8/29 "Pak Opportunity" : "Build Back Better": Why Pakistan is Most Critical to US Agenda

The Grand Chessboard
"Geopolitics has moved from the regional to the global dimension, with preponderance over the entire Eurasian continent serving as the central basis for global primacy. The United States, a non-Eurasian power, now enjoys international primacy, with its power directly deployed on three peripheries of the Eurasian continent ... But it is on the globe’s most important playing field – Eurasia – that a potential rival to America might at some point arise"
Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 1997 (Obama advisor), The Grand Chessboard


recent made-in-USA SWAT Valley background:
NB: Over two million Pakistanis have been forced to flee homes in the Swat valley and adjoining areas of the Malakland division, just one of Pakistan’s Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) due to U.S. pressured Pakistani military operations to oust the Taliban from the valley and surrounding areas.
6-6-10 Pakistan refugees a 'major, major crisis': Holbrooke
CFR Holbrooke's Speech on Travel to Pakistan, June 2009
Pakistan is absolutely critical to our most vital national security interests... success in Afghanistan requires success and stability in Pakistan. The two issues are integrally related... the shorthand Af-Pak is not a popular phrase in Pakistan or Afghanistan for obvious reasons. And we prefer not to use it in public. But the reason for it was to stress the interrelatedness of the two, something which had been neglected in the last eight years. And in that sense, the trilateral summit hosted by President Obama and Secretary Clinton on May 6th and 7th was a very big step forward. The amount of attention we’re giving Pakistan is a big step forward. And I deliberately did not go to Afghanistan on this trip to emphasize that our focus on this trip, at presidential instructions, was Pakistan....
I want to stress that the refugees must be able to return. Those camps and those temporary facilities cannot harden into a permanent refugee settlement as has happened in so many other parts of the world. So the test is not simply the military phase, but the ability of the government to get those people back into their homes as quickly as possible and provide them security. I think what you have quoted American officials as saying is my view, too. All of us are impressed by the military’s initiatives in recent weeks. But the military themselves say they fully understand that the test is still to come, the second test. But I want to underline, because so much of what we say here bounces out in Islamabad in a different context, that we are very supportive of what the government is doing, and we look for every way we can to support them. And while we’re all focused on the relief effort now, it is the reconstruct – it is the return and reconstruction phase and security to be provided them that will be the basic test...
The area on the Pakistan side of the border, the area covered by these ROZs, Reconstruction Opportunity Zones, is where the refugees are. And when they go back to houses which have been destroyed and shops which have been destroyed and try to rebuild their lives, an opportunity for them to have this kind of chance through this bill is all the more important. This bill has been around for three or four years, but it never got to this stage before. We have a real possibility of getting it passed in the next few days and weeks. And it’s never been more important, because it is exactly where the refugees are.

could not stop national anti-occupation resistance
“The goal is to never have a U.S. footprint on any of these efforts”
U.S. Forces Step Up Pakistan Presence
7-20-10 Wall Street Journal By JULIAN E. BARNES
WASHINGTON—U.S. Special Operations Forces have begun venturing out with Pakistani forces on aid projects, deepening the American role in the effort to defeat Islamist militants in Pakistani territory that has been off limits to U.S. ground troops. The expansion of U.S. cooperation is significant given Pakistan’s deep aversion to allowing foreign military forces on its territory. The Special Operations teams join the aid missions only when commanders determine there is relatively little security risk, a senior U.S. military official said, in an effort to avoid direct engagement that would call attention to U.S. participation.Pakistani troops earlier this month in South Waziristan, where the country has tried to quell militant groups....the official emphasized the joint missions aren’t supposed to be combat operations, and Americans often participate in civilian garb...“This whole exercise could be counterproductive if people see U.S. boots on the ground” a Pakistani official said...
Today, the U.S. has about 120 trainers in the country, and the program is set to expand again with new joint missions to oversee small-scale development projects aimed at winning over tribal leaders, according to officials... Such aid projects are a pillar of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy, which the U.S. hopes to pass on to the Pakistanis through the training missions...Providing money to U.S. troops to spend in communities they are trying to protect has been a tactic used for years to fight insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.“You have to bring something to the dance,” said the senior military official. “And the way to do it is to have cash ready to do everything from force protection to other things that protect the population.” Congressional leaders last month approved $10 million in funding for the aid missions, which will focus reconstruction projects in poor tribal areas that are off-limits to foreign civilian aid workers.
The Pakistani government warned the Pentagon that a more visible U.S. military presence could undermine the mission of pacifying the border region, which has provided a haven for militants staging attacks in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. The U.S. has already aroused local animosity with drone strikes targeting militants in the tribal areas, though the missile strikes have the tacit support of the Pakistani government and often aid the Pakistani army’s campaign against the militants...
In Pakistan, the U.S. military helps train both the regular military and the Frontier Corps, a force drawn from residents of the tribal regions but led by Pakistani Army officers. “The Frontier Corps are more accepting partners,” said the [U.S.] official...
The regular Pakistani military also operates in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but are less willing to go on missions with U.S. forces off the base, in part because they believe appearing to accept U.S. help will make them look weak, the senior U.S. military official said. The Pakistani official said the military simply doesn’t need foreign help. During the past two years, Pakistan has stepped up military operations against the militant groups that operate in the tribal areas. Although Washington has praised the Pakistani offensives, Pentagon officials have said Pakistan’s military needs help winning support among tribal elders. If successful, the joint missions and projects may help the Pakistani military retain control of areas in South Waziristan, the Swat valley and other border regions they have cleared of militants.
In Pakistan, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad will retain final approval for all projects, according to Defense officials. But...have Pakistani military forces hand out the goods bought with the funding or pay any local workers hired. (all emphases added by digest) "The goal is to never have a U.S. footprint on any of these efforts,” said a congressional staffer.

