Why Is Israel Desperate To Escalate Syrian Conflict?

Authored by Nauman Sadiq,

After seven years of utter devastation and bloodletting, a consensus has emerged among all the belligerents of the Syrian war to de-escalate the conflict, except Israel which wants to further escalate the conflict because it has been the only beneficiary of the carnage in Syria.

Over the years, Israel has not only provided medical aid and material support to the militant groups battling the Syrian government – particularly to various factions of the Free Syria Army (FSA) and al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front in Daraa and Quneitra bordering the Israel-occupied Golan Heights – but Israel’s air force has virtually played the role of the air force of the Syrian jihadists and has conducted more than 100 airstrikes in Syria and Lebanon during the seven-year conflict.

Washington’s interest in the Syrian proxy war is mainly about ensuring Israel’s regional security. The United States Defense Intelligence Agency’s declassified report of 2012 clearly spelled out the imminent rise of a Salafist principality in northeastern Syria (Raqqa and Deir al-Zor) in the event of an outbreak of a civil war in Syria.

Under pressure from the Zionist lobby in Washington, however, the Obama administration deliberately suppressed the report and also overlooked the view in general that a proxy war in Syria will give birth to radical Islamic jihadists.

The hawks in Washington were fully aware of the consequences of their actions in Syria, but they kept pursuing the ill-fated policy of nurturing militants in the training camps located in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan to weaken the anti-Zionist Syrian government.

The single biggest threat to Israel’s regional security was posed by the Shi’a resistance axis, which is comprised of Iran, the Assad administration in Syria and their Lebanon-based surrogate, Hezbollah. During the course of 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets into northern Israel and Israel’s defense community realized for the first time the nature of threat that Hezbollah and its patrons posed to Israel’s regional security.

Those were only unguided rockets but it was a wakeup call for Israel’s military strategists that what will happen if Iran passed the guided missile technology to Hezbollah whose area of operations lies very close to the northern borders of Israel.

In a momentous announcement at an event in Ohio on March 29, however, Donald Trump said, “We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.”

What lends credence to the statement that the Trump administration will soon be pulling 2,000 US troops out of Syria – mostly Special Forces assisting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces – is that President Trump has recently sacked the National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.

McMaster represented the institutional logic of the deep state in the Trump administration and was instrumental in advising Donald Trump to escalate the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria. He had advised President Trump to increase the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 8,400 to 15,000. And in Syria, he was in favor of the Pentagon’s policy of training and arming 30,000 Kurdish border guards to patrol Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

Both the decisions have spectacularly backfired on the Trump administration. The decision to train and arm 30,000 Kurdish border guards had infuriated the Erdogan administration to the extent that Turkey mounted Operation Olive Branch in the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in Syria’s northwest on January 20.

After capturing Afrin on March 18, the Turkish armed forces and their Free Syria Army proxies have now cast their eyes further east on Manbij, where the US Special Forces are closely cooperating with the Kurdish YPG militia, in line with the long-held Turkish military doctrine of denying the Kurds any Syrian territory west of River Euphrates.

It bears mentioning that unlike dyed-in-the-wool globalists and “liberal interventionists,” like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who cannot look past beyond the tunnel vision of political establishments, it appears that the protectionist Donald Trump not only follows news from conservative mainstream outlets, like the Fox News, but he has also been familiar with alternative news perspectives, such as Breitbart’s, no matter how racist and xenophobic.

Thus, Donald Trump is fully aware that the conflict in Syria is a proxy war initiated by the Western political establishments and their regional Middle Eastern allies against the Syrian government. He is also mindful of the fact that militants have been funded, trained and armed in the training camps located in Turkey’s border regions to the north of Syria and in Jordan’s border regions to the south of Syria.

According to the last year’s March 31 article for the New York Times by Michael Gordon, the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and the recently sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had stated on the record that defeating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq was the top priority of the Trump administration and the fate of Bashar al-Assad was of least concern to the new administration.

Under the previous Obama administration, the evident policy in Syria was regime change. The Trump administration, however, looks at the crisis in Syria from an entirely different perspective because Donald Trump regards Islamic jihadists as a much bigger threat to the security of the US than Barack Obama.

In order to allay the concerns of Washington’s traditional allies in the Middle East, the Trump administration conducted a cruise missile strike on al-Shayrat airfield in Homs governorate on April 6 last year after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun. But that isolated incident was nothing more than a show of force to bring home the point that the newly elected Donald Trump is an assertive and powerful president.

More significantly, Karen De Young and Liz Sly made another startling revelation in the last year’s March 4 article for the Washington Post: “Trump has said repeatedly that the US and Russia should cooperate against the Islamic State, and he has indicated that the future of Russia-backed Assad is of less concern to him.”

