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Bhutto

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As the 40 day period of mourning comes to an end, nothing very good seems to have come out of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Eager to capitalize on the outpouring of outrage in the aftermath of the assassination, the Pakistan People’s Party, led by her widower Asif Zardari, refuses to consider any reforms, procedures, or policies... Read More
With Pakistan in the middle of a burgeoning security and political crisis, the report from Islamabad is that Musharraf has finally turned to the opposition to provide his government with stability...and his nation with unity. But he’s not turning to Benazir Bhutto’s PPP, the supposedly empowering force that the United States has been promoting as... Read More
America's Delusional Policy Pushes Pakistan Toward Catastrophe
How’s that U.S. plan to stabilize Pakistan working out? Not too great. And not all the troublemakers are inside Pakistan. In fact, a lot of them are right here in the U.S.A. It's not just Islamist extremists who see U.S. meddling as the source of Pakistan’s problems. Liberal, secular opinion inside Pakistan increasingly sees U.S.... Read More
Beyond the immediate tragedy of Benazir Bhutto’s death by violence in Rawalpindi, the greater tragedy for Pakistan is that the opportunity for a peaceful transfer of power—one that did not involve assassination, judicial murder, or legal vendetta—has been lost. What was going to happen after January 8 parliamentary elections was probably not going to be... Read More
It's All Over But the Squealing
...About the vote rigging, that is. Update: IRI has its numbers and the ISI apparently has their own. And perhaps political strength and electoral success are two different things. According to a report in Dawn, reflecting assumptions in early December, when the parliamentary elections are done and the seats divied up, the PML-Q--though excoriated as... Read More
U.S. Ignores Own Polling Showing Bhutto's Weakness and Sharif's Strength
Benazir Bhutto has a clear strategy. Participate in the January 8 parliamentary elections under protest, contest the results with some street demonstrations, push Musharraf out of the presidency, and govern Pakistan from a strengthened prime minister office. The United States has a clear strategy, also. Back Bhutto and her political program, and rely on her... Read More
Western scribes are perhaps overly enamored of the “Musharraf has his back against the wall and is being forced to make democratic concessions” narrative, which grows organically out of misrepresentation of Benazir Bhutto and the United States as the leader and sponsor, respectively, of an anti-Musharraf democratic vanguard. Onthe contrary, events in recent days have... Read More
For those of you keeping score, the United States has been pushing Bhutto-Musharraf power-sharing in order to broaden the base of Musharraf’s support. Musharraf’s fan club has shrunk to the military core after a series of political mis-steps, so that vote-rigging any significant success for his PML-Q party in the upcoming parliamentary elections would have... Read More
First a news flash: Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon are idiots
via Antiwar.com, Pakistan Daily reports: That’s not just jumping the shark. That’s jumping on the shark, tap-dancing on its nose, and using a secret brain ray to force it to type the plays of Shakespeare on a vintage Underwood. And that’s before they come up with the idea of abducting Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to a... Read More
United States Ignoring Pakistan’s Judiciary and Supporting Musharraf’s Bid for Second Term
In my previous post, I noted that the United States has been oddly silent on the central, precipitating factor in Pakistan’s crisis—Musharraf’s use of the State of Emergency to move against the Supreme Court that was poised to disallow his election to another term as president. I speculated that the U.S. silence signaled a New... Read More
Musharraf, America, and Pakistan's Supreme Court
One thing we don’t hear about from the United States concerning the crisis in Pakistan is the sticky situation with Pakistan’s Supreme Court that provoked Musharraf’s declaration of the State of Emergency in the first place. But no demands from Washington yet that Musharraf reinstate the by now presumably terminally intractable Supreme Court, which had... Read More
With commendable restraint, the New York Times piece on a possible post- Musharraf future didn’t get around to hyping Ashfaq Parvez Kayani until the fourteenth paragraph. It’s difficult for me to determine whether the dump-Musharraf sentiments in the article issue from the agitated bowels of the Bush administration, or if it’s mainly aggressive spinmeistering by... Read More
Loyal reader B directed me to an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times that all but accuses Benazir Bhutto of assassinating one of her main political rivals in 1996. The hook, as they say, is that the accuser is Bhutto’s niece and the alleged victim is her father—Benazir Bhutto’s brother. Things must be pretty tense... Read More
The easiest and psychologically most satisfying solution for failure is to move the goalposts. We saw it in Iraq, where a glorious end-zone to end-zone drive to save the world from a maniac armed with weapons of mass destruction shrunk incrementally until today success is measured by the America’s ability to reduce sectarian violence in... Read More
Democracy and Its Discontents in Pakistan and Elsewhere Benazir Bhutto has been pretty cautious and cagy in her dealings with President Musharraf, avoiding outright calls for his ouster. Until now. Maybe. In an interview with the Times of London, Bhutto stated: But, in an example of the bold equivocation that dogs Bhutto, well, maybe not.... Read More
Zalmay Khalilzad Tries for Regime Change in Pakistan
Robert Cohen’s op-ed on Pakistan is, I think, pretty important. Not necessarily for its content, a pundit-driven exercise in pseudo-realism that I would characterize as "muscular handwringing". It's because Cohen gives center stage to the man who may well be the key actor in our Pakistan strategy--Zalmay Khalilzad. In the opening grafs, Cohen writes: Well,... Read More
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