Friday, June 17, 2011

DTN News - PAKISTAN NEWS: China Gains On U.S., Pakistan Relations Turning Soar Since Osama Raid

Defense News: DTN News - PAKISTAN NEWS: China Gains On U.S., Pakistan Relations Turning Soar Since Osama Raid
***Analysis: U.S., Pakistan struggle to keep ties on track (Story/article)
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - June 17, 2011: Weeks after the death of Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials are continuing to press Pakistan to do more against militancy, with few visible results as bilateral tensions continue to intensify.

Since the top-secret raid that killed the al Qaeda leader near Islamabad last month, Washington has sent a host of top officials, including CIA chief Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to call in Islamabad, ramping up pressure on an already strained alliance.

Analysts say Washington may be seeking to goad Pakistan into assaulting militant havens in North Waziristan or into going after bomb-making factories believed to be fueling violence in neighboring Afghanistan.

Officials in Pakistan, facing intense public pressure over the unilateral raid, have pushed back by throwing out U.S. military trainers and warning that scoldings from Washington may send it into China's open arms.

"Pakistan is making it clear that despite what United States does or says, it will do what it considers to be in its national security interests," said Lisa Curtis, a South Asia expert at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.

"We need to hunker down and prepare for a pretty rocky period; the United States will have to show some patience."

Tensions in an uneasy alliance revived after the September 11 attacks have been stoked further by what members of Pakistan's powerful military see as deliberate leaks to the media from the Obama administration, including stories suggesting the influential Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani is in danger of losing his job. Another recent story reported that Pakistanis who collaborated with the CIA at home were arrested.

"They are trying to capitalize as much as possible on ... the killing of Osama bin Laden," a senior Pakistani military official said on condition of anonymity.

U.S. officials denied such a campaign.

"We prefer to have direct conversations with the Pakistanis about the areas where we agree and disagree," said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council. "We have no interest in having this conversation through the press."

Tempers may be flaring, but the United States needs the help of Pakistan's army to guarantee Afghanistan does not collapse when it withdraws. Pakistan meanwhile needs U.S. military aid and its support at multilateral organizations.

"It's not a friendly relationship, so normal diplomacy doesn't work. But you don't want to wage war because that would be counterproductive," said Kamran Bokhari, an analyst at global intelligence firm STRATOR.


Another wedge in recent weeks has been the increase in strikes by remotely piloted U.S. drones against militants who do not target the Pakistani state but focus on U.S., NATO and Afghan forces across the border.

Since June 3, 66 people have been killed by drone strikes, mostly in areas controlled by Taliban leader Maulvi Nazir, prompting Nazir to vow more attacks in Afghanistan.

"Now they are targeting those who are to some extent friendly to us. This will not be helpful," said a senior security official in Peshawar.

Overt pressure does not seem to have worked well in Pakistan's long relationship with the United States.

That does not appear to have changed now as the civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari and the powerful military face an unprecedented public rebuke from Pakistanis embarrassed by the Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden's compound.

"Everyone is angry over U.S. action (on bin Laden)," said a senior Pakistani security official on condition of anonymity.

"Americans themselves know it and that's why they are trying to increase pressure to get things done. But it will not work like this," the official said.

Pakistanis often complain that Washington overlooks the lives of Pakistani soldiers and civilians lost in the bloody campaign against militants in recent years.

"Within the army there is a lot of anguish regarding what is happening," said retired general Talat Masood.

But Husain Haqqani, the Pakistani ambassador in Washington, said the two countries were working through their issues and would emerge on the other side.

"The U.S.-Pakistan relationship faces challenges, but it remains robust," he said.

(Additional reporting by Zeeshan Haider and Kamran Haider in Islamabad, Faisal Aziz in Karachi, and Caren Bohan in Washington and Mark Hosenball in London; editing by Warren Strobel and Cynthia Osterman)

*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News



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