Mindful of the Trump administration’s lack of commitment in the Syrian proxy war, Israel’s air force conducted an airstrike on Tiyas (T4) airbase in Homs on April 9 in which seven Iranian military personnel were killed. The Israeli airstrike took place after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma on April 7 in order to convince the reluctant Trump administration that it can order another strike in Syria without the fear of reprisal from Assad’s backer Russia.

Despite scant evidence as to the use of chemical weapons or the party responsible for it, Donald Trump, under pressure from Israel’s lobby in Washington, eventually ordered another cruise missiles strike in Syria on April 14 in collaboration with Theresa May’s government in the UK and Emmanuel Macron’s administration in France.

What defies explanation for the April 14 strikes against a scientific research facility in the Barzeh district of Damascus and two alleged chemical weapons storage facilities in Homs is the fact that Donald Trump had already announced that the process of withdrawal of US troops from Syria must begin before the midterm US elections slated for November. If the Trump administration is to retain the Republican majority in the Congress, it will have to show something tangible to its voters, particularly in Syria.

The fact that out of 105 total cruise missiles deployed in the April 14 strikes in Syria, 85 were launched by the US, 12 by France and 8 by the UK aircrafts shows that the strikes were once again nothing more than a show of force by a “powerful and assertive” US president who regards the interests of his European allies as his own, particularly when he has given a May 12 deadline to his European allies to “improve and strengthen” the Iran nuclear deal, otherwise he has threatened to walk out of the pact in order to please Israel’s lobby in Washington.

Finally, the Trump administration will eventually realize at its own risk that placating the Zionist lobby is unlikely if not impossible because Israel has conducted another missile strike in Aleppo and Hama on Sunday (April 29) in which 26 people, including many Iranians, have been killed and 60 others wounded.

According to NBC, the blast at the Brigade 47 base in Hama which serves as a warehouse for surface-to-air missiles was so severe that it caused 2.6 magnitude earthquake and shockwaves were felt as far away as Lebanon and Turkey. This seems like a last-ditch attempt by Israel to further escalate the conflict and to force the Trump administration to abandon its plans of withdrawing US troops from Syria.

*  *  *

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.

Comments

Slack Jack BLOTTO Tue, 05/01/2018 - 19:41 Permalink

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There are no ancient Jewish cities in Israel,...
but there are lots of ancient Greek cities.

What is weird is this; that 2000 years ago, it seems that there were no people even resembling Jews, in Israel.

It turns out that there is not a single ancient Jewish city in what is now called Israel. There is not a single ancient city where Hebrew characters are used on the statues and buildings. There is not a single ancient city where the buildings are in the ancient Jewish architectural style. In fact, there is not even a category of "ancient Jewish architectural style".

Of course, the Hebrew characters that are desired, are those of the Dead Sea scrolls (supposedly from 2000 years ago), which are essentially the modern Hebrew characters without points.

If you check out all the ancient cities in Israel from 2000 years ago, they are all Greek, and their ruins are still there for you to visit. Their inscriptions are in the Greek script and the buildings are in the ancient Greek architectural styles.

Here is a list of some of the known ancient Greek cities in (and near) Israel; Ecdippa, Seleucia, Ptolemais, Taricheia Arbela, Asochis, Sepphoris, Hippos, Dion, Sycaminum, Bucolon Polis, Itabyrium, Gadara, Abila, Dora, Comus, Gephrus, Crocodilion Polis, Caesarea, Straton's Tower, Narbata, Scythopolis, Pella, Samaria, Amathus, Ragaba, Gerasa, Apollonia, Sicima, Pegae, Joppa, Arimathea, Jamnia, Port of Jamnia, Lydda, Modiin, Aphaerema, Philadelphia, Birtha, Gazara, Beth Horon, Dok, Jericho, Samaga, Esbus, Medaba, Ladder of Tyre, Azotus, Port of Azotus, Accaron, Jerusalem, Ascalon, Anthedon, Gaza, Marissa, Beth Zur, Hebron, Adora, Engeddi.

The ancient Jewish cities in Israel are,....... well there aren't any. Not even one.

Here's an interesting example of a first century BC Greek inscription (i.e., in Greek letters) from Jerusalem's Temple Mount forbidding the entry of strangers to the Temple precinct.

http://www.preearth.net/images/no-foreigner-shall-enter.jpg

The pictured stone was found in 1935. It was actually the second such warning-stone to be found, the first being discovered by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau in 1871. This stone was deemed so dangerous to the "Jews inhabited Israel 2000 years ago" theory, that it completely disappeared for 13 years before resurfacing in Istanbul, where, it was correctly calculated, it would not attract much attention.

