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 Friday, November 18, 2011
Confidential memorandum
During the past 72 hours since a meeting was held between the president, the prime minister and the chief of army staff, there has seen a significant deterioration in Pakistan’s political atmosphere. Increasingly desperate efforts by the various agencies and factions within the government to find a home - ISI and/or Army, or the civilian government - for assigning blame over the UBL raid now dominate the tug of war between military and civilian sectors. Subsequent tit-for-tat reactions, including outing of the CIA station chief’s name in Islamabad by ISI officials, demonstrates a dangerous devolution of the ground situation in Islamabad where no central control appears to be in place.
Civilians cannot withstand much more of the hard pressure being delivered from the Army to succumb to wholesale changes. If civilians are forced from power, Pakistan becomes a sanctuary for UBL’s legacy and potentially the platform for far more rapid spread of al Qaeda’s brand of fanaticism and terror. A unique window of opportunity exists for the civilians to gain the upper hand over army and intelligence directorates due to their complicity in the UBL matter.
Request your direct intervention in conveying a strong, urgent and direct message to Gen Kayani that delivers Washington’s demand for him and Gen Pasha to end their brinkmanship aimed at bringing down the civilian apparatus - that this is a 1971 moment in Pakistan’s history. Should you be willing to do so, Washington’s political/military backing would result in a revamp of the civilian government that, while weak at the top echelon in terms of strategic direction and implementation (even though mandated by domestic political forces), in a wholesale manner replaces the national security adviser and other national security officials with trusted advisers that include ex-military and civilian leaders favorably viewed by Washington, each of whom have long and historical ties to the US military, political and intelligence communities. Names will be provided to you in a face-to-face meeting with the person delivering this message.
In the event Washington’s direct intervention behind the scenes can be secured through your personal communication with Kayani (he will likely listen only to you at this moment) to stand down the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, the new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the civilian apparatus, to do the following:
1. President of Pakistan will order an independent inquiry into the allegations that Pakistan harbored and offered assistance to UBL and other senior Qaeda operatives. The White House can suggest names of independent investigators to populate the panel, along the lines of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, for example.
2. The inquiry will be accountable and independent, and result in findings of tangible value to the US government and the American people that identify with exacting detail those elements responsible for harboring and aiding UBL inside and close to the inner ring of influence in Pakistan’s Government (civilian, intelligence directorates and military). It is certain that the UBL Commission will result in immediate termination of active service officers in the appropriate government offices and agencies found responsible for complicity in assisting UBL.
3. The new national security team will implement a policy of either handing over those left in the leadership of Al Qaeda or other affiliated terrorist groups who are still on Pakistani soil, including Ayman Al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani, or giving US military forces a “green light” to conduct the necessary operations to capture or kill them on Pakistani soil. This “carte blanche” guarantee is not without political risks, but should demonstrate the new group’s commitment to rooting out bad elements on our soil.
This commitment has the backing of the top echelon on the civilian side of our house, and we will insure necessary collateral support.
4. One of the great fears of the military-intelligence establishment is that with your stealth capabilities to enter and exit Pakistani airspace at will, Pakistan’s nuclear assets are now legitimate targets. The new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the Pakistani government - initially civilian but eventually all three power centers - to develop an acceptable framework of discipline for the nuclear program. This effort was begun under the previous military regime, with acceptable results. We are prepared to reactivate those ideas and build on them in a way that brings Pakistan’s nuclear assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime.
5. The new national security team will eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc. This will dramatically improve relations with Afghanistan.
6. We are prepared to cooperate fully under the new national security team’s guidance with the Indian government on bringing all perpetrators of Pakistani origin to account for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whether outside government or inside any part of the government, including its intelligence agencies. This includes handing over those against whom sufficient evidence exists of guilt to the Indian security services.
Pakistan faces a decision point of unprecedented importance. We, who believe in democratic governance and building a much better structural relationship in the region with India AND Afghanistan, seek US assistance to help us pigeon-hole the forces lined up against your interests and ours, including containment of certain elements inside our country that require appropriate re-sets and re-tasking in terms of direction and extent of responsibility after the UBL affair.
We submit this memorandum for your consideration collectively as the members of the new national security team who will be inducted by the President of Pakistan with your support in this undertaking.