Book Review: How Wars End

On the March 27, 2011 edition of Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show, GPS, The Global Public Square, an exchange between Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass and Brookings Institution senior fellow Robert Kagan highlighted one of the most prominent ways in which the Beltway’s foreign policy mavens have ignored the purpose of bringing America’s military might to bear in a conflict.  Kagan, in response to Haass’ concerns about the unknown endgame of America’s then-relatively new intervention in Libya, made a truly remarkable statement:

[W]e start wars, whether it's World War I, World War II, the Civil War—we don't know. . . .
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">Pakistan and the United States: The Untenable Status Quo

Earlier this month the now-notorious Haqqani Network was designed a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by the U.S. State Department. In recent years the organization has become much more prevalent (or visible) in the Afghanistan conflict, and therefore a subject of the debate over U.S. South Asian policy. The Haqqanis have ties to the Pakistani military, enjoys a close relationship with the Afghan Taliban (though the two operate largely independently), and the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has even argued that the network has played an important role in international jihad through its relationship with al Qaeda. So, while . . .
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Reassessing the Importance of the Haqqani Network on International Jihad

A new report from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point is a must-read for anyone interested in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and even international terrorism (OK, the report is a few weeks old, but I’m doubly slow during the summer). Don Rassler and Vahid Brown have basically changed the narrative on the Haqqani Network and its relationship with al Qaeda. They have done so by examining a huge amount of secondary and primary source data, including the first known review of a near-complete set of three jihadist magazines released by the network from 1989-1993. The authors have also reviewed . . .
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Advocating Converging Interests in South Asia

In a New York Times analysis last week on fraying U.S.-Pakistani relations Mark Mazzetti wrote that letting other countries gain influence with Pakistan might not necessarily be a bad thing. Over the past few weeks an old narrative has reappeared; if the United States breaks up with Pakistan, China will swoop in and take its place. According to several analysts Mazzetti has spoken to, the United States could actually benefit from getting regional actors engaged in Pakistani affairs. As former State Department official Vali Nasr notes, you need to convince “China, Saudi Arabia, and other nations like the United . . .
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Osama and the dysfunctional U.S.-Pakistani relationship

Roughly 800 yards from the Pakistan Military Academy, the Pakistani equivalent of West Point, is where they finally found him. Thanks to a massive intelligence operation, members of the Navy SEALs’ elite Team 6 entered a mansion-cum-fortress in the middle of a suburb populated by retired military officers and killed Osama bin Laden. That the notorious terrorist leader was found in Pakistan hardly came as a surprise to anyone with a minimum knowledge of bin Laden and his terrorist network al Qaeda. Most thought he was in Quetta or Karachi, and certainly not a place like Abbottabad, but Pakistan . . .
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The Death of Osama bin Laden: A Great Day, but What Next?

Just in case anyone missed it last night, Osama bin Laden has been killed in a Special Forces raid inside Pakistan.  This is a historic event of great importance.  How great is still to be determined—and there are numerous unanswered questions still hanging in the air, both strategically and operationally—but there is little doubt that the death of Osama bin Laden will resonate for years, decades, and perhaps even centuries to come.

As would be expected, this event has given rise to a wealth of commentary on TV, in print, and across the blogosphere.  It would be impossible to . . .
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A Delusional Zardari and the Game of Afghanistan

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is concerned – about Afghanistan. More specifically, he is concerned about the war in Afghanistan and its effect on Pakistan. Speaking to the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall in Islamabad, Zardari said that the war is undermining Pakistan’s efforts to restore democratic institutions and economic prosperity:

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Just as the Mexican drug war on US borders makes a difference to Texas and American society, we are talking about a war on our border which is obviously having a huge effect. Only today a suicide bomber has attacked a police compound in Baluchistan. I think it . . .
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The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan: Current capabilities, purpose and lessons

Whatever happened to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan? The militant group bent on overthrowing President Islom Karimov’s regime in Uzbekistan came to prominence through some very public attacks in the late 1990s. Over a decade later, the group appears to be stuck in Pakistan’s tribal areas bearing little resemblance to the movement that once stirred up fear and prompted brutal government retaliation in Central Asia. In a four-part series Hegemonic Obsessions will explore the origins, evolution, and current state of the IMU. Part one covered the origins of the group, part two covered the movement’s split in 2002 and . . .
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General Petraeus and the new optimism

While most of the world is focused on the tragedy unfolding in Japan, Washington today was all about Afghanistan. In front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, gave much-anticipated testimony on the progress of the war. Not too surprisingly, the general had good news:

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As a bottom line up front, it is ISAF’s assessment that the momentum achieved by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2005 has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas. However, while the security . . .
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The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan: Crackdown (2005-2010)

Whatever happened to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan? The militant group bent on overthrowing President Islom Karimov’s regime in Uzbekistan came to prominence through some very public attacks in the late 1990s. Over a decade later, the group appears to be stuck in Pakistan’s tribal areas bearing little resemblance to the movement that once stirred up fear and prompted brutal government retaliation in Central Asia. In a four-part series Hegemonic Obsessions will explore the origins, evolution, and current state of the IMU. Part one covered the origins of the group, and part two covered the movement’s split in 2002 . . .
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