From: https://www.timesofisrael.com/ancient-temple-mount-warning-stone-is-clo…

The first Jerusalem Temple Mount warning-stone, now found in the Archaeology Museum, Istanbul, is pictured below:

http://preearth.net/images/jerusalem-temple-warning-at-istanbul.jpg

It says (in Greek): "No stranger is to enter within the balustrade round the temple and enclosure. Whoever is caught will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue."

Slack Jack's CHALLENGE:

Name ONE ancient city (that existed in what is now called Israel) where the building inscriptions are all in Hebrew, and the buildings are constructed in the ancient Hebrew architectural style (whatever that may be).

Then give a summary of "the ancient Hebrew architectural style" (you will have to make this up as it does not yet exist).

Then give links to photos of the ancient building inscriptions which show that they are written in Hebrew.

Then show that the buildings are constructed in the ancient Hebrew architectural style (that you have just invented).

http://www.preearth.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1175

It's been MANY MANY MANY months now and still no one is up to the challenge.

So, no one can provide solid evidence that even ONE ancient city in what is now called Israel, was unequivocally Jewish, 2000 years ago.

In reply to by BLOTTO

Slack Jack Slack Jack Tue, 05/01/2018 - 19:41 Permalink

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The Dead Sea scrolls Hoax.

The Dead Sea scrolls are a mixture of old documents that were hidden in a number of caves to be miraculously found and used to support the establishment of Israel, a country intended for Jews only.

The main document "finds" were in caves near the tiny ancient settlement of Qumran.

The first documents were "found" in 1947.

Israel was created in 1948.

Texts were also "found" at other sites (Masada, Wadi Sdeir, Nahal Se'elim, Nahal Hever, and Murabba'at) in the Judean Desert.

These and the Dead Sea scrolls are the only really old (well supposedly really old) documents, in the Hebrew characters, that have ever been found. No other really old documents in the Hebrew characters have ever been found.

All other documents in Hebrew characters date from later than 800 AD.

Previous to the "finds", critics had pointed out the late date of all documents in Hebrew characters, and deduced that the Hebrew Old Testament must have been translated from the Greek Old Testament and not the other way round.

Then, low and behold,... a very timely miracle occurs.

The Dead Sea scrolls are "found" and dated to hundreds of years earlier than the oldest previously known documents in Hebrew characters.

Then, it is widely claimed that all the scrolls were produced and hidden in the Qumran caves before 70 AD (the supposed time of the mythical sack of Jerusalem by the Romans).

The critics are not given access to the scrolls nor even photographs of the text, lest they spoil the party.

In fact, for decades, only seven scholars are given access to the scrolls.

This goes on till certain critics are dead and the scrolls have been purged of all anachronisms (like Arabic numerals).

Then, in 1991, only 45 years after their "discovery", the Huntington Library, in San Marino, California, without consent, makes facsimile copies of the scrolls available to all.

So that, in brief, is the Dead Sea scrolls Hoax.

More, however, can be deduced....

One can even guess where the Dead Sea documents came from.

It turns out that some of the Dead Sea documents, for example, the "Damascus Document," are nearly identical to documents from the Genizah collection of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, Egypt. So, it is likely that many of the Dead Sea scrolls had their source there.

Worldwide, there are twelve manuscripts of the "Damascus Document"; ten manuscripts from the Dead Sea scrolls and two manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah. There are no manuscripts of the "Damascus Document" from anywhere else. This strange distribution is a result of the fraud. The "Damascus Document" was first published in 1910 by Solomon Schechter in "Fragments of a Zadokite Work."

The Ben Ezra Synagogue was established around 900 AD.

Now, the Arabs have ruled Egypt since they defeated the Greek armies around 635 AD.

Now, the synagogue (and its Jews) existed happily, undisturbed, in Cairo, in the midst of the Islamic world.

So, maybe the original Jews were a group of Arabs.

This would explain why Hebrew and Arabic are nearly identical languages.

This would explain why the Hebrew and Islamic religious traditions are very similar.

And, it would also explain why Jews turned up in Spain with the Arabs (Moors).

Another couple of points:

The Biblical texts from Masada, Wadi Sdeir, Nahal Se'elim, Nahal Hever, and Murabba'at (twenty-five texts) are identical to the Masoretic text of the Bible, even though they were supposedly written a thousand years before. This is unheard-of, and essentially proof, that Medieval documents were planted in the desert to be found by others.

It should also be noted that a few Jewish scholars (in particular, Solomon Zeitlin) have long insisted that the Dead Sea scrolls were a Medieval production. [Zeitlin was a well-known Talmudic scholar and would not claim this unless convinced it was true.]

