is at levels far below what’s required, given the challenges. Creating a new relationship could take as a long as a decade but must begin now.
Riaz Haq said…
Senior #US Diplomat Alice Wells in #Pakistan Amid Warming Mutual Ties that have followed meetings between #Trump and PM #ImranKhan. The warmth stemmed mainly from #Islamabad’s facilitating US-Taliban peace talks bringing an end to the war in #Afghanistan. https://www.voanews.com/usa/senior-us-diplomat-pakistan-amid-warming-mutual-ties

The Trump administration last month announced it would soon resume International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs for young Pakistani army officers. U.S. officials say they are also working together with counterparts in Islamabad to boost bilateral trade and commercial ties.

"We expect our bilateral relationship to continue to mature to one more focused on trade than aid, and we are continuing to target investments in ways that help improve the overall business climate,” a State Department spokesperson told VOA in an email.

She noted there is much room to grow the current $6.6 billion annual bilateral trade relationship, adding Washington looks forward to working together with Islamabad on energy and agricultural exports in 2020. The Trump administration sees the U.S.-Pakistan relationship as one of potential, she added.

"We have made clear that fulfilling that potential requires progress on our joint efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan and on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible action against the militant groups and terrorist groups that destabilize the region from its soil,” the spokesperson stressed.

Pakistan hails IMET

The IMET was a part of U.S. security assistance for Pakistan worth some $2 billion that Trump suspended in January 2018 to press Islamabad to crackdown on militant groups on its soil and help in Afghan peace-building efforts. The overall security assistance remains suspended, however.

U.S. officials maintain the resumption of IMET, administered by the State Department, was meant to boost military-to-military cooperation between the two countries to advance “our shared priorities” of regional security and stability through concrete actions.

“U.S. decision to revive IMET is one more step in the right direction and reflective of our growing bilateral relationship,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqui noted in her official reaction.

Farooqui emphasized, however, the two countries needed to work for a “broad-based and enduring relationship, based on mutual trust and mutual respect.”

Washington credits Islamabad with helping to facilitate U.S. negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, mostly held in Qatar, to help bring an end to the 18-year-old conflict, America’s longest.

U.S. officials have long alleged the Taliban insurgency has organized itself militarily and logistically on Pakistani soil with covert support from the neighboring country’s military. Islamabad rejects the charges.

Latest round of meetings between U.S. and Taliban negotiators underway in the Qatari capital of Doha are said to have brought the two adversaries on the verge of signing a peace deal.

Khan 'Sort of' Trump of Pakistan

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, has also called for offering more economic incentives to Pakistan to encourage it to do more to bring stability to Afghanistan. Graham noted after his last month’s visit to Islamabad that Pakistani leadership wants an end to the Afghan war to promote national and regional peace.“

Prime Minister Khan is a different kind of politician. In many ways he is sort of Trump of Pakistan. So, we got a magic moment here where we could persuade Pakistan to do things differently and give them an economic incentive they never had before to do things differently,” Graham told reporters after his last month’s visit to Islamabad.

Senator Mushahid Hussain, who heads the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of Pakistani parliament, says Washington’s emphasizes on broadening bilateral ties beyond Afghanistan and security-related cooperation will go a long way in resetting relations between the two nations.

Riaz Haq said…
How Pakistan’s Politicians Help the Military
Every time civilian politicians bend laws to accommodate the generals, they damage long-term prospects for democracy.

By Aqil Shah

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/23/opinion/pakistan-politicians-military.html

Since its foundation in 1947, Pakistan has spent more than three decades under military rule. Even when out of power, the military has exerted behind-the-scenes influence to maintain its firm grip on politics and national security. Establishing democratic institutions, including civilian control of the military, has thus been an arduous process riddled with uncertainty, backsliding and reversal.

The military has often found civilian politicians willing to do its bidding. Every time civilian politicians bend laws to accommodate the uniformed autocrats, they undermine the trust of the people, damage the long-term prospects for democracy and further enhance the military’s power.