humanitarian clairvoyance
Jan. 21, 2010
"Leading international humanitarian assistance efforts to help displaced Pakistanis with recovery as they return to their homes and rebuild their lives"

21 January 2010 Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Stabilization Strategy
www.america.gov/ st/ texttrans-english/ 2010/ January/ 20100203144410eaifas0.0800854.html?CP.rss=true
U.S. Department of State Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Message from the Secretary of State Strategy to counter extremism, Support development

I have made it a top priority to elevate the role of diplomacy and development alongside defense in our national security strategy. Nowhere is this more urgent than in our efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan....

• Committing sizable resources – including fully funding the landmark Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill – toward high-impact projects addressing the challenges that most affect the Pakistani people.
We will increase direct assistance through Pakistani institutions to enhance their capacity and to bolster economic and political reform.
• Sustaining and expanding counterinsurgency assistance to support Pakistan’s military, police, and intelligence operations against militant groups.
• Leading international humanitarian assistance efforts to help displaced Pakistanis with recovery as they return to their homes and rebuild their lives
• Expanding our public diplomacy effort to build increased people-to-people contacts, convey our policies effectively, and challenge the extremists’ narrative [strategic communications]

Report suggests US and Pakistan military are colluding to 'rescue' another sovereign state deliberately destroyed by US imperialism, as the digest commented earlier
Chances of military rule in Pak: US report
8-3-10 "Security and Environment in Pakistan" (CRS) (excerpts--Congress does not permit CRS to make its publications directly available to the public)
US Congressional report ]CRS] for US lawmakers: “Environmental stresses, combined with other socio-economic and political stresses on Pakistan, have the potential to further weaken an already weak Pakistani state...Such a scenario would make it more difficult to achieve the US goal of neutralising anti-Western terrorists in Pakistan ... could contribute to Pakistan’s decline as a fully functioning state, creating new, or expanding existing, largely ungoverned areas...The creation, or expansion, of ungoverned areas, or areas of limited control by the government of Pakistan, is not in US strategic interests given the history of such areas used by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups as a base for operations against US interests in the region,” ... Alan Kronstadt & others including CRS Report RL33498, Pakistan-U.S. Relations, CRS Report RL34763, Islamist Militancy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region and U.S. Policy.

