Washington: Departure of Robert Gates as the US Defence Secretary after more than four and half years of leading the Pentagon, is bad news for Pakistan, a top US counter-terror analyst has said.

"The departure of Gates and the arrival of Panetta who's going to bring with him the new CIA view, I think is bad news for Pakistan," Bruce Riedel of the prestigious Brookings Institute, said last week participating in a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Riedel added that this will leave the State Department as the principle defender of engagement with Pakistan and the state department because it is the State Department which argues in favour of engagement with everybody.

"That's what diplomats are supposed to do. Its track record of winning those debates not just in this administration but in every administration is pretty slim," he said.

"It may have engagement but it's engagement often with nothing inside of it. So my reading of the tea leaves is that not only does events on the ground argue that this relationship's going to get worse, bureaucratic changes and personnel changes in Washington probably will add to that
tendency towards getting worse," Riedel said, giving his impression of the things to come.

Riedel said that the highest levels of this administration never had illusions about Pakistan but they also understand that Pakistan is an important place.

"Getting angry with the country, getting frustrated with it feels good. But that's not a policy. Anger is not a solution to this problem. The solutions are not very good but anger is the least effective of them," Riedel said, who in 2009 had shaped the Afghanistan-Pakistan policy of the Obama Administration.

Riedel said that traditionally Pakistan's strongest promoter inside the United States government has been the CIA because the CIA argued that the relationship with the ISI, although very difficult, produced results.

"Certainly that was the argument back in the 1980s when the ISI ran the
Mujahedeen war for us," he said.

"That was the argument through most of the first half, three-quarters of this decade. The formula, CIA would repeat endlessly is that the ISI is our most important ally in the war against al-Qaeda and our most difficult ally in the war against al-Qaeda. And they would point to people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and others whom we had got through assistance of the ISI. That's changed," he said.

Riedel said that this has changed in the last year and it certainly has changed in light of the Raymond Davis affair. Abbottabad certainly changes it even more.

"My former colleagues are spending even more time than I am trying to answer my question because for them it's an even more up-close and personal question," he said.

"If that advocate changes as it has, that leaves in essence the uniformed military which is arguing the case that we need them for the supply line and you know, I had a drink with Kayani last night, he's really an OK guy, he's not as bad as he thinks," Riedel said.

(Agencies)