“The Pakistani army is essentially run by consensus among 11 top commanders, known as the Corps Commanders, and almost all of them, if not all, were demanding that Kayani get much tougher with the Americans, even edging toward a break, Pakistanis who follow the army closely said.Citing Pakistani and US officials, the Times adds that, “Kayani had already become a more obstinate partner, standing ever more firm with each high-level US delegation that has visited since the raid to try and rescue the shattered US-Pakistani relationship.” The arrested CIA informants offer the latest example, while Kayani also pushed back against unilateral operations requested by CIA Director Leon Panetta. Another delay for North Waziristan’s invasion falls into the same pattern.
Washington, with its own hard line against Pakistan, had pushed Kayani into a defensive crouch, along with his troops, and if the general were pushed out, the United States would face a more uncompromising anti-American army chief, the Pakistani said.
To repair the reputation of the army, and to ensure his own survival, Kayani made an extraordinary tour of more than a dozen garrisons, mess halls, and other institutions in the six weeks since the May 2 bin Laden raid, trying to rally support among his rank-and-file troops, who were almost uniformly anti-American, according to participants and people briefed on the sessions.”
As we outlined on Tuesday, North Waziristan hosts one of Islamabad’s loyalist militant commanders, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, along with patches of the Haqqani network. Those Pakistani officials questioning Kayani’s policy would see little benefit in stirring up North Waziristan, as neither the Haqqanis nor Bahadur targets the Pakistani state. U.S. officials have, of course, pushed hard for an operation on these units and employed drones to circumvent Islamabad’s strategy. If Pakistani officials opposed the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, they would all the more oppose an operation in response to his execution.
Kayani himself reversed direction several weeks ago on North Waziristan, now a clear effect of the pressure he’s facing.
The major take-away then becomes: what happens if Pakistan’s military does install an anti-American general at the top? Will joint operations simply be limited, or will U.S.-Pakistani relations undergo a radical transformation?