On Aug. 19, Prime Minister Imran Khan extended the term of Gen. Qamar Bajwa, the chief of the country’s army, by three more years. General Bajwa was supposed to retire in November, but the decision was made in view of the “regional security environment.”

Two days before General Bajwa’s extension was about to kick in, the Supreme Court of Pakistan considered a petition challenging it and suspended the extension. Eventually, the Supreme Court gave the general a six-month extension and ordered the government to get the Parliament of Pakistan to decide on such an extension and its duration.

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On Jan. 7, the Parliament hurriedly passed the legislation as the country’s main opposition parties voted in support of the law. They are the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan People’s Party run by the slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal Bhutto, which have alleged that the 2018 elections which brought Mr. Khan to power were rigged by the military under General Bajwa.

The supporters of Mr. Sharif’s P.M.L.N., Mr. Bhutto’s P.P.P. and the country’s beleaguered civil society activists interpreted it as a stark betrayal of their apparent commitment to the democratic process. They seem particularly disappointed with Mr. Sharif, who has popularized the slogan, “vote ko izzat do” or “honor the ballot,” a thinly veiled rebuke to the military’s habitual political meddling.

Mr. Sharif stepped down as prime minister in 2017 after the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified him from holding public office after a corruption inquiry linked to the Panama Papers. Mr. Sharif was not named in the Panama leaks and there is no evidence that he abused public office for private gain, but the judges disqualified him for hiding assets, and therefore failing to being “honest,” a constitutional requirement for being a member of Parliament.

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Pakistan’s army has long been the ultimate arbiter of politics in the country, which has tilted the political playing field against its opponents with detrimental consequences for democracy. Politicians have turned to the military as a shortcut to power and their politically expedient knocks on the doors of the barracks have allowed the generals to divide and rule.

Mr. Sharif’s seemingly steely defiance of the military had raised hopes that Pakistan’s most popular opposition leader had learned his lesson. Democracy does not necessarily need principled democrats, but it does need determined political leaders who can rise to the occasion.

Even though democracy requires compromises and accommodation between authoritarians and democrats, politicians of all persuasions must commit to civilian supremacy as the only game in town.

Pakistan’s politicians have chosen to reward the military’s egregious violations of the sanctity of the vote, a principle they had sworn to stand by no matter what. Their abject betrayal of their own word augurs ill for the future of democracy in Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
Exclusive: #US #SpecialOps aviator reveals #BinLaden mission details for the first time: #American Chinook helicopter on its way back from Abbottabad was engaged 3 times by a #Pakistani F-16. #Pakistan felt like “metropolis United States". #Afghanistan https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/03/17/legendary-special-operations-aviator-reveals-bin-laden-mission-details-for-the-first-time/#.XnEPs2l3HtU.twitter

Crossing into Pakistan was emotional for everyone.

“You know, it’s almost like there’s a road sign, ‘Stop, take a picture of Welcome to Pakistan.’ Even the crew members in the back, were like, ‘We’re in, right? Pakistan?’ And I’m like, ‘Yep’,” Englen said.

The deeper they flew into Pakistan, the more it felt like “metropolis United States,” with power lines, towers, cultural lighting. The contrast was stark: they were in a completely different country, much more prosperous than Afghanistan.

"You could see lights coming off and on,” said Englen. “You could tell that we are waking up Pakistan, because this is not normal. An aircraft flying at roughly 11:30 to midnight is not normal, because they (Pakistan military aircraft) don’t play at night as much as we do. In fact, at all, sometimes.”

While the local populace was aware something was up (and began tweeting and calling 911), the special operations aviators weren’t getting indications that the Pakistani military or the Air Force was keen on what they were doing.

“But, it’s paramilitary, so we just knew that eventually they would. We made it to the objective without really causing too much of a ruckus over the 911 calls. (But,) once we crashed the aircraft, within the first 30 seconds of the mission, then that’s when we really woke up that entire valley,” Englen said.

Hearing “Black Hawk down” over the radio changed everything.

Englen’s single Chinook raced across Abbottabad to pick up the ground force and air crew, arriving within 10 minutes of the call.

