Blackwater furore and Kerry-Lugar Bill fracas

57042031There’s been a lot of hype over ‘Blackwater in Pakistan’ and the Kerry Lugar Bill. Below, two items providing some facts and perspective on both issues.

1. KERRY LUGAR BILL – background and facts

The government should bring this bill for assent before the Pakistani parliament. This will call the bluff of all those who are thundering for the benefit of the media. Taking the KL Bill to parliament will have a dual affect. First, it will shut these nay-sayers up and second, it will provide the requisite legitimacy to this aid (which, unfortunately, we cannot do without after all these years of skewed financial policies). No political party that hopes to form government in Islamabad will formally vote against it. The government needs to pull itself together and put up a solid defence – ie. all the conditionalities are part of state policy anyway; it is the first time the US has committed itself to democracy and a democratic government in Pakistan. Any party opposing the Bill will send out the message that it does not own the current policies on counter terrorism and non-proliferation.

BACKGROUND

In the 1980s the US congress passed the Pakistan Aid Bill for US $ 3.2 Billion over a period of five years. The Bill required 10-12 Presidential Certifications (at different times) every year including on restoration of democracy, human rights protection, nuclear non-proliferation and drugs control.

In the 2003 Congress again passed a Pakistan Aid Bill for US 3 Billion over a period of 5 years. That too included Presidential waivers certifying that Pakistan is moving toward restoration of democracy, nuclear non-proliferation, countering terrorism etc.

Kerry-Lugar Bill is the first Pakistan Aid Bill that does not require Presidential certification every year. However the Secretary of State has to certify that Pakistan is moving on the path to democracy, nuclear non-proliferation and control of democracy. This is also Pakistan state policy.

Kerry Lugar Bill factsheet

Kerry Lugar Bill factsheet

US ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN

2. THE BLACKWATER ISSUE – Posted on Shaheryar Azhar’s Forum:
The ‘Blackwater in Pakistan’ Furore: Who Benefits from Spreading the Lies?

By Wasiq Ali

“A massive furore has been created over the supposed presence of Blackwater in Pakistan by the likes of Ahmed Quraishi and Shireen Mazari and websites like Pakistan Spectator, Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz, Pak Alert and articles like ‘American NGO Covers for Blackwater in Pakistan’ or ‘Expel Blackwater and US Marines from Pakistan.’ Who is funding these people? Why are they driving this paranoia? And above all who is benefiting by this?

….The people who are screaming about Blackwater today had no problems with DynCorp entering Pakistan. Why? Because at that time it was Musharraf who had allowed DynCorp into the country. And all these crazy nut jobs – whether Ahmed Quraishi or Shireen Mazari or any other of their co-conspirators – are Musharraf worshippers

…So, the matter begs the question – Why is everyone talking about Blackwater today when none of these screaming and shouting whackos had a problem with DynCorp and others for so many years? The answer might lie not in politics or national security but economics. Rumors about the entry of Blackwater or potential entry into Pakistan have been started so as to block attempts by any other US military contractor from entering Pakistan. The bad publicity, press and media will ensure that no new company would want to enter paving the way for continued benefits for the companies that are already in the market.”

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2 Responses

  1. See Dr Manzur Ejaz’s column
    WASHINGTON DIARY: Huffing and puffing [about the Kerry-Lugar Bill]
    http://www.wichaar.com/news/294/ARTICLE/16621/2009-10-06.html

    Full text of the Bill on Adil Najam’s Pakistaniat site:
    http://pakistaniat.com/2009/10/07/full-text-kerry-lugar-bill/

    And Adil Najam’s comment: Kerry-Lugar Bill: Can It Bridge the Trust Deficit?
    http://pakistaniat.com/2009/10/06/kerry-lugar-bill-pakistan/

    Like

  2. See also Dr Omar Ali’s comment emailed to various lists, below:

    On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 9:13 AM, omar ali wrote:
    There is a lot of (manufactured?) outrage in the Pakistani media about this bill. Interestingly, known establishment (aka ISI?) spokespeople like Kamran Khan are at the forefront of this effort. Is the army trying to fight a rearguard action against shutting down its remaining Jihadi assets? The PMLN has also come out against it very openly. Considering that Mian sahib cannot to the bathroom without checking with King Abdullah, one wonders: What does that mean?
    One possibility is that this whole brouohaha is totally cynical BS that means nothing and will lead to nothing. Given the corrupt and cynical state of Pakistani politics and military psyops, this is not out of the question. OR, it could be prelude to a soft coup of some sort? (but will Anne Patterson be OK with that?) OR, it could be a real effort to get out of some Kerry-lugar conditionalities…but which ones and why? Is it about the monetary oversight? why would professional theives and extortionists be scared of a few accountants? The one thing that is really seriously new in this bill is the explicit emphasis on shutting down jihadis in Punjab and wrapping up the so-called “Quetta shura”. Is the army still hoping to keep some jihadi assets in its pocket? Maybe when GHQ wargamed this thing, they felt they are in a position to get more concessions from America because America is desperate in Afghanistan? That may well be true. It does seem to me that Obama is not eager to fight a long war in Afghanistan and the army may be able to keep some of its pet projects in return for helping America get a face saving exit from Afghanistan. But what if their wargaming is wrong? Thats been known to happen…. Somehow, I keep coming back to the thought “storm in a teacup”, but even storms in teacups can get out of hand…Anyway, whatever it is, one thing is certain, its not happening because someone is worrying about the daily needs of 98% of the people of Pakistan.
    This is a favorite Pakistani occupation: reading the tea leaves to try and find out what is going on. Sitting 10.000 miles away right now, I have no inside info and look forward to your comments…

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