Friday, December 28, 2007

Bush, Musharraf, and Bhutto

From Time Magazine:

Hussain Haqqani, a former top aide to Bhutto and now a professor at Boston University, thinks the U.S., which has counted Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as a key ally against terrorism since 9/11, bears some of the responsibility. "Washington will have to answer a lot of questions, especially the Administration," he says. "People like me have been making specific requests to American officials to intervene and ask for particular security arrangements be made for her, and they have been constantly just trusting the Musharraf Administration." U.S. officials said they were leery of intervening in another nation's internal affairs, and didn't want to give Bhutto Washington's imprimatur.

Haqqani is not shy about pointing fingers. He blames Musharraf himself, above all, for Bhutto's death. "It's quite clear that Musharraf does not want an election — you can quote me — he is the one who has constantly wanted anybody who can threaten him or his power, out." Haqqani told Congress in October that U.S. aid for Pakistan has for too long been tilted toward the Pakistani military. "Since 1954 almost $21 billion had been given to Pakistan in aid," he told the House Armed Services Committee. "Of this, $17.7 billion were given under military rule, and only $3.4 billion was given to Pakistan and the civilian government."

This whole Pakistan thing might bump the younger Spears' pregnancy for awhile.

This stinks.

Update: There's more.

This is from Trudy Rubin, one of the wiser foreign affairs columnists I've read. She was supposed to interview Benazir Bhutto the night she was assassinated:

The mood here reminds me of the overwhelming grief, the clinging to family and television news, that followed John F. Kennedy's assassination. But there's a big difference: Pakistanis are angry at this murder, an anger that has already led to violence and could rock the country. And just about every Pakistani with whom I spoke blamed her death not on al-Qaeda, but on their own government - and the United States.

I'd be furious too. I don't know if urging them to stay calm (see: Bush, Musharraf) will satiate an outraged people's thirst for justice. I support the people of Pakistan. I hope they're in favor of having secure nuclear weapons even if there must be volatile mass mobilizations. Restraint would be a virtuous, given the potential global consequences of any more instability. I can't say I would be capable of demonstrating that type of wisdom in their shoes.

Everyone should pay attention now.

UPDATE II:

Because unfortunately, there is even more.

The top story at the Washington Post: "U.S. Brokered Bhutto's Return to Pakistan"

For Benazir Bhutto, the decision to return to Pakistan was sealed during a telephone call from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just a week before Bhutto flew home in October. The call culminated more than a year of secret diplomacy -- and came only when it became clear that the heir to Pakistan's most powerful political dynasty was the only one who could bail out Washington's key ally in the battle against terrorism.
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"The U.S. came to understand that Bhutto was not a threat to stability, but was instead the only possible way that we could guarantee stability and keep the presidency of Musharraf intact," said Mark Siegel, who lobbied for Bhutto in Washington and witnessed much of the behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

Simultaneously, the top story at CNN: "Bhutto said she'd blame Musharraf if killed"

Two months before her death, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto sent an e-mail to her U.S. adviser and longtime friend, saying that if she were killed, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf would bear some of the blame.
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"Nothing will, God willing happen," she wrote to Mark Siegel, her U.S. spokesman, lobbyist and friend.

"Just wanted u to know if it does in addition to the names in my letter to Musharaf of Oct 16nth, I wld hold Musharaf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides cld happen without him."

I don't like this at all. Not one bit.
It's impossible not to feel utterly helpless on this one now. We're all just waiting for the immediate aftershocks of all this.

Go read excellent background and analysis from someone way smarter than me, his name is Juan Cole. Click it!Click it!

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