Sunday, March 02, 2008

U.S. Salami-Slices Its Way To Partaking In Counterterrorism Operations On Pakistani Soil

Thanks to Bob Pape's class on grand strategy, I now know what salami-slicing means. Here's the relevant part of the Wiki definition:
"Salami slicing" can (often pejoratively) refer to any practice of doing something in small parts to achieve something that would otherwise be impossible or extremely difficult.

We all know that for many months now, the U.S. has been clamoring for Pakistan to "do more" in the fight against militancy, especially on the border areas with Afghanistan. The U.S. is frustrated at a perceived lack of ability and/or willingness on the part of Pakistani armed forces to do the deed. Of course, they cannot take action themselves - openly anyway - for fear of inciting a major reaction and precipitating a massive movement against its ally in the country, President Musharraf. Yet they are not content do stand idly by and do nothing in the face of this threat. So what to do? Salami slice.

First, the U.S. and Pakistan agreed to share intelligence on militants, their whereabouts, and other logistical matters. Then Pakistan secretly gave permission to the U.S. for military strikes on Pakistani soil from unmanned aircraft, so long as the danger of civilian casualties was "low". Then Pakistan secretly gave permission to the U.S. to widen the scope of military strikes, and no longer required the U.S. to confirm the identity of suspected militants before striking at them.

Now the U.S. is going to increase its training of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary organization that is one of the arms with which Pakistan has attempted to tackle militancy on the border. What's the big deal about more training? It wouldn't be a hugely important matter, given such training operations have already been underway for years. But check out this tidbit from an
article in the NYT detailing the move:
For several years, small teams of American Special Operations forces have trained their Pakistani counterparts in counterinsurgency tactics. But the 40-page classified plan now under review at the United States Central Command to help train the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force of about 85,000 members recruited from ethnic groups on the border, would significantly increase the size and scope of the American training role in the country.

United States trainers initially would be restricted to training compounds, but with Pakistani consent could eventually accompany Pakistani troops on missions “to the point of contact” with militants, as American trainers now do with Iraqi troops in Iraq, a senior American military official said.

"To the point of contact"? What exactly does that mean? It means that we could soon be seeing the Pakistani and American militaries in joint offensives, similar to the type of operations we see in Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, it means that the U.S. has salami-sliced its way to doing what it pretty much has always wanted to do in Pakistan - maintain an out-of-sight posture, but retain the right to put boots on the ground if need arise.

Some caveats: first, this is merely a plan right now. It needs the approval at high levels of both the Pentagon as well as the Pakistan military. Second, the likelihood of American boots on the ground depends in large part how much the plan progresses beyond its present constitution, which in turn depends on General Asfhaq Kayani and his strategic and tactical calculations of how much political capital this will cost in the future. But those caveats aside, the trend in military cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan is unmistakable, and seems to be working inexorably to the point where we will see either U.S. Marines or U.S. Special Forces on Pakistani soil in the not-too-distant future.


Moss J said...

Soon we will become another Saudi Arabia.
But I wonder. Many fear that US presence is bad for our soveriegnty. But what harm could they poossibly do? We have no oil for them to exploit. No natural resources. The only advantage for them being in Pakistan is strategic.
People say, "oh, they will meddle in our government". So what? Its not like our government is a well oiled machine. And I think it is stupid for people to say that they will "conquer" Pakistan like they did with Iraq.
I dont see how we could be badly affected by the US being here aside of angering the mullahs.

Ahsan said...

ever since i took a trip up north with NB and his dad in the summer of '06, i've maintained (only half facetiously) that we should hand over sovereignty to China. watching them build roads and bridges and drill holes in mountains, i became convinced that we should let them rule our country. they would ensure - as they used to say about Mussolini - that the trains will run on time.

Anonymous said...

Lettuce hand it over to the Chinese.

Nelly said...

It wasn't me

i-hope-you-know said...

Anonymous: It's Let us, not lettuce. Lettuce is a vegetable (make note of that).


NELLY said...




zeyd said...

Wait, so do you really think that the marines/special forces haven't already tread on Pakistani soil? Why would you believe that? I wouldn't be surprised if they've already been here for the last 7 years.

AKS said...

This is hardly the only instance of the U.S. pigs invading this sovereign land of the pure. My eldest uncle fondly remembers the time when he would get his groove on with American soldiers in the clubs and bars of 60's Karachi.

Despicable behaviour!

Sadly, his depraved and senile mind can't comprehend how wonderful a life we lead now that we've purged our land of all sin.
Then again, I guess one can't blame him or those of his generation. These golden oldies just belonged to a different time. This was a time of unimaginable evil, a time when the love for the Gora Saab and everything white was ingrained deep in the psyche of the natives that they didn't hesitate in doing the twist again.

Thank the lord that we have finally found the righteous path.

So let us rejoice in the glory of a mind free from a disease that had plagued the pure Muslim soul since the white man destroyed the Mughal harems(praise be to the harem).

And let us praise the lord that now that our time is no longer taken up by the flesh markets of Saddar's discoteques we have finally been blessed with the opportunity of watching Indian Music Videos and other porn on saturday nights.

Please join me in the prayer that this new eden of ours never changes. Amen.

AKS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ahsan said...

farooq and faraz:
please shut up. seriously. it's just getting tiring and doesn't even approach funny. so once again...shut up.

they've been here only in a training capacity (that too Special Ops, no Marines). but what i'm saying is we're not terribly far off from the day when they're partaking in operations.


Asad said...

yes... praise be to the harem.