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Musharraf

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and prepares for a new surge in Afghanistan that may doom Pakistan
American ignorance concerning Pakistani politics and society is profound. And, in the matter of the “surge” scheduled for Afghanistan for year-end 2008, it may be fatal. U.S. observers, both on the left and right, view Pakistan primarily through the lens of the war on terror, in terms of Pakistan’s role in pumping military forces into... Read More
A.Q. Khan Interviews Indicate Skids Being Greased for Exit of Pakistan’s President and Challenge U.S. Assertions of Pakistan Government Non-Involvement in Nuclear Proliferation Network ABC News obtained a telephone interview with Pakistan’s Dr. A.Q. Khan. For American viewers, the big news is that Dr. Khan retracted his televised “confession” that his proliferation of nuclear technology... Read More
Pakistan Went Straight to Hell
Observers in the West, yours truly included, have been distracted by a series of shiny objects—Hillary! Obama! Tibet! Iraq!-- since Pakistan’s elections apparently put that country on the road to democracy by creating a parliamentary majority dominated by a coalition of the two main anti-Musharraf parties, the PPP and the PML-N. While we were away,... Read More
The Bush administration is pushing Pakistan into a corner. It’s not a happy place. ] It’s called Musharraf = Shah of Iran territory. And it really doesn’t have to be that way. After all, the opposition to Musharraf comes from respectable, clean-shaven democratic, dollar-worshiping moderates, not the bearded religious fanatics of our dark fantasies. On... Read More
There’s heat but very little light surrounding Pakistan’s impending parliamentary elections. Western journalists are crowding into Pakistan in anticipation of a spectacular blowup following the February 18 parliamentary elections. Pakistani political blogs are plastered with pie charts reflecting every conceivable bias and depicting every imaginable electoral outcome. Just in the last week, two U.S. think... Read More
It’s no fun being a general anymore. The world press somberly reported another broadside by retired Pakistani army generals against Pres. Pervez Musharraf. But there was more going on than “grim-faced emeriti of Pakistan’s most powerful institution unload on faltering prez”. In an undeferential and confrontational press conference, the retired generals flinched and fumed as... Read More
Musharraf’s window for a graceful exit seems to be closing fast. For the time being, at least, the attempt to lure Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N into a pre-election government of national unity has failed . Perhaps the Sharif brothers decided that accepting Musharraf’s offer would have been calamitous for their party’s credibility as an opposition force... Read More
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of Pervez Musharraf’s survival may have been greatly exaggerated. The same goes for the opposition alliance of Bhutto's PPP and Nawaz Sharif's PML-N. Musharraf’s government reached out to Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N, hoping to pre-empt the electoral challenge of the PPP with a government of national unity. Now it... 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
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
Looking at the circumstances around opposition leader Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan, one has to believe that there is a deal between Musharraf and Sharif, despite Sharif’s vehement denials. Or, more likely, that there is a deal between Musharraf and Saudi Arabia and between Saudi Arabia and Sharif, with the Saudis acting as guarantors and... 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
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
The China Factor in Pakistani Politics
Americocentrism dies hard. So it’s difficult for us to appreciate that the things we care about—like the global war on terror —may not be the most important factors in Pakistani affairs. Pakistan’s alliance with China, which supports Islamabad’s confrontation with India and underpins its hopes for economic growth in its populous heartland, is probably a... Read More
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