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General Petraeus Rejects Trump's Charges of "Lies and Deceit" Against Pakistan

General David Petraeus, former CIA director and commander and US Forces in Afghanistan, has rejected  President Donald Trump's charges of "lies and deceit" against Pakistan.  He did so back in late 2016. Here's a brief excerpt of what he said:

"I looked very very hard then (as US commander in Afghanistan) and again as CIA director at the nature of the relationship between the various (militant) groups in FATA and Baluchistan and the Pakistan Army and the ISI and I was never convinced of what certain journalists have alleged (about ISI support of militant groups in FATA).... I have talked to them (journalists) asked them what their sources are and I have not been able to come to grips with that based on what I know from these different positions (as US commander and CIA director)".

Here's a short video clip of it:

https://youtu.be/01ghm5V3Wn4

Here's a longer blog post I wrote about it back in November, 2016 after Petraeus spoke at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London:

General David Petraeus, former CIA director and commander of US troops in Afghanistan, has said there is no evidence of Pakistan playing a double game and supporting terrorists in Afghanistan. Petraeus' remarks are now particularly significant given the fact that he is on a short list of President-Elect Donald Trump's nominees for Secretary of State.  He was answering a question posed to him at a presentation at Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a British security think tank based in London.

Is Pakistan Duplicitous?

The question was asked by a female Afghan Ph.D. student at the end of remarks by the general on "Security Challenges Facing the Next US Administration". Here's the question:

"General you have stated that democracies can not win long wars (General Petraeus interrupted and said he did not say that and added "in fact I take issue with that" as the student continued). Afghanistan is now US's longest war. What stops the US to win the long war..whether Pakistan intelligence is the cause of the long war? Why does the US not take action against the Pakistan ISI which continues killing and supporting terrorists?"

General David H. Petraeus's response:

Here's part of Gen Petraeus' response: "I looked very very hard then (as US commander in Afghanistan) and again as CIA director at the nature of the relationship between the various (militant) groups in FATA and Baluchistan and the Pakistan Army and the ISI and I was never convinced of what certain journalists have alleged (about ISI support of militant groups in FATA).... I have talked to them (journalists) asked them what their sources are and I have not been able to come to grips with that based on what I know from these different positions (as US commander and CIA director)".

Gen Petraeus did acknowledge that "there's communication between the ISI and various militant groups in FATA and Balochistan (Haqqanis, Taliban, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, etc) but some of it you'd do anyway as an intelligence service." He added that "there may be some degree of accommodation that is forced on them (Pakistanis) because of the limits of their (Pakistan's) forces."

US-Pakistan Ties:

On the question of the nature of US-Pakistan relations and Washington's influence in Islamabad, General Petraeus said:

"Some people say Pakistan is a frenemy...it is just very very difficult to pin down (blame on Pakistan) and it's even more difficult to figure out how to exert leverage that in a meaningful way resolves the issue.  There was a period when we cut off all assistance and ties (to Pakistan) and held up F-16s that we were supposed to deliver for a while and that did not help our influence there (in Pakistan). It's a very very tough situation and it may be among the top two or three challenges for the new administration right up there with Syria".

General Petraeus acknowledged Pakistan's cooperation and sacrifices in fighting terror in the following words:

“Pakistan Army suffered casualties and had limited Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities though the US did try to help and there existed enormous amount of cooperation between the two militaries. However, the unfortunate episodes of Raymond Davis and publications of book by Bob Woodward and WikiLeaks did impact negatively on this cooperation”.

Summary:

General David H. Petraeus has thoroughly debunked intense and ongoing media propaganda campaign of allegations of duplicity against Pakistan Army and ISI. He has also ruled out cutting ties with Pakistan as an option. His recommendations have now assumed added significance because he is now on a short list of President-Elect Trump's nominees for secretary of state.

Here's the video of General Petraeus at RUSI. His remarks on Pakistan are in the last 8 minutes of the video:

Brief 1-minute clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01ghm5V3Wn4

Complete Video of  Presentation by Gen Petraeus:

https://youtu.be/4vxSwUrY1E0

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Husain Haqqani vs Riaz Haq on India vs Pakistan

Impact of Trump's Top Picks on Pakistan

Husain Haqqani Advising Trump on Pakistan Policy?

Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative on Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

Robert Gates' Straight Talk on Pakistan's "Lies and Deceit"

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

Views: 200

Comment by Mehmood Malik on January 4, 2018 at 10:09am

Trump is in the back pockets of the terrorist hindutva  and anti Muslim zionists and doing their dirty work for them.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 7, 2018 at 6:56pm

Will #Pakistan use “weapons of mass migration” in asymmetrical response to #Trump’s moves to insult, intimidate and squeeze Pakistan? #Afghan #Taliban #Terror

https://orientalreview.org/2018/01/05/pakistans-asymmetrical-respon...

