All posts by Shuja Nawaz

The Battle for Pakistan

South Asia Edition

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Praise for The Battle for Pakistan

Vintage Imprint of Penguin Random House

‘An intriguing, comprehensive and compassionate analysis of the dysfunctional relationship between the United States and Pakistan by the premier expert on the Pakistani army. Shuja Nawaz exposes the misconceptions and contradictions on both sides of one of the most crucial bilateral relations in the world’
BRUCE RIEDEL, senior fellow and director of the Brookings Intelligence Project, and author of Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad 

‘A superb, thoroughly researched account of the complex dynamics that have defined the internal and external realities of Pakistan over the past dozen years. The Battle for Pakistan is a compelling read that provides enormous insights on the forces at work within Pakistan as the country’s civilian and military leaders determine Pakistan’s way forward at a critical juncture in time’ 
GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS, former commander of the US Central Command and Coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and former director of the CIA 

‘With well-researched and meticulously collected information, in-depth analyses and scholarly insights, Shuja Nawaz has produced an impressive and invaluable study of the twists and turns of US-Pakistan relations. Only a person with his understanding of the political dynamics in the two countries could provide such an authoritative and cogent account of how the dissonant but important respective interests of the two countries brought about periods of consequential cooperation. And yet these interests failed to create a basis for a stable relationship which continues to have critical relevance to the complex circumstances of the region. This book will be essential reading on the subject and for examining the past six decades of developments in the region’
RIAZ MOHAMMED KHAN, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, and author of Afghanistan and Pakistan: Conflict, Extremism, and Resistance to Modernity 

‘Shuja Nawaz has followed up his earlier tour de force of the Pakistan Army—Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army and the Wars Within—with a superbly researched study of US-Pakistan relationship in all its dimensions. The Battle for Pakistan is essential reading for anyone attempting to fathom the fundamentals of the relationship between the two countries now and in the future. Shuja’s view is truly panoramic and he has masterfully pieced together the many facets of a complex and evolving relationship. His insights and deep analyses are invaluable for understanding the forces of change that are shaping the relationship and Pakistan’s future’
GENERAL JEHANGIR KARAMAT, former Chief of Army Staff and Pakistan ambassador to the United States 

‘An engaging and insightful exploration of the realities and dynamics that have shaped present-day Pakistan and the US-Pakistan relationship. Nawaz captures the essence of Pakistan’s seventy-year difficult and rocky journey. A relevant and important book’
CHUCK HAGEL, former US Secretary of Defense and US senator 

 ‘Writing about Pakistan is often like travelling through the looking glass, given the vast difference in perception of the nation from the outside and the perception that those within have of the world outside. Just as he did with his last book, in The Battle for Pakistan, Shuja Nawaz deftly manages the journey between what he calls “both homelands”, US and Pakistan: balancing a critical look of Pakistan’s actions on terror and foreign policy in the past decade and a half, with an insider’s account of who said what to whom, unravelling events like the killing of Osama Bin Laden to civil-military tensions, and all that led up to the Imran Khan election. The suggestions Mr Nawaz proffers at the end of the book bear some careful study as well’
SUHASINI HAIDAR, diplomatic editor, The Hindu 

‘In The Battle for Pakistan Shuja Nawaz delivers a forensic and illuminating investigation of the troubled relationship between the United States and Pakistan. His work is informed by valuable original interviews and delivers new details and evidence—including about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden—that will be of great interest to scholars, analysts, and the general public in both countries’
STEVE COLL, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Ghost Wars and most recently Directorate S: The CIA and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan 

‘Shuja Nawaz’s new book makes a critical contribution to our understanding of the turbulence of the last decade in US-Pakistan ties and Pakistan’s fight for its democracy and security. US-Pakistan relations have long suffered because of mutual mistrust, suspicion, and misunderstanding. Shuja’s unique access in Washington and Islamabad has allowed him to tell both sides of the story in recent US-Pakistan relations. In doing so, hopefully this book can contribute to improved relations between our two countries in the coming decade and beyond’
GENERAL JAMES JONES, former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama 