Internal evidence from the scrolls themselves indicates a Medieval production. See, here.

And, the fact that many scrolls are written on vellum (90% of them) proves these are indeed a Medieval production.

It is estimated that 20 people occupied the site of Qumran (estimated by the number of inhabitants for whom there was room in the buildings). Now these 20 people were not just ordinary people, they read and wrote Greek, Phoenician, Aramaic, Nabataean, and Hebrew documents, like natives, and managed to write learned works on numerous religious topics (about 900 manuscripts were "recovered"; about six hundred separate works), while gathering enough water, and raising enough food, for their survival, in a desert.

Some have tried to claim that as many as 200 lived at Qumran, but most have considered that number ridiculously high.

Anyway, I think it is clear that the Dead Sea scrolls are a bunch of old documents that have been thrown together and sold to a gullible world.

http://www.preearth.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1176

In reply to by Slack Jack

inosent Gen. Ripper Tue, 05/01/2018 - 21:18 Permalink

israhell is always desperate to escalate because it knows that its existence has been illegitimate from the very start, a contrived scam, built on a dubious mythology, promoted by zionist psychos, that got the cooperation of the jew bankers ~1903, because they saw their golden opportunity to leverage the zionist cause to take control of the money supply of western governments, employing blackmail and extortion and other nefarious means to get the handful of pathetic pols to 'go along' with the 'plan'. From there, the fanatical zionists continued to extort, smear, defame, blackmail, lie, cheat, steal, murder, make wars, cause mayhem and all the rest, without blinking, mind you, until they played their final sucker, Truman, into getting the UN 'vote' to 'declare' a jewish state in palestine.

Exactly why western leaders were soooooooo devoted to the zionist cause is a real 'mystery'. Gee, they all must have been bible loving, devoted Christians, fearing the 'wrath of God' if they did not crater to the incessant demands of these vicious snakes. haha, as if

No, no way. The juden pull no punches, and did anything - anything - no matter how disgusting, despicable, and low, the jew would go there and the hapless western 'leader', with all sorts of skeletons, and FAR more susceptible to the effect of a personal scandal back in those days than today (homosexuality, affairs, money dealings, etc), knew it.

Of course, by the time Truman rolled around, the jew had had control over the money for over 30 years, and knew how to use it. The politicians got into a bidding frenzy for the jew for their 'money' to get elected, selling out the nation for their personal gain. Those short sighted political azhlz are all dead now, so they did not live to see the total clusterf-k they created in the world. I hope they all rot in hell.

israhell has to keep bombing to create an illusion of 'defending' themselves, when the truth is those nasty juden vermin slithered into Palestine, and used weaponry paid for by the English and US Taxpayer, that was maneuvered into position under the fog of war (that is what the war was for - a distraction so the jews could get armaments in Palestine to start gunning down the locals).

the jew scum over there in israhell could never survive - NEVER! - w/o American money and bombs. And it is all built on the bulls- of ancient myths, and for the financial bankers who don care about myths, its about the power they have amassed and sure as hell wont just give it away w/o an epic fight.

The bankers are a harder target, along with their s- for money scam. But israhell is so obviously a political albatross, raping American money and blood for nothing, we get NOTHING but trouble! israhell just takes takes takes takes takes and f-s everybody over.

And as far as the other side if the clan, their psycho muhammedens are off the charts with their own mental illness, so they are all a waste of humanity, worthless! And to the extent any Christian falls for the juden myths and propaganda, especially to the extent of fervent support of demonic israhell, they are the worst of all, given that their central protagonist, Jesus, is grievously embarrassed by the association. Talk about a wasted sacrifice!

#getamericaoutofthemiddleeast

In reply to by Gen. Ripper

Déjà view you know they … Tue, 05/01/2018 - 21:37 Permalink

Two Types of Jewish War Judaism distinguishes between commanded wars and permitted wars

As to “towns that lie very far from you, towns that do not belong to nations hereabout” (verse 15), wars of conquest are permissible. As stated, these are wars against enemies that lie very far from Israel’s borders, and as such, are obviously not defensive wars but rather wars motivated by pure aggression. 

As to “towns of the latter peoples [who inhabit the land Canaan]…which the Lord your God is giving you as a heritage” (verse 16), the justification for war is the Jewish people’s exercising their divine right to the land of Canaan, “And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it for I have assigned the land to you to possess.”