Pakistan’s announcement that it will seek the expulsion of over 1,5 million Afghan refugees in the next 30 days is being tacitly justified by Trump’s tweet and channels his zero-tolerance stance towards immigration from “terrorist”-prone states, but it also represents the employment of reverse-“Weapons of Mass Migration” in pushing Kabul closer towards the edge of collapse and consequently filling the Taliban’s rank of supporters.

Trump is going to soon regret what he tweeted about Pakistan on New Year’s Day in accusing it of “giving safe haven to terrorists”, since Islamabad is poised to hit Washington with an asymmetrical counterpunch that it surely won’t forget.

The Pakistani government just announced that over 1,5 million Afghan refugees must leave the country within the next 30 days, a plan that it’s been working on for a while but which just received a fresh impetus and internationally-acceptable justification with Trump’s tweet.

Had it not been for the American President’s zero-tolerance towards immigration from what his administration labels as “terrorist”-prone countries, which crucially includes Afghanistan for substantial and not political reasons (as the latter relates to Iran’s inclusion and Saudi Arabia’s exclusion), then Pakistan would have risked drawing heavy pressure from the State Department on exaggerated claims that it’s “violating the human rights” of the refugees.

Trump, however, said that Pakistan was “giving safe haven to terrorists”, and since the US formally regards Afghan refugees as being too much of a potential security hazard to allow into its own country, it’s forced to accept Pakistan’s expulsion of 1,5 million of them on the implicit basis that they also constitute a serious terrorist threat to the state such as the one that the President just tweeted about.

This isn’t at all what Trump meant when he issued his tweet, nor the reaction that he was expecting, but by cleverly exploiting the President’s own policies at home and the suggestion he was making towards Pakistan abroad, Islamabad found a creative way to asymmetrically strike back at Washington.


Not only could Pakistan soon rid itself of actual terrorist sleeper cells and societal malcontents who have long overstayed their welcome in the neighboring country, it will also be catalyzing a series of cascading crises for Kabul through the employment of what can be described as reverse-“Weapons of Mass Migration”.

To briefly explain, Ivy League researcher Kelly M. Greenhill introduced the concept of “Weapons of Mass Migration” in 2010 to describe the ways through which large-scale population movements — whether “naturally occurring”, engineered, or exploited — impact on their origin, transit, and destination societies, theorizing that this phenomenon can have a strategic use in some instances.

Of relevance, the influx of millions of Afghan “Weapons of Mass Migration” into Pakistan since 1979 had the effect of destabilizing the host country’s border communities and eventually contributing to the spree of terrorist attacks that have since claimed over 60,000 lives in the past 15 years, but now the large-scale and rapid return of these “weapons” to their country of origin will also inevitably destabilize Afghanistan.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 7, 2018 at 9:58pm

China’s aid to Pakistan aims for fundamental improvement in economic conditions
By Wang Jiamei Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/7 23:43:39

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1083768.shtml


China should pay more attention this year to the quality and effectiveness of its economic cooperation with and assistance to Pakistan, as ties are set to get closer amid hostility from the US.

After US President Donald Trump used Twitter to slam Pakistan for harboring terrorists, the US State Department said on Thursday that it would suspend security assistance to Pakistan until the country takes decisive action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, according to Reuters.

As US aid to Pakistan has already been on the decline in recent years, the latter is reportedly concerned about the potential impact of this latest move on its fragile economy. While the US seems unlikely to impose comprehensive economic sanctions on Pakistan, its hostile attitude toward Pakistan is expected to exert certain pressure on the economy, especially for Pakistani companies with Iran-related business.

In these circumstances, it makes perfect sense for Pakistan to shift its foreign policy focus toward China and Russia. The day after Trump's strongly worded tweet, Pakistan's central bank announced that it will be replacing the US dollar with the yuan for bilateral trade and investment with China, a move seen as a clear signal of closer ties.

China will, of course, continue its economic support to Pakistan. China sees Pakistan as a prime partner under the Belt and Road initiative, with land and sea projects worth billions of dollars (known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) under construction. The key to China's cooperation with and assistance to Pakistan will be to improve the quality of bilateral cooperation so that relevant projects can boost the Pakistani economy as soon as possible.

It should be made clear that such China-Pakistan cooperation is not meant as competition for geopolitical advantage with the US, but to really help the Pakistani economy by strengthening its infrastructure. Sustainable economic development in Pakistan will play a positive role in stabilizing the geopolitical environment in South Asia, which will be conducive to overall regional development.

