Military Intervention and Peacekeeping Islamabad essay

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The task of stabilizing a collapsed Pakistan may well be beyond the means of the United States and its allies. Rule-of-thumb estimates suggest that a force of more than a million troops would be required for a country of this size. Thus, if we have any hope of success, we would have to act before a complete government collapse, and we would need the cooperation of moderate Pakistani forces (Kagan and O'Hanlon).

Despite significant U.S. aid provisions and a large Pakistani military presence in the tribal regions, Pakistan has not been successful in thwarting the resurgence of al Qaeda -- as well as the 30-40 terrorist groups following in its footsteps -- and the Taliban. There are many barriers to U.S. success, including the potential lack of resolve and capabilities on the part of the Pakistani government and military, as well as the prevailing anti-American sentiment in the region. Due to these aforementioned barriers, as well as the rugged geographic nature of the region, the support of the Pakistani military and public is crucial in routing out the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Pakistan's military, which has conducted numerous engagements in the tribal regions, has limited counterinsurgency capabilities because it previously focused its attention on preparing for conventional war against India. As a result, they are "overly reliant on imprecise mass firepower" that causes significant civilian casualties (Minor).

The continued and large-scale Pakistani army presence in the tribal areas furthers the alienation and resentment of the indigenous population, the support of which is essential to Pakistan's military, which has conducted numerous engagements in the tribal regions, has limited counterinsurgency capabilities because it previously focused its attention on preparing for conventional war against India. As a result, they are "overly reliant on imprecise mass firepower" that causes significant civilian casualties. The continued and large-scale Pakistani army presence in the tribal areas furthers the alienation and resentment of the indigenous population, the support of which is essential to successfully routing the Taliban and al Qaeda. Frontier Corps, Pakistan's paramilitary organization in the FATA, has closer ties with the local inhabitants. However, it is also ill equipped to handle the resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda because it is "riddled with sympathizers, inadequately motivated, suspicious of Islamabad's and Washington's intentions, and poorly trained and equipped for counterterrorism operations" (Minor).

Pakistan's military, which has conducted numerous engagements in the tribal regions, has limited counterinsurgency capabilities because it previously focused its attention on preparing for conventional war against India. As a result, they are "overly reliant on imprecise mass firepower" that causes significant civilian casualties.

The continued and large-scale Pakistani army presence in the tribal areas furthers the alienation and resentment of the indigenous population, the support of which is essential to successfully routing the Taliban and al Qaeda. Frontier Corps, Pakistan's paramilitary organization in the FATA, has closer ties with the local inhabitants. However, it is also ill equipped to handle the resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda because it is "riddled with sympathizers, inadequately motivated, suspicious of Islamabad's and Washington's intentions, and poorly trained and equipped for counterterrorism operations" (Minor).

Strategic Considerations and Analysis

In selecting an effective strategy, the U.S. must consider the interests, objectives, and current concerns of the U.S. In regards to the battle on terrorism in Pakistan. The U.S. must consider the signals that strategies could send to both the Pakistani public and military. In addition, the U.S. must consider the weaknesses in resolve and capabilities currently present in the Pakistani military (Minor).

The following will evaluate the relative merits and deficiencies of U.S. strategic options in Pakistan.

Multi-lateral Military Action

Multi-lateral military action has significant benefits. Specifically, the U.S. military has more adept counterterrorism and counterinsurgency forces than the Pakistani military. A large scale invasion could serve to root out the Taliban and al Qaeda cells. The U.S. could also use drones to target specific al Qaeda or Taliban targets, resulting in less collateral damage than is currently caused by Pakistani military forces. Such intervention would demonstrate a strong Coalition resolve in the fight against terrorism that is currently lacking among many members of the Pakistani military. Operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban could deny the terrorists a safe haven in Pakistan and improve the security situation in Afghanistan (Minor).

However, Coalition action is not a viable option because of the significant disapproval on the part of the Pakistani public and military. Multi-lateral action would likely be perceived as a breach of sovereignty by both the public and the military, as Pakistanis are already very sensitive to signs that the U.S. plays a large role in Pakistan's political and military environment. In previous U.S. drone attacks, the Pakistani public has also expressed strong disapproval of the resultant loss of innocent lives. Additionally, increased U.S. military engagement could enhance suspicions within the Pakistani military concerning U.S. goals in the region. As noted above, the cooperation of the Pakistani public and military is essential in combating terrorism in the region (Minor).

Without Pakistani support, the Coalition would find it exceedingly difficult to navigate the tribal regions and gain enough intelligence to sufficiently cripple the Taliban and al Qaeda forces. An invasion of overwhelming force could result in the collapse of an already weak

Pakistani government. This would run in direct opposition to U.S. interests, as this would likely encourage the further growth of al Qaeda and the Taliban. In addition, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal could be put at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

Lastly, an invasion of overwhelming force is currently not possible. Given current U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. could not commit sufficient troops to Afghanistan. The monetary costs of such an action would also be prohibitively high. Further, the U.S. would lack domestic public support for increased military engagement in the region (Minor).

Coercion

Coercion has the defined benefit of demonstrating U.S. resolve in the war on terrorism. Properly implemented, coercion allows the U.S. To be proactive and avoid appearing to appease Pakistan. With a credible threat, the U.S. could apply pressure to Pakistan and compel it to adopt a stronger response to the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in the tribal regions.

The U.S., however, does not possess a credible threat. As discussed above, the U.S. does not currently have the military capacity to engage in a large-scale invasion of Pakistan. Targeted strikes using drones also do not represent a credible threat. Carried out in a limited fashion, these strikes would be insufficient to eradicate al Qaeda and the Taliban due to the sheer size and rugged geographic nature of the region. Carried out in a larger fashion, these strikes would likely engender a backlash not only from moderate Muslims, but also from the international community. In addition, without the assistance of the Pakistanis the U.S. likely does not have sufficient actionable intelligence to carry out substantial targeted strikes (Minor).

The U.S. also does not possess a credible economic threat either. The Pakistani government has repeatedly stated that it will consider sanctions or conditioned aid to be a signal that the U.S. is only using Pakistan for its short-term interests in Afghanistan. Economic coercive efforts could result in an adversarial relationship between the U.S. And Pakistan. Pakistan could turn to China for economic assistance, as it has been enhancing its relations with China in recent years. As Pakistan is the frontline of the terrorist threat and Pakistani support is critical to winning this war, the U.S. cannot risk alienating the Pakistani government. Pakistan is well aware of this.

Other Feasible Alternatives

One possible plan would be a Special Forces operation with the limited goal of preventing Pakistan's nuclear materials and warheads from getting into the wrong hands. Given the degree to which Pakistani nationalists cherish these assets, it is unlikely the United States would get permission to destroy them. Somehow, American forces would have to team with Pakistanis to secure critical sites and possibly to move the material to a safer place.

A second, broader option would involve supporting the core of the Pakistani armed forces as they sought to hold the country together in the face of an ineffective government, seceding border regions and Al Qaeda and Taliban assassination attempts against the leadership. And the Pakistani armed forces are nothing to sneeze at.

The Pakistan Army has a total standing strength of 520,000, about the size of the Army of the United States, with a reserve element of 500,000. The 180,000 strong National Guard would be useful in guarding vulnerable points. It consists of the Mujahid Force of 60,000, organized in battalions, some with light air defense capability, the Janbaz Force of 100,000, whose members are intended to serve close to their homes (Minor).

This would amass a sizable combat force -- not only from the United States, but ideally also other Western powers and moderate Muslim nations. But is it enough?

Even if we were not so committed in Iraq and…[continue]

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