Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bruce Reidel: An Impossible Partnership? Pakistan, America....

Bruce Reidel at the Dickey Center: May 13, 2014.

Riedel joined Brookings following a 30-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, a tenure which included multiple overseas postings. He served as a senior advisor to the last four U.S. presidents on South Asia and the Middle East, working as a senior member of the National Security Council. In the 1990s, Riedel also served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Near East and South Asia at the Pentagon and a senior advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. A member of President Bill Clinton’s Middle East negotiating team, Riedel took part in the Camp David peace negotiations, as well as other Arab-Israeli summits. An adviser to President Clinton on South Asia, Riedel organized the president’s trip to India in 2000.
In January 2009, at the request of President Barack Obama, Riedel chaired a review of American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Obama announced the results of that review in a speech to the nation in March 2009. In 2011, Riedel served as an expert advisor to the prosecution of al Qaeda terrorist Omar Farooq Abdulmutallab in Detroit. Later that same year, Prime Minister David Cameron requested that Riedel deliver a briefing on Pakistan to Britain’s National Security Council.

Transcript from around @17:56  "The third factor, after the state within a state, and the obsession with India is that Pakistan carries the very unique attribute of being both a patron state sponsor of terrorism -- I would argue probably the leading patron state sponsor of terrorism in the world -- and a victim of terror at the same time.   Pakistan supports groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group that attacked Mumbai in November 2008.  It doesn't support groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba; as Dan knows better than almost anyone, it **runs** Lashkar-e-Taiba.   Or to put it more accurate, the Army,  the ISI, the Lashkar-e-Taiba are one entity, that is entwined, deeply.   We know that from the Mumbai attack.  We have the confession of the Pakistani-American David Headley, who was involved in all the planning of the attack, and he tells us in detail how the ISI, Lashkar-e-Taiba were working together. "

"But that's not the only group.  Jaish-e-Muhammad, Hizbul Mujahiddin,  the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network -- these are all instruments of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate.  They control their safe havens,  they control their media outlets,  they provide them with assistance and funding, and assistance in getting weapons.  For example, the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a man who has a $10 million bounty on his head, isn't hiding in Pakistan; he is on Pakistani television once a week.   He routinely comes on Pakistani television and says, "Hey CIA, you looking for me? Channel 45, here I am!  And tomorrow I'll be live on channel -- whatever."

"And yet, at the same time,  somewhere around 50,000 Pakistanis have died in militant-related violence in Pakistan since 2001.  That is the Pakistani code word for terrorism."


Bruce Reidel noted earlier in his talk that the last two US Presidents - Bush and Obama - have given Pakistan $25 billion, mostly in arms, and continue to fund Pakistan.    So inconsequential are Indian (and Pakistani civilian) lives!  When Georgetown Prof. C. Christine Fair, speaking at the Heritage Foundation, suggested levying sanctions against specific Pakistani Army and ISI officials - for their involvement in the killing of American soldiers in Afghanistan - just like has been done for some of Putin's associates during the recent kerfuffle in Ukraine -- the two ex-State Department men on the panel were dismissive of that idea.   So inconsequential are the lives of American servicemen!

PS: around 32:00, Reidel points out that the US Congress, which is on a budget-cutting spree, routinely passes aid for Pakistan without a debate.  As he put it, even the Tea Party votes for aid for Pakistan.