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/two-types-of-jewish-war/

In reply to by you know they …

Slack Jack Déjà view Tue, 05/01/2018 - 21:57 Permalink

inosent : "israhell has to keep bombing to create an illusion of 'defending' themselves, when the truth is those nasty juden vermin slithered into Palestine, and used weaponry paid for by the English and US Taxpayer"

Initially Stalin (the communists) paid for Israeli weaponry. Stalin (who was a Jew) kept the Nazi armament factories in Czechoslovakia going and shipped the product to Israel.

So the Jews were flying Messerschmidts and the Arab (volunteers) were flying Spitfires.

Just before the war, Eichmann had sent 200,000 Jews from Austria and Germany to Israel, so the Israeli's would have been reasonably familiar with Nazi weaponry.

In reply to by Déjà view

Socratic Dog Slack Jack Tue, 05/01/2018 - 22:46 Permalink

Jack, you make your arguments worthless by sliding in nonsense like "Stalin was a jew".  He wasn't, despite the best efforts of many to prove he was.  What he was was a malevolent mutherfucker who worked closely with jews to kill Christians, presiding over probably the greatest mass murder (genocide if you like) in history.  Until he purged them (the jews), for which he has to get credit.

Stalin was the exception to the rule that the Bolsheviks were all jews.

In reply to by Slack Jack

Slack Jack Socratic Dog Wed, 05/02/2018 - 01:04 Permalink

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Stalin's father was a Jew.

His surname was ჯუღაშვილი (Jughashvili) which was a deliberate misspelling of ჯუდაშვილი (Judhashvili) which means "son of Judah".

ჯუღაშვილი = Jughashvili
ჯუდაშვილი = Judhashvili = son of Judah.

Stalin had three wives, Ekaterina Svanidze, Kadya Allevijah, Rosa Kaganovich (sister of Lazar Kaganovich) all of whom were Jews.

Stalin named his first son Jacob (Yakov).

Stalin spoke Yiddish at home.

Stalin setup the first Jewish homeland, Birobidjan, in Russia. The "national" language was Yiddish.

Before Djugashvili called himself "Stalin," he used the pseudonym "Kochba," after the Jew who supposedly lead a Jewish revolt against the Romans in 132-135 AD.

Stalin was a Jew.

In reply to by Socratic Dog

MoreSun Socratic Dog Wed, 05/02/2018 - 01:08 Permalink

He wasn't jewish but he married a jewess and was surrounded by jews his offspring was half jewish- so he was fairly heavy into the jew dominated world of jewish bolshevism.

Understandably latter after jew war II he assisted in the advancement of the immigration of jews from Russia to so-called israel. 

Most of his career he was deeply involved with the jew supremacists.

In reply to by Socratic Dog

inosent Slack Jack Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:00 Permalink

I guess it depends on how far back in the calendar you go. Stalin wasn't around in 1917. But, if you have sources to cite to show Stalin was also an arms provider, I would not be surprised. The jew that controlled all American foreign policy must have wanted badly to have their juden dystopia exported as far as they could take it, as MacArthur just sat on his hands while the soviets moved allllllllllll the way west into Berlin, when, if the US Army was actually interested in 'freeing' the beleaguered lands that Hitler was supposedly oppressing viz his occupation, the Army would have move up to the northeast and cut off the retreating German army. Instead, the great 'liberators' from the west literally paved the way for juden controlled occupation of a massive swath of Europe, with juden torture/death squads running wild in places like Hungary, Poland and what became East Germany, not before utterly desecrating Berlin while MacArthur et al looked on and did nothing.

In every case, I think we can agree that the zionist incursion into the west has been an abomination and a curse on humanity. It's time for it to end. The least I can do as an American, subject its tax, is to steadfastly oppose any more theft of my money to pay for it. Every American needs to revolt that way. It is within our power, and not only does it cost us nothing, it actually saves us money.

Never Forget! it is not the zionist/juden/luciferian freak that pays for any of it -> YOU DO!

 

In reply to by Slack Jack

Socratic Dog inosent Tue, 05/01/2018 - 22:40 Permalink

Don't forget, those fuckers killed a US president, for two primary reasons: they were stealing US nuclear technology, and Kennedy was taking back control of currency issuance from the bankers.

And yet the US establishment sucks jew dick like there's no tomorrow.  Trump being no exception.  May he prove me wrong, by baling out of Syria in particular, and the ME in general.

In reply to by inosent

lew1024 Got The Wrong No Wed, 05/02/2018 - 12:37 Permalink

Wrong. Obama was another CIA operative in the Presidency with political baggage. He didn't believe anything, CIA operatives don't.

Did Obama actually do anything to hurt Israel, to inhibit ISIS? No, and ISIS is a joint creation of the US, Britain and Israel.

Obama used different rhetoric than Bush, otherwise it was the same presidency. And CLintons were intended to be a continuation.