CRS Security and the Environment in Pakistan (excerpts)
Aug.3, 2010 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov R41358
Islamist Extremism
Islamist extremism in Pakistan is a direct security threat to the United States, Pakistan, and other countries.54 Environmental stress in Pakistan can contribute to the growth and sustenance of Islamic extremism in the region. One documented example connecting environmental stress and Islamic extremism was the major earthquake in Pakistan in 2005. It was reported that militant groups in Pakistan played an active role in providing aid after the earthquake. These actions were done to bolster their image and possibly gain recruits. Natural disasters leading to a weak government response has the potential to create discord among displaced populations. In some cases, it might empower fringe, militant groups that pose a security threat to the country; in other cases, it might result in protests and disassociation with the ruling party.
Pakistan’s Periphery
Key existent stresses on the Pakistani state stem from autonomous and secessionist tendencies in Pakistan’s western borderlands, particularly in the Federally Administered tribal Areas (FATA), Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) (recently renamed the Kyber Pakhtunkhwa), and Baluchistan. Pakistan’s central government has never extended the same degree of control over these areas that it does over its core in Punjab and Sindh. This was also the case under the previous British colonial administration. A deteriorating environment due to increased stress on the land that could come about as a result of potential demographic pressure could further weaken central government control over these areas. It was reported in April 2010 that militants were still using sanctuaries in Pakistan’s FATA to strike U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.55
Issues for Consideration
Pakistan is of great interest to the national security of the United States. U.S. interests are primarily focused on Pakistan’s ability to control its territory to prevent it from being used as a haven for anti-American terrorists and prevent inter-state conflict with India that would be regionally destabilizing or worse, given their nuclear weapons.64 As a result, a stable Pakistan that can extend its full writ throughout the land in order to prevent various regions of Pakistan from becoming ungoverned areas from which anti-Western terrorists can operate is of direct national security importance. To this end, U.S. assistance may increasingly take into consideration the potential negative impact that environmental stress, particularly water shortages and its impact on food security, may have as a threat multiplier. There is a potential need to prevent these exacerbating environmental factors from becoming the tipping point leading to a more chaotic situation in Pakistan. In April 2010 Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke stated that the United States was indeed putting more emphasis on energy and water issues in its assistance programs with Pakistan.65 (For an in- depth discussion of U.S. assistance to Pakistan see CRS Report RL33498, Pakistan-U.S.
Relations, by K. Alan Kronstadt.)

3-27-09 White Paper of the Interagency Policy Group's Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan
www.whitehouse.gov/ assets/ documents/ afghanistan_pakistan_white_paper_final.pdf

8-2-10 Flood disaster creates opportunity for U.S.-Pakistan relations
The devastating flood in Pakistan has create an opportunity for the U.S. government to show its commitment to the country and improve America's tattered image...in a country that harbors strong aversions to U.S. influence and remains deeply skeptical of American intentions, progress is likely to be slow.
"These kinds of crises are opportunities for the U.S. to get it right more than before and make a dent in Pakistani attitudes toward the U.S, but there's an underlying structural issue that isn't going to be overcome rapidly, if at all," said Daniel Markey, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.The last major improvement in attitudes toward the U.S. in Pakistan was during and immediately after U.S. efforts to respond to the 2005 earthquake near Kashmir, Markey said..
But extremist groups will surely try to use the flood to improve their currently low standing among the public by providing their own assistance efforts, as they did during the earthquake. "In each of these instances, you can lose ground as well," Markey said. The large infrastructure, water and energy projects that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled during her visit to Pakistan last month are aimed specifically at getting maximum bang for the buck in terms of changing Pakistani attitudes toward the U.S. -- targeting the middle- and upper-class workers and industrialists who stand to benefit most from economic growth. "Our goal is, and the secretary's goal of her trip, was to convince Pakistan that U.S. commitment to the region is not short-run, is not limited to our current military engagement," said Vali Nasr, a top advisor to Special Representative Richard Holbrooke... A significant portion of the Pakistani news media is avowedly anti-American, complicating U.S. and Pakistani government efforts to get the word out.
Back at home, the Obama administration's outreach to Pakistan is getting favorable review in some unlikely quarters, such as the Republican caucus in the Senate. Things generally are the best they have been with Pakistan in a long time. And this is one area where President Obama doesn't get enough credit," GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said on CNN's State of the Union. "His team, in my view, have brought the Pakistanis into the fight better than anybody in recent memory. They are cooperating with us more. They are allowing us to use these drone attacks ... General Kayani has been a good partner in taking the fight to the frontier regions."

Are Pakistan’s devastating floods the chance for Washington to turn crisis into opportunity?
Pakistan flood relief: Could it undercut Taliban influence?
August 3, 2010 Washington, Christian Science Monitor
The US is widely disliked in Pakistan, feeding the Taliban and terrorism there. But if the US played a major role in Pakistan flood relief, it could win many hearts and minds, some experts say. Are Pakistan’s devastating floods the chance for Washington to turn crisis into opportunity? After a massive tsunami hit parts of Indonesia in December 2004, rapid and substantial US aid had the effect of boosting America’s image in an Islamic country. Now, as the toll rises from floods in Pakistan’s remote and restive northwest, experts are calling on the US to seize the moment and come to the region’s rescue. In addition to humanitarian aims, they argue, the aid could do as much or perhaps more than billions of dollars in programmed assistance toward winning the hearts and minds of Pakistanis. “Given the important benefits this would have for the Pakistani people, as well as for the US-Pakistani relationship, stepping forward with critical aid right now would be a win-win for both... stepped-up US assistance in ways that would be readily visible could only boost the US image in Pakistan which is poor. A June poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Survey showed 68% of Pakistanis polled have an unfavorable view of the US.” says Karl Inderfurth, former assistant secretary of State for South Asian affairs...“Those numbers clearly indicate the depth of anti-Americanism in Pakistan," says Inderfurth. "If we want to be able to pursue our common security interests, we need to undertake the kind of practical assistance than can help turn those numbers around.”...
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the US “will work closely with the government of Pakistan to ensure aid reaches those people who need it most.” The emphasis on cooperation with the Pakistani government seemed designed to counter widespread Pakistani perceptions that their own government is unresponsive and out of touch...one of the factors fueling support for the country’s militants – particularly for those in the northwest, a region the government has often ignored. But it also offers other avenues for progress, some Pakistan experts add. The US should emphasize not only its cooperation with Pakistan but also the Pakistan government's accomplishments.

