This is an update to the post below. A few more clues are emerging as to what is really
First: As noted earlier, the name of the CIA station chief, as given in the military-friendly Pakistani newspaper The Nation, was Mark Carlton. It is now recognized pretty much universally that the story was planted by Pakistani intelligence. AP and the Wall Street Journal said that they were told by their government sources that "Mark Carlton" was not
the correct name. Now we have a bit more
The name that appeared in print was misspelled but close enough to send a clear signal, the officials said. Similarly, last December, the cover of the station chief at the time was deliberately revealed by the ISI, again by a close approximation of the name, American officials said. As a result, he was forced to leave the country.
A rather poorly-written squib in the China News says that the real name is Mark Carleton
This is a very intriguing development. Why did China step in?
This was not a thoughtless gesture on their part; they would not have made such a move without reasons.
Keep that angle in mind as you try to figure out the underlying meaning of this story
from the Pakistan Observer...
Islamabad—ISI Chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha has gone on a foreign visit. According to defence sources, his visit is being kept secret by military officials. Sources said that the decision to send Shuja Pasha abroad was taken during the corps commanders meeting so that Pakistan’s brotherly countries could be taken into confidence over the unilateral action by US.
During Corps Commanders moot it was felt that Shuja Pasha was the best person to brief the foreign countries about Pakistan’s stance over OBL.
Sources said that ISI Chief visit could be for China, Saudi Arabia and UAE where he is expected to meet senior defence and military official to brief on Pakistan’s stance over the OBL issue.
The secret truth about the Bin Laden affair -- the secret that can't be told to the likes of you and me -- is now being told to China, the Saudis or the UAE (or all of the above). I'm guessing China will be the first stop.
The Pakistan Observer goes on to state that Pasha told Carleton that
ISI expressed his strong reservations for not sharing information with Pakistan prior to launching of operation against Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad early this week, which he said amounts to lack of confidence on its ally on war on terror.
That last bit was not published in The Nation, the military media asset which had earlier revealed that, contrary to the official story, Pakistan had worked closely with the U.S. in the Bin Laden raid. I suspect that the Pakistan Observer was slightly (and deliberately) misinformed by its military sources.
As mentioned in the previous post, another Pakistani news source said that Pasha delivered a rather different message to the CIA station chief -- that ISI wants to opt out of the "war on terror" altogether.
This is important for a number of reasons. Chinese-Pakistan relations have grown very close, even as U.S.-Pakistan relations have frayed. The Pakistanis may give the downed stealth helicopter
to China, which is also helping Pakistan build nuclear a new nuclear plant
. In a piece modestly entitled "The Column Everyone Is Reading About Pakistan,"
Walter Russell Mead writes
The Pakistani military has to have foreign patrons; without foreign aid it cannot pretend even to itself to be a serious competitor to India. India is too big, and Pakistan is too small, too unstable, too divided by bitter internal fault lines, too poorly developed and too incompetently governed to hold its own without outside help.
As US-Pakistan tensions rise, the Pakistanis have looked to China as an alternative great power backer. The Pakistani argument to China is that Pakistan offers an offset to India that makes it harder for India to challenge Chinese influence in southeast Asia and elsewhere. Pakistan can also offer China friendly ports close to the vital oilfields of the Middle East and also a useful land route for trade and power projection.
How does this affect us? Well, for one thing, a close Pakistan/China alliance would create stronger ties between India and the U.S., which may not be a bad thing. But the more interesting concern is terror.
The Pakistani defense establishment is totally fixated on maintaining links with terror groups and radical groups to advance its interests in both Afghanistan and India. China doesn’t like this very much; none of the great powers with interests in Central Asia have much sympathy for Pakistan’s desire to strengthen radical Sunni groups. But if Pakistan showed that it was willing and able to use this weapon selectively — to tolerate and even promote terror groups aimed at India while cracking down ruthlessly and effectively on any Muslims crazy enough to dream of fighting for their co-religionists in western China — then maybe, just maybe, Pakistan and China could cut a deal.
We need to be more specific: China is concerned about Uighur separatists. The leader of that movement is a Pakistani named Abdul Rasul, who is in hiding somewhere in Pakistan, and who claimed to be allied with Osama Bin Laden. (One suspects that he is "in hiding" in the same sense that Osama was -- with an address listed on an ISI rolodex.)
So if Pakistan gives up Rasul as it gave up Bin Laden, Pakistan and China will be in a position to control what's left of the jihad movement. With sponsors like those, the movement could definitely gain new muscles.
That's definitely a concern.
Also a concern: Diminished U.S. influence in the Middle East as a whole. As we've noted in previous posts
, Pakistan developed its nuclear capability with Saudi aid. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are close. Moreover, Pakistan is sending fighters
to other Islamic nations to help quell pro-democratic revolts. If China becomes Pakistan's main sponsor, the rest of the Islamic world may decided that America's days of influence are over.
As noted in the previous post, there seems to be a great hidden truth about Osama Bin Laden. China may reveal it.