Musharraf does not fit in new US strategy

By Farrukh Saleem

ISLAMABAD: The race is on. Who gets who first? More than eight years ago, Nawaz struck first but still lost out; lost out because his adversary was the COAS. Then came 9/11, and the rest is history.

Under the post-9/11 Bush Doctrine, the Pentagon’s top priority was to prevent another direct attack on the homeland. In late 2007, a Benazir-Musharraf agreement was stitched up under the Bush Doctrine. All court cases to be withdrawn, all accounts to be defreezed, Musharraf to continue for five more years and a PPP-led, PPP-PML(Q) coalition to fight the war on terror.

Back then, Admiral William Fallon, the Commanding General, United States Central Command (CENTCOM), was the Pentagon’s regional enforcer and the guarantor of Benazir-Musharraf stitch-up. Then came December 27 followed by February 18, and the rest is history.

On March 11, Admiral Fallon fell out of favour and the US Army General David Petraeus was nominated by the Bush Administration as CENTCOMيs new Commander. On July 10, the Untied States Senate confirmed General Petraeus as Americaيs new Hector (from Greek, the new Trojan prince). Pakistan will be the same no more.

The aboriginal Bush Doctrine and the original Benazir-Musharraf bargain are failing in their ëwar on terrorي. Americaيs old war on terror is now the brand-new long war and America’s new Hector has a new doctrine, the Petraeus Doctrine.

Petraeus is America’s lone scholarly warrior (he is a Ph.D from Princeton). In 1987, Petraeus rewrote the book on counterinsurgency — his doctoral dissertation The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam: A Study of Military Influence and the Use of Force in the Post-Vietnam Era.

Testifying before a Senate committee, Petraeus once said, The way ahead will be neither quick nor easy, and undoubtedly there will be tough days. We face a determined, adaptable, barbaric enemy. He will try to wait us out.

The Petraeus Doctrine rests on intelligence-based counterinsurgency in-tandem with the use of hard and soft power. Counterterrorism, in the Petraeus Doctrine, is a test of wills (Petraeus has been a marathon runner). How will the Petraeus Doctrine untie the knot in Pakistan? Well, July 30 carried the first assault on the ISI, Pakistanيs premier intelligence outfit. The ISI will be pushed, pulled and squeezed till it bends to do Petraeusيs biding. The ISI-squeeze is in-tandem with the use of hard and soft power to procreate a political consensus conducive to the long war.

Clearly, President Musharraf has become a hindrance in the development of a political consensus and thus an obstacle to the Petraeus Doctrine. Will Petraeus be able to untie our thick political knots? Only the time will tell


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