Sec. Hagel threatens to cut $1.6 bn Pakistan aid b/c Drone Protests Blocking NATO Convoys

by Sarah Lazare

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel threatened Pakistani [leaders] on Monday with cutting off up to $1.6 billion in aid if the country's mass protests against U.S. drone strikes continue, Pentagon officials said, according to The New York Times.

The warning came after nonviolent blockades in protest of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan forced the United States to halt ground transport of NATO military supplies from Afghanistan via Pakistan last week, as Common Dreams previously reported.

A statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry reported by Reuters says Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif "conveyed Pakistan's deep concern over continuing U.S. drone strikes, stressing that drone strikes were counterproductive to our efforts to combat terrorism and extremism on an enduring basis."

Yet Pentagon officials said Sharif gave his assurances that he would end the blockade and ensure safe passage of military equipment, The New York Times reports.

The Express Tribune reports that last week Sharif ordered police to devise a strategy for shutting down the protests if the opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) refuses to disband them.

PTI and coalition forces have vowed to continue the protests until the U.S. drone strikes end in Pakistan.

In October, the Obama administration gave $1.6 billion in annual aid to Pakistan amid growing public anger over the deadly strikes.

The Pakistani defense ministry claims that 2,160 militants and 67 civilians have been killed in over 300 U.S. drone strikes. Residents of the communities that fall under attack, however, say far more civilians are dying, and Pakistani officials do not provide the names, or access to the bodies, of those killed, IPS reports. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that between 416-951 Pakistani civilians have been killed in U.S. drone strikes since 2004, including 168 to 200 children.

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Related video

PressTV reports on Hagel’s visit to Islamabad and the issue with Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa Province preventing NATO convoys going through its territory to Afghanistan.

See also Karzai, Pakistan Protests against US Drone Strikes may force US Out

23 Responses

  1. For a few minutes, imagine you’re a non-combative, innocent Pakistani civilian and someone in your family or a similar neighbor friend is accidentally(?) killed by a silent killing US drone. How the hell would you feel? Perhaps it would lead you to becoming a terrorist against the US? Or at least have you very angry at the US. You may even be too scared to walk outside in the open.

    Perhaps an emergency vote by all citizens of the United States could tell Congress what the 99% of Americans really feel regarding the drone attacks that are killing innocent civilians.

    It’s time for Americans to decide since Congress does not represent the 99% of Americans and has not many decades..

    • Please provide the evidence that led you to reach the very precise conclusion that “99 percent” of Americans are against the drone strikes. I have never seen such a conclusion and would be genuinely interested in learning how you reached your figure.

      • I do not have to provide evidence since I did not “–reach the very precise conclusion that “99 percent” of Americans are against the drone strikes.”

        I did not state how many are against the drone attacks.

        In short, the 99% of Americans have little to no input as to what our Government does–fighting illegal wars, killing civilians that try to help the first drone attack victims, supporting dictators and corrupt governments, bailing out corporations and the banks that caused the financial crises, allowing tens of millions of hard manual working Americans to lose their jobs and homes to off shore sources, borrow money with interest charges from the Federal Reserve which is more a private corporation than a US Government Department that most Americans think it is.

        I don’t waste my time writing my Congress person since I know that many do things according to special interest groups(money) and to how they think which I believe is often without wisdom and heart.

        The majority of politicians represent the rich and are smooth talking egomaniacs after money and power. Half of Congress are millionaires and the other half are becoming millionaires.

        The end.

        Stop thinking and you may become wise.

    • as Bill implies,
      many Americans support the drone strikes.
      Many of my neighbors certainly do.
      These are folks who are often characterized as grasping to God, guns and fear of Gays, or as low-information voters.
      whatever.
      They do not like seeing the American Empire shrink, particularly since it was expanding just 8 years ago.
      .
      I often encounter neighbors or folks in my very conservative community who truly fear the imposition of Sharia Law in Colorado Springs.
      There is a war for hearts and minds right here in River City,
      and it’s not clear who’s winning.

      • “These are folks who are often characterized as grasping to God, guns and fear of Gays, or as low-information voters.”

        If those are the only folks you know who support drone strikes, you should get out more, Brian. There are many of a quite different character and persuasion than the crowd you know who support the strikes.

