Thursday, December 25, 2003
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An interesting month for Pervez Musharraf
Buried in a Newsweek story about the prospects of capturing bin Laden was the following nugget of information about Al Qaeda's strategy vis-à-vis Pakistan:
It's far from certain if this analysis is correct. As previously noted, Musharraf's domestic political situation is not great. His latest deal with the Islamic opposition could either be interpreted as a sign of democratization, a concession to hard-line Islamists, or both.
However, the failed assassination attempt on Musharraf two weeks ago -- the same day Saddam was captured -- has not deterred the Pakistani leader's opponents:
Gonna be an interesting 2004 for Pakistani politics!! [Every year is an interesting year for Pakistani politics!--ed. Point taken]
UPDATE: Ahmed Rashid has a disturbing analysis of Musharraf's domestic position in the Daily Telegraph.posted by Dan on 12.25.03 at 10:48 AM
Hold on, I thought we were for overthrowing dictators and bringing democracy to the region!posted by: Tom West on 12.25.03 at 10:48 AM [permalink]
Overthrowing dictators that have nuclear weapons so we can let the American-hating extremists take charge and threaten the world was never part of our plan. The international community (read: America) needs to do everything it can to make sure those nuclear weapons are secure: Musharraf can't survive too many more "interesting months" like this, and we can't afford the alternative.posted by: Juan Lieber on 12.25.03 at 10:48 AM [permalink]
As far as I have been able to determine there is no contingency American government plan for a post-Musharraf Islamist controlled Pakistan.
The one thing that this war has taught me is that there is a world of difference between policy paper place holders and fully vetted policy with Presidential support. Pre-9/11 I read a number of policy papers that dealt with American foreign policy options in the aftermath of a mass casualty terrorist attack on US soil. They called for "Stand and Deliver" ultimatums to nations like Musharraf's Pakistan to turn over their WMD and terrorists. That didn't happen. Neither State nor CIA wanted to go there so we didn't. Neither had senior people in their organizations