Breaking down the Kerry-Pakistan Agreement and What It Means

Once again Senator John Kerry has swooped in to save the diplomatic day. The former democratic presidential nominee and possible replacement for Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State jetted into Pakistan on this week to meet with Pakistani leaders. The issue at hand was, of course, the fraying of U.S.-Pakistani relations after the Osama bin Laden raid in Abbottabad. Kerry presented President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, and Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani with a list of U.S. demands, while the Pakistanis undoubtedly had a few demands of his own. The Pakistani military has been . . .
read more

Bin Laden: Of Strategy and Success

Updated Below

As the euphoria about the successful Special Forces operation that killed the world’s number one terrorist subsides, it is important to start putting this event in its proper context.  There may be a temptation to view the strategic failures that preceded this monumental moment as, at best, negligible and, at worst, validated in hindsight.  This would be a mistake.  Strategy is about matching means to ends, and, while this is an end that should certainly be welcomed by all, the means employed prior to this single operation have hardly been proportional to what was needed.

One popular . . .
read more

Pakistan, An Incoherent Frenemy

Islamabad is livid. Not surprisingly, reactions to the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden have been quite emphatic in their condemnation of a breach of Pakistani sovereignty. Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi went so far as to say that President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani should resign because the raid represented a failure of government. While Qureshi is no longer a cabinet member, he is thought to be close to the military and his comments thus reflect that institution’s thinking, according to the Washington Post. The confrontational tone is indicative of an establishment . . .
read more

Targeted Killings: A Necessary Evil?

This post is a guest contribution from H.A. For professional reasons, the writer is using a pseudonym.

writer essay

As Americans, we celebrate the news that the man behind the attacks of September 11 has met his ultimate fate. But his death highlights some uncomfortable aspects of current U.S. policy. Among the more prominent issues is targeted killing, or assassination.

Since the congressional hearings of the 1970s that investigated abuses by the CIA and the broader national security community, assassination has been off-limits…sort of. In 1981, President Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which states that “No person employed by . . .
read more

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 . . .
read more

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 . . .
read more