US races to trump militants in getting aid to Pakistan flood victims
US effort to help victims of the Pakistan flood likely to expand beyond the $10 million already pledged, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said
August 4, 2010, Christian Science Monitor
The United States is in a race with militant organizations in Pakistan to respond first and most effectively to the millions of Pakistani people who are the victims of the worst monsoon flooding in nearly a century. As part of the US campaign, Secretary of State Clinton spoke not only of the expanding US response to the floods, but of terrorist actions some groups are carrying out in the disaster zone.

8-6-10 U.S. envoy to Pakistan: We’re beating the extremists on flood relief

Pakistan floods displace millions, aid welcome from US or from militants
August 6, 2010 Lahore, Pakistan, Christian Science Monitor
As Pakistan struggles with its worst floods in 80 years, much has been made in the West of the influence of hard-line Islamist charities providing relief in a region where the US is trying to win hearts and minds. But in Pakistan, the hope appears simply to be to get as much help to the region as possible – and quickly. The US has pledged $35 million thus far to battle the worst Pakistan floods in 80 years. Meanwhile, a militant group has some 3,000 volunteers working around the country. Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a group banned by the UN Security Council for links with the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba, believed to be behind the Mumbai (Bombay) attacks in India, has 3,000 volunteers working around the country and is operating nine medical camps...Jamaat-ud-Dawa deputy spokesman Yahya Mujahid told the Monitor his group welcomed US aid efforts. “Everyone should be digging in for humanity’s sake, and we shouldn’t be politicizing the matter. We aren’t reaching out with an agenda in mind. The whole world should be putting in aid, America or whoever else, we want everyone to contribute,” he said in a phone interview from Mianwali in Punjab.

U.S. Dispatches Disaster Assistance Team, 8-9-10
In recognition of the growing humanitarian assistance needs outlined by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah has dispatched a special Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Islamabad to coordinate U.S. response in support of Pakistan's government.The DART is composed of experienced humanitarian relief experts - many of whom worked in Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake - who are working with Pakistan's national and provincial disaster management agencies to monitor assistance requirements and to quickly fill identified gaps by acquiring relief supplies, locally if possible."We are here to help Pakistan's government meet the most pressing needs of the people affected by the flooding," DART team leader William S. Berger said. "Our team is working closely with the National Disaster Management Authority to meet health, food, shelter, and other needs as they arise. DART teams are only activated for major disasters, the most recent following the January earthquake in Haiti. A DART deployed to Pakistan in 2009 to provide relief to displaced families in Malakand and in 2005 following the earthquake.
Last week, the U.S. announced a $35 million contribution to assist Pakistani flood victims, including $15 million to the U.N. World Food Program to purchase wheat locally and dispatch prepositioned food for emergency use, $10 million to expand existing emergency programs and add programs that address needs identified by the Government of Pakistan, and $10 million in emergency assistance to support health, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene programs.
To date, the U.S. has supplied food to about 158,500 people through its partnership with the World Food Program and is currently reaching about 35,000 to 49,000 people per day.

The United States stands ready to provide further assistance as additional needs are identified by the Government of Pakistan....
8-10-10 USAID Sends Additional Aid to Pakistan Flood Victims
WASHINGTON,PRNewswire-USNewswire/ The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an expansion of its ongoing humanitarian assistance for victims of flooding in Pakistan, which included providing shelter materials, emergency food supplies and preventative medical care to curb potential disease outbreaks. The additional $20 million brings the total financial assistance to date from the United States to $55 million.As the flood waters recede and the overall needs in Pakistan become better known, these contributions may continue to grow. This new money will be used to expand existing programs and activities through flood-affected regions of the country, including in the south, where there has been a light humanitarian presence until now. The initial funding was used for flood assistance in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where USAID is already working with a network of NGOs and UN agencies. USAID continues to actively monitor the flood's path. As it moves south, the additional funding announced today will be used to expand grants to NGOs and UN Agencies to allow them to work further south, in Sindh and Baluchistan Provinces... The United States stands ready to provide further assistance as additional needs are identified by the Government of Pakistan....