The most positive things about Trump is how much the Deep Black Swamp hates him and how much they are exposing in opposing him.

In reply to by Got The Wrong No

Freddie Richard Chesler Tue, 05/01/2018 - 21:46 Permalink

Why does I$rael - a Roth$schild creation- want war now?  Because they are scared shitless of Hezbollah and General Soleimani of Iran.

FYI - Hezbollah and Iran have been in Syria fighting to protect ALL Syrians including Christians. Damascus has Christmas lights everywhere during Christmas.

If Q Anon and Trump keep pushing Bibi's psycho wars then the Q Anon - drain the swamp is alol bullshit and Trump will lose a lot of support.  He will be impeached or worse if he starts a war or does not start a war.  Sick sick USSA a Roth$child - Fed Reserve serf farm where the goy are bled daily. .

 

 

In reply to by Richard Chesler

falconflight Slack Jack Tue, 05/01/2018 - 21:26 Permalink

Why Pakistan supports terrorist groups, and why the US finds it so hard to induce change

 

The Trump administration’s decision to suspend military aid to Pakistan is one of the most significant U.S. punitive actions against Pakistan since 2001. The United States has long been frustrated with Pakistan’s persistent acquiescence to safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and its vicious Haqqani branch in Pakistan (both of which benefit more from misgovernance in Afghanistan, but Pakistan’s aid helps a lot). Worse yet, Pakistan has provided direct military and intelligence aid to both groups, resulting in the deaths of U.S. soldiers, Afghan security personnel, and civilians, plus significant destabilization of Afghanistan.

Author

 

Vanda Felbab-Brown

Senior Fellow - Foreign PolicyCenter for 21st Century Security and Intelligence

VFelbabBrown

 

Previous U.S. efforts since the 9/11 attacks to persuade Pakistan to crack down—through military and economic largess, as well as through punitive measures—have failed. Many in the U.S. policy community, who have long called for greater pressure, are delighted to finally see Washington run tougher experiments in coercion.

But although U.S. grievances are just, the suspension of military aid, and other possible increased U.S. coercion, are most unlikely to get Pakistan to fundamentally alter its behavior.

PAKISTAN’S LOGIC

Pakistan has long been a difficult and disruptive neighbor to Afghanistan, hoping to limit India’s influence there, and cultivating radical groups within Afghanistan as proxies. It has augmented Afghanistan’s instability by providing intelligence, weapons, and protection to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. But years of U.S. pressure on Islamabad and Rawalpindi (the seats of Pakistan’s government and military establishments, respectively)—alternating with economic aid and efforts to forge a strategic partnership—have failed to induce Pakistan to change.

Why does Pakistan act this way? It fears an unstable Afghanistan that becomes a safe-haven for anti-Pakistan militant groups and a dangerous playground for outside powers (even though this has already happened). Pakistan bets that the Taliban will maintain significant power in Afghanistan—and perhaps even obtain formal political power—and does not want to alienate it. After all, the Taliban is Pakistan’s only—however reluctant and unhappy—ally among Afghanistan’s political actors.

Related

 

Pakistan further fears that targeting Afghanistan-oriented militant groups will provoke retaliation in Pakistan’s Punjab heartland. Its long refusal to fully sever support for these groups is a product of Pakistan’s lack of full control over the militant groups it has sponsored, even though it is loath to admit it. Such a disclosure of weakness would be costly: reducing the omnipotent image of Pakistan’s military-intelligence apparatus with respect to varied domestic audiences, including opposition politicians, and further encouraging misbehavior of militant groups. And while such a disclosure may somewhat reduce international pressure on Pakistan, it would also weaken Pakistan’s hand in international bargaining.

Pakistan is also afraid of a strong Afghan government aligned with India, potentially helping to encircle Pakistan. In his August 2017 speech on Afghanistan, President Trump invoked the India card to pressure Pakistan—calling for a greater Indian engagement in Afghanistan, though cushioning it by mostly endorsing India’s economic engagement there. That is not likely to moderate Pakistan’s behavior. Instead, it can increase Pakistan’s paranoia of India’s engagement in Afghanistan, including its perceived support for Baluchi separatist groups in Pakistan. After President Trump’s speech, senior U.S. officials sought to mitigate such fears, recognizing Pakistan’s legitimate interests in Afghanistan and saying that the United States was keen to see (and could facilitate) an improvement in India-Pakistan relations.

AMERICA’S TOOLBOX

Suspending military aid to Pakistan—and perhaps even permanently discontinuing it in the future, if Pakistan does not change its behavior—was the most directly available coercive tool for the United States.

