The pentagon last week acknowledged that the United States deployed armed drones to Iraq to provide surveillance and strike capabilities as the crisis with the Islamic State of Iraq and and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) continues to deteriorate. However, Micah Zenko points out that while numerous U.S. officials have called for the deployment of drones, these demands have not been accompanied by justifications, and there is still no precise goals for the deployment.
CFR's Daniel Markey sheds light on the two Taliban branches—the Afghan-based group that negotiated the release of a U.S. prisoner of war, and the Pakistani Taliban, which attacked the Karachi airport last weekend.
Pakistan's passive and active support to a range of terrorist and militant organisations has long been the single most important threat to the foundations of deeper cooperation between Islamabad and Washington, writes Daniel Markey.
"America's failure to fully understand and actively confront Pakistan on its support and export of terrorism is one of the primary reasons President Karzai has become so disillusioned with the United States. As American and NATO troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of this year, the Pakistani military and its Taliban proxy forces lie in wait, as much a threat as any that existed in 2001."
The faltering of Pakistan's peace talks with its homegrown terrorists over the weekend offers Islamabad a chance to draw a clear line of defense around Pakistan's constitutional order, writes Daniel Markey.
As U.S. and coalition forces prepare to draw down troops in Afghanistan, a new report urges Washington to view Pakistan not solely or even principally in the context of U.S.-Afghanistan policy, but rather to reorient the relationship toward Asia.
Daniel S. Markey examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to confront and quarantine immediate threats to regional security while simultaneously attempting to integrate Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
While a fresh face at the helm of the Pakistani military undoubtedly raises American hopes for a less frustrating relationship, Daniel Markey writes that Washington should keep its expectations firmly in check and at least one eye out for trouble.
"All of these steps are meant to ensure that the prime minister, and not the Army chief, is the most powerful Sharif in Pakistan. But that status is not easy to guarantee: before he was toppled by Musharraf, in 1999, Sharif thought that his position was invulnerable, thanks to a landslide victory that gave him an overwhelming majority in Parliament. If the direct threat of a coup has receded, today Sharif faces a broader array of checks on his power."
Robert D. Blackwill reviews The Blood Telegram, by Gary Bass, a text that smears Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger as "heartless villains" of Pakistan's political stalemate and human rights crisis in the 1970s.
Pakistan has emerged as a sanctuary for some of the world's most violent groups, including al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and homegrown militants, that threaten the stability of Pakistan as well as the region.
"Why does Pakistan's political and military élite celebrate the very people it is fighting? The logic—or its absence—goes like this: Hakimullah Mehsud was our enemy. But the United States is also our enemy. So how dare the Americans kill him?"
Following the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, Daniel Markey writes, "U.S. military and intelligence officers should approach their Pakistani counterparts with a plan to press their military advantage against the Taliban during its period of disarray."
"The cases in this report raise serious concerns that the USA has unlawfully killed people in drone strikes, and that such killings may amount in some cases to extrajudicial executions or war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law. Like other forces operating in the Tribal Areas, the USA appears to be exploiting the lawless and remote nature of the region to evade accountability for its violations."
"[Locals and security experts] say that while the drone attacks are a legal issue for Pakistan and the global community, those residing in the tribal belt do not consider them as unpopular as Pakistani officials portray them to be."
Ahead of President Barack Obama's meeting with Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday, October 23, CFR Senior Fellow Daniel Markey and former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter discussed U.S.-Pakistan relations on a media call on October 22.
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The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »