The British and Pakistani Armies: Sharing Both a Personal and Institutional Future

The long relationship between the British and Pakistani armies is transforming, from one based mostly on pomp, ceremony and personal friendships, to one based on shared strategic interests.

The Pakistan Army can sometimes be more British than the British Army, at least when it comes to pomp and ceremony. Its cavalry officers have the best horses, and they play in the top polo competitions in Argentina and England; many of their sons go to Britain’s top boarding schools; and they even fashion their moustaches in the same manner as Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener.

According to Carey Schofield in her book Inside the Pakistan Army, after independence in 1947 the Pakistan Army inherited the majority of the British Indian Army regiments that were facing the threat on the Afghanistan ‘frontier’. As a result, it initially had British officers mentoring in the military academies and staff colleges.

Now the relationship has come full circle with a Pakistan Army major, Uqbah Malik, becoming the first instructor from a Muslim country to teach British cadets at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He has also trained the Jordanian crown prince, Emirati princes and Afghan cadets. Malik’s role reflects a British bid to learn from the Pakistan Army’s operational and doctrinal training of military forces in the Middle East. Under Malik, British cadets have trained with their Pakistani counterparts in Pakistan, a historical first observed first-hand by the author, and now British NCOs are on their way to becoming part of Pakistan’s military academy at Kakul. There is also talk of a British Major heading to become an instructor in Pakistan, and at present there is a Pakistani colonel at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, where he is a member of the Directing Staff and has his own syndicate group.

Since the US-led NATO invasion of Afghanistan it has been no secret that the West – and, in particular, the Americans – have seen the Pakistan Army, and especially its intelligence services, as the biggest external obstacle to the destruction of the Taliban.

Whenever the relationship with the US has soured, particularly after a US military helicopter strike killed at least 24 Pakistani troops in 2011, British
senior officers have been brought in to keep the Pakistani military on-side. It has even been argued by the Americans and Afghans that the British military has been too soft on the Pakistanis and cared more about Pakistani concerns than those of the Afghans.

The former British envoy to Afghanistan, Sir Sherard CowperColes, wrote in his book, Cables from Kabul: The Inside Story of the West’s Afghanistan Campaign, that two British defence chiefs, Field Marshal Charles Guthrie and General Lord Richards formed close friendships with the Pakistani top brass. Ahmed Rashid, in his book, Descent into Chaos: The World’s Most Unstable Region and the Threat to Global Security, also said that Richards was too close to the Pakistani military’s viewpoint. According to former US Vice President Dick Cheney, Guthrie’s friendship with General Pervez Musharraf, the former military ruler of Pakistan, helped the Americans to forge a close relationship with the Pakistanis in their efforts to hunt down and capture the majority of AlQa’ida’s leadership.

More recently, Chief of the General Staff Sir Nicholas Carter has described Pakistan’s former Chief of Army General Raheel Sharif, as ‘a great adviser and mentor’. This month, Carter became the first British Army chief to be the main guest to attend a Pakistan Army cadets’ passing out parade, an honour reserved normally only for Saudi and other Arab royal families. In the past year alone, Carter has been to Pakistan three times, more times than he has been to any other non-NATO member.

It was these personal British friendships that have kept Pakistan from completely falling out with the US and NATO. Now the British army wants to capitalise on this relationship as it bids to evolve into a smaller, but smarter, force. History and pomp and ceremony aside, the UK–Pakistan relationship is becoming more strategic, to the extent that the two armies could even fight together against a common enemy. Carter, along with Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders, have put Pakistan at the forefront of their defence engagement policy. They are keen to learn from the Pakistan Army’s reported success in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which Sanders praised, going so far as to say that what the Pakistan Army had achieved in Waziristan and the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas ‘has not been achieved for 150 years’. One of the cornerstones of this success was how the army leadership used the militants’ own narrative against them: enforcing regulations on hate speech; scrutinizing more closely the curriculums in religious schools; prohibiting media coverage of terrorist organisations; and, crucially, declaring that only the Pakistani state – as a Muslim state – could declare jihad – non-state actors such as the Taliban or Daesh did not have the authority to do so. The British army, which has been operating in Muslim countries such as

