Thursday, May 5, 2011

'Obama retains right to act in Pakistan'

US President Barack Obama

Source: Press TV

Washington says the US president reserves the right to order military assault again on Pakistani soil against "terror suspects," despite Islamabad's complaint over a recent US raid.

Following the US military assault on Osama bin Laden's compound in the capital Islamabad's suburb of Abbottabad on Sunday that reportedly killed the al-Qaeda chief, the US administration came under fire from Pakistani officials, who denounced the attack as unauthorized and unilateral.

Asked whether US President Barack Obama would be prepared to order another military operation inside Pakistan, White House spokesman Jay Carney was quoted by AFP as saying that "He [Obama] made very clear during the campaign that that was his view."

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama stated that if Pakistanis' leadership was "unable or unwilling" to act against bin Laden or other senior al-Qaeda officials inside the country, the US administration would unilaterally enter the fray and order military operations.

"He maintained that that was his view and, by the actions he has taken as president, feels that it was the right approach and continues to feel that way," Carney added.

Meanwhile, some analysts believe any further move by the US administration on Pakistani soil would be in breach of the international law and would violate the territorial sovereignty of the country.

"I think that under the international law, the US will have no right whatsoever to attack or enter into the territory of Pakistan without the expressed consent of the Pakistani government," Kansas-based professor Liaghat Ali Khan told Press TV on Wednesday.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that "unauthorized unilateral" action could threaten international peace.

"Pakistan expresses its deep concerns and reservations on the manner in which the government of the United States carried out this operation without prior information or authorization from the government of Pakistan," the statement read.

On Tuesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta said in an interview with the Time magazine that the United States did not inform Islamabad about the operation because it feared Pakistan might alert the al-Qaeda chief.

Meanwhile, some Pakistani officials believe the US orchestrated Osama bin Laden's killing scenario in an attempt to spread its ongoing war in Afghanistan to Pakistan.

A number of Pakistani army officers and members of Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, have repudiated Washington's claim that the al-Qaeda chief has been killed in Pakistan, saying the US set up bin Laden's killing scenario to set the stage for an eventual military presence in Pakistan.

The remarks come as the relations between Pakistan and the United States have already been frayed over hundreds of non-UN-sanctioned drone strikes in tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, which have so far killed hundreds of people, including many civilians.

On April 20, Pakistani Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said the US drone strikes in Pakistan are undermining his country's counter-terrorism efforts.

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