Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pakistan protests U.S. aid cuts by cancelling meeting with CIA chief

The Senate Appropriations Committee cut 33 million in aid for Pakistan one million for each year of the sentence imposed upon a Pakistani doctor who worked for the CIA to identify Bin Laden's presence in Abbotabad. At the same time drone attacks are becoming more frequent even as talks to reopen supply routes are ongoing. The Senate Committee also withheld 250 million in military aid until supply routes are opened.

The U.S. clearly has not the slightest concern for the difficulties that it is causing to the Pakistani government. Its sole concern is domestic politics where Pakistan is a convenient whipping boy. Even though the Pakistani government has passed three motions demanding that drone attacks stop they continue. Everyone should realize who is boss.

The talks that have been cancelled were scheduled for this week in Washington and would have been the first U.S. visit of chief of Pakistani Intelligence Lt. Gen. Zaheer ul-Islam. The general was to discuss national security concerns of both countries with David Petraeus now CIA head.. General ul-Islam cancelled due to pressing commitments at home he claimed. He did not rub the disagreement in the face of the U.S. government as the Senate did to Pakistan.

Obama's top military adviser Gen. Martin Dempsey said that the Senate made the right choice in trimming aid to Pakistan. He said:“I think . . . choices should result in consequences. And I think the Senate acted appropriately,” Of course Pakistan could also say the same thing that there must be consequences for continuing drone strikes in the face of several motions demanding they stop and that there must be consequences for not sending military aid.

Given that it is impossible for the U.S. to directly occupy Pakistan as has been done in Afghanistan the only way that the U.S. can obtain cooperation to meet their goals is through massive injections of cash in military and other aid. Withdrawing the aid may be regarded as a stick to whip Pakistan back into shape but it may result eventually in a far less cooperative government in Pakistan next elections. For more see this article... In spite of the spat the U.S. and Pakistan are working to reschedule the meeting of Petraeus with General ul-Islam.

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