002 ka

Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, is engaging the Pakistanis on ‘lessons learned’. So the question for the British is how they can use the religion card to fight militants who justify their war against the UK based on theology.
The UK is also keen to leverage Pakistan’s historically close ties to the Gulf. In his book, Churchill’s Empire, Richard Toye claims that Winston Churchill wanted the new state of
Pakistan to replace the old British Indian Army as the guardian of the Gulf, and in 1956 Pakistan were close to taking part in the Suez Crisis on behalf of the British. At the time, the Egyptians under President Gamal Abdel Nasser saw Pakistan as a Western and British lackey. This year, Pakistan’s continuing close ties to the Gulf were made clear
when General Raheel Sharif became the head of a newly formed military alliance of mostly Sunni Islamic states led by Saudi Arabia, known as the ‘Muslim NATO’. Indeed, Pakistan continues to be a key provider of security to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, both of which are vital for the UK’s own security: intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia is key to stopping terror plots in the UK, while Bahrain now serves as a permanent base for British forces in the Persian Gulf. Pakistan and the UK have already worked together
in the Gulf, particularly on counterpiracy operations in the Horn of Africa and Persian Gulf.

Britain, under its own new East of Suez policy, can in the long-term benefit from cooperation with the Pakistani Army. The trust between the two armies built during the Afghan war is set to pay dividends both in the Middle East and at the prestigious academies in the UK.
The author knows that the 32 Engineer Regiment of the British Army is partnering in counter-IED capability with the Pakistan Army Engineers, and the British Army’s 77th
Brigade are conducting intellectual level engagements on perception management of the enemy, the cultural side of the war and media strategy. The two armies hold an annual counterinsurgency conference, focusing not just on combat, but also diplomacy and refugee management. The author is aware that the British Army is also sending officers to the Centre for International Peace and Security – which prepares officers to deploy in conflict zones – at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Islamabad
to learn from Pakistan’s experiences in peacekeeping.
Britain is also using the Pakistan Army to help with the recruitment of more British Muslims – the majority of whom are of Pakistani origin – into the UK armed forces. British Muslims have reportedly been reluctant to join the armed forces partly because they believe that the UK is waging a war against Islam. By saying that the British and Pakistani armies are fighting against terrorists and not Islam, the army is attempting a new approach, and the author has seen first-hand that Pakistani military officers are regular guests at recruitment events to help to explain this. The British Army has invited Pakistan Army officers to address key community leaders in cities such as Manchester
and Birmingham to help not just with recruitment but also to explain what it is doing in regional conflicts.
The British and Pakistani armed forces appear now to be on the same page, from training each other’s officers and soldiers, to countering violent extremism in their communities and showing a united front, whether on the Afghan border or in the Gulf. The message being given is that the two militaries are fighting the same enemy, whether it be on the Pakistani–Afghan border or in the Middle East. With geopolitical alliances shifting rapidly, and with instability and conflict raging from North Africa to Southeast Asia, the UK–Pakistan military alliance that was born in 1947 on polo fields and golf courses is now playing a key role in both Pakistan’s and Britain’s defence engagement with the wider world. Both armies stand to benefit from this in the decades to come.

Kamal Alam
Kamal has been a Visiting Fellow at RUSI since July 2015 and specialises in the Pakistan Army’s relationship with the British Army. Previously he has advised the British Army on Syrian affairs.

With thanks to Kamal Alam and RUSI for allowing me to use this.

Advertisements

Is UK going to ban The Muslim Brotherhood?

David Cameron orders inquiry into activities of Muslim Brotherhood

Review to look into party’s alleged links to extremism amid speculation group could be banned in Britain
Mohamed Morsi

A young boy holds a photo of Mohamed Morsi at a London protest in support of the Brotherhood. Photograph: Will Oliver/AFP/Getty Images

David Cameron has ordered Whitehall officials to launch an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood – drawing on assessments by MI5 and MI6.

A Downing Street source confirmed that the review would examine allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind the murder of three tourists on a bus in Egypt in February and that it planned extremist activities from Britain.

The source said: “The prime minister has ordered a review to get a better understanding of the Muslim Brotherhood and its values – and look into its alleged links to extremism.”

The No 10 source confirmed a report in the Times that the investigation is being launched as the prime minister faces pressure to follow the example of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which claim that the Muslim Brotherhood uses London as a crucial centre for its activities, to ban the group.

The Times reported that MI6, Britain’s overseas intelligence agency, would examine claims that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind the bus attack in Egypt. MI5 will assess how many leaders have been based in Britain after last year’s coup in Egypt in which Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president, was ousted.

The regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian armed forces who played a leading role in the overthrow of Morsi last year, has placed the former president on jail where he awaits trial for treason. Morsi was the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party for the 2012 presidential elections in Egypt.

