Stories about White House

Pakistan beyond Bin Laden

In her most recent article in The New York Times, Carlotta Gall, has shunned the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and military establishment of Pakistan in an attempt at assessing the troublesome relationship between Pakistani institutions and Islamic extremists. The article titled “What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden” explicitly accuses the ISI of harbouring Islamic extremists for its own selfish reasons, with a special mention of Osama bin Laden who she believes had been under the protection of the ISI until he was killed during the raid on his compound in Abbottabad in 2011. Considering the blatancy with which Gall points fingers ...

Read Full Post

President Obama’s speech and the continuation of drone strikes

President Obama delivered his much anticipated speech on counter-terrorism at the National Defense University, at Fort McNair in Washington, on Thursday. In the days before the address the focus was mainly expected to be policies governing drone attacks. According to White House officials, the speech would particularly give procedural details explaining the process leading up to decisions to use drones in counter-terrorism. It was also said that the remarks would outline, in detail, this administration’s counter-terrorism policies. Pakistan has had a long and violent relationship with American drones since 2004, the fifth year under the presidency of Pervez Musharraf. According to ...

Read Full Post

Michelle Obama had no place at the Oscars!

Ben Affleck created magic in the shape of Argo, a movie that deserved an Oscar this year, not because it was political but because it has all the essentials of an excellent movie. Along with a good script, the direction was brilliant, the cinematography was spot on, and above all it showcased a very good display of acting. The thriller is adapted from the book “The Master of Disguise” by CIA operative Tony Mendez and Joshuah Berman’s article “The Great Escape” . It is the story of the Central Intelligence Agency rescue of six US diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The role of ...

Read Full Post

Let’s not blame Obama

At a friend’s birthday bash recently, I came across Ammar Ali Jan, an activist and history teacher from Beaconhouse University, who had a very thoughtful outlook towards racism in America. “The real problems in America have always had socioeconomic roots. They always have. These debates on race and racial profiling are only attempts to shroud the harsh ground realities. They are only distractions from real problems,” he said. What Jan suggested cannot be ignored. But the fact that racial profiling is at its peak in America cannot be ignored either. Otherwise, who would’ve thought how America is still coming to ...

Read Full Post

What will Grossman’s visit achieve?

On the face of it, Pakistan and the United States are inching closer to a possible reunion as US Special Envoy for the Af-Pak theatre, Marc Grossman, is set to reset the volatile relationship with Islamabad. But there is a lot more to the equation than what meets the eye. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has presented its recommendation to the parliament, and the defence and cabinet committees are set to endorse the new terms of engagement with the United States. Despite all the fuss, it seems that there is no fundamental change in the relations between these strange ...

Read Full Post

Pak-US ties and those who matter most

At a joint sitting of the parliament the debate is on. The representatives of the people of Pakistan are discussing the new set of terms of engagement with the United States in the aftermath of the November airstrike on Pakistan’s Salala check post. A joint parliamentary committee on national security dished out some 40 recommendations which ostensibly would lay the basis on which the future Pak-US relations would stand. One runs through the proposals and after a lot of sifting through three visible contours emerge. 1) The US must submit an unconditional apology for the strikes; 2) the drone attacks must end ...

Read Full Post

Zardari-Obama meeting: 30 minutes in vain?

US President Barack Obama spared only 30 minutes for a meeting with our president this Friday. And even after those 30 minutes, the same drone (no pun intended) of mutual cooperation and cordial relations was discussed. The White House statement summarised the meeting by saying: “The discussion focused on our shared efforts to fight terrorism and promote regional stability, specifically on the importance of cooperating toward a peaceful and stable outcome in Afghanistan.” The only new development seemed to be Obama’s statement saying that he “is looking forward to visiting Pakistan later this year.” That is what our government seemed to be jubilant ...

Read Full Post

Wikileaks: a deliberate accident

Wikileaks, has opened a Pandora’s box by making public the transcripts or journals of the hour by hour detail of service by Nato soldiers in Afghanistan. It has been termed as the biggest leak in the history of intelligence. Most news sources are giving the story the headline of “Pakistan back Taliban in Afghanistan against the Nato forces.” The White House has strongly condemned the incident and sent detailed answers to the media describing how the US wants to establish peace in Afghanistan and wishes to work along with its partner Pakistan. They have shown that they have nothing to do with Wikileaks who has ...

Read Full Post

Command of the military

The ease with which General Stanley McChrystal was sacked should not allow us to shrug off the implications of his rebellion. McChrystal’s criticism of US civilian leadership is another cost of the Afghan war that America has to face- a clash between the military and the executive. Unfortunately, a clash between these institutions is inevitable in the face of a security threat that has few tangible solutions. As commander of US forces in Afghanistan McChrystal undoubtedly understood the conflict’s ground realities better than civilian leaders. But the resources needed to wage the war McChrystal-style were not at his disposal. The ...

Read Full Post