But quite apart from the political outrage it has generated in Pakistan, the pain it delivers is quite limited. Parts of the Coalition Support Fund—designed to enable Pakistan to go after counterterrorism targets and militant groups— have been suspended for a long time because of Pakistan’s continued support for the Haqqanis.

U.S. military aid to Pakistan decreased by 60 percent between 2010 and August 2017, without a significant impact on Pakistan’s behavior.

Overall, U.S. military aid to Pakistan decreased by 60 percent between 2010 and August 2017, without a significant impact on Pakistan’s behavior. Moreover, Pakistan can seek aid from others: Russia is always looking for opportunities to undercut the United States, and although direct military cooperation with Pakistan risks alienating India—a significant cost for Russia—Russia no longer considers the Afghan Taliban a prime enemy in Afghanistan. (The Islamic State is, so much so that Russia has courted the Afghan Taliban with intelligence and military aid to secure its cooperation against the Islamic State.) Pakistan can also seek military assistance from China, long its steadfast ally. Although China does not want to see a further destabilization of Afghanistan and an outward leakage of terrorism, it has not been willing to take punitive action against Pakistan’s support for the Haqqanis and the Afghan Taliban. Finally, Pakistan can court Saudi aid, which Saudi Arabia may grant, including as an anti-Iran hedge. Thus, Pakistan can easily believe that it can ride out tensions with the United States.

Other forms of U.S. pressure could entail increased military strikes against Taliban and Haqqani network leaders in Pakistan who are not in major urban centers, where civilian casualties would be high. Washington could also end Pakistan’s designation as a non-NATO strategic partner and/or designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. It could also further encourage Indian activity in Afghanistan.

LIMITS ON U.S. PRESSURE AND COUNTERMOVES

But there are limits to U.S. coercive power vis-à-vis Pakistan. The United States has many interests in Pakistan, beyond the Afghan conflict: ensuring the stable control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, getting Pakistan to dispense with the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons (which could fall into terrorists’ hands), dissuading Pakistan from resurrecting its past nuclear proliferation activities, and preventing a major Pakistan-India war, as well as Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attacks in India.

Moreover, the United States wants to encourage democratization, pluralization, and stronger civilian and technocratic governance in Pakistan. Just as there is a young, educated, well-meaning technocratic segment of the population battling it out against the warlords and parochial powerbrokers in Afghanistan, there are such reformist elements in Pakistan.

Thus, in response to U.S. pressure, Pakistan could threaten any of these interests. For example, it can discontinue cooperation on nuclear safety issues or suspend Pakistan-India nuclear confidence-building measures. It could also provoking border instability in the Punjab. Most immediately, Pakistan can again shut down the Afghanistan-Pakistan border for U.S. military logistics—not just the ground lines of transportation, as in 2011, but also air routes—as well as for Afghan trade—as it has done before. That would significantly hamper U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. Despite President Ashraf Ghani’s goals to the contrary, Pakistan will remain a crucial market for Afghan goods and logistical access.

Thus, it is highly unlikely that even major U.S. pressure would motivate Pakistan to fully sever its support for and desire to control the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban, even though it could produce a temporary decrease in support for these groups. Most likely, Pakistan will claim it is not supporting Afghanistan-oriented militant and terrorist groups and temporarily reduce its level of support for them—but it won’t sever the relationship fully, and will wait to increase it again.

ANY HAPPY SCENARIO?

There are three possible, and to some extent interlinked, scenarios under which Pakistan could become motivated to dramatically reduce or altogether cut support for the Taliban and the Haqqani networks, and perhaps even start targeting their networks in Pakistan:

  • Pakistan-India relations significantly improve;
  • The military-intelligence apparatus loses its predominant power in the Pakistani government and becomes subordinated to an enlightened, capable, and accountable civilian leadership. That means that both the Pakistani military and the country’s civilian politicians would have to undergo a radical transformation; and
  • Pakistan develops the political and physical resources, and wherewithal, to tackle its own internally-oriented and metastasizing terrorist groups, such as various Punjab Taliban groups: Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, and the Islamic State in Pakistan. If those threats become mitigated, Pakistan may have more stomach to go after the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqanis.

To some extent, the United States can help induce at least the last scenario by helping Pakistan develop politically-informed, sequential targeting counterterrorism strategies, focused on anti-Pakistani groups of regional and global concern. Former U.S. national security advisor Stephen Hadley has called for this as part of a larger strategy.

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But the U.S. ability to encourage the first two scenarios is highly limited. U.S. efforts at facilitating a Pakistan-India rapprochement, while critically defusing acute crises, have produced little lasting effect, with India systematically rejecting such a U.S. role and Pakistan systematically failing to meet expectations. Whenever some progress has been achieved, a terrorist spoiler or an institutional spoiler has effectively undermined the efforts.