As he landed under the mushroom cloud of the exploding Black Hawk, the flight lead and planner was pissed off.

“I think crashing a helicopter on one of the most important missions of our generation, and later being asked by the director of the CIA (Leon Panetta), ‘Why the hell did you crash?’ I think that’s enough said,” Englen stated.

“It was hotter than expected for the MH-60 crews, and it had more fuel than expected. And they’re throwing on more last minute ground force. So, that (Black Hawk) crew — that had the famous last words to my two MH-47 (Chinook) crews before leaving Jalalabad of, ‘Just get us gas, bitches’ — had miscalculated, and came into that courtyard and lost effective lift,” Englen explained.

“Now, in retrospect, we could have done it with two Chinooks, the entirety. And more than likely — I don’t want to ever second-guess anybody —but in this condition, we would not have crashed, because we (the Chinooks) have the lift,” Englen said.

On the objective, his crew chiefs on the ramp, hopped out do a head count.

"They've got to get the headcount right, to make sure (we've) got the right amount of fuel. Plus, remember, we had people already on board, and this 800-gallon fuel tank inside. So there wasn't a whole lot of space (on board)," Englen explained.

While they were loading up inside, the Chinook was vulnerable.

“There’s nobody to protect us (the aircraft and crew) while we’re on the ground. Ever. When we’re on the ground, it’s just us,” he said. “So just hit the stop watch.”

They were on the ground for probably a minute and a half. It sounds like nothing. But for special operations aviators of the 160th, that’s an eternity.
Riaz Haq said…
Exclusive: #US #SpecialOps aviator reveals #BinLaden mission details for the first time: #American Chinook helicopter on its way back from Abbottabad was engaged 3 times by a #Pakistani F-16. #Pakistan felt like “metropolis United States". #Afghanistan https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/03/17/legendary-special-operations-aviator-reveals-bin-laden-mission-details-for-the-first-time/#.XnEPs2l3HtU.twitter

Englen’s Chinook headed back to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, while the remaining Black Hawk (Chalk-2) headed to the refuel site about 30 miles north of Abbottabad.

The other Chinook had set up prior to the Black Hawk coming in, shutting the aircraft down and running the fuel hoses out.

“So, that’s time for the Chinook to get there, time it to shut down, time to refuel, close up the refuel hoses, start the aircraft and head out. It takes a little bit of time,” Englen said.

That meant they were sitting on the ground vulnerable inside a sovereign nation, after invading its airspace and assaulting a compound. The Chinook was on the ground for probably 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, Englen’s lone Chinook on its way back was engaged three times by a Pakistani F-16. Because he’d anticipated and planned for that, he was able to defeat and evade the fighter jet.

“It was as an electronic fight. A missile never left the rail. So I was able to evade him electronically. That’s all I’ll say. But, he was searching and hunting for me, and three times came very close to actually launching a missile,” Englen said.

He'd done that before with other fighter jets on other missions.

"That's why we were picked for this mission. And, I was one of the few who trained 160th crews how to do that," he added.

Regardless, they were still jinking and jiving, flying nap-of-the-earth.

"We pulled every technique and tactic out of the book. And it worked," he said.

The risk was different, depending on who you asked.

On the actual bin Laden compound, the risk to the ground force was high (which is why comparisons were made to it being like “just another night in Afghanistan,” where operations occur multiple times a night).

While the risk to the airframes was fairly low on the objective, it was extremely high during the other nearly four hours of flying.

"It was not typical. That risk would be typical of the early days of Iraq, when we had air defense and we had to use electronic warfare tactics," he said.

Nevertheless, crossing back into Afghanistan was an unusually good feeling.

“We felt safe,” Englen said, “Which is a totally weird thing to say about (a war zone) in Afghanistan.”

Exhuming UBL

As soon as they landed at Jalalabad, a C-130 transported the team and Englen to Bagram Air Base to help exhume the body of Osama bin Laden.

"Take it out of the body bag, inspect and take samples and things like that, to verify," he clarified.

They put him back in the bag, and took it out to the Marine MV-22 Ospreys.

