Crossed Swords

Crossed SwordsBased on 30 years of research and analysis, this definitive book is a profound, multi-layered, and historical analysis of the nature and role of the Pakistan army in the country’s polity as well as its turbulent relationship with the United States. Shuja Nawaz examines the army and Pakistan in both peace and war. Using many hitherto unpublished materials from the archives of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army, as well as interviews with key military and political figures in Pakistan and the United States, he sheds light not only on the Pakistan Army and its US connections but also on Pakistan as a key Muslim country in one of the world’s toughest neighbourhoods. In doing so, he lays bare key facts about Pakistan’s numerous wars with India and its many rounds of political musical chairs, as well as the Kargil conflict of 1999. He then draws lessons from this history that may help Pakistan end its wars within and create a stabler political entity. Forthcoming April 2008, Oxford University Press (Pakistan) and May 2008 OUP, USA.

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Advance Reviews

“This is by far the fullest and most authoritative analysis yet pubished of Pakistan and its army and intelligence services”
William Dalrymple, The New York Review of Books, Feb 12, 2009

“Shuja Nawaz has used his considerable expertise to delve deep into the Pakistan Army. The result is an insightful study of an institution that has been, and remains, the center of gravity in Pakistan. This superbly researched book comes at a critical time in Pakistan’s history. A must read to understand the past and the ongoing events.”
General Jehangir Karamat, Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan. 1996-98

“This exceptionally authoritative book, rich in insider history, could not have come at a better time as a key to understanding the underlying power structures of Pakistan as it struggles to find its place in the world.”
Barbara Crossette, former South Asia Bureau Chief, The New York Times

“Shuja Nawaz’ study is as definitive as we are likely to get: no other book has penetrated so deeply into the army, and so carefully examined this powerful institution in the context of Pakistan’s history and politics.”
Stephen P. Cohen, The Brookings Institution, Washington DC, author of The Pakistan Army, and The Idea of Pakistan

“An exhaustive account of the most powerful pillar of the Pakistani state structure, this is more than just a study of a single institution. It is an insider’s considered view of sixty years of Pakistani history. Using information culled from an array of hitherto unused sources, including some rare interviews and the Pakistan army’s own archives, the author blends astute analysis and gripping historical narrative with consummate skill. Containing a welter of insights into the military mindset, its partnership with the civil bureaucracy and attitude towards the political fraternity, this is a book no serious student of Pakistan can afford to miss.”
Ayesha Jalal, Mary Richardson Professor of History, Tufts University

“To understand Pakistan you need to understand the army and to understand the army you need to read this book.”
Owen Bennett-Jones, BBC, author of Pakistan: Eye of the Storm (Yale 2002)

At a time of crisis and peril for Pakistan, this ground breaking book offers unprecedented information about and provides unique insights into the country’s most important and powerful institution. Nawaz opens new ground on the army that has ruled Pakistan for half its political life. The army wields immense power in troubled Pakistan. Nawaz explains why and how in the most well researched and lucidly written book of its kind.”
Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban, and Jihad: the Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia

“Running at more than 600 pages, this densely researched study of Pakistan’s army – the country’s premier political institution – is set to become a standard reference. Based on a wealth of primary documentary sources and privileged access to key players, both domestic and foreign, it lays bare the less-than-benign role of a power broker that has dominated Pakistan’s national politics and that could yet determine its future course”.
Farzana Shaikh, Associate Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London

‘Crossed Swords is extremely authoritative and based on extensive research; it balances the in-depth knowledge of the insider with the critical eye of the scholar; and is both accessible enough for students while invaluable for specialists. In short, it is much needed and fills a longstanding gap on the existing literature on Pakistan.’

