Monday, November 22, 2010

The other CIA

We're not the only country who gets to have a secret society with decoder rings and automatic machine guns. Pakistan has one too. Instead of welcoming them to the club of behind-the-scenes assassins, we're quite miffed at their two-faced involvement in Pakistan's affairs...because after all, that's our playground. Meet the ISI, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's version of the CIA with a little bit of the FBI sprinkled on top.
Since their inception shortly after that of Pakistan itself, they've been highly covert - keeping tabs on domestic and foreign potential threats ; anything from political opponents to high priced diplomats. They also have pretty strong ties to the Taliban. Along with helping the CIA to train members of the mujahedin, they were later one of only three nations that recognized the Taliban government officially, after the Soviets withdrew. Currently, their on-paper agenda includes keeping their main rival, India at bay in Kashmir. Although ISI funding has been traced to several militant groups, including the group responsible for the 2008 bombings in Mumbai, Lashkar-e-Taiba. With all these militants on their pay roll, it isn't surprising that some of them turned to Al Qaida and the Taliban, and in times of irony, turned some of that well set training on Pakistan itself. While that hes led many people to believe that the ISI is backing off support of the famous extremists, there's still a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise. For one, our escapades in their neighbours house. It's been 10 years since we stormed in there looking for one 6 foot tall guy attached to a dialysis machine, and since then, we haven't done much other than kill random militants and bomb some civilians for good measure. Meanwhile, because we're so afraid of those damn shifty militants, we flood Pakistan with money to keep them on our side. Recently that flood flowed to the tune of $2 billion to the Pakistani military...and our soldiers don't get benefits when they come home with a limb missing...but I digress...
This money doesn't necessarily buy loyalty. In fact, it's in their best interests to play both sides of the field on this one. When we eventually leave, there's no guarantee that the Taliban won't rise to seat the government, and when they do Pakistan shouldn't be waving an American flag and whistling Dixie. They will, in fact, be in a unique position, being able to curry favor with President Karzai and the Taliban. A sort of militant diplomacy, if you will. I know that goes against the whole "Mission Accomplished" mentality but in reality, the sooner we leave, the sooner the region will be straightened out by the people who know it best, the ones actually living there. Meanwhile, ISI will do like it's American counterpart, and ensure that their role is unwavering and unquestioned. For example, Benazir Bhutto was on their shit list for accusing them of fixing elections and just being plain corrupt. Well, they showed her didn't they? Silly woman, no place for you in politics. And of course, like the CIA no one actually came out and accused the ISI for this crime, because to do so, would probably gain you a place next to Bhutto on that list. So, we plod along in our winless war, turning our proverbial cheek to the ills our "friends" commit on the side. As long as our money can still buy a facade of loyalty, we'll continue with our secret agendas, albeit more poorly constructed, less politically gainful agendas, but hey, no secret society is perfect.

No comments: