A Convenient Death

Benazir Bhutto was undoubtedly caught in the middle of Pakistani politics. While the Islamic extremists wanted her dead – to them she was the face of modernity in Pakistan, a modernity that would spell the end of radical Islam – she also had political enemies inhabiting the other side of the tracks.

Most will blame the religious radicals, who will almost certainly claim the act and the glory, and likely they were responsible, but Musharraf could well stand to benefit from the loss of a rival more popular than he, among ordinary Pakistanis.

Whoever it was who planned and perpetrated this outrageous act, the fall-out will create shockwaves around the world, and further complicate the political chaos rampant in a country George Bush has long welcomed as one of America’s closest allies in his ‘war on terror’.

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7 Replies to “A Convenient Death”

  1. Twilight – a bitter blow, indeed, though hardly unexpected. History may well judge Bush’s Iraq war as this century’s biggest blunder, and his alliance with the dictator Musharraf, the second.

  2. She said herself that we should look to Musharrif if she died, and now the US government is saying “what a blow to Pakistani democracy her assassination by Islamic fundamentalists is”

    This in support of the man who suspended virtually all civil and democratic rights there.


  3. I just read that, Flimsy. Amazing isn’t it? That she should escape all the bullets flying around, and avoid being blown up by the bomber and then die (amidst it all) from a bump on her head.

    You can bet your life that any of us thinking logicaly will be labeled loony conspiracy theorists. They’d rather have us all nice compliant conincidence theorists.

    The trouble is that it makes no difference what we believe (or even know for a fact in some instances), since they also know we can’t and/or won’t do anything about it.

  4. This interesting view on Pakistan is a comment from a reader of The Daily Dish by Andrew Sullivan:
    Ed Morissey’s sneers at Richardson are based on pure ignorance. Richardson is right. The US should push to get rid of Musharraf and they could do it by cutting off the $150 million a month that goes to subsidising the Pakistani military. The new Army Chief of Staff General Kayani would have Musharraf gone in a second and would return to the country to a semblance of democracy within six months because he understands the damage that military rule does to a military’s image — that will only get worse after BB’s assassination. Democracy won’t be perfect but it will be better than this.

    Here’s why the US should not support Musharraf:

    — He’s an illllegitimate leader with no popular support (see recent IRI polling). He has had to prop himself up by repeatedly declaring martial law. Pakistanis don’t hate us because we are western, they hate us for propping up a miserable unelected government.

    — On November 4th, the day after the declaration of martial law (it was not a state of emergency — that is a specific constitutional measure in Pakistan) Musharraf released 28 jihadis, including three found with suicide vests, in exchange for 200 soldiers who had surrendered to a jihadi group without a fight. That’s what our close ally in the war on terror has been up to.
    — He’s been playing a double game with the US and the Islamists, dribbling out the occasional al Qaeda suspect in return for billions in cash — none of which has gone to the war on extremism (see NYT stories last week but also see extensive research in a book called Military Inc by Ayesha Siddiqa. Why go on paying him to do nothing — a democratic election would bring to power those who have no interest in supporting jihadi groups.

    — Jihadis have been political allies of the military (but not of the PPP) since the 1970s. The Pakistani military channelled billions to the worst jihadis in the 1980s, created the Taliban in the 1990s and have supported it quietly since 2001, allowing it to maintain bases in Quetta. The military supports jihadi groups because they are useful in supports its vision in Kashmir and Afghanistan and because they undermine nationalist Pashtun and Balochi forces at home which the Punjabi dominated military sees as its real threat.

    — Musharraf has unravelled the Pakistani consitutions, provoking extensive violence in Balochistan and elsewhere. The country is at real risk of implosion as long as he rules and there are no free and fair elections.

  5. Jerry – the US is making up its foreign policy as it goes along.

    TOB – not killed by bullets = no bullet holes = no bullets to trace back to the gun, leading possibly to someone other than al Qaeda.

    Flimsy – the US should never have allied with Pakistan if for no other reason than it is a dictatorship. The hypocrisy of that alliance, while America is “spreading peace and democracy” into Iraq, takes one’s breath away.

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