ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, FEB. 7 -- The Persian Gulf War is shaking up old alignments in South Asia as an angry and divided Pakistan gropes for a new identity following the breakdown of its long alliance with the United States.

The war has driven a wedge through Pakistan's fragile government, pitting a defiant army leadership sympathetic to Iraq against a civilian administration that wants to cultivate ties with Saudi Arabia, which is hosting the anti-Iraq alliance, and play a mediating role when the hostilities are finished.

Both sides express hostility toward the United States, which suspended military and economic aid to Pakistan last year because of Islamabad's nuclear program. But the two camps disagree about whether they should adopt an openly anti-American stance and perhaps bolt from the U.S.-led coalition in Saudi Arabia.

In the harshest commentary from Pakistan's army to date, a senior military officer said today that Pakistan's army leadership regretted the decision to send 11,000 troops to defend Saudi Arabia from Iraq and predicted that backlash from the war would lead to the ouster of the Saudi monarchy because "you cannot live on borrowed strength."

Pakistan has contributed the fourth-largest contingent of Muslim troops to the multinational coalition arrayed against Iraq. In part because of widespread sympathy for Iraq in the streets of Pakistan, however, the soldiers have been deployed away from the front lines, to protect Muslim holy sites.

Going beyond earlier remarks by Pakistan's army chief of staff, Gen. Aslam Beg, who expressed admiration for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in a speech to officers on Jan. 28, the senior Pakistani officer today lashed out at Saudi Arabia for allowing the United States to dominate the coalition. The officer spoke on condition that he would not be named.

The Saudis, he said, "are angry at us, but we are also angry at them. They should have trusted us and insisted on a more balanced Muslim force and not let the United States take this over."

The conduct of the war, he continued, would lead to a sharp break between Pakistan and the United States and its moderate Arab allies, pushing Pakistan closer to the Islamic government of Iran. "What we are saying is that the Americans are out. They're not going to figure in our security in the future. The Saudis and the {Saudi-allied gulf} emirates -- they're out also."

Such talk from the army, which has ruled Pakistan for most of the years since independence in 1947, has dismayed senior members of the civilian government, led by the recently elected, conservative Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sharif's government has expressed support for Saudi Arabia and for the U.N. resolutions aimed at forcing Iraq's withdrawl from Kuwait, although the prime minister has been put on the defensive by hostile public opinion.

Recently, Sharif's government has adopted anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic rhetoric in an apparent effort to square its policy more closely with public opinion and defend it against attacks from opponents. "I wish Iraq had attacked Israel instead" of Kuwait, Sharif told a boisterous session of parliament this week.

An unsigned commentary in the government-owned Pakistan Times this week attributed the war to the designs of what it called "the Zionist Jewry," a secret worldwide cabal that "chooses its agents, puppets and pawns well in advance and motivates and molds them by many methods, the most effective of which is a combination of special drugs and psychological inputs."

At a news conference called to announce free market economic reforms in Pakistan, Sharif was asked today about the evident rift with army chief Beg over Pakistan's pro-Saudi gulf policy. Sharif responded that he had "no personal differences" with the general, but he declined to elaborate.

Islamabad is now rife with rumors of a military coup, although there is little evidence that Beg is interested in taking power and senior officers deny such intentions. Coup rumors are commonplace in Islamabad, as are unexpected changes of government.

The army's recent posture "is a source of anxiety," a senior official in Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said.

"But people have a right to hold opinions and to look at things in a different way," the official said. "What concerns me {about the army} is that in terms of translating this into a policy, where does it take you? . . . It takes you into an awkward predicament."

Diplomatic sources said the United States is not deeply concerned about the angry posturing of Pakistan's military leaders, who have voiced growing anti-American sentiments since the United States cut off bilateral aid over Pakistan's efforts to build nuclear weapons.

The Bush administration, like many in and around Pakistan's civilian government, reportedly believes that the army's vision of a defiant, radically anti-American foreign policy is essentially unworkable because its neighbor Iran, preoccupied with maintaining neutrality and promoting its self-interest, will not support it.

In the meantime, the United States has improved its ties with Pakistan's historical rival, India. In a move that cuts sharply against the grain of New Delhi's traditions of nonalignment and anti-Western foreign policy, India has granted refueling rights to U.S. military planes ferrying supplies to the gulf war theater.