Cameron ordered the investigation after it was concluded that Whitehall has insufficient intelligence about the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in Britain and in Egypt. Downing Street has asked Sir John Jenkins, the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia to draw up a report on the Muslim Brotherhood’s “philosophy and values and alleged connections with extremism and violence”.

Sir Kim Darroch, the prime minister’s national security adviser, has already started work. A key role will be played by Sir John Sawers, the current chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), who served as UK ambassador to Egypt between 2001-03. Sawers, who had previously served as Tony Blair’s foreign affairs adviser in Downing Street, had strong contacts with the regime of the former president Hosni Mubarak.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in Egypt in 1928, was branded a terrorist group by the Egyptian authorities last year. It had been banned during most of the latter part of the 20th century up until the Arab spring which saw the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak as Egyptian president.

British officials are saying it is “possible but unlikely” that the Muslim Brotherhood will be banned in Britain on the grounds of terrorist links. Foreign Office officials figures have until now resisted proscribing the organisation on the grounds that that could encourage extremists. “The truth is that this is a large, disparate organisation that takes different forms in different countries,” an official told the paper.

The security services are said to take a more hardline view. Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has reportedly described the Muslim Brotherhood as “at heart a terrorist organisation”.

A Downing Street spokesman told the Times: “The Muslim Brotherhood has risen in prominence in recent years but our understanding of the organisation, its philosophy and values, has not kept pace with this. Given the concerns about the group and its alleged links to violent extremism, it’s absolutely right and prudent that we get a better handle of what the Brotherhood stands for, how they intend to achieve their aims and what that means for Britain.”

 

by , chief political correspondent The Guardian, Tuesday 1 April 2014

Is Britain ruled by Islamic Shariah?

Is English law related to Muslim law?

By Mukul Devichand

 

In London’s historic “Inns of Court”, barristers practise law in the shadow of the distinctive medieval Temple Church. But does English law really owe a debt to Muslim law?

For some scholars, a historical connection to Islam is a “missing link” that explains why English common law is so different from classical Roman legal systems that hold sway across much of the rest of Europe.

It’s a controversial idea. Common law has inspired legal systems across the world. What’s more, calls for the UK to accommodate Islamic Sharia law have caused public outcry.

The first port of call when looking for an eastern link in the common law is London’s Inns of Court.

The church stands in the heart of the legal district and was built by the Knights Templar, the fierce order of monks-turned-warriors who fought Muslim armies in the Crusades.”You are now leaving London, and entering Jerusalem,” says Robin Griffith-Jones, the Master of the Temple Church, as he walks around its spectacular rotunda.

London’s historic legal district, with its professional class of independent lawyers, has parallels with the way medieval Islamic law was organised.

In Sunni Islam there were four great schools of legal theory, which were often housed in “madrassas” around mosques. Scholars debated each other on obscure points of law, in much the same way as English barristers do.

There is a theory that the Templars modelled the Inns of Court on Muslim ideas. But Mr Griffith-Jones suggests it is pretty unlikely the Templars imported the madrassa system to England. They were suppressed after 1314 – yet lawyers only started congregating in the Inns of Court after the 1360s.

Perpetual endowment

This doesn’t necessarily rule out the Templars’ role altogether. Medieval Muslim centres of learning were governed under a special legal device called the “waqf” under which trustees guaranteed their independence.

In an oak-panelled room in Oxford, historian Dr Paul Brand explains the significance of the 1264 statute that Walter De Merton used to establish Merton College. He was a businessman with connections to the Knights Templar.

Graves in Temple Church

The Templar link to Islamic law seems unlikely

The original 1264 document that established Merton has parallels with the waqf because it is a “perpetual endowment” – a system where trustees keep the college running through the ages. It’s been used as a template across the Western world.

Dr Brand says many branches of Western learning, from mathematics to philosophy, owe adebt of gratitude to Islamic influence.

Advanced Arabic texts were translated into European languages in the Middle Ages. But there’s no record of Islamic legal texts being among those influencing English lawyers.

And Dr Brand pointed out the Knights Templar were, after all, crusaders. They wanted to fight Muslims, not to learn from them, and they were rarely close enough to observe their institutions at work.

But the fact remains that England in the Middle Ages had very distinct legal principles, like jury trial and the notion that “possession is nine tenths of the law”. And there was one other place in Europe that had similar legal principles on the books in the 12th Century.

Jury trial

From the end of the 9th to the middle of the 11th Century, Sicily had Muslim rulers. Many Sicilians were Muslims and followed the Maliki school of legal thought in Sunni Islam.

Maliki law has certain provisions which resemble English legal principles, such as jury trial and land possession. Sicily represented a gateway into western Europe for Islamic ideas but it’s unclear how these ideas are meant to have travelled to England.