“We had a gunny sergeant who was pissed off like you wouldn’t believe. Because they were out there running — full rotors turning for like two hours waiting for us,” Englen said.

The Marine air crew hadn’t been read into what they were doing there, or where they were going. As Englen and ground force members brought the body bag out to them, they expressed some frustration.

He tried yelling at me, you know, just, ‘What the F, why are we here, what’s going on?’” Englen recalled.
Riaz Haq said…
Declan Walsh on #Pakistan: #ISI is omnipresent but certainly isn’t omnipotent. I was really struck by how much freedom we had to report pretty much what we wanted to and, with some exceptions, to travel around the country pretty freely as well. #NYTimes


https://scroll.in/article/974695/isi-is-omnipresent-but-certainly-isnt-omnipotent-declan-walsh-on-the-complex-reality-of-pakistan

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When I was there, I found myself torn between other reporters who were either incredibly critical of Pakistan and believe that the [intelligence agency] ISI was at the root of all evil. And that the military was all powerful. And that Pakistan was essentially a kind of malevolent place.

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And, while the ISI and the military have very tight control over certain things, and they are very good at doing certain things, there’s a lot of things that they do not have tight control over. And there’s a lot of things, frankly, that they’re not great at controlling either. And so within that space, there was quite a lot of room for someone like me, and that was part of what really excited me about being there.
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I came to the conclusion that the ISI is an intelligence service that is immensely powerful, of course, and in some respects, is very competent, and even very good at what it does. But in many other respects, it is a part of the Pakistani military and a part of Pakistani bureaucracy like any other and it is afflicted by the same weaknesses, the same bureaucracy, the same bungling, the same corruption.

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If you had to summarise for the reader, what took you to Pakistan? And what eventually drove you to write this book?
Well, you know, I went to Pakistan, really, as a bit of a naïf. I mean, I’m Irish. So unlike British people, I do not have the kind of cultural memory of South Asia, India, Partition – all of that – that I think a lot of my British counterparts had. And I arrived in Pakistan from Kenya, where I’d been living for five years working as a journalist.

I arrived there not knowing a huge amount about the country. It was 2004. Of course, I knew that this was a country that was strategically very important. It was the place where many people presumed al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were based. It had a military ruler.


But beyond that, I didn’t arrive with a whole lot of preconceived notions about the place, or, indeed about its history. And I remember for the first couple of years and there’s a little bit of this in the book, I wasn’t hugely impressed by Islamabad. I arrived in the middle of the summer, it was incredibly hot. I found it to be not very dynamic at all. And in fact, the whole setup at that particular time, was a little bit stagnant.

It was really a midpoint in the Musharraf years. He was very much in control. He was doing a strategic dance with the Americans. The country was relatively calm in comparison to what would follow just a number of years later. And it was a relatively quiet posting for a lot of foreign correspondents. They were much more intrigued by what was happening across the border in Afghanistan.

And so, that was my introduction to Pakistan. After a while, I discovered that this was actually a far more interesting country than I had realised. And I really started to get around. I started to meet people, and I discovered a lot of things that I found absolutely fascinating. And then three years in came the protests against Pervez Musharraf in March of 2007, which kind of came out of nowhere.
Riaz Haq said…
Top #US General hits back against 'offensive' #Republican criticism and defends #Pentagon diversity efforts! Civil-military tensions are not unique to #Pakistan! https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/23/politics/milley-diversity-pentagon-gop/index.html

The most senior general in the US military, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, offered a forceful rebuke of renewed efforts from Republican members of Congress to question the Defense Department's diversity efforts and alleged embrace of "critical race theory."

Responding to a question by Rep. Mike Waltz about the appropriateness of a seminar at the United States Military Academy at West Point called "Understanding Whiteness and White Rage," Milley responded: "I want to understand White rage. And I'm White. And I want to understand it."
Tying the question to the January 6 insurrection, Milley asked: "What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind here."
Milley called it "offensive" that service members were being called "quote, 'woke' or something else, because we're studying some theories that are out there."

