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27 December 2007

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Jose

Sad day for Pakistan, America and the world with condolences to all.

America needs to stop trying to pick the right regimes and/or groups to be elected to serve our interests.

Our President just spoke about the need to continue the democratic process in Pakistan, does anybody seriously believe that Pakistan wants Democracy over stability and/or breakup of the country?

We haven't learned anything from Iraq.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu

pbrownlee

The utterly inadequate "responses" of Bush and Brown assert that we must redouble our efforts in defence of whatever they mean by "democracy" and against whatever they mean by "terrorists".

Perhaps the dismissed former justices of the Pakistani Supreme Court were responsible for all this?

Clearly there some antidemocratic terrorists are more equal than others.

I would take a closer look at Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (past and present):

"Gen Musharraf laid out his proposal to support America in the imminent war against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. There was, he told them, simply no other choice. Officially the public was told the officers supported Gen Musharraf unanimously. But now it has emerged that four of his most senior generals opposed him outright. The Guardian has learned that the four openly challenged the president's pro-US stance. In military terms it was a stunning display of disloyalty.

"According to a source close to the military leadership the most angry among the four that night was Lieutenant General Mehmood Ahmed, the religious hardliner who headed the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) - responsible for internal security and covert operations - and was once Gen Musharraf's closest ally.

"Three other lieutenant generals joined his protest: Muzaffar Usmani, a corps commander who was instrumental in orchestrating the coup of October 1999 that brought the army back to power; Jamshaid Gulzar Kiani, commander of the powerful Rawalpindi corps; and Mohammad Aziz Khan, the Kashmir-born Lahore corps commander and a former ISI deputy chief.

"Within a month the dissenters were silenced. Gen Ahmed and Gen Usmani were sacked. Gen Kiani lost his corps to become Adjutant-General while Gen Khan was promoted to the theoretically powerful, but largely ceremonial, position of chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/kashmir/Story/0,2763,722049,00.html

http://www.fas.org/irp/world/pakistan/isi/

In an earlier life I had some microscopic dealings with Ms Bhutto and as far as I was concerned she was unfailingly thoughtful, intelligent and charming.

This is a loss.

(When I tried to find out more about this I got on to CBS -- the newsreader there seemed to have little actual news but a lot of trouble with those pesky Pakistani placenames.)

Mad Dogs

He who rides a tiger cannot dismount.

pbrownlee

But the tiger must sleep...

Watcher

Perhaps a precursor of things to come, ie Shah Masood...

Grumpy

But, the tiger sleeps best on a full belly.

arthurdecco

Bhutto didn't end up with a purported $750,000,000, (That's Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars!)in her husband's and her bank accounts by being a Pakistani Patriot or by caring unconditionally for "her people".

I'd look inside her family first and then to her "friends" before I went off the deep end over "Terists" being to blame for her murder.

This was a crime - not an American movie.


robt willmann

This morning, December 27, I think I heard on MSNBC the voice of one Samuel Berger commenting on the death of Benazir Bhutto.

Mr. Berger--document stealer and former national security "adviser" to pres. Bill Clinton--reportedly surrendered his law license to practice in the District of Columbia this year. But if I remember his sweetheart plea bargain correctly, his security clearance was going to be yanked for only three (3) years, just in time to get back into a friendly White House if the 2008 election goes in his favor.

Yet, Mr. Berger said that the "extremists" in Pakistan were in the Northwest Frontier province.
Pehaps he should have tried to steal a map of Pakistan from the National Archives while he was at it, and then he would be able better to tell the public where the undefined and undescribed "extremists" are in that country today. Is anyone remotely connected with reality claiming that the "extremists" are packed into that one northern area?

The refreshing thing about concert piano playing, standup comedy (as exemplified by Johnny Carson and others), a capella singing, bronc and bull riding, and farming is that you cannot hide mediocrity behind a government title.

With people like Mr. Berger operating at the "federal level", it is no wonder that the U.S. position in the Middle East and South Asia has been destructive for years.

The homicide of Ms. Bhutto is loaded up with intrigue like the killing of Rafik Hariri in Lebanon in 2005. Every person, group, and government with "an interest" in that geographic area is a suspect.

I don't know if it's true, but the report linked here

http://www.nation.com.pk/daily/dec-2007/27/index1.php

claims that a new agreement has been made between the U.S. and Pakistan, meaning Musharraf and Gen. Tariq Majid, the new head of the military. U.S. special forces are expected to "vastly expand their presence" in Pakistan, and provide training, assistance, and mentoring.

I wonder what the folks in Waziristan are going to think about that?

Happy New Year.

condfusedponderer

Al Quaeda has claimed responsibility for killing Bhutto. More in this article from the Asia Times.

