- DOJ reaches largest-ever federal government settlement over auto loan discrimination
- U.S. Navy to start giving gay couples marriage benefits in Japan
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Fla.’s Trey Radel exits rehab, ‘excited’ to resume congressional role
- U.S. nuclear general boozed it up, chased ‘hot women’ in Russia: report
- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
Pakistan, U.S. struggle to define their relationship
Question of the Day
ISLAMABAD — In the aftermath of the secret U.S. raid to kill Osama bin Laden, Pakistani officials want a detailed agreement spelling out U.S. rules of engagement inside Pakistan, officials in both countries say, but Washington’s refusal to sign a binding document threatens to create another point of friction in the long-troubled relationship.
Pakistan military officials want the U.S. to sign what is called a “memorandum of understanding,” an agreement they want to include such details as the number of CIA operatives working in Pakistan, notification before U.S. drone strikes, intelligence gathered and a written promise about Pakistan’s role if al-Qaida’s new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, is found in Pakistan.
“There can be no more gray areas,” said a senior Pakistani military official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak publicly about diplomatic negotiations.
The surge in trouble this year between Pakistan and the U.S. began with the February killing of two Pakistanis by Raymond Davis, a CIA-contracted American spy working without Pakistan’s knowledge. Davis pleaded self-defense but it took weeks of wrangling before he was released in exchange for so-called “blood money” paid to the dead men’s relatives.
The bin Laden raid further infuriated the Pakistani military, which saw it as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty, and it now feels it needs the agreement to ensure it would be involved in — or be able to stop — any similar U.S. attacks in the future. The agreement would also allay fears in Islamabad that the CIA is operating behind Pakistan’s back, and shore up the military’s reputation, which was badly battered when the U.S. helicopters slipped into Pakistan air space undetected for the bin Laden attack.
But former and current American officials say the U.S. will not commit any specifics to paper because it could limit the flexibility of its operations. Instead, the U.S. is preparing a broad statement of principles that could be completed in the coming weeks.
“There will not be a (memorandum of understanding) covering all aspects of the relationship with annexes spelling out permitted behaviors,” said a senior U.S. official. “There is, however, the possibility of a brief bilateral statement of principles that would identify common interests and goals.”
Similar negotiations are taking place between the U.S. and Afghanistan, with Afghan officials seeking detailed guarantees on the future of U.S. troops and aid, but Americans insisting on a vague agreement.
In Pakistan, the U.S. is negotiating with the civilian government, it’s not clear whether the country’s powerful military establishment would veto a broad statement of principles.
John Brennan, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser, said the U.S. wants to “work as closely as possible with the Pakistanis…and we’re doing that on a regular basis.”
He downplayed reports of friction.
“There’s a lot of things that come out in certain places that, I think, overstate the extent of displeasure in certain areas,” he told The Associated Press in an interview. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Relations between Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI, which falls under the military command, and the CIA hit rock bottom after the bin Laden raid. Pakistanis were particularly angered by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta’s stinging comments the ISI was either incompetent or complicit in not finding bin Laden, who was hiding not far from Islamabad. Two senior Pakistani officials, including a former security officer, said Panetta sought to assuage Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani with an apology following those statements.
Yet Panetta’s words continue to reverberate. Pakistani officials fret that there were will be repeat of the bin Laden raid if al-Zawahri is found in Pakistan. They also worry about the new director of the CIA, David Petraeus, who Pakistani officials say has a frosty relationship with Kayani.
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- Dems use new filibuster rules to approve DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas under investigation
- D.C. to tout Obamacare among youth waiting for Air Jordans
- Deportations under Obama plunged to just 1 percent last year
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- TARGET credit card theft swells to 40 million victims
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow