“Pakistan is living a lie.” Pakistan is “playing Russian roulette.” “We’re living on borrowed time.”
All quite true. “Status of US ties with Pak was like a ‘cold shower’ for Obama: Woodward,” from Asia News International, September 27:
Well-known author-cum-journalist Bob Woodward has revealed in his latest book “Obama’s Wars that President Barack Obama’s focus is turning increasingly to Pakistan, even as his administration’s military efforts continue to be directed at Afghanistan.
Woodward told ABC News that Obama was told of deep problems in the US relationship with Pakistan in his very first intelligence briefing, and it seemed like”a cold shower” coming days after his triumphant 2008 presidential victory.
“Imagine the high of being elected on that Tuesday and they come in two days later and say, by the way, here’s-here are the secrets, and one of the secrets is Pakistan,” Woodward said.
“We’re attacking with a top-secret, covert operation, the safe havens in Pakistan, but Pakistan is living a lie. And this is a theme throughout the whole Obama presidency: ‘How do you get control of Pakistan?’ “
Uh-oh: something you can’t fix by just being nice?
In Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari is depicted as quietly providing help to U.S. enemies, with the CIA suspecting that his government compromised its intelligence.
“You can’t keep playing one side against the other,” Biden warns Zardari, according to Woodward’s book.
Interesting contrast of public and private conduct:
For his part, Zardari expresses frustration that Americans are too concerned about civilian casualties. Woodward reports that Zardari told then-CIA Director Michael Hayden that his poll numbers were high enough to weather blowback from casualties.
“Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me,” Zardari told Hayden, Woodward writes….
More on this story: “US warned Pakistan against selective action on terror groups,” from Indo-Asian News Service, September 29:
Washington, Sep 29 (IANS) Shortly after the failed Times Square bombing plot, the US warned Pakistan against playing ‘Russian roulette’ with terrorist groups associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, threatening the US.
President Barack Obama dispatched his national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, and CIA director Leon Panetta to Pakistan to convey this warning less than three weeks after a Pakistan-born US citizen tried to blow up an SUV in New York City’s famous Times Square, according to a new book, ‘Obama’s Wars’ by Bob Woodward.
‘We’re living on borrowed time,’ Jones told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the first meeting in Islamabad.
‘Jones thought that Pakistan – a US ally with an a la carte approach of going after some terrorist groups and supporting others – was playing Russian roulette. The chamber had turned out to be empty the past several times, but Jones thought it was only a matter of time before there was a round in it,’ Woodward writes.
Asking Pakistan ‘to reject all forms of terrorism as a viable instrument of national policy inside your borders,’ the two officials told Zardari whatever Pakistan was doing with the many terrorist groups operating inside its borders, it wasn’t good or effective enough.
Panetta pulled out a ‘link chart’, developed from FBI interviews and other intelligence that showed how Pakistan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) had assisted the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad.
The two officials pointed ‘to the disturbing intelligence about Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the horrific 2008 Mumbai attacks that had killed 175, including six Americans’.
Pakistani authorities are holding the commander of the Mumbai attacks, Jones said, but he is not being adequately interrogated and ‘he continues to direct LeT operations from his detention center’.
Intelligence shows that Lashkar-e-Taiba is threatening attacks in the US and that the possibility ‘is rising each day’.
The two in effect told Zardari that if there is a successful attack in the US, there might be no way to save the strategic partnership, the book suggests. ‘If that happens, all bets are off,’ Panetta is quoted as saying.
Afterward, the American officials met privately with Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the most powerful figure in the country. But he had other concerns.
‘I’ll be the first to admit, I’m India-centric,’ he is quoted as saying. …