Hannah K. O'Luthon

In his introductory remarks to the earlier discussion, the justly esteemed moderator of SST stated


"The US did not sponsor either group [Taliban or Al Qaeda]. We sponsored other groups. Look it up."

I would like to know where an outsider might "look it up" with a reasonable chance of finding credible documents, and also just what "extremist" groups we did sponsor. For example, have we ever sponsored the MEK?

Leigh

According to pix shown on newschannels, she had left the rally (safely) and gotten into her armored car (safely). Then she decided to standup and wave at the crowd through the sun roof. Standing there, above the crowd, she made a perfect target, and nothing and no one could have protected her.

W. Patrick Lang

Hannah K. O'Luthon

Interesting name.

I know from an earlier life that in the seven party mujahideen alliance against the Soviets, the US supported (through Pakistan) all except the Sayyaf group. That group was heavily supported by Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden was associated with that group and the Taliban movement was also associated with that group and witrh various Deobandi activists. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Rasul_Sayyaf

I don't really know what the relationship between the USG and the MEK may be. pl

J.T. Davis

Apparently the Pakistanis now have a medium range, nuclear capable cruise missile. They won't even need manned aircraft.


Andy

To add to what Col. Lang said, I would point Hannah to Steve Coll's Ghost Wars, which is one of the definitive works on the subject.

Fred

robt willmann:
Nice cheap shot at the Democrats - who do not run the exectuive branch.
Samuel Berger has been out of governmnet service since 2001. Perhaps you would comment on the current government's National Security Advisor, or perhaps the VP's CIA outing former chief of staff or many of the other fine examples of leadership the Bush administration has brought to service at the 'federal level'.

condfusedponderer

Hannah K. O'Luthon,
there is talk, not much more, about the neo-cons trying to retain the MEK for later uses vis a vis Iran. If that is true, and I have just my hunch and no way of knowing that with certainty, but it is likely they are being kept for intelligence gathering and the like in Iran.

The MEK claims it has discovered Iranian nuclear sites. I take that with a pound of salt or two. An alternative explanation is that the MEK were being used as an outlet by an 'interested third party' to publicise the discovery. Now guess who that might be.

For an amazingly sympathetic view on the MEK just try this article. For some background this article by Richard Sale.

Considering the MEK's reaction to the NIE (it is false!) they have fallen from grace with their neo-con sponsors, which to me (anyway) suggests that there has been a re-assessment of the MEK in Gates' Pentagon.

If there is US support for the MEK, it is probably along those lines - espionage and probably also information operations. But as I said, it's just my informed guesswork.

jonst

Ah Rob, you almost make me nostalgic for the days where the crimes that made the news were stuffing documents down your shorts/socks/whatever! Life was simpler in those days.

Andy

condfusedponderer,

MEK's claims about discovery are false and you are right to take them with a ton of salt. More information can be found here.

Ken Hoop

Admit it, Col Lang. In your heart you know he's right. Ron Paul, that is.

America Come Home!

Matthew

Is MEK the Farsi acronym for "Chalabi"?

Paul

The Bhutto assasination brings out the worst of our alleged leaders. Do they not understand the notion that one gets burned playing with fire? Instead of muted observation, these phonies elevate the volume of Muslim-taunting that will surely elicit a reaction. Rudy is going to get "every one of 'em". One of his advisors (a 65+ tub of s**t) is going to chase them back to their caves. Yeah, right! The Europeans are relatively silent for they learned their lessons about meddling in Middle East. Maybe Bush and his ilk will invade Portugal when they will fail in Afghanistan.

Babak Makkinejad

Matthew:

There is no language that is called "Farsi" in English; one does not use "Italiano" to speak of Italian".

Ken Hoop:

The United States cannot disengage from the World any more than any other state in the world since the present historical moment has coupled every state to one another [mor or less strongly].

However, US certainly can and should reduce her global foot-print specially in Northeast Asia and in Europe; in my opinion.

PeterE

You ask, "Someone killed her. Is anyone surprised?" I hope the U.S. government isn't surprised. Surely her assassination was moderately likely. Something for which the U.S. should have developed contingency plans. Or am I missing something?
Another question: Bhutto complained that Musharraf's government wasn't providing adequate security and wasn't effectively investigating (even discouraged investigating) the people involved in previous attempts on her life. Did the U.S. put pressure on Musharraf to provide adequate security and to investigate? I'd like to think that the answer is "Yes", but maybe it's "No".

Enobarbus37

Colonel,

What do you make of this?

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8fbdb622-b578-11dc-896e-0000779fd2ac.html

McGee

Babak:

I think you meant Northwest Asia, no?

All:

Anyone here with better knowledge than mine of Pakistan think that this might now make Imran Khan a legitimate candidate? First thing I thought of....

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