Friday, January 18, 2008

Recent Testimony On US-Pakistan Relations (RAND)

RAND's C. Christine Fair testified in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia on January 16, 2008 on the subject of "U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Assassination, Instability, and the Future of U.S. Policy" (Download full text here).

Highlights from the testimony include (boldface, hyperlinks and italics mine except where noted):

  • "Pakistan is perhaps the most important U.S. partner in the war on terrorism. Not only has Pakistan lost more personnel in this conflict than any other ally, critical fuel for vehicles and aircraft used in the war effort in Afghanistan moves through Pakistan without problem. Without this logistical support, both Operation Enduring Freedom and NATO operations in Afghanistan would prove very difficult to sustain without interruption. While there is no doubt that Pakistan is a crucial ally of the United States, it is a state mired in instability and uncertainty. This raises questions about the will and capacity of Pakistan’s leadership to remain engaged in the war on terrorism."
  • "Both Washington and Islamabad have made decisions that have precipitated this current crisis. "
    • 'For Washington’s part, by focusing upon President and former Chief of Army Staff Pervez Musharraf and by acquiescing to his various extra-constitutional moves, it has alienated further the Pakistani polity who harbor various suspicions about the United States and its intentions."
    • "For Islamabad’s part, President Musharraf has increasingly sought to secure his political position and has imposed excessive constraints upon an ever-more mobilized civil society, who should be important partners in fighting extremism in Pakistan. At the same time, Musharraf has shown his incapacity to both control the Islamist violence that is roiling his country and to lead his country to fight it."
  • "In recent years the chasm between American interests and those of President Musharraf has dramatically expanded. Specifically, the United States would like to see stability, consistent action against al Qaeda and Taliban forces operating in and from Pakistan, greater efforts to curb a wide array of Islamist militant groups in the country and most recently greater moves towards at the least the procedures of democracy if not the substance. It has become clear in recent years that President Musharraf, while he may share some of these concerns, has increasingly become focused upon securing his personal future—not that of Pakistan."
  • "Thus there is urgent need to reconsider the lineaments of the U.S-Pakistan relationship and the reciprocal expectations that each state holds of the other."
  • "These extra-constitutional and other policies (Ed. Note: Described in detail in the full text) of the Musharraf government rendered free and fair elections in January 2008 improbable."
  • "While maximally free and fair elections are a necessary precondition for stabilizing Pakistan in the near term, the elections alone are insufficient."
  • "Pakistan’s effort to counter insurgents in the Pashtun belt and beyond requires political legitimacy, which Musharraf lacks. I am optimistic than an elected prime minister can be motivated to continue the fight. With a new army chief who is not seen as Washington’s protégé, General Kiyani may be able to rally his armed forces more effectively than Musharraf." (Note: Italics in original)
  • "Thus the heroic task before the United States is how it can selectively use aid and military funding to encourage the likelihood of a free and fair election, a military retreat from politics and a gradual evolution of competent and effective politics and politicians in Pakistan."
  • "To win the confidence of FATA residents, the Pakistan government has been requesting development funds for this area for several years. At long last, the United States has agreed to spend some $750 million in FATA. At this juncture, it is difficult to be optimistic about the impact of these funds. (Perhaps had this funding been available before the onset of the wider insurgency such pessimism would be unwarranted.) Unfortunately, the security environment will render such projects very difficult particularly if the United States seeks to “brand” those developments in effort to garner good will."
  • 'Regarding command and control and the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, most dedicated Pakistan analysts have no reason to believe that existing policies and procedures are inadequate at this juncture."
  • "In the short term, the United States must work to help achieve a democratic transition in Pakistan—not a democratic patina by which to legitimize President Musharraf."
  • "The United States should work to support institutions and processes and demure from supporting or undermining particular persons or institutions."
  • "However, over the medium and long term, there is urgent need to structurally re-shape the terms of U.S. assistance to Pakistan."
  • "While re-optimizing the assistance to the Pakistan military, the U.S. must dramatically expand programmed assistance to reform all of Pakistan’s civilian institutions including the judiciary, police and law enforcement; to train large numbers of politicians; support major civil society institutions such as those dedicated to monitoring human rights, corruption mitigation, political reconciliation, human development and the like through financial resources and capacity building."

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