Pakistan exposed, but US will keep up balancing act: ExpertsMay 3rd, 2011 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, May 3 (IANS) Even as Islamabad is hard put to explain how the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks was able to stay so deep inside Pakistan, the US “will continue conducting a complex balancing act on the subcontinent between India and Pakistan”, analysts here suggest.
The US operation to take out Osama bin Laden was “kept from the Pakistanis in order to avoid having the operation compromised, as the United States has been burned a number of times by Pakistani intelligence in pursuing high-value targets”, noted Reva Bhalla at the strategic think tank Stratfor.
But Pakistan knows very well, and the US begrudgingly acknowledges, that the Pakistanis have vital intelligence links to Al Qaeda and Taliban targets that determine the level of success the US will have in the war against terror, she said.
“That is a reality the United States has to deal with and Pakistan uses those intelligence links as critical leverage in its relationship with Washington,” Bhalla said.
“No matter how frustrated the United States becomes with Pakistani duplicity in managing the jihadist threat, the United States cannot avoid the fact that it needs to rely on Pakistan in order to forge a political understanding with the Taliban in Afghanistan in order to shape an exit from the war in Afghanistan,” she said.
Thus “the United States will continue conducting a complex balancing act on the subcontinent between India and Pakistan, but really there’s very little hiding that deep level of distrust between Washington and Islamabad”, Bhalla said.
Gilles Dorronsoro, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment, too, considered Osama’s death a clear victory with greater significance for the war in Afghanistan than for the dynamics of radical jihadist groups around the world.
Nothing indicates that other jihadist groups, for example Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, blamed for the Mumbai terror attacks by India, will be affected by the killing of Osama, he said.
But the dramatic action deep inside Pakistan exposing Islambad’s “incompetence or complicity” gives the White House some leverage in pushing Pakistan to make positive steps, Dorronsoro said.
Experts at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) suggest Osama’s death is both a symbolic and real blow to Al Qaeda. But the group remains lethal, they say.
“America’s strategy for the post-bin Laden era must be a far greater commitment to helping Pakistan overcome the political, economic and security conditions that make it an appealing safe haven for terrorists like bin Laden,” argues expert Daniel Markey.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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