"I've read Mao Zedong. I've read, I've read Karl Marx. I've read Lenin. That doesn't make me a communist," Milley said. "So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?"
Milley's forceful pushback came as military officials have faced a chorus of GOP voices questioning the Defense Department's efforts to promote diversity and combat extremism in the ranks.

The exchange took place during a House Armed Services hearing on the Defense Department budget, where Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin faced similar questions on "critical race theory," a decades-old academic concept that recognizes systemic racism as part of American society, that has become a political talking point for Republicans nationwide.
Embattled Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who was seen shaking his head during Milley's comments, later tweeted a video of Milley's remarks, writing in the tweet: "With Generals like this it's no wonder we've fought considerably more wars than we've won."
Gaetz had earlier asked Austin about the stand down he ordered regarding extremism, claiming he had heard complaints from service members from "majority minority" units, as well as what Austin thought of critical race theory.
Austin responded by calling the GOP-driven conversation about critical race theory "spurious" and said that he had received far more positive feedback on the stand down than Gaetz's "anecdotal" negative feedback.
"I have gotten 10 times that amount of input, 50 times that amount of input on the other side that have said, hey, we are glad to have had the ability to have a conversation with ourselves and with our leadership, and that's what we need," said Austin.

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The strong responses from Milley and Austin come a week after Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday fired back at Republican members of Congress who criticized his recommendation of the book "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi on a voluntary reading list for Navy sailors.
"What this is really about is trying to paint the United States military, and in this case, the United States Navy, as weak, as woke," Gilday said. "We are not weak."
Gilday further defended his recommendation as part of a national security concern, arguing that conversations about racism and diversity in the military are necessary to combat misinformation by US adversaries.
Riaz Haq said…
Top #US general warned of a #coup in #Trump’s last days. General Milley: “They may try, but they’re not going to fucking succeed. You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with guns” #biden

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/14/donald-trump-reichstag-moment-general-mark-milley-book


Shortly before the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Mark Milley, told aides the US was facing a “Reichstag moment” because Donald Trump was preaching “the gospel of the Führer”, according to an eagerly awaited book about Trump’s last year in office.

The excerpts from I Alone Can Fix This, by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, were reported by New York magazine on Wednesday. The authors’ employer, the Washington Post, published the first extract from the book a day earlier. It will be published next week.

Milley’s invocation of Germany under the Third Reich follows a report in another book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election, by Michael C Bender, that Trump told his chief of staff, John Kelly, “Hitler did a lot of good things”.

Trump denies having made the remark.

Leonnig and Rucker report that Milley spoke to an “old friend”, who warned the general that Trump and his allies were trying to “overturn the government” in response to Joe Biden’s election victory, which Trump falsely maintains was the result of electoral fraud.

Milley is reported to have said: “They may try, but they’re not going to fucking succeed. You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with guns.”

Reportedly calling Trump supporters “Brownshirts”, a reference to paramilitaries who served Hitler in Germany in the 1930s, Milley is reported to have believed long before the Capitol attack that “Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military”.

Milley notoriously appeared with Trump in Lafayette Square in Washington in June 2020, after anti-racism protesters had been aggressively cleared and as Trump walked to a church to stage a photo op with a Bible.

The general apologised for that incident. It has been widely reported that he resisted Trump’s efforts then to invoke the Insurrection Act and crack down on the protests.

Milley’s “Reichstag moment” remark refers to a fire at the German parliament which the Nazis used to consolidate their authoritarian rule in 1933.

Trump’s supporters attacked Congress on 6 January, the day the electoral college results were certified . Five people died.

Leonnig and Rucker report that Milley called the attackers “Nazis” and, in reference to two far-right groups, said “they’re boogaloo boys, they’re Proud Boys”.

“These are the same people we fought in [the second world war],” he reportedly said.

According to New York magazine, the authors also report that Milley, who made headlines and stoked rightwing ire last month by defending teaching about historic racism in army educational establishments, met former first lady Michelle Obama at the Capitol on 20 January, the day Biden was inaugurated.

