Thursday, December 2, 2010

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - Saudi Arabia wants military government in Pakistan

Saudi Arabia wants military government in Pakistan

LAHORE: America is often portrayed as the big dog in Pakistan’s yard: a swaggering power that makes rules, barks orders and throws its weight around. But the WikiLeaks cables highlight the understated yet insistent influence of another country with ideas about Pakistan’s future: Saudi Arabia. According to a Guardian report, in recent years, Saudi rulers have played favourites with Pakistani politicians, wielded their massive financial clout to political effect and even advocated a return to military rule. “We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants,” the Saudi ambassador to the US, Adel al Jubeir, boasted in 2007. A senior US official later bemoaned as “negative” the Saudi influence. Saudi Arabia has longstanding ties with Pakistan. In the 1980s Saudi intelligence, along with the CIA, funded the anti-Soviet “jihad” in Afghanistan. Since then the Saudis have given billions in financial aid and cut-price oil. In January 2009, Abdullah told James Jones, then the US national security adviser, that Pakistan Army was “staying out of Pakistani politics in deference to US wishes, rather than doing what it ‘should’”. Abdullah’s preference for military rule was recorded by the Saudis’ American guests, “They appear to be looking for ‘another Musharraf’ – a strong, forceful leader they know they can trust.” His views were echoed by the interior minister, who said Saudi Arabia viewed the army as its “winning horse” in Pakistan. Meanwhile, US diplomats see the Saudis as allies but also competitors for influence in Pakistan. In 2009, special envoy Richard Holbrooke warned Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef of “unimaginable” consequences for Saudi Arabia if Pakistan fell apart, especially if its nuclear weapons fell into unfriendly hands. But in Islamabad, American diplomats have sought to diminish Saudi influence by allying with another Muslim country, Turkey. After a meeting with the Turkish ambassador in May 2009, ambassador Anne Patterson noted that moderate, progressive Turkey presented a “positive role model” for Pakistan. daily times monitor

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - Saudi Arabia wants military government in Pakistan

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