  2. Rather than just assuming that there’s any kind of logic or wisdom to this (relatively puny, though not if you have to depend on “Public Assistance”) $1.6 billion chunk of the nation’s Real Wealth going into a giant corruption sink like Pakistan (note that this is “OVERT” accounting only, who knows about “other expenditures?”), largely via the cloaca known as the “Pentagon,” it seemed worth a minute of futility-reinforcement to look for some context and detail, so here it is for anyone else who give a s__t:

    “Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2014″

    link to fas.org

    Nit-pickers and whisperers, add your Narrative here:

    .
    Please remind us idiots who BELEEEEEVE that all of this has been declared “LEEEGAL” by the institutions that sneer at our cherished shibboleths and faith in “the system” and our sad and desperate need for belief in limits, and Rule of Law…

    Here’s one part of how it’s made “legal,” and how idiotic Great Game pseudopodian “programs” get “justified and explained:”

    link to fas.org

    Similar results for Egypt:

    “Does the aid require Egypt to meet any specific conditions regarding human rights?

    Not really. When an exiled Egyptian dissident called on the U.S. to attach conditions to aid to Egypt in 2008, Francis J. Ricciardone Jr., who had recently stepped down as the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, told the Washington Post the idea was “admirable but not realistic.” And then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2009 that military aid “should be without conditions” at a Cairo press conference.”

    link to propublica.org

    There’s always more where that came from. Right?

  3. How does this ‘aid’ help the people of Pakistan ? And is $1.6 bl./year worth the killing of hundreds of innocent people ? Those are the questions to be answered by Sec. Hagel, Pakistan’s civilian (not military) leaders and Pres. Obama.

  4. Gee, if we had normal relations with Iran we wouldn’t need Pakistan.

    Which of these two nations has admitted to having nukes?

    Which nation has not signed the non-proliferation treaty?

    Which nation has been proven to have helped other nations develop nukes?

    Which uses terrorism as just another arm of its military?

    Which nation protected the Taliban and al Qaeda after 9/11?

    Which nation is close to being a failed state, unable to control its sponsored terrorists within its own borders?

    Which nation are we better off having normal relations with?

  5. Having served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam, I can see why Pakistani civilians are so enraged about these drone attacks in their country. Besides treating wounded American grunts on the ward where I worked, we also treated wounded Vietnamese civilians. Now these civilians were citizens with political connections to the Thieu regimes. They weren’t the average poor Vietnamese peasants. So they were the very type of Vietnamese civilians who we wanted to win over to our side; it was called back them “winning the hearts and minds.” But having been wounded in indiscriminate military operations, of course, it had exactly the opposite effect on them. So these drone attacks are, once again, losing the hearts and minds of the average Pakistani civilian. It seems we never learn.

  6. right, “aid” is a funny word for a bribe to the powers that be in Pakistan. just more proof about how the inncents die due to greed and war of the Rich Elites.

    maybe if they “bought” the average Pakistani with some of that “aid” they could leave the battle zone.

    blessed are the meek for they are the “collateral” damage no one talks about.

    • If you do some math on the costs of “warfighting” in my little war, Vietnam, and accept even the inflated body counts of “effectives killed,” it works out to about $400,000 for each “gook” corpse or part thereof taken out of our “exceptional economy” and transferred to the whole complex Great Game machinery. One suggestion that was maybe in “Stars&Stripes” was to mint a bunch of the little gold ingots that people there favored for savings, maybe half the size of a business card, put little parachutes on them, and drop them from those B-52s and FB-111s and A-4s instead of cluster bombs and daisy cutters and Arc Light sexplosive ordnance. Would have done a lot more to change hearts and minds than the other crap…

  7. From a Pakistani perspective,
    the US military’s share of the load to fight al-Qaeda and Taleban is right about where it was in WW II in fighting Hitler.
    The Russian Army defeated Hitler; we joined the fight in the “mop-up” stage.
    Similarly,
    10 to 20 times as many Pakistani soldiers are killed fighting these adversaries as Americans.
    They wouldn’t have this burden if we weren’t trying to colonize Afghanistan and subjugate Pashtuns under Northern Alliance control.