8-20-10 Pakistan Bans Islamist Aid, In Some Places the Only Aid
Pakistan to clamp down on Islamist militant charities
By Zeeshan Haider, ISLAMABAD
(Reuters) – Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari warned that militants were trying to exploit the floods to promote their agendas — as they did after a devastating earthquake in Kashmir in 2005.Pakistan said it will clamp down on charities linked to Islamist militants amid fears their involvement in flood relief could exploit anger against the government and undermine the fight against groups like the Taliban.Islamist charities moved swiftly to fill the vacuum left by a government overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster to reach millions of people in dire need of shelter, food and drinking water... "The banned organizations are not allowed to visit flood-hit areas," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters. "We will arrest members of banned organizations collecting funds and will try them under the Anti-Terrorism Act."...
The US led a stream of pledges of funds for Pakistan during a special meeting of the U.N. General Assembly Thursday. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised a further $60 million, bringing to more than $150 million the contribution Washington would make toward emergency flood relief...Pakistan officials are due to meet the International Monetary Fund next week...Pakistan turned to the IMF in 2008 for emergency financing to avert a balance of payments crisis and shore up reserves, agreeing to a set of conditions including revenue targets. IMF meetings will start on August 23 and were scheduled for even before the floods began. In May, Pakistan received $1.13 billion, the fifth tranche of a $11.3 billion IMF loan.

*Afghan NGO Safety Office group gives security advice to the 1,500 aid groups registered in the country.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/world/asia/09afghan.html?ref=world
* Remote Medical Solutions International clients include Federal Gov. and Military http://www.remotemedical.com/
Understanding the needs and process for military ordering and shipments, Remote Medical International holds both VA and GSA contracts for the majority of our products and services. Military solutions include custom training courses for entire units, full-blown clinics in Afghanistan...

AfPak Channel Daily Brief 8-26
USAID chief Rajiv Shah reportedly accidentally visited a relief camp in Sukkur, the third largest city in Sindh, run at least partially by a banned charity linked to Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the militant group linked to the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai (Post, Times, Nation). Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) according to a U.S. official, threatened to attack foreign aid workers in Pakistan, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson encouraged U.S. businesses to invest in Pakistan's reconstruction (Dawn/AFP).
AfPak Channel Daily Brief 8-27
A spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan accused the U.S. of having ulterior motives in providing relief to Pakistani flood victims, commenting, "No relief is reaching the affected people, and when the victims are not receiving help, this horde of foreigners is not acceptable to us at all," hinting at attacks on aid workers (AP, ET, NYT)

'Progress': U.S. military 'aid' gets 'humanitarian' boots into 'failed state' Pakistan: US may 'delay drawdown'
8-16-10 AfPak Channel Daily Brief
The AfPak Channel is a special project of the New America Foundation and Foreign Policy.
Making the case
Gen. David Petraeus in print interviews and on TV this weekend defended "progress" he saw in the Afghan war and said he could recommend a delay in the drawdown of American forces in the country, scheduled to begin in July 2011 (NYT, Wash Post, AJE, Tel). Petraeus said he would give Obama his "best professional military advice" about the situation surrounding a drawdown, and urged time for the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan (Wash Post, Guardian, CBS). Petraeus also discussed Taliban reconciliation, condemned WikiLeaks, and called hunting down Osama bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in a remote region on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a top priority (AFP, Daily Times, AFP)

8-24-10 The 53rd reported drone strike this year killed at least 20 people yesterday just outside the main town of North Waziristan (Reuters, Geo, Dawn/AFP, CNN, AJE, Daily Times, AP). There have now been as many drone strikes reported so far in 2010 as there were in 2009 (NAF)
The AfPak Channel is a special project of the New America Foundation and Foreign Policy

8-27-10 UN: Another Million Displaced in last two days by Pakistani Floods
Voice Of America News 27 August 2010, http://www.voanews.com/english/news/UN-Pakistan-Floods-Displace-1-Millio...
The U.S. State Department said Thursday there is "credible information" that Pakistani militants may target foreign relief workers and Pakistani officials involved in flood relief efforts. U.S. officials said they are taking the threats seriously and working with Pakistan to boost security....State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley declined detailed comment, citing intelligence considerations....NATO said Friday it was dispatching two more aircraft to Pakistan with more than 100 tons of relief goods - including power generators, water tanks and baby food. The aircraft were scheduled to leave Germany and arrive in Pakistan in the next two days...Charities linked to Pakistan-based militant groups also have been providing assistance to flood victims....A Taliban spokesman told the AP Thursday the United States and western groups providing flood assistance had ulterior motives, and the presence of hordes of foreigners in Pakistan is unacceptable.... http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/US-Cites-Credible-Threats-to-Pa...