“No one has a bigger smile today than I do,” Milley reportedly said. “You can’t see it under my mask but I do.”
Riaz Haq said…
Military got tap equipment illegally, says V.K. Singh

MADHAV NALAPAT & VISHAL THAPAR
Published : January 26, 2013

https://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/1276-military-got-tap-equipment-illegally-says-vk-singh

The Indian military acquired phone tapping equipment illegally, said former Army chief General V.K. Singh in an interview with The Sunday Guardian, but claimed that he had nothing to do with it. He also owned up for the first time to a shadowy spy agency — the Technical Support Division (TSD) — which has been accused of misappropriating secret military funds and bugging the political leadership. However, the general, who is now a political activist, strongly protested his innocence and insisted that the spying charges against him were the result of a conspiracy to tarnish his image. He alleged that sophisticated phone tapping equipment, including off-air interceptors, was acquired by “one particular DG DIA” without the government’s authorisation and that he was not responsible for it.

----------------

Snoop List Has 40 Indian Journalists, Forensic Tests Confirm Presence of Pegasus Spyware on Some
Those on leaked list of potential targets include journalists at Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Wire, Indian Express, News18, India Today, Pioneer, besides freelancers, columnists and regional media.

https://thewire.in/media/pegasus-project-spyware-indian-journalists


The phone numbers of over 40 Indian journalists appear on a leaked list of potential targets for surveillance, and forensic tests have confirmed that some of them were successfully snooped upon by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware, The Wire can confirm.

The leaked data includes the numbers of top journalists at big media houses like the Hindustan Times, including executive editor Shishir Gupta, India Today, Network18, The Hindu and Indian Express.

The presence of a phone number in the data does alone not reveal whether a device was infected with Pegasus or subject to an attempted hack. However, the Pegasus Project that analysed this list believes the data is indicative of potential targets identified in advance of possible surveillance attempts.

Independent digital forensic analysis conducted on 10 Indian phones whose numbers were present in the data showed signs of either an attempted or successful Pegasus hack.

Of equal importance is how the forensic analysis shows a strong correlation between the time a phone number appears in the leaked records and the beginning of surveillance. The gap usually ranges between a few minutes and a couple of hours. In some cases, including forensic tests conducted for two India numbers, the time between a number appearing on the list and the successful detection of a trace of Pegasus infection is just seconds.

Pegasus is sold by the Israeli company, NSO Group, which says it only offers its spyware to “vetted governments”. The company refuses to make its list of customers public but the presence of Pegasus infections in India, and the range of persons that may have been selected for targeting, strongly indicate that the agency operating the spyware on Indian numbers is an official Indian one.
Riaz Haq said…
#US Joint Chiefs chairman General Milley was so fearful #Trump might spark a #nuclear war that he made secret calls to General Li, his #Chinese counterpart, to reassure him, new #WoodwardBook says. General Li remained rattled even after Milley's calls. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/14/peril-woodward-costa-trump-milley-china/?tid=ss_tw

‘Peril,’ by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, reveals that Gen. Mark A. Milley called his Chinese counterpart before the election and after Jan. 6 in a bid to avert armed conflict.

Twice in the final months of the Trump administration, the country’s top military officer was so fearful that the president’s actions might spark a war with China that he moved urgently to avert armed conflict.

In a pair of secret phone calls, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army, that the United States would not strike, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward and national political reporter Robert Costa.

One call took place on Oct. 30, 2020, four days before the election that unseated President Donald Trump, and the other on Jan. 8, 2021, two days after the Capitol siege carried out by his supporters in a quest to cancel the vote.

The first call was prompted by Milley’s review of intelligence suggesting the Chinese believed the United States was preparing to attack. That belief, the authors write, was based on tensions over military exercises in the South China Sea, and deepened by Trump’s belligerent rhetoric toward China.


“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay,” Milley told him. “We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.”

In the book’s account, Milley went so far as to pledge he would alert his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, stressing the rapport they’d established through a backchannel. “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”

Li took the chairman at his word, the authors write in the book, “Peril,” which is set to be released next week.

In the second call, placed to address Chinese fears about the events of Jan. 6, Li wasn’t as easily assuaged, even after Milley promised him, “We are 100 percent steady. Everything’s fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.”

