What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pure Intelligence vs. enforcers on Pakistan?

MStFB Update
Just a short note on Monday's incident near the Afghan-Pakistani border, which took place on the Pakistani side. It took place shortly after I have published a post on the issue of fencing on the border there. I maintain that the fence may have an impact on cross-border infiltration, if there really is intense patrolling of the area, and if there really is a readiness on the part of Pakistani soldiers to stop anyone from breaking, cutting, climbing or blowing his way across the thing. However, what happened on Monday was that a man, apparently wearing the Pakistani Frontier Corps' uniform, killed an American soldier and wounded three others when he fired into a visiting ISAF delegation. The latter has just gone over to the Pakistani side to negotiate about the need for calm along the border, after a bloody incident over the previous week-end which saw 13 Afghans (including, so it seems, civilians) killed, in Paktia Province, mostly by rocket fire from a Pakistani unit. NATO is now demanding an investigation - and one can understand that. The Monday attack is exactly the sort of incident that may put into question the effectiveness of Pakistani efforts in connection with fencing.
(Read about the Afghan-Pakistani firefight and the attack on the ISAF delegation here and here.)
What one doesn't understand easily, because it doesn't seem entirely logical at a moment when one would expect the U.S. to turn up the pressure on Musharraf's circles, is why then Washington's former ambassador to Kabul (Ronald E. Neumann, who recently left his post in Kabul to become a regional special envoy) goes just now to Pakistan to say Musharraf 'certainly hasn't reached the end of his line'.
It's long been clear that Musharraf apparently exercises a kind of 'client sovereignty' over his American backers who rely on him even when things really don't look good around him. I can't help but think of John Le Carré's 'The Night Manager', and think of the battle of the geo-politicians of 'Pure Intelligence' and the 'enforcers' at Enforcement there. The geo-politicians in the U.S. administration would be the ones focusing on the great game of traditional strategic politics, arguing for the need to hold on to Pakistan as a key ally in that great game, while enforcers would be lamenting about non-state threats and saying that fully co-operating state partners are needed instead of a great game (and so, paradoxically, they would be the ones arguing here for confrontation with a state). Pure Intelligence can likely point to some of the Talib commanders killed in the last weeks, and that they are getting co-operation from Pakistan's security services, just as it was promised e.g. in Ankara (at the Karzai-Musharraf meeting on April 30), as well as countless times before. The big question is of course what will happen in Pakistan's tribal areas to the insurgents' sanctuary there. Enforcers are probably pessimistic and are thus expecting points to be scored on that issue.
That is, of course, if it really does make sense to talk of Pure Intelligence and Enforcers here.

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