No Reason For The GOP Clown Car To Mention Husain Haqqani In Their Debate
If you watched the repulsive Republican "presidential" debate on foreign affairs and national security Tuesday night, you might have been surprised how profoundly superficial the "debate" was. Even given the opportunity to refocus to something serious, none of these clowns ever mentioned the Euro-zone or even talked about China-- beyond Rick Perry's startling and insane prediction that China is on the fast track to the trash heap of history. (But then he also advocated implementing a no-fly zone over Syria, a de facto declaration of war against several countries.) Mitt Romney's foreign policy, apparently, is centered about visiting Israel immediately after being elected or inaugurated. As for Pakistan, we heard nothing but a jumble of political posturing without any discussion of substance. And yet, while Romney and the 7 dwarves were onstage bickering, there was momentous news being made with potentially gigantic consequences to U.S.-Pakistani relations, news that Americans ought to understand.
FYI- Pakistan is the 6th biggest country in the world by population and the second biggest Muslim country, after Indonesia. There are 178 million Pakistanis. In comparison, Russian's population is 143 million, Japan's is 128 million, Mexico's is 112 million, Germany's is 82 million and France, the U.K. and Italy are between 60 and 65 million each. Pakistan also has between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons, including some designed to be carried on missiles.
Tuesday, the extremely pro-American Pakistani ambassador, Husain Haqqani, "resigned" and a new ambassador, Sherry Rehman, was appointed. He was ordered home to Pakistan to face an inquiry about an explosive memo he either wrote or was in being framed for writing. The memo asked Admiral Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to assist Pakistan's fatally weak civilian government to stave off a coup by the ISI (the out-of-control Pakistani CIA) and the military. The ouster of Haqqani is a huge victory by the ISI and the military over Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari. Haqqani’s ouster, even before any investigation to prove wrongdoing, was a concession by civilian leaders to quell the military’s fury over the scandal. Although none of the poseurs at the GOP debate thought to bring it up, “The real question is, does this end with Haqqani’s resignation or is this the beginning of a larger effort to oust” the elected government of President Asif Ali Zardari, said Lisa Curtis, who has worked on Pakistan policy at the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the CIA.
The departure of Haqqani, who was close to Zardari, will weaken what Curtis described as an embattled government. There is already “a great deal of effort to provoke an early election” to unseat Zardari and his allies, she said.
Wendy Chamberlin, a former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, praised Haqqani as “an active, articulate and first-rate ambassador,” and said the scandal is an example of how political rivals in Islamabad exploit close ties with or antipathy toward the United States in internal power struggles.
...A Pakistani-American businessman, Mansoor Ijaz, has alleged he helped Haqqani deliver a message from Zardari to the then- chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. The memo, which Mullen’s spokesman last week said the chairman ignored because he gave it no credence, sought American pressure to prevent Pakistan’s army from seizing power after the U.S. conducted the raid that killed Osama bin Laden without informing Pakistan, humiliating the security establishment.
Ijaz wrote an opinion piece in the Financial Times last month alleging that the memo offered that the civilian government would replace Pakistani military and intelligence officials with officers compliant with U.S. demands to sever the military’s ties with the Taliban and other Islamic militant groups.
Pakistan’s government yesterday denied media reports that it is holding peace talks with the country’s Taliban militants, even as an unidentified commander of the movement was cited as saying a truce has been declared. Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the army yesterday issued statements denying reports in recent days of secret talks between officials and the Tehreek-e- Taliban Pakistan, the main Islamic guerrilla movement fighting the government.
Haqqani has denied Ijaz’s story and defenders such as presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar pointed to Ijaz’s involvement in previous controversies in which U.S. and Pakistani officials denied his claims.
Ijaz, who grew up in Virginia, has helped lead various New York-based companies, including Crescent Hydropolis Resorts Plc, which in 2008 called itself “the world’s leading developer of ultra-luxury underwater resort hotels.”
Haqqani “has been such an important ally to President Zardari that his exit” will weaken him, said Chamberlin, now president of the Middle East Institute in Washington.
The winner in this controversy, which the Pakistani press dubbed “memogate,” is “the purported injured party, the military,” she said.
Before he was named ambassador to Washington in 2008, Haqqani was a professor at Boston University. He wrote a 2005 book recounting the military’s interventions in Pakistani politics and saying that the military had encouraged the growth of violent Islamic militancy in the country.
In part because of the book, the army “has always been opposed to Haqqani,” Pakistani military analyst Hasan-Askari Rizvi, said in an interview from Lahore, Pakistan.
Pakistan’s military has ruled the country for half of the nation’s 64-year history. It remains the country’s most powerful institution, retaining control over national security matters more than three years after transferring power to an elected government.