Future course for Pak-US military, intelligence ties
Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
The Pakistan-USA military relationship earnestly began in the early Fifties. Not unexpectedly, over the years, it has seen several phases, including ups and downs. During the period, Pakistan has remained a member of Seato and Cento military pacts, which were to check Communism in the world.
Seato, the Southeast Asia Collective Defence Treaty, or Manila Pact, was part of the American Truman Doctrine, against Communism that presented a “common danger” to member countries. Seato sought creation of anti-communist bilateral and collective defence treaties by likeminded nations. The Seato members included Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Central Treaty Organisation or the Baghdad Pact, which Pakistan joined in 1955, along with Iran, Iraq, Turkey and the United Kingdom also sought to contain communism’s expansion by a string of strong states in the USSR’s southwestern frontier - i.e. Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Iraq. It was a replica of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato). Similarly, the cooperation between the CIA and ISI goes back to generations. The Inter-Services Intelligence ran the Afghan operation against the Soviets with the support of the CIA. In an interview, former US national security adviser Brzezinski said: “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam war”. The provision of arms to the Afghan Mujahideen did not begin until 1980. The CIA provided massive assistance to anti-Soviet forces through the ISI. The programme, called Operation Cyclone, was a gigantic effort, a challenge which the ISI took up and delivered.
After 9-11, Pakistan again got involved in the war against terror. It delivered terrorists like Ramzi Yousuf, one of the planners of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing; Ibn Al-Sheikh al-Libi, a Libyan paramilitary trainer for al-Qaeda; Omar Saeed, a British-born terrorist of Pakistani descent; Abu Zubaida, an al-Qaeda terrorist responsible for hatching multiple terrorist plots; Ramzi Binalshibh, an al-Qaeda terrorist responsible for planning the 9/11 terrorist attacks as well as the attack on 2000 USS Cole; Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks as well as other significant terrorist plots over the last twenty years; Abu Faraj Farj al-Libym, the mastermind of two failed attempts on President Pervez Musharraf’s life, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taliban’s deputy commander. There were several hundred other al-Qaeda operatives who were caught and handed over to the US.
Now the unilateral and unauthorized US operation in Abbottabad has thrown the long relationship with the US military and intelligence agencies into turmoil. In fact, the relations between the two countries are now in jeopardy. The American president had admitted that the US operation to kill Osama was based on a tip provided by Pakistan.
And then the CIA’s chief Leon Panetta insulting statement about the ISI shook the boat. It is time that the US took into account Pakistani priorities and sensitivities and stopped talking about unilateral actions. Both countries need to have a balanced partnership in the war on terror.