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December 27, 2007

What Bhutto's Assassination Means

-- by Dave Johnson

Talking Points Memo,

The most likely culprit is the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda. But it's not exactly an event met with tears by the Pakistani military, which thoroughly controls the government and the economy.

. . . U.S. strategy didn't exactly find that so offensive. "The idea was to consolidate the alliance of the so-called moderate forces in the Pakistani military through this election that the military was going to rig but we were going to certify anyway," Rubin observes. That is, as long as Bhutto was in the picture -- since the U.S. had reduced the democratic opposition to the figure of Benazir Bhutto, although her corruption as PM was manifest. Without Bhutto, it is unclear what the U.S. will do.

Bhutto's assassination presents an opportunity for Musharraf. "It's very possible Musharraf will declare [another] state of emergency and postpone the elections," Rubin continues. "That will confirm in many people's minds the idea that the military is behind" the assassination. For it's part, the U.S. will likely "be scrambling to say the election either needs to be held as planned or postponed rather than canceled, but Musharraf is in a position to preempt that."

As a result, Rubin says, U.S. strategy is "in tatters."

London Times has a roundup of "blog reaction" but I don't know many of the blogs
."I hope that the killing of Benazir Bhutto will open the eyes of US and UK adminsitration and will allow political forces to grow rather Pakistan Army. I hope that the people of Pakistan would come to roads and will throw away Pakistan Army and its dirty establishment and ISI."
Raw Story has AP,
While awaiting formal confirmation of Bhutto's death in an attack on an election rally, U.S. officials — who had labored to promote stability in the nuclear-armed country that has been an anti-terrorism ally — huddled to assess the impact of Bhutto's passing just two weeks before legislative elections in the turbulent nation in which her party was expected to do well."
CNN has Arnaud de Borchgrave on the air, calling him an "analyst: That's further right than even Fox.

Posted by Dave Johnson at December 27, 2007 7:21 AM

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