Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 6, 2009

Counterterrorism: Carrot and Stick

Filed under: Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on April 6, 2009

At home the Obama administration’s Afpak strategy has been noted mostly for increased application of military force  along the Hindu Kush (see prior post on the White House announcement).  The military aspect was especially underlined by the President’s departure for the NATO summit shortly after his March 27 remarks.   Saturday our NATO allies agreed –  grudgingly – to increase troop commitments in Afghanistan.

Receiving at least as much attention in the region is the new policy’s call for an “honorable form of reconciliation” within Afghanistan.  At a March 31 Hague Conference, Secretary of State Clinton lifted up this carrot in her remarks, “We must also support efforts by the Government of Afghanistan to separate the extremists of al-Qaida and the Taliban from those who joined their ranks not out of conviction, but out of desperation. This is, in fact, the case for a majority of those fighting with the Taliban. They should be offered an honorable form of reconciliation and reintegration into a peaceful society if they are willing to abandon violence, break with al-Qaida, and support the constitution.”

The opportunity for reconciliation was quickly rejected by a Taliban spokesman as a “lunatic idea.”

But the possibility of reconciliation – or some might say divide and conquer – has been welcomed by others in the region.  In a commentary published over the weekend, Saeed Qureshi writes, “Realising that war in Afghanistan cannot be won alone by military means, Obama administration has decided to adopt a strategy of wooing those factions of Taliban that would be prepared for reconciliation and thus drop or cease fighting against the foreign troops. This would lessen the burden on the allied forces in Afghanistan to exclusively target Al-Qaida. America wants to close many fronts in her on going war on terrorism.”

For several months Afghanistan’s President Karzai has called for negotiation and mediation of talks between the Afghan government and elements of the Taliban movement.  In mid-March the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, reportedly approved negotiations with Karzai’s representatives.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn

1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 6, 2009 @ 8:42 am

Time to bite the bullet in AfPak war is closing in. Perhaps we should formally ask/request Pakistan for stationing of US troops in Pakistan on basis that they will not be able to control portions of their country without such assistance. This should be carefully thought through and request made in a fashion most likely to be accepted. I think it will be flatly rejected on basis of infringing on Pakistani sovereignity. Then we at least know where we stand. We then need to line up powerful allies to determine whether Pakistan’s nuclear surety program is adequate to protect agains loss of knowledge and devices to militants! Assuming answer yes, then we need in country monitors protected by the Pakistani government. If answer is no then we need to follow through to secure those devices and knowledge workers from radical hands. This is the big national security issue for US. Not Iraq and not N.Korea. Others have bigger stakes in those countries than US and are well qualified to handle them. Iran’s efforts to obtain full nuclear status should be discouraged and US should fully fund and staff IAEA and create specialist speaking Persian, Court Persian (FARSI) and DARWA that are weapons and nuclear surety knowledgable. This should be the second leg of the major national security effort. The final effort should be a proscription against first use of nuclear weapons on an international basis. And of course we should immediate join the ICC and make that a major pillar of our international efforts. Personally I don’t think COIN is the complete answer in S.Asia. It may come down to mechanized infantry units and air power, but who knows. This is clearly the outline of the national security struggle for US in this Century except for the Western Hemispheric issues and policies that loom larger each passing day. I am also not hopeful about Israeli/Arab world issues but subject to drastic regime and policy change on both sides looks like disaster ahead for both.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>