"Build back better" -- for U.S. Hegemony
"U.S. officials insist the disaster be treated as an opportunity for Pakistan to “leapfrog” ahead...“This is going to be very, very difficult, this is a huge scale disaster,” [USAID Director] Dr. Shah said. “But we have to continue to be optimistic and look for those opportunities to help Pakistan use this to build back better.”
Pakistan Flood Sets Back Infrastructure by Years
SUKKUR, Pakistan — Men waded waist deep all week wedging stones with their bare hands into an embankment to hold back Pakistan’s surging floodwaters. It was a rudimentary and ultimately vain effort to save their town. On Thursday, the waters breached the levee, a demoralizing show of how fragile Pakistan’s infrastructure remains, and how overwhelming the task is to save it. Even as Pakistani and international relief officials scrambled to save people and property, they despaired that the nation’s worst natural calamity had ruined just about every physical strand that knit this country together — roads, bridges, schools, health clinics, electricity and communications. The destruction could set Pakistan back many years, if not decades, further weaken its feeble civilian administration and add to the burdens on its military.,, distract from American requests for Pakistan to battle Taliban insurgents, who threatened foreign aid workers delivering flood relief on Thursday.
It is already disrupting vital supply lines to American forces in Afghanistan...The mountainous Swat Valley, struggling to rebuild from the army’s campaign against Taliban insurgents, lost every bridge and whole sections of its roads....
One estimate, in a joint study from Ball State University and the University of Tennessee, put the total cost of the flood damage at $7.1 billion. That is nearly a fifth of Pakistan’s budget, and it exceeds the total cost of last year’s five-year aid package to Pakistan passed by Congress....
Great chunks of the famed Karakoram Highway — a celebrated feat of high-altitude engineering built by the Chinese over two decades — have disappeared as cliffs fell away in the torrent. The route, which winds hundreds of miles from the Chinese border in the Himalayas to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, may be impassable for years... A number of hydroelectric dams in the north being built by China, have also been damaged...
One estimate, in a joint study from Ball State University and the University of Tennessee, put the total cost of the flood damage at $7.1 billion... nearly a fifth of Pakistan’s budget, it exceeds the total cost of last year’s five-year aid package to Pakistan passed by Congress....
The United States has agreed to help the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank conduct a damage and needs assessment for the Pakistani government. The figure is bound to be big. The recovery cost will have to be met by a mixture of domestic money, international donations and loans from development banks, the administrator of A.I.D., Dr. Rajiv Shah, said after a tour of flooded regions on Wednesday...The United States has already redirected $50 million of the aid package to help with the flood recovery...“Priorities will necessarily have to shift and shift so that there is more of a recovery and reconstruction approach than people were thinking just a few months ago,” he told reporters during a trip to Sukkur. He and other American officials insist the disaster be treated as an opportunity for Pakistan to “leapfrog” ahead...“This is going to be very, very difficult, this is a huge scale disaster,” Dr. Shah said. “But we have to continue to be optimistic and look for those opportunities to help Pakistan to use this to build back better.”

