Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On The One Hand...

Pakistan continues to be a conundrum wrapped in an enigma:

Pakistani intelligence has detained five alleged CIA informants who spied on Osama bin Laden in the months before the al-Qaida chief was killed in a special forces raid, US and Pakistani officials have said.

The Pakistani informants noted the details of vehicles visiting Bin Laden's house in Abbottabad, 35 miles north of Islamabad, and helped run a nearby house from which CIA spies watched the al-Qaida leader.

A Pakistani official said the owner of the CIA hideout had been arrested along with several other people.

A military spokesman denied a New York Times report that a serving army major had also been detained. The arrests highlight continuing tensions between the US and Pakistan in the wake of Bin Laden's death. They are likely to intensify pressure from senior Washington politicians to cut Pakistan's $2bn annual aid package.

On the one hand, Pakistan swears they are assisting the US in its efforts to contain terrorism and in particular, Al Qaeda. On the decide.

This development comes on the heels of the hectoring given by Pakistani security officials to CIA chief Leon Panetta last week about covert activities in Pakistan.

This, despite the fact that Panetta had all but accused the Pakistani security forces of aiding and abetting militants by showing them a video of a bomb factory in Waziristan (note, not even in Pakistan) evacuating after the US had notified the Pakistanis they were aware of the activity.

Not even about to launch a raid, just that they knew it was there.

One can only assume the CIA have knowledge of activities inside Pakistan and will not reveal this to the military.

On Pakistan's part, they raise a legitimate concern...legitimate, to a degree: if the US had foreign agents acting on its soil, they'd be well within their rights to roll up any citizens who are cooperating with those agents, no matter how "friendly" that nation may be or how aligned their interests may be (ex. Jonathan Pollard.)
Still, Israel isn't about to commit a terrorist act on American soil (unless you want to count the JDL, but that was decades ago,) whereas Al Qaeda and other Muslim extremists would do so in a heartbeat. Pakistan ought to step back from this concern and focus on the larger issues involved, most notably their precarious standing in the world when compared to other nations in the region and other global issues.
Pakistan is essentially the country going up for seconds at a barbecue and then cutting the line to get thirds, even tho they are a "plus one" at the do. Musharraf was asked not so politely to step aside and one suspects that the military does not have the stranglehold it once had on the nation.
In fact, if I was Panetta, I'd be looking to push this guy further up the food chain:

A senior Pakistani official said the dispute represented a clash between "Pakistani hyper-nationalism and American arrogance".

That about sums it up, on both hands.