Riaz Haq said…
"This Is the Story of How #Lincoln Broke the (1787) #US #Constitution" by @NoahRFeldman . President Abraham Lincoln replaced it with the “moral” 1865 Constitution with 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, making a decisive break with #slavery. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/02/opinion/constitution-slavery-lincoln.html?smid=tw-share

First, he waged war on the Confederacy. He did this even though his predecessor, James Buchanan, and Buchanan’s attorney general, Jeremiah Black, had concluded that neither the president nor Congress had the lawful authority to coerce the citizens of seceding states to stay in the Union without their democratic consent. Coercive war, they had argued, repudiated the idea of consent of the governed on which the Constitution was based.

Second, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus unilaterally, without Congress, arresting thousands of political opponents and suppressing the free press and free speech to a degree unmatched in U.S. history before or since. When Chief Justice Roger Taney of the Supreme Court held that the suspension was unconstitutional, Lincoln ignored him.

Lincoln justified both of these constitutional violations by a doubtful theory of wartime necessity: that as chief executive and commander in chief, he possessed the inherent authority to use whatever means necessary to preserve the Union.

Third, and most fatefully, Lincoln came to believe that he also possessed the power to proclaim an end to slavery in the Southern states. When he finally did so, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, he eliminated any possibility of returning to the compromise Constitution as it had existed before the war.
Riaz Haq said…
Remarks by President #Biden at Virtual Meeting on #Military Deployments Supporting Hospitals for the #COVID19 Response. #POTUS said: "We were joking earlier — no, it wasn’t really joking: When you need something done, call on the military" https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/01/13/remarks-by-president-biden-at-virtual-meeting-on-military-deployments-supporting-hospitals-for-the-covid-19-response/?utm_source=twitter via @whitehouse

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everyone. I want to begin by thanking the Secretary of Defense and our FEMA Director for joining me today. We were joking earlier — no, it wasn’t really joking: When you need something done, call on the military. (Laughs.) We’ll get FEMA — we’ll make sure it gets done.

Look, we’re about to get a COVID-19 briefing from military and medical teams on the ground in Arizona, Michigan, and New York. They’re part of a major deployment of our nation’s armed forces to help hospitals across the country manage this surge of the Omicron virus — this surge that’s having an impact on hospitals.

Like all healthcare workers, they are heroes, and I’m grateful for what they do.

But before we begin, I want to provide an update on our fight against COVID-19 and announce new steps.

First, the update. I know we’re all frustrated as we enter this new year. The Omicron variant is causing millions of cases and record hospitalizations.

I’ve been — I’ve been saying that, as we remain in this pandemic, this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And I mean by this: Right now, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are testing positive, but what happens after that could not be more different.

If vaccinated people test positive, they overwhelmingly have either no symptoms at all or they have mild symptoms.

And if they’re — if you’re unvaccinated — if they test positive — there are — you are 17 times more likely to get hospitalized.

As a result, they’re crowding our hospitals, leaving little room for anyone else who might have a heart attack or an injury in an automobile accident or any injury at all.

And yes, the unvaccinated are dying from COVID-19.

But here’s the deal: Because we’ve fully vaccinated nearly 210 million Americans, the majority of the country is safe from severe COVID-19 consequences.

That’s why, even as the number of cases among the vaccinated Americans go up, deaths are down dramatically from last winter.

For example, before its vaccination requirement, the United States — excuse me — United Airlines was averaging one employee dying a week from COVID-19. After implementing its requirement, it has led to 99 percent of its employees being vaccinated. United had 3,600 employees test positive, but zero hospitalizations, zero deaths in over 8 weeks.

But as long as we have tens of millions of people who will not get vaccinated, we’re going to have full hospitals and needless deaths.

So, the single most important thing to determine your outcome in this pandemic is getting vaccinated. If you’re not vaccinated, join the nearly 210 million American people who are vaccinated.

And if you are vaccinated, join the nearly 80 million Americans who have gotten the booster shot, with the strongest protection possible.

