December 28, 2007


With Bhutto Gone. . .: Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Steve Schippert, co-founder of the Center for Threat Awareness and managing editor for (Jamie Glazov, 12/28/07,

FP: What does the assassination of Bhutto mean for Pakistan going forward? What perils now lie ahead?

Schippert: Benazir Bhutto's assassination Thursday is a devastating blow for Pakistan and a great loss as such for the West. For all her faults readily pointed out by her critics - rightly or wrongly - she remained the best hope for a representation of reasonable and moderate Pakistanis within their own government.

Now, the only significantly popular alternative is another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. And he has advocated a Pakistani position of unceremonious distancing of Pakistan from the United States and cozying up to the Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance of terrorists and insurgents nested in Pakistan's tribal regions. He is also said to have benefited from a significant contribution in his failed first run for prime minister from none other than Usama bin Laden - to the tune of $3 billion rupees. For the West, he is not a trustworthy ally at all against al-Qaeda in his midst.

The elections slated for January 8th will almost certainly be delayed by Musharraf, who can be expected to announce another phase of emergency powers if violent street protests do not abate - effectively enacting a state of emergency with the constitution suspended and martial law in place.

It should be noted that instability and disunity are a requirement of any successful insurgency campaign....

Destabilization and disunity are, likewise, the basis of any successful counterinsurgency campaign, as witness post-911 American intervention in Afghanistan, Libya, Liberia, the Sudan, Iraq, Palestine, etc.. Indeed, the specific steps required in Pakistan involve destabilization and disunion, carving out the Tribal Areas into a separate state or states and imposing on them the sovereign responsibility to quash their own extremists or we will. The notion that what Pakistan needs is moderation is lunacy. What made Ms Bhutto useful was the unlikelihood that she'd be as liberal as her rhetoric once in power.

Al Qaeda is right under Musharraf's nose (B Raman, December 28, 2007, rediff)

Since 9/11, there has been hardly any jihadi terrorist strike anywhere in the world in which there was no Pakistani connection.

Since 2002, there has been hardly any jihadi terrorist strike in Pakistani territory in which there was no connection of the Pakistan army's general headquarters. By GHQ, one does not mean the entire army; one means some elements in the GHQ.

Was Al-Qaida Behind Bhutto's Slaying?: President Pervez Musharraf was quick to blame Islamist terrorists for the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Thursday. Now the United States is trying to determine the validity of a purported claim of responsibilty by al-Qaida. (Der Spiegel, 12/28/07)
It is clear that slain Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto did not want for enemies. While her supporters initial reaction to news of her assassination (more...) on Thursday had been to point the finger at President Pervez Musharraf, the president blamed Islamic militants for the attack.

The terrorist network al-Qaida was quick to claim responsibility for killing the veteran politician who had twice been prime minister and was hoping to serve a third term following forthcoming elections on Jan. 8. Pakistani broadcaster ARY TV reported that the terror network had said it had carried out the gun and bomb attack which killed Bhutto and at least 16 others.

Irrespective of who was actually responsible, our intelligence services (such as they are) should be spreading rumors that al Qaeda did it and playing up their imaginary resurgence in order to increase pressure on Pakistan to deal with its West and with infiltration of its military by Islamicists.

Pakistan After Bhutto (SIMON ROBINSON, 12/28/07, TIME)

Even as Pakistan buries assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto today, mourning Pakistanis are beginning to think about what comes next for their beleaguered nation. Bhutto supporters vented their anger late into Thursday night, burning shops, police stations and buses in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi, the site of yesterday's suicide attack. Rioting continued on Friday. "It has released bottled up national energies," says lieutenant general Hameed Gul, the former director general of Pakistan's intelligence organization, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). "[The assassination] is going to really excite the people, bring them out."

Which is why it represents another massive strategic miscalculation by the Islamicists. Their best interest was served by Pakistani lassitude. Energized populations are an existential threat to them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 28, 2007 8:24 AM


Posted by: erp at December 28, 2007 11:09 AM