In addition, India needs to change its view of Pakistan. It is reported that the US move to cut aid to Pakistan was a result of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's diplomacy, according to a tweet by BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao. This mindset of harming others without gaining any benefiting oneself will only aggravate the confrontation, dragging each other down.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 8, 2018 at 10:11am

#China Opposed to #US 'finger-pointing' at #Pakistan on #terrorism-related issues. #Trump #Afghanistan #Taliban http://toi.in/K_C8Jb/a24gk via @TOIWorld

China on Monday said it is opposed to the US "finger-pointing" at Pakistan+ and linking it with terrorism, insisting that the responsibility of cracking down on terror outfits cannot be placed on a particular country.
China's support for its all-weather ally came as the US stepped up its efforts to pressure Pakistan+ to eliminate terror safe havens on its soil.
The US last week suspended approximately $2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan for its failure to take decisive action against terror groups like the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
"China has always opposed linking terrorism with any certain country and we don't agree to place the responsibility of anti terrorism on a certain country," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing.

He was responding to a question on a White House official's remarks that China could play helpful role in convincing Pakistan+ that it was in its national interest to crackdown on terror safe havens.
"We have stressed many times that Pakistan has made important sacrifices and contributions to the global anti terrorism cause," Lu said.
"Countries should strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation on the basis of mutual respect instead of finger-pointing at each other. This is not conducive to the global terrorism efforts," he said.

China has been vocal in extending support to Pakistan since US President Donald Trump increased rhetoric against Islamabad providing safe havens for terrorists.
Trump in a New Year's Day tweet accused the country of giving nothing to the US but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists in return for $33 billion aid over the last 15 years.
Chinese media has been speculating that Trump's efforts to step up pressure on Pakistan may move it closer to Beijing as China is involved in a number of projects in the country under the $50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The Chinese official media is highlighting reports that Pakistan may allow China to build a a military base at Jiwani located close to Iran's Chabahar port, which is being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan. Jiwani is also close to the strategic Gwadar port in Balochistan which is being developed by China.
While defending Pakistan, Lu said China at the same time backed international counter terrorism efforts.

"First and foremost, I would like to say that terrorism is the common enemy of the international community. Cracking down of terrorism calls for the joint efforts from the international community," he said.
"Actually, China is defending countries that have been making anti-terrorism efforts in a just and fair way. China also welcomes all the global joint efforts in terms of counter terrorism on the basis of mutual trust and mutual respect," he said. 

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 8, 2018 at 10:28am

Here's an excerpt of Pakistan-hating American analyst Christine Fair's piece in the Atlantic: "Pakistan Will Try to Make Trump Pay": 
The country has banked on being treated as too dangerous to fail. But this time could be different.


https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/01/trump-pak...

Pakistan likely suspects it has the upper hand, and for good reason: It has cultivated a global fear that it is too dangerous to fail. This is why many Americans have been afraid to break ties with Pakistan and have never encouraged the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral organizations to cut off the country and let Pakistan wallow in its own mess. Pakistan believes it has effectively bribed the international community with the specter that any instability could result in terrorists getting their hands on Pakistani nuclear technology, fissile materials, or a weapon. In fact, Pakistan has stoked these fears by having the world’s fastest-growing nuclear program, including of battlefield nuclear weapons. It is conceivable that Pakistan could use funds from a future IMF bailout to service its burgeoning Chinese debt.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 9, 2018 at 4:06pm

"Without Pakistani cooperation, our army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale." -Former US ambassador to #Pakistan Richard Olson on the potential costs of Trump's tougher policy.

How Not to Engage With Pakistan
By RICHARD G. OLSONJAN. 9, 2018


Pakistan has greater leverage over us than many imagine.

The keys to understanding Pakistan’s policy and the limitations of American options lie in geography and history. Pakistan essentially amounts to a relatively indefensible sliver astride the Indus River, with flat plains in the east and mountain redoubts populated by hostile tribes in the west. This fragile geography would not matter if not for Pakistan’s long history of enmity toward its far larger neighbor, India.

Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has defined itself as a national security state in opposition to the Indian behemoth to its east. Pakistanis have long dreaded the prospect of Indian tanks from the adjoining plains of Indian Punjab rolling unimpeded into Lahore and beyond. We may not agree with how Pakistan assesses the threat from India, but in my experience, almost all Pakistanis perceive India as an existential threat.