Norman barons first invaded Sicily in 1061 – five years before William the Conqueror invaded England. The Norman leaders in Sicily went on to develop close cultural affinities with the Arabs, and these Normans were blood relations of Henry II, the English king credited with founding the common law.

But does that mean medieval England somehow adopted Muslim legal ideas?

Merton College

Merton College was founded on principles similar to Islamic law

There is no definitive proof, because very few documents survive from the period. All we have is the stories of people like Thomas Brown – an Englishman who was part of the Sicilian government, where he was known in Arabic as “Qaid Brun”.

He later returned to England and worked for the king during the period when common law came into being.

There is proof he brought Islamic knowledge back to England, especially in mathematics. But no particular proof he brought legal concepts.

There are clear parallels between Islamic legal history and English law, but unless new historical evidence comes to light, the link remains unproven.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7631388.stm

Britain deserves better?

Image

Labour – deserves better?

Ed Miliband seriously needs to start thinking out of the box – in fact he needs to throw away the box! That if he is serious about the leadership of the UK let alone New Labour.

What has Ed done to make his party representative of the people of the United Kingdom as he promised in his last conference speech?

Take the example of Birmingham: Near 50% of the people and 80% of the Labour Party ‘ground troops’ are what Labour regards as ‘Black and Ethnic’ minority – then you look at the larger picture in the UK most people from BME groups support Labour.

In Birmingham, the new Labour Party Cabinet in City Council – we have one BME member and in the Parliamentary seats from Birmingham we have two from BME groups… this picture is repeated in Manchester and elsewhere across our country.

After what happened in the United States in The 2012 Presidential Elections and the implosion of the Republican vote and self-destruction –  No self-respecting major political party can ignore the potential of the minority vote whether in the US or in the UK.

British political parties are paying lip-service to the BME groups and white working class voters – interestingly many are arguing David Cameron (not his party) is personally more aware of the BME and white working class communities vote potential.

Labour have done great with women only shortlists but a number of activists and BME insiders  fear the party apparatchik are using women only shortlists to stop local parties from selecting a representative and viable ‘ethnic’ or working class face.

A great idea but naturally employed by politicians to hoodwink the voter market! Its time to change and make the political parties fairer and more ‘democratic’.

Take Lewisham-Deptford – The Labour Party have decided on a woman only shortlist… Is it to stop a more representative BME Candidate? It is rumoured that the Midlands highly mixed Coventry North East seat is going down the same unrepresentative tubes, I ask why?

The Rotherham Selection Fiasco was also done on Ed Milibands watch – cease playing games and LEAD! The people of the UK are of a diverse background yes, lets go for the best candidates – not ones who are considered eligble simply because of their skintone or whether they have breasts!

But alas, Coventry North East Labour Candidate will be given to a ‘woman’ again!!! Bet you!!!

Unless of course eligible candidates for these seats who are male start going for sex-change operations?

Wonder if the Ed Miliband will fund that?

Bibi’s bluff and Pastorised Americans

Image

Israeli experts back Bibi’s bluff 
By Gareth Porter 

TEL AVIV – A striking feature of the Israeli political landscape in recent months has been the absence of a serious debate on the issue of the threat of war with Iran led by national security figures. 
It is well known that many prominent former military and intelligence officials believe an attack on Iran would be disastrous for Israel. After an initial blast at the idea of striking Iran by two former high-ranking officials last year, however, very little has been heard from such national security figures. 

The reason for this silence on the part of the national security sector, just as the Israeli threat of war was escalating sharply, appears to be a widespread view among Israeli national security analysts that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s threat to attack is a highly successful bluff. 

Some critics of Netanyahu’s threat to go war against Iran have expressed concern about the failure of national security figures to speak out publicly against the policy. Former Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner, who now blogs for the independent web-based magazine 972, wrote last month that there are “crowds” of former military and intelligence officials who privately oppose an attack on Iran and who could slow the “march to war” by speaking to the news media. 

But he complained that “Israelis aren’t hearing their voices”. 

Image

Yossi Alpher, a former Mossad analyst and later head of the Jaffee Center for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, has noted the same problem. “Plenty of people are calling for public debate on the issue of striking Iran,” he told Inter Press Service (IPS) in an interview. “But it isn’t happening.” 

