Any disturbance in the 2014 effort of the US will certainly derogate the strategic situation of this already festering region. The elimination of Hakeemullah Mehsud inside Pakistan before the negotiations prevents this situation to happen and allows for an exact opposite. Lo and behold! Trick AND treat.
The news of Hakeem’s elimination alone is credible enough to allow any potential benefactors to take their designs and start doing what they do best – subduing the subdued regime. I tried to prioritize preferences for Pakistan in my article entitled “Negotiations: A Collision Course of Opposing Wills”, but if this news holds any water, then the only preference for Pakistan is to brace for impact, because this drone strike would not go away like the rest. But there is something else, covertly lurking in the hindsight of all that has happened in the past month or so.
The Osama-bin-Laden operation came and went, dealing a severe blow to Pakistan, not only in terms of regional strategy but also in terms of its own indigenous designs for the scenario post-2014. The secrecy and sheer confusion regarding ‘Neptune Spear’ and the events that followed were enough to create fissures in the regional stakes held by Pakistan. However, the suspension of financial aid to Pakistan by the Congress and the increase in drone strikes in the region further exacerbated the quandary that surrounded Pakistan, making the task of the fulfillment of regional strategic designs more Herculean than before.
Then we see a regime change in Pakistan and a government not on the ‘coalition’ criteria, and immediately, finances in Pakistan escalate and prices skyrocket, creating what seem to be either grounds for midterm elections or a patchwork of the previous damages. Whatever it is, it does not look pretty, considering that so much has happened in Pakistan and the Prime Minister is still nowhere to be found, while the military hierarchy awaits a decision.
Now with Hakeemullah Mehsud eliminated, there is little hope that the TTP will bother about the negotiations anymore, and may even go on to threaten the government by derogating the internal security to such an extent that midterm elections may become necessary for sustenance from all that has befallen during the third Nawaz government.
However, one can think boldly by seeing this elimination as the final closure of all the attached strings and backfired contingencies that may have hampered the withdrawal. With Hakeemullah Mehsud out of the picture, and the TTP frantically increasing their magnitude of operations countered by a military operation to crush or subdue the remaining caches of terrorists in the FATA sector. The US can actually orchestrate an easy, secure and economically feasible withdrawal, as the Central Asian routes may prove to be expensive like they used to be during the time of the supply lines for the Afghan war.