Because of its real and perceived geographic precariousness, Pakistan has naturally gravitated toward asymmetric military solutions — specifically, the use of proxies. The Pakistani Army and, especially, its spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, have clandestinely supported all manner of anti-India and anti-Afghan groups.

During the 1980s, the United States found it convenient to support some of these proxies against the Soviets in Afghanistan. That policy ended in 1989 as the Soviet war in Afghanistan wound down. Under the 1990 Pressler Amendment, we punished Pakistan for development of nuclear weapons by cutting off security assistance.

But Pakistan, having these groups on its territory and a large Pashtun population of its own, never had an easy option of breaking with Afghan militants. And it has continued to allow the Taliban, including the Haqqani network — a group the United States supported during the Reagan era — to operate from its territory and at critical moments has provided quiet support.

The geography that defines Pakistan’s security worries has also been a bane for the United States. For the past 16 years our military efforts in landlocked Afghanistan have been dependent on transit through and especially overflight of Pakistani territory. Absent an implausible similar arrangement with Iran, other options are not good. Supply through the Central Asian states to the north is theoretically possible, but would rely on Russian good will. Enough said. Without Pakistani cooperation, our army in Afghanistan risks becoming a beached whale.

The American solution has been a robust package of assistance to Pakistan, beginning with the Bush administration in 2001. The United States sought to reimburse Pakistan for the costs of supporting our war in Afghanistan. In the eyes of the Pakistanis, this became payment for their war against domestic terrorism, which has cost Pakistan 50,000 lives and untold billions, and was widely perceived as a bad deal.

--------

The harsh truth is that American leverage over Rawalpindi and Islamabad has been declining. And as United States aid levels have diminished — reflecting bipartisan unhappiness with Pakistani policy — aid from the Chinese has increased. China has invested around $62 billion in Pakistani infrastructure under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an element of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Its magnitude and its transformation of parts of Pakistan dwarf anything the United States has ever undertaken.

---------------.

...the path of the tweet and highly public aid cuts is not a method that will engender success. The United States can address Afghanistan only with a political initiative.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 13, 2018 at 5:00pm

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > OPINION
‘Constructive cooperation’
By M Ziauddin Published: January 13, 2018

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1607164/6-constructive-cooperation/

Without disagreeing with the main argument by President Trump for suspending security assistance to Pakistan, The New York Times editorial on January 6th had come up with a sane suggestion that the president “…marshal other diplomatic tools, to see if more constructive cooperation with Pakistan is possible.” Stressing the point further, the editorial made an even saner and timely proposal that the president “harness his new friendship with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to shut down Haqqani and other Taliban fund-raising efforts in the Persian Gulf.”

The argument that the bulk of funding that the Haqqanis and other Taliban factions have been receiving all these years is coming from Saudi Arabia and the UAE has never been in doubt. The regional currency market operators have been processing these transactions like normal business for ages without batting an eye.

During Pakistan’s ‘lost decade’ of the 1990s the real rulers of the day had used these funds to finance their military operations as well as their efforts at governance. These flows have continued even after 9/11 but this time these funds have been going straight to the Afghan Taliban, including Haqqanis fleeing to safe sanctuaries in Pakistan in the aftermath of second Afghan war which is now in its 17th year.

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


So, if the US wants to see a quick end to the Haqqanis and other Taliban factions using Pakistani soil to launch their murderous operations inside Afghanistan, it will have to persuade Saudi Arabia and the UAE to effectively move against these fund raisers in their respective countries and forcibly turn off the clandestine tap that is sustaining the firepower of Haqqanis.

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

And those in the US who believe Pakistan has effectively bribed the international community with the spectre that any instability could result in terrorists getting their hands on Pakistani nuclear technology, fissile materials, or a weapon are totally off the mark as well. It is not Pakistan but these misguided US political pundits who have cultivated a global fear that Pakistan is too dangerous to fail.

Indeed, even a complete stoppage of the US aid most of which has come in the form of grant or at concessional rates would not hurt the country’s economy seriously because the US has been siphoning back 99 cents from each of its aid dollar in the shape of consultancy fees, shipping charges and transfer pricing resorted to while importing goods and services from the US as per conditions hidden in the fine print of the aid agreements. So, the Chinese loans if not any more beneficial for Pakistan than the US grants, would not be any less beneficial as well.

Of course, Pakistan would be seriously hurt if the multilateral aid agencies under the influence of the US were to stop offering the country a helping hand in times of economic crises which we experience on a regular basis.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 13, 2018 at 10:22pm

The C.I.A.’s Maddening Relationship with Pakistan

By Nicholas Schmidle3:56 P.M.


https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-cias-maddening-relatio...