Former Mossad director Meir Dagan launched the first attack on Netanyahu’s policy by a former national security official last June, asserting that an attack on Iran would provoke a regional war and would ensure that Iran would acquire nuclear weapons. (SeeWhen Meir Dagan speaks …, Asia Times Online, Mar 13, 2012) 

Major General Shlomo Gazit, who was chief of military intelligence in the 1970s, also disassociated himself with the policy, declaring, “An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear reactor will lead to the liquidation of Israel.” 

Like Dagan, Gazit warned that it would cause Iran to immediately decide to become a nuclear power and he added that it would increase international pressures for the abandonment of “the territories”. 

Those shots across Netanyahu’s bow have not been followed, however, by similar criticisms by other former military and intelligence figures. 

In fact, Gazit himself appeared to backtrack from his earlier harsh verdict on the option of attacking Iran in a recent television interview. 

On Russia Today on March 12, Gazit did not voice any of his previous objections to the threatened Israeli strike against Iran. Instead he emphasized the readiness of Israel to carry out a strike, even without US approval if necessary, played down the cost to Israel of an Iranian response, and said an Israeli strike would result in delaying the Iranian nuclear program by “two or three years at least”. 

Gazit reaffirmed to IPS, however, that he had not changed his mind about the dangers to Israel attending a strike against Iran he had raised last June. 

The publicly discussed reason for the absence of dissent from the national security sector is lack of information. Nathan Sharony, who heads the Council of Peace, with over 1,000 former high-ranking security officials with dovish views, told Derfner the reason ex-national security officials were not speaking up was that they lack the “solid information” necessary to do so. 

Gazit gave IPS the same explanation for the failure of former officials to oppose a strike against Iran publicly. 

But the main reasons for opposing war with Iran do not require access to inside information. The more compelling explanation for the silence of former military and intelligence officers is that they, like journalists and other policy analysts, think that Netanyahu is probably bluffing and that they perceive the bluff as working. 

Retired Brigadier General Uzi Rubin, the former head of Israel’s missile defense program, recalls being on a television program a few months ago with Ari Shavit, senior correspondent at Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, on which Shavit declared, “Netanyahu is playing poker for all of us. We shouldn’t call out his cards.” 

Shavit was suggesting that the success of the prime minister in the high-stakes poker game requires that influential Israelis not question his claims about Israel’s willingness and capability to attack Iran’s nuclear sites. 

Image
That struck a Rubin as a significant factor in the politics surrounding Netanyahu’s policy. “People who think we shouldn’t attack Iran believe Netanyahu is playing poker,” said Rubin in an interview with IPS. “So they think they shouldn’t speak up.” 

“Netanyahu speaks like he’s very convinced Iran has to be stopped by force,” said the former missile defense chief. “Does he mean it?” Rubin said he doesn’t know the answer. 

Alpher agrees. He told IPS the reason high-profile expressions of dissent by Dagan and a few others have not provoked more lively debate on Iran policy among national security figures is that “they don’t want to spoil Bibi’s successful bluster”. 

Netanyahu’s bluffing on Iran has “kept the international community on edge”, Alpher suggested, and thus achieved the latest round of sanctions and heavier pressure on Iran. 

Both the poker game metaphor and the view that he has been successful at it have been central elements in media coverage of Netanyahu’s policy in recent weeks. 

While the prime minister was in Washington last month, Aluf Benn, the editor-in-chief of Ha’aretz, wrote that Netanyahu had “managed to convince the world that Israel is on the verge of a preemptive war” and that he is “playing poker and hiding his most important card – the Israel Defense Forces’s true capabilities to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations”. 

Just last week, Benn’s colleague, Ari Shavit, referred to threats to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of 2012 that he and a handful of other journalists had heard from senior officials. Shavit acknowledged, however, that “we cannot exclude the possibility that senior Israeli officials briefing us are bluffing”, noting that the officials had a “vested interest” in exploiting such a threat. 

One factor that may have fed the reluctance of some former military and intelligence officials to go public with criticism of the option of war against Iran is that Netanyahu has a reputation for being far less aggressive on Iran in practice than his rhetoric would indicate. 

Benn told IPS there is a perception of Netanyahu as a “hesitant politician who would not dare to attack without American permission”. 

A former national security official, who did not wish to be identified, told IPS some people who have worked with Netanyahu have said he is less decisive than former prime minister Ehud Olmert on Iran, although he personally disagrees with that assessment. 

The widespread impression among the Israeli national security elite and press corps that Netanyahu’s threat of war against Iran is a bluff does not guarantee that Netanyahu will not attack Iran. But it does help explain why there has not been a much bigger outcry against a war option that is widely regarded as irrational for Israel. 

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006. 

(Inter Press Service)