So do you think we’re on the prepay or the COD plan with Pakistan?

May 9, 2005

Let me share something personal: I love speculating on probable tit-for-tats in US foreign policy.  It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling that even if I detest this messy, Machiavellian world in which we all unfortunately live, I kinda understand it.  🙂

Today’s example: Am I the only person who believes there’s a connection between the following pair of recent events in the news?

  1. Pakistan’s capture of Al Qaeda "Third in Command" Abu Farraj al-Libbi and subsequent sweep up of over two dozen other suspected associates(Sidenote: I put "Third in Command" in quotes because, as one can read in the above linked BBC stories, some have argued that in the wake of US and Pakistani operations, #1 man Osama bin Laden and #2 man Ayman al-Zawahiri would at the very least no longer place their trust in any one person to serve #3 man / Director of Operations capacity, if indeed they chose to hew to such a standard hierarchy at all.  Moreover, some have claimed US officials may have confused Abu Farraj al-Libbi with another Abu al-Libbi who is suspected of significant involvement in the 1998 Africa embassy bombings because the common appellation al-Libbi simply means "Libyan".)
  2. In March, the Bush Administration, reversing a policy suspending arms transfers to Pakistan that had held since his father’s administration, moved to allow the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. Moreover, just yesterday, it approved the sale of more modern versions of the air-to-sea Harpoon and air-to-air Sidewinder missiles to replace the aging ones purchased by Pakistan in the 1980’s.   

My main question is: Are we on a prepay plan with Pakistan?  A regular installment plan?  Or a cash-on-delivery plan?

If we’re on some sort of prepay plan, then is there any reason to think that the recent reversal of US policy on arms transfers to Pakistan corroborates this bit of seemingly wild speculation heard Sunday on Meet the Press from a Mr. Gary Schroen, a recently retired CIA operative who apparently led the first CIA team into Afghanistan after 9/11 and who now is on a book tour promoting his memoir of that mission?

MR. RUSSERT:  Before you go, will we ever capture Osama bin Laden?

MR. SCHROEN:  I think with the capture of Al-Libbi recently–gives some hope that the Pakistanis will cooperate if we put enough pressure on them, and maybe we end up doing it unilaterally but I think we’re going to get him within the next three to four months.

MR. RUSSERT:  Three to four months.

MR. SCHROEN:  Well, that’s my hope.

MR. RUSSERT:  From your lips to God’s ears.  Gary Schroen, we thank you very much, and our condolences on the loss of your mom, Fern, on Friday.

MR. SCHROEN:  Oh, thank you very much.

(Hat tip: Justin Logan)


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