    …..

    On another note,
    the terrain near Torkham Gate allows a hundred demonstrators to block US supply trucks.
    There is no such canalization in the South,
    at the Chaman border crossing.

    • “The Russian Army defeated Hitler; we joined the fight in the “mop-up” stage.”

      I suggest you read a little more history of World War II, Brian. A good start would be either Max Hastings’ “Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945″ or, better yet, Rick Atkinson’s “Liberation Trilogy.” I think you will be surprised to learn that the US Army invaded North Africa in 1942, Then Sicily and Italy in 1943, fighting tough German armies commanded by such as Rommel and Kesselring every step of the way. And then, of course, there was Operation Overlord and the invasion of the Continent. These were hardly “mop-up” operations.

      As for your contention that “the Russian army defeated Hitler,” no military historian would buy that statement standing alone. Hitler would not have been defeated without the Russian army pressing in on the Eastern Front, but it would not have been defeated without the United States and its allies fighting German forces on the Western Front as well. In short, it took the combined forces of the allies–the United States, Britain, the Free French, and the Soviet Union–to defeat Hitler.

      • Nopes. He is right. America entered the WWII after Brits had already won the Battle of Britain. Brits had already defeated the Luftwaffe. After that it was ground war phase when US entered the war – but even then it was no cake walk as Normandy Landing on D-Day proved it. Germany was still a formidable fighting force.

        No matter how you spin it CIA Drone attacks are a War crime.
        America had better evaluate its policies with care – pandering to local politics while bludgeoning our allies to death will prove very costly.
        This is new Rome – remember it is no more..

        • ” After that it was ground war phase when US entered the war – but even then it was no cake walk as Normandy Landing on D-Day proved it. Germany was still a formidable fighting force.”

          The Brits had not defeated the Luftwaffe. They had prevented it from destroying British cities, but the Luftwaffe was still a formidable force when we began strategic bombing over Germany. the war continued on the ground and in the air. there is no question that the combined forces of the allies were needed to defeat Hitler.

      • Bill,
        I can always benefit from reading more.
        Thnx 4 the suggested titles.

        But as a teenager with the All American Division, I made dozens of practice parachute jumps into Drop Zones with names like “Sicily,” “Salerno,” “Anzio” and “Normandy.” I already have some fleeting acquaintance with the screw-ups of the major airborne and Ranger operations in WW II, and their successes.
        The US Army carried the day in the Pacific in WW II.
        But the reason our forces mostly fought old German men and young German boys from Normandy to Bastogne to the Ruhr Valley is because the Soviet Army carried the day in Europe, as far as sacrificing men. 20 million, I’ve heard.
        That’s not unlike the Pakistanis carrying the brunt of the war against al-Qaeda.

        The Pakistanis would not sustain that level of combat losses, but for the money the Pentagon sends to their senior officers.
        It may or may not be a sound investment, and may or may not strengthen US security, but there’s no question but that we get a lot of literal bang for those bucks.
        It’s naive to think of the money as a bribe.
        It is payment for services rendered.
        .

    • ” to colonize Afghanistan and subjugate Pashtuns under Northern Alliance control.”

      I’ll ask this of you once more: how are we “subjugating” Pashtuns under the Northern Alliance? I’d love to hear why. Surely, if this was a NA lead Afghanistan, then why hasn’t Karzai (whom you referred to as a NA pimp)recognized the “Durand line?” It’s not in the NA’s interest to have millions of Pashtuns merge back with Afghanistan. Or why did the NA Presidential candidate in 2009 (Dr. Abdullah) willingly step down from contesting a second round in the last presidential election? Doesn’t make any sense.

      Whilst it’s true that the NATO intervention tipped the Civil War in favor of the non-Pashtuns (by granting them more autonomy from Pashtun rule), I don’t see how this in turn results in subjugation (or do you want Pashtuns to rule over non-Pashtuns?). I mean if anything, all of Afghanistan is essentially a colony of America.

      As for Pakistan, well it wouldn’t have this problem if they were able to (1) control their sponsored terrorists , (2) abandon their pursuit of strategic depth in Afghanistan and (3) get over their paranoia of India.

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