Vaccines are safe, they’re free, and they’re widely available. So, do it today, please, for your sake, the sake of your kids, and the sake of the country.

Now, I don’t like to, you know, outline the next steps we’re taking against — I’d like to outline the next steps we’re taking against Omi- — the Omicron variant.

Vaccinations are obviously the most important thing we are doing, but they are not the only important thing.

Riaz Haq said…
"Hands Were Tied, Blackmailed": Imran Khan's All-Out Attack On Pak Army
Imran Khan, who came to power in 2018, reportedly with the backing of the military, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He was replaced by PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif.

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/imran-khan-attacks-pakistans-army-says-his-hands-were-tied-was-blackmailed-3031234

In an unusual attack on Pakistan's military, ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan has admitted that his government was a "weak one" which was "blackmailed from everywhere" as the power was not with him and "everyone knows where that is".
Imran Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

In an interview to Pakistan's Bol News on Wednesday, Imran Khan was asked to recall the events of the night of the no-confidence vote against him, who was issuing orders and who had impeded the cases against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said his government had been "weak" when it came to power and had to seek coalition partners, adding that if the same situation were to arise again, he would opt for re-elections and seek a majority government or none at all.

"Our hands were tied. We were blackmailed from everywhere. Power wasn't with us. Everyone knows where the power lies in Pakistan so we had to rely on them," the 69-year-old cricketer-turned-politician said, without elaborating any further who he was referring to.

Imran Khan, who came to power in 2018, reportedly with the backing of the military, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He was replaced by PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif.

He said it was imperative for the country to have a "strong army" due to the threat posed by the enemies but said there was also the need to strike a "balance" between having a strong army and a strong government.

"We relied on them all the time. They did a lot of good things too but they didn't do many things that should've been done. They have the power because they control institutions such as NAB (National Accountability Bureau), which wasn't in our control," he said.

The former Prime Minister said while his government had the responsibility, it did not have all the power and the authority.

The Pakistan Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 73 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy. However, the army has continuously denied its involvement in politics.

According to experts, Imran Khan, who was ousted on April 10 after the National Assembly passed a no-confidence motion against him, had apparently lost support of the Army after he refused to endorse the appointment of Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum as the ISI spy agency chief last year. Finally, he agreed but it soured his ties with the Army.

During the interview, Imran Khan said, "No management works if I have responsibility but have no complete power and authority. A system works only when responsibility and authority are in one place."

Mr Khan said the current political situation was a problem for the country as well as the establishment.

"If the establishment doesn't make the right decisions then I can assure in writing that (before everyone else) they and the army will be destroyed because of what will become of the country if it goes bankrupt," he said.

"Pakistan is going towards a default. If that happens then which institution will be (the worst) hit? The army. After it is hit, what concession will be taken from us? Denuclearisation," Mr Khan said.
Riaz Haq said…
"Hands Were Tied, Blackmailed": Imran Khan's All-Out Attack On Pak Army
Imran Khan, who came to power in 2018, reportedly with the backing of the military, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He was replaced by PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif.

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/imran-khan-attacks-pakistans-army-says-his-hands-were-tied-was-blackmailed-3031234


Imran Khan said that if Pakistan were to lose its nuclear deterrent capability, it would be fragmented into three pieces. "If the right decisions aren't made at this time then the country is going towards suicide," he warned.

Prodded further to share his thoughts on the night of the no-confidence vote, Imran Khan declined to go into details and said: "History never forgives anyone. Things come out. If you ask me, I won't go into details, but when history will be written then it'll be counted as such a night in which Pakistan and its institutions were damaged a lot."

"Those same institutions weakened Pakistan which gave it its foundation and strengthened it," he said.

Imran Khan said he had "clearly told the neutrals" that his government's economic performance, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, was nothing short of a "miracle".

"I told them if you do this and if this conspiracy (to remove my government) is successful then our economy will go down," he said.

Imran Khan said the country stood on the cusp of a "defining moment", calling it a "trial for the establishment". "Everyone knows they're the powerbrokers, so they're on trial. This is a trial of the judiciary and the Supreme Court (as well)."

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