omitted from the following excerpts is liberal author's major concern that u.s. 'friendly-faced' fascism 'endangers our national security'
Mass Assassinations Lie at the Heart of America's Military Strategy in the Muslim World
By Fred Branfman
...The U.S. has conducted assassination programs in the Third World for decades, but the actual killing -- directed and financed by the C.I.A. -- has been largely left to local paramilitary and police forces. This has now has changed dramatically. What is unprecedented today is the vast number of Americans directly assassinating Muslims -- through greatly expanded U.S. military Special Operations teams, U.S. drone strikes and private espionage networks run by former CIA assassins and torturers. Most significant is the expanding geographic scope of their killing. While CENTCOM Commander from October 2008 until July 2010, General Petraeus received secret and unprecedented permission to unilaterally engage in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, former Russian Republics, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, the Horn of Africa, and wherever else he deems necessary... U.S. military and CIA officials have the right to unilaterally and secretly murder anyone they choose in any nation on earth...these vastly expanded military assassination teams are not subject to serious civilian control....
Never before has a nation unleashed so many assassins in so many foreign nations around the world...9,000 Special Operations soldiers are based in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/dod/socom.htm]... best described as unprecedented, remote-control, large-scale "mechanized assassination."...worldwide “Assassination Inc.” unique in human affairs....The most significant aspect of this new and expanded assassination policy is President Obama's authorizing clandestine U.S. military personnel to conduct it.[ http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/world/15shadowwar.html]
In roughly a dozen countries -- from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics crippled by ethnic and religious strife -- the United States has significantly increased military and intelligence operations, pursuing the enemy using robotic drones and commando teams, paying contractors to spy and training local operatives to chase terrorists (Military) Special Operations troops under secret "Execute Orders" have conducted spying missions that were once the preserve of civilian intelligence agencies.

N.Y. Times Aug. 14: [The CIA has] broadened its drone campaign beyond selective strikes against Qaeda leaders and now regularly obliterates suspected enemy compounds and logistics convoys, just as the military would grind down an enemy force.

Reuters May 5: CIA received approval to target a wider range of targets in Pakistan's tribal areas, including low-level fighters whose identities may not be known, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. Former intelligence officials acknowledged that in many, if not most cases, the CIA had little information about the foot soldiers killed in the strikes.

We'll intervene whenever we decide it's in our national security interest. And if you don't like it, lump it. Get used to it, world!" -- Duane Clarridge, interviewed by John Pilger in "The War on Democracy" Clarridge is presently advising CIA assassination efforts in Pakistan. ("Duane R. Clarridge, a profane former C.I.A. officer who ran operations in Central America and was indicted in the Iran-contra scandal, turned up this year helping run a Pentagon-financed private spying operation in Pakistan.") Watch an extraordinary three-minute video interview with Clarridge that reveals the true face of U.S. policy in the Muslim world.

Pakistan is geo-strategically the most important South Asian state
Geo-strategic importance of South Asian States
Sajida Khan Niazi http://dailymailnews.com/0810/16/Editorial_Column/DMColumn.php
South Asia has seven states, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Srilanka.
Pakistan is geo-strategically more important than other South Asian states, a bridge between South Asia and South West Asia;
Iran and Afghanistan are rich in energy resources while India and China are lacking of, so they need access to these states and Pakistan can provide them route to Iran and Afghanistan, IPI and APTTA are evidence of geo-strategic importance of Pakistan. Pakistan is cheaper way for India for IPI project, India can trade with Iran with other routs also but those are expensive ways, but Pakistan is much cheaper way of trade for India not only with Iran but also with Afghanistan and Central Asian states. APTTA, India and Afghanistan wants trade Chaman to Wagha border through Pakistan, Pakistan is bridge between Afghanistan and India, APTTA has serious consequences for Pakistan this is other story, but Pakistan geo-strategic location is very important for these states. Pakistan geo-strategic location, some times had made trouble for Pakistan as during cold war United States use Pakistan in proxy war against Soviet Union, in 1979 Soviet attack on Afghanistan, United States (US) did utilize Pakistan location because Pakistan shares border with Afghanistan and now in global war on terror (WOT) Pakistan had to pay a lot because of its border with Afghanistan, US did choose Pakistan’s land for fight against WOT. US interests in the region are to contain the growing China, nuclear ambition of Iran, terrorist/terrorism in Afghanistan, and to benefit from the market of India. Security and Business are two main objectives and interests of US in the region while Pakistan is playing a front line role in war against terrorism and by utilizing Pakistan’s strategic location US can get its objectives. For US, Pakistan geo-strategically important because US is sole super power, and to prevent the rise of any rival, China or any European power, the United States desires to dominate in the Middle East and Central Asia, because they are rich in oil and gas resources. So through Pakistan US can dominant in these regions and can minimize the influence of other competitors. Saudi Arabia had both the geo-strategic and as well as geo-political interest in Pakistan. Saudi Arab saw Pakistan a strategic balancer of Iran. The United States and Saudi Arabia viewed Pakistan as a catalyst for any military strikes on Iran.