The U.S. capacity to promote a systematic change of political and power arrangements in Pakistan is highly limited as well, though Washington can and should provide sustained and patient support to the development of civil society, a technocratic class, and rule-of-law institutions. In addition, Washington can provide support by encouraging the growth and engagement of new economic interests in Pakistan that benefit from more peaceful relations with India and Afghanistan. However, any such positive developments will likely take decades to fundamentally alter Pakistan’s internal power distribution and strategic calculus.

In reply to by Slack Jack

lew1024 HominyTwin Wed, 05/02/2018 - 15:13 Permalink

There is much more undersanding of evolutionary systems to be had in just watching the system play out the game they have set for themselves. The transitions to enlightenment  of entire societies has only happened in a few cases in written records, so it is still a big variable.

Of course, no previous possible transition had the internet.

In reply to by HominyTwin

TheReplacement evoila Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

In Sum of All Fears, neo-nazis set off a nuke in the US to start such a war.  What happened to the Uranium One uranium?  Why was it allowed to cross the border?  Who has it now? 

In other news, the poles are probably going to reverse so all the ICMBs will probably miss so we got that going for us.

In reply to by evoila

HRClinton Leakanthrophy Tue, 05/01/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

Re... Scientists Discover Gene That Predisposes Ashkenazi Jews to Schizophrenia

  • haaretz.com/.premium-ashkenazi-gene-increases-schizophrenia-1.5294333

Selective breeding (inbreeding) will do that. It compromises/dilutes the gene pool. Genetics 101.

Yet somehow their whacko desert warrior Made-forTribesmen deity Yahweh (and his self-appointed spokesmen) never got that memo from Mother Nature. Oops.

In reply to by Leakanthrophy

LaugherNYC Leakanthrophy Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:53 Permalink

Has this entire site now been taken over by the Russian propaganda machine?

What sane, civilized person would post this kind of garbage? Calling for the extermination of a country's people is called "genocide."

It is a crime against humanity, and the invocation of it is the basest, most repugnant act a human being can undertake. It is not clever, funny or in any way demonstrative of anything but a sickness that infects the mind of its author.

It is sad to think that Russia has fallen so low that it must spread this sick bile across the world using this wonderful tool called the internet, which can be, in the right hands, a vehicle for shared experience, growth, education, and the joining of people from vastly different places in building understanding and peace.

To those trolls who sit in some Moscow or St. Pete office, can you not feel the shame of what you do?

I know you grow up only watching state-controlled media, in state-controlled schools, but underneath that, and your need to earn some money in such a downtrodden economy, you are human beings. You KNOW that what you are doing is wrong.

Your government must pay to employ an army of sad people to try to spread this vile excuse for its own failures, its thievery, its retrograde intention to turn back to repression and regime. NONE of this is the fault of the West. Russia controls its own destiny. It can use the amazing intelligence and industry of its people to build a modern economy, joining hands with the West, learning from the mistakes of placing faith in the oligarchs, the spies, the kleptocrats. Look at life in the US, UK, France. Open, plentiful, happy, free. Not perfect, but the best life has ever been for humans, in history, ever. Never have there been so many people living so well for so long. And this is not through subjugation or repression. It is through hard work, engagement, and the belief in mankind. It is only the failed states that say the free West subjugates the rest of the world - exactly what they seek to do. This lie and farce is so patently ridiculous the Berlin wall collapsed under its weight. Back then, the Soviet propaganda eerily mirrors what Vlad is spreading now. That same desperation, the STRONGMAN at the end of his tether, trying desperately to hold on. His time grows short. Do not let him drag you down with him.

Ask yourself. Why are Russian soldiers dying in Syria? Why are Iranian soldiers dying in Syria? What, exactly, is the innocent explanation?

We fight for freedom and against the dark. We always have, and always will. YOU KNOW THIS. 

In reply to by Leakanthrophy

Brazen Heist LaugherNYC Wed, 05/02/2018 - 05:05 Permalink

Let me guess. You are a Russian Jew.

The rest is fairly predictable.

You must be pretty stupid to be asking those questions. What are Russian soldiers doing in Syria, and Iranians? They are helping their ally fend off fucking Western war crimes and regime change. You emigrated to America and still live in the romantic honeymoon phase. It doesn't cross your mind that a global empire like America can do any evil. Boy, have you got some waking up to do.

Keep believing you are on the "right" and "good" side. The side that uses Jihadi terrorists and doesn't care about Libyans, Iraqis, Yemenis, Syrians, Afghans, Viets, and all other lucky recipients of freedumb, which is just violent thuggery that benefits the 1%.

 

In reply to by LaugherNYC