Yasmin Khan, author of The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan (Yale University Press 2007)

FATA — A Most Dangerous Place

FATAIncreased militancy and violence in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan has brought FATA into sharper focus, as U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani leaders attempt to find solutions to the problems underlying the situation there. This most dangerous spot on the map may well be the source of another 9/11 type of attack on the Western world or its surrogates in the region. Should such an attack occur, it likely will be spawned in the militancy that grips FATA and contiguous areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan today. The principal actors are the Taliban, in both countries; their allies—former Soviet-era mujahideen commanders including Gulbadin Hekmatyar of the Hezbe Islami and the Haqqani group (headed by Jalaluddin and his son Siraj); Sunni militants from Central and Southern Punjab; and al Qaeda, which benefits from links to most of these insurgents. The Taliban leader Mullah Omar is suspected to be hiding in southwestern Afghanistan and Pakistani Balochistan. The Taliban are engaged in a struggle against foreign forces inside Afghanistan and now against the military in Pakistan. Hekmatyar has spoken against the Pakistani government but has not yet taken up arms against it. The Haqqanis have also not provoked a battle with the Pakistani forces as yet. The Punjabi militants, however, have become franchisees of al Qaeda and have been linked to attacks on the Pakistani state and its army.

While many ideas have been put forward for tackling the issues facing FATA, too often they rely on longer-term plans and solutions. This report attempts to define the conditions that spawn militancy and violence among the Pakhtun tribesmen that inhabit FATA and suggest practicable ways of approaching them in the short and medium term. Concrete actions by the principal actors—the U.S., Afghan and Pakistan governments and the U.S. and Pakistan militaries—are suggested. These will need to be underpinned by a national debate in Pakistan, in particular, on the nature of the country’s polity and the need to tackle terrorism and militancy as domestic issues. But the debate will need to be rooted in a clear consensus among the civil and military leadership on the nature of the Pakistani state and society and how to tackle the growing militancy inside the country and in broad-based support from major political parties and the general public. The United States needs to forge a longer-term relationship with Pakistan and its people, shifting from a transactional relationship to one built on strategic considerations and respect for Pakistan’s political and development needs. Failure to bring peace and to restore a modicum of stability to FATA will have widespread repercussions for the region and perhaps the world.

This report by a team sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies of Washington DC was released on January 7, 2008. The principal author is Shuja Nawaz.

You can download the report as a PDF file: FATA – A Most Dangerous Place

The video and audio can be reached at http://www.csis.org/component/option,com_csis_events/task,view/id,1893/

Journeys

JourneysJourneys is Shuja Nawaz’s travelogue that traces a complex of journeys across the globe. But wherever he goes, the pull of memory draws him towards Pakistan. He captures the sounds and the sights of his homeland while viewing foreign lands through the lens of a native Punjabi. He attempts to revisit and revive many of the rhythms and rhymes of Punjabi poetry in English verse, using his experience with translations, including that of the Potohari verse of the late Baqi Siddiqui of Rawalpindi. This book of verse is a celebration of Shuja Nawaz’s deep and strong emotional links with the land of his birth. Published by Oxford University Press 1998. Out of Print.

In Afghanistan, President Ghani’s First Steps Will Be Critical

President Ashraf Ghani took over from President Hamid Karzai in Kabul today in an historic transition. A long dispute over the election result was resolved with a rare compromise that brought Dr. Ghani’s opponent, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, into government in a new position, as “chief executive,” that is shaped as a kind of prime ministership. The flood of commentary that preceded this inauguration was marked by extreme views, divided between those who saw the Afghan glass as half full and those who saw it emptying fast.

The mission for President Ghani will be to ensure that the glass remains unbroken. For Afghanistan’s sake and for the sake of its global and regional partners, who have invested heavily in this democratic transition, it is critical that Ghani leads in set up a governance system that works, is corruption-free, and lays the ground for stability and prosperity. He faces the task of doing so in the face of a Taliban insurgency that contests, or has displaced, state authority in disparate swaths of the country.

Ghani’s first challenge will be to ensure that government ministries are not treated as spoils for the winners. He will have to create, with Abdullah’s cooperation, a self-monitoring mechanism that will deter malfeasance and ethnic or tribal favoritism in sharing out the Afghan state’s own and borrowed or gifted resources.

The new president then will need to rebuild the confidence of his global partners by renewing ties that Karzai left to wither in the past year or two. Signing the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States likely will be on top of that list of promises he made. That will let a small US troop contingent stay in the country to train Afghan forces after the NATO-led combat force ends its mission within three months.

