Pakistan: Now or Never?

Will the U.S. have to turn to Iran for help on Afghanistan?

October 28, 2008

Will the United States have to turn to its old nemesis Iran for help in Afghanistan? A couple of articles out this month suggest it will.

Seeking regional peace for Afghanistan

October 23, 2008

Given the focus on U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan since 9/11, it’s easy to forget the regional context. In an article in Foreign Affairs, Barnett Rubin and Ahmed Rashid try to set that right, calling for a regional approach that would take account of the interests not just of Afghanistan, but also of Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India and China.

The sound and fury of the Pakistan-Afghanistan debate

October 15, 2008

Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after bombingThe debate about the fate of Pakistan and Afghanistan is getting noisier by the day.

China, Pakistan and the financial crisis

October 13, 2008

File photo of rally with Pakistan national flagIf your country is desperate to stave off economic collapse, there is probably no better place to visit, and no better friend to have, than China right now. With $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, China is sheltered from the worst of the financial storm, so much so that many are looking at it to play a part in hauling the global economy into calmer waters. 

Rethinking U.S. opposition to Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline

October 3, 2008

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi in April/B MathurAmong the more daring recommendations in a new report by the Pakistan Policy Working Group, a bipartisan group of American experts on U.S.-Pakistan relations, is that the United States should eventually reconsider its opposition to a proposed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project.

U.S. ground raids into Pakistan halted, Army Times says

September 30, 2008

Pakistani troops patrol in BajaurThe United States has decided to halt cross-border ground raids by Special Ops forces into Pakistan, according to the U.S. Army Times. It quotes a Pentagon official as saying U.S. leaders had decided to hold off on permitting ground raids to allow Pakistani forces to press home their own attacks on militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Revisiting America’s war in Afghanistan

September 26, 2008

File photo of Afghan riding a donkey past a destroyed tankI finally got around to reading Charlie Wilson’s War (much better than the film and considerably longer) about the U.S. Congressman who managed to drum up huge amounts of money to fund the mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980′s.

Omar Sheikh, a childhood friend turned Pakistani militant

By Daniel Flynn
September 25, 2008

Marriott Hotel in IslamabadThe weekend bomb which tore through the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, killing 53 people, was a reminder that Pakistan is entering the eye of the storm of Islamist militancy. But for me, it was also a more personal reminder of a childhood friend who went from a suburban upbringing in London to become one of Pakistan’s most notorious militants.

Choosing your friends: Pakistan, the U.S. and China

September 23, 2008

President Bush meets President Zardari in New York/Jim YoungWhile Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is in the United States discussing U.S. military strikes across Pakistan’s border, army chief General Ashfaq Kayani is on a far less publicised trip to China to talk about defence cooperation. The timing may be coincidental, but the potential implications of the United States and China playing competing roles in Pakistan are huge.