‘Shuja Nawaz has written with deep knowledge and arresting eloquence about what he calls the “misalliance” between two nations that often misunderstand each other, but must ultimately reach an understanding as two vital partners in a necessary alliance. And he writes as a citizen and insider of both countries, with matchless personal knowledge of the personalities who have both made history and will make the future. There is no better or more compelling volume to read about this often troubled, but imperative relationship between two nations on other sides of the world that have been brought into the same orbit by geopolitics, and an increasing diaspora of human talent’
SCOTT SIMON, Peabody Award–winning host of National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday 

 ‘His unique access to centres of power in Washington, Islamabad and Rawalpindi enable Shuja Nawaz to offer rare and fascinating insights into the roller-coaster US-Pakistan relationship. As the Afghanistan-Pakistan drama heads for denouement, The Battle for Pakistan promises to be an invaluable guidebook for politicians, diplomats and soldiers attempting to navigate this South Asian quagmire’
ADMIRAL ARUN PRAKASH, former chief of the Indian Navy and chairman, Chiefs of Staff 

Blog POST by Indian commentator C. M. Singh

Posted on Facebook 11 October 2019

“Finished reading.

Shuja Nawaz Sir writes an excellent book, unputdownable! Once you pick up the book, there is no way you will go back to reading anything else, till you finish it. I was in the midst of reading another very interesting work, ‘Strategy in the Missile Age’ by Brodie, but since I picked up this book…it was this book all the way!

Will revert back to reading that book tonight! 🙂

My main takeaways;

1. In a way, this book is in a way a continuation of his earlier work, “Crossed Swords”, which for me qualifies as the best book ever been written on the Pakistani army. In this book however, Shuja Sir focuses more on the reaction of the Pakistani state (dominated by the army), to the actions and behaviour of international actors like USA, India, China and Afghanistan. The book also highlights the world view of the Pakistani state, its desires, aspirations, fears, dilemmas and insecurities and the policy reactions/prescriptions of the Pakistani state in response to these. Much of the book however is devoted to the relationship between the USA and Pakistan, since the beginning of the War on Terror and USA invasion of Afghanistan.

2. To an Indian reader like me, what was especially fascinating is the richness of detail that the book provides. Though I follow Pakistani media pretty regularly, I was simply unaware of many of the details surrounding important events like on say the Raymond Davis saga or the Salala incident, which find mention in this book. Further, while analyzing these events the book not only provides the action/reactions/though process of the powers that be in Pakistan but also of the Americans. I guess being an international scholar of repute, being in the Atlantic council and having the confidence of the elites in Pakistan helps with access! Good for students of international politics like us. 🙂

3. While the book has been written from a Pakistani perspective, shows deep empathy for Pakistan, its institutions and its worldview, but it also needs to be said upfront that the author does not lose his objectivity. He understands what ails the Pakistani polity and society, how it has become a national security state, the internal and external challenges faced by Pakistan, as well as the shortcomings in the strategy/tactics of Pakistani army in meeting future challenges. The changing composition of the Pakistani army, as well as the creeping Islamization in it find mention in the book.

4. He also provides solutions, arguing that the Pakistani state should focus on geo-economics rather than geo-politics. However, the cynical Indian in me finds it hard to believe that such changed strategy will be acceptable to the Pakistani state (at least in the short run). A believer in the structuralist and realist theory, I believe that “ideas” that hold hegemony over states thereby conditioning their institutions as well as the narratives of the of the civil society, do not change that easily. However, if indeed the Pakistani state does, some day in the future, accept these prescriptions, we might actually see the emergence of a new prosperous and peaceful South Asia. The author also has words of advice for the Americans as to how they can help in the creation of this ‘new’ state/polity of Pakistan which is at peace with itself and its neighbors.

All in all a fabulous read.”