Ghani has the knowledge and experience of regional economics and politics that will let him revivify ties with Iran, Central Asia, Pakistan, and India. Rather than use India as a foil for Pakistan, he should work to catalyze an India-Pakistan partnership that would create a regional energy and open trade market with Afghanistan as a hub. He also could use Afghanistan’s deep cultural ties with Iran to help that country work out differences with the United States and Europe, and also resolve bilateral issues of drug smuggling and water-sharing across the Afghan-Iranian border.

His challenges abound, both at home and abroad. Besides the war, corruption and the illegal narcotics trade are pervasive, undermining the weak government machinery upon which Ghani will rely. Amid all this, Afghanistan has a largely young and heavily urbanized population that will need help in maintaining the progress that Afghan society has made in the past decade or so. Education, and especially of girls, has been a major achievement. Participation of women in the work force has grown. Health care has improved.

If Ghani can retain the progress made by persuading others to follow his personal example, and if he and Dr. Abdullah act visibly in concert to fight corruption and narcotics, they will be able to set Afghanistan on the right path. A path that Afghanistan’s friends would be better able and willing to support.

Shuja Nawaz is director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council.

Nawaz on Pakistan’s Intelligence Director

NBC quotes South Asia Center Director Shuja Nawaz on Pakistan’s new intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar:

““Its good news that a professional soldier and not someone from the intel branch has been brought to the ISI,” said Shuja Nawaz of the Washington-based Atlantic Council.

“However, the ISI’s size is so large — larger than any other military command at his rank — that it cannot be controlled down to the lowest levels.”

While the military’s rank-and-file incur heavy losses in the militant-prone border areas, there have been instances of soldiers turning on their own. Assassination attempts in 2004 on a former president, retired Gen. Pervez Musharraf, involved military personnel, for example.

And earlier this month, a failed mutiny by navy personnel inspired by militant Islam almost led to a naval frigate being hijacked.

So Akhtar’s got a big job ahead of him, according to Nawaz.

“That’s going to his biggest operational challenge: Will he succeed in controlling this institution where his predecessors have failed?”

Nawaz: Pakistan on the Brink, Again

South Asia Center Director Shuja Nawaz writes for Foreign Policy on the mass protests in Pakistan demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Shar

With thousands of young Pakistanis besieging their capital to demand the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan — a key element in the United States’ plan to withdraw from neighboring Afghanistan by the end of 2016 — is slipping into political anarchy. Only one year after the country’s first-ever democratic transfer of power, the elected government in Pakistan is at risk of another military takeover. Yet Washington is showing little sign that it is paying the situation the urgent attention it requires.

The youthful horde in Islamabad — led by former cricket player and current leader of the Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party Imran Khan, and a religious teacher from Canada named Tahir ul Qadri –demands electoral reforms, and Sharif’s removal from office for corruption and alleged fraud in the May 2013 election, which gave him a huge plurality in the parliament. From its headquarters in Rawalpindi, adjacent to the capital, the powerful army waits, calculating its next moves.

Nawaz: Give Afghanistan a Little More Breathing Room

South Asia Center Director Shuja Nawaz is quoted by the Washington Examiner on President Obama’s Afghanistan withdrawal strategy: 

Shuja Nawaz, a native of Pakistan and the director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, said the biggest lesson the White House can take from the rapid disintegration of security in Iraq is that “the nature and speed of withdrawal from any country has repercussions.”

“The conditions have changed dramatically in the region” since Obama’s speech at West Point and “it may be time to rethink some marginal changes in that draw-down strategy that will allow Afghanistan a little more breathing room to get its political and military act together,” he told theWashington Examiner.

Nawaz on Presidential Elections in Afghanistan

ABC News quotes South Asia Center Director Shuja Nawaz on Secretary John Kerry’s visit to Afghanistan to discuss the country’s runoff presidential election:

Even if the candidates agree in principle to a power-sharing agreement, they won’t be able to put it into practice until the new president is inaugurated, meaning there could be continued uncertainty until that point, said Shuja Nawaz, the director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

“The candidates may agree in principle on the division of ministries, for instance, but the relationship between the two candidates is going to be left up in the air until the final result is announced and agreed upon,” he said.