“Here’s the truth,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official told me. Pakistan has been “in many ways” America’s best counterterrorism partner, the official said. “Nobody had taken more bad guys off the battlefield than the Pakistanis.”

And, in general, Pakistani coöperation with America’s counterterrorism campaign has been strong: their government permitted the C.I.A. to fly armed drones over Pakistan’s remote tribal areas, where many militants hid. Initially, the agency even based its drones on Pakistani soil, working off a list jointly drawn up with its I.S.I. counterparts. As those on the “target deck” were killed, new names—most of them foreign Al Qaeda leaders—were added.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 16, 2018 at 7:46am

Kabul under siege while America's longest war rages on
In 16 years, the Afghan War has cost 2,400 American lives and $1 trillion. But with the country's capital under siege, the end still seems far away

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kabul-afghanistan-capital-under-siege-...

The war in Afghanistan is the longest in U.S. history. It's lasted over 16 years and in that time, America's goals and strategies have changed. Now there's another new plan. President Trump has sent 3,000 more troops to train and assist the Afghan army. But in the Afghan capital you don't have to go far to see the problems. Kabul is so dangerous, American diplomats and soldiers are not allowed to use the roads. They can't just drive two miles from the airport to U.S. headquarters. They have to fly. After all these years, a trillion dollars, and 2,400 American lives -- Kabul is under siege.

This is rush hour at Kabul International Airport -- a swarm of helicopters that's earned the nickname 'Embassy Air.' It's how Americans and their allies working at the U.S. Embassy and military headquarters travel back and forth from the airport. It's just a five-minute flight. The chopper we boarded was making its tenth trip of the day.

A few years ago American convoys regularly drove on the airport road below. Now the view from the helicopter window is all most on board will see of Kabul. They'll stay behind blast walls for the rest of their time in Afghanistan. We wanted to know what it says about where we are in this war if American troops can't drive two miles down a road in Kabul.

John Nicholson: It's a country at war. And it's a capital that is under attack by a determined enemy.

No U.S. General has spent more time here than John Nicholson -- the commander of American forces in Afghanistan.

John Nicholson: We do everything possible to protect our forces. So…

Lara Logan: You're not using the roads.

John Nicholson: Protecting the lives of our troops is our number-one priority. If we can fly instead of drive and that offers them a greater degree of safety, then it's the prudent and the right thing to do.

Lara Logan: In military terms, that's called surrendering the terrain.

John Nicholson: I disagree. I think it's answering our moral imperative to protect the lives of our soldiers and civilians. So that's what we do.

--------

Lara Logan: If you can't secure the capital, how are you going to secure the rest of the country?

Ashraf Ghani: You tell me. Can you prevent the attack on New York? Can you prevent the attack on London?

Lara Logan: We're not talking about one attack. A series of attacks right here on your doorstep, a bomb that blew out the windows in your palace that has turned this city into something of a concrete prison.

Ashraf Ghani: What do you want? What's your alternative, ma'am?

Lara Logan: What is the alternative?

Ashraf Ghani: The alternative is resolve.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 21, 2019 at 4:02pm

Senator Lindsey Graham: #Trump should meet #Pakistan's leader #PMImranKhan to reset relations. #Afghanistan https://thehill.com/policy/international/426240-graham-trump-should...

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) during a visit to Islamabad said that he believes President Trump should meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in order to reset relations, the latest signal that the relationship between the two countries could be warming.

“I’ve seen things change here and all in a positive direction,” Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said during a news conference, according to Reuters. Khan was elected prime minister of Pakistan over the summer.

“With Prime Minister Khan, we have a unique opportunity to change our relationship,” he said. Graham called for "strategic engagement" between Washington and Islamabad, which could include a free trade agreement, Reuters reported.

Khan has offered support for a peace agreement in Afghanistan, which Graham said could leave Trump feeling “far more enthusiastic about the region than he is today."

Graham said Trump should meet with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to discuss a peace agreement.

Graham expressed appreciation for Khan's work supporting a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Trump has multiple times expressed interest in pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, following his surprise decision to remove the thousands of U.S. troops from Syria.

Graham, one of Trump's most outspoken allies in the Senate, told Reuters that Trump would not ask the U.S. to leave if it meant the Taliban would take over Afghanistan.

“The world’s not going to let the Taliban take Afghanistan over by force of arms," Graham said. "That would be unconscionable. “Any president who let that happen would go down in history very poorly.”

While Graham often offers support for Trump's controversial decisions, he has broken with the president multiple times over foreign policy issues, including U.S. ties with Saudi Arabia and the U.S. troop drawdown in Syria.
Graham earlier this week met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to discuss U.S. plans to leave Syria.

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