January 21, 2010

Britain - counter terrorism - Pakistan - WFT?!

No comment from Londonstani on this, but read the article and comment at will.

Ok, maybe a few excerpts would be useful:

"Foreign Secretary David Miliband was under pressure today to explain why there had been cutbacks in counter-terrorism programmes in Pakistan because of the falling value of the pound.

"...The Foreign Office (FCO) is trying to deal with a shortfall of £110 million, a figure expected to grow in 2010-11, due to fluctuations in sterling.

"...Baroness Kinnock caused astonishment by disclosing that programmes to tackle terrorism and radicalisation in Pakistan had been hit as a result.

"...Her revelation in the House of Lords came hours after Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Commons that the "crucible of terrorism" on the Afghan-Pakistan border remained the "number one security threat to the West".

And, in case you thought this was due to some sort of unforseen international economic situation:

"Mr Hague said the cuts were the "direct consequence of Labour's decision to remove the FCO's protection against exchange rate movements".


And where are the cuts landing?

"Kim Howells, a former foreign minister who is now chair of the intelligence and security committee that oversees MI5, MI6 and other intelligence agencies, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning that he was surprised at the timing of Kinnock's comments, but not the content.

"It is well known that obviously if a currency devalues against other currencies than you buy less than your money," said Howells.

He did not believe these cuts would affect "the hard end" of counterterrorism activities, he said, before adding: "Undoubtedly what it will affect are those softer diplomatic efforts ... for example, trying to convince the Pakistani government and the regional governments in Pakistan that they should try to improve the material lives of people that will make them less susceptible to the overtures of al-Qaida, the Taliban and so on."

So like in the areas where many analysts think we have the best opportunity to make substantial changes