Pakistan is near with Central Asian Republics (CARs) and CARs are rich in oil and gas resources, they are landlocked states and need a corridor for export of their energy resources and a transit route for trade and commerce, Pakistan can provide them rout for trade with other states, so for Afghanistan and CARs Pakistan’s geo-strategic location is very important for trade purposes. Pakistan’s strategic location is also crucial for China because China finds way to Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea through Korakaram. China is economic power and china’s economy is rapidly growing, so to maintain it economic growth China need access to other states for trade purposes, Pakistan’s Gwadar Port is very important for China because it can provide China trade rout. China needs Pakistan because Pakistan strategic location can provide China, transit trade route for western region, energy corridor to import oil from the Gulf region, naval facilities on the Arabian Sea coast to protect its energy supply line from the Middle East. China is expanding its cooperation with Pakistan in Saindak project, it can make trouble for Pakistan because US is not happy for presence of China in Pakistan while for China Pakistan’s strategic location has importance to enhance its economic growth.

Bangladesh’s location within the ‘geo-strategic frontier’ of India, which is South Asia’s most powerful country, Bangladesh being in close proximity with China, which is Asia’s largest power, and also considered a strategic rival of both the US and India. Bangladesh is bounded with India almost entirely on three sides except for a small but significant border in the southeast with Myanmar. Border with Myanmar makes importance of Bangladesh’s location. More important thing about importance of Bangladesh geo-strategic location is that it is very important for two strategic rivals China and India, because in the north Bangladesh is separated from the Himalayan kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan by a strip of India’s territory, which is known as Shiliguri Corridor; the Shiliguri Corridor is regarded as a very sensitive strategic land for India, it being the only land connection with the insurgent-infested Northeastern states of India, known as the Seven Sisters, if this land connection will block in future by any internal or external elements, India would find itself cut off from its strategic part Seven State Sisters, so in that situation only alternative way for India to reach its important part of land is strategic corridor through Bangladesh. The importance of such an alternative route through Bangladesh first realized during the 1962 Sino-Indian war, when China threatened to cut off India’s Line of Communication in the Seven Sisters, particularly in NEFA (North East Frontier Agency) now called Arunachal Pradesh. India has threat and also well aware of this fact that China is capable of cutting off the vital communication line between the Northeastern Seven Sisters with the rest of the Indian Union, so India admits the strategic importance of Bangladesh, and the Bangladesh is strategically very important for India because of this alternative rout. Seven state Sisters is land-locked and has shorter route to the sea through Bangladesh. Bangladesh geo-strategic location is also important for China, because China enjoys access to the Bay of Bengal through Myanmar. Bangladesh’s proposal to connect Kunming with Bangladesh by road through Myanmar could be an alternative route for China; India is incredulous about Sino-Bangla understanding and possible cooperation in nuclear energy sector. Bangladesh is with in close proximity with Arunachal Pradesh, which is still disputed land between China and India, that’s why Bangladesh strategic location is important for both China and India.

Nepal and Bhutan are also geo-strategically important; they both have energy resources. Bhutan shares border with India, so India is getting benefit from Bhutan’s location, in 2003, Bhutan exported 70% of its hydroelectricity to India, which continues to be Bhutan’s biggest trading partner. As India’s electricity demands are expected to double over the next decade, so Nepal and Bhutan are very important for India. As these states has hydro power potential, in return of APTTA, Pakistan wants from India trade rout to these states, because India shares border with these states so trade rout through India is cheaper way for Pakistan. Bhutan by developing its hydropower capacity can increase its exports to other South Asian countries and can support a strong regional energy alliance but Bhutan needs India’s land for import and exports purposes. India’s geo-strategic location is also important for Bangladesh because Bangladesh’s energy security strategy relies on import of hydro based electricity from Bhutan or Nepal, so Bangladesh needs rout access through India.
Nepal shares close geographic proximity with the two acknowledged nuclear weapons states in Asia; Nepal is sandwich between two major powers India and China, Nepal is near to Tibet which is disputed area between India and china, and Nepal is home of 12,000 Tibetans refugees. Nepal geo strategic location is beneficial for China and India but it is threat for Nepal, because Nepal lay between two powerful rivals, Nepal is most unlikely to face direct foreign military invasion because of its geopolitical location.

South Asian states are prominent and very important because of their geo-strategic location, instead of getting benefits, their geo-strategic location become intricacy for these states. A famous Kenyan proverb says “when elephants fight, it is grass which has to suffer” South Asian states become battle field between strategic competitors because of their strategic location, Nepal is between two rivals, in event of any conflict between these two states, Nepal will has to suffer. Pakistan because of its geo-strategic location has to involve in WOT; Pakistan shares border with nuclear Iran, it has negative consequences for Pakistan, US wants to counter Iran and using Pakistan territory, US also wants to minimize China’s influence in the region, so US using Pakistan’s land to get long term objectives.