Roggio Fisks Haqqani
Want to read an extremely thorough response to Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani’s remarks on the ceasefires in Pakistan’s Swat Valley? Over at the Weekly Standard’s blog, Bill Roggio goes off. To take one point that has deep implications for the Obama administration’s nascent efforts at bolstering Pakistani counterinsurgent capability:
The Pakistani military has been claiming it will revamp its forces to effectively fight a counterinsurgency for years. But they’ve done little to realize this goal. Instead, they claimed the U.S. has been holding out on vital equipment such as F-16s, attack helicopters, and night vision goggles. Counterinsurgency isn’t about equipment, it’s about the people that fight it. The Pakistanis have done little to change their tactics. They continue to raze villages, murder civilians, and enflame the very people they are supposed to be protecting. The military is more concerned about parking its best forces on the Indian border and sending it’s poorly armed and trained Frontier Corps and other paramilitary units into the northwest. This has yielded predictable results: failure upon failure. Again, why else would they cut deals if they have been performing so well?
I was talking about this with Bill earlier today and this point came up. The counterinsurgency advisory project in Pakistan is going to be nothing like what the United States has done in Iraq and Afghanistan with those nations’ militaries. We built those two national forces from scratch, and, to oversimplify matters, they basically were shaped the way the United States saw fit. The Pakistani military, by contrast, is the most powerful institution in the country; occasionally runs the country outright; has a ground-force component that rivals the U.S. Army’s in terms of size; and pretty much controls the Pakistani economy. In short, it’s not going to do what we say because we ask nicely or because we give it stuff. Influencing the perspective of the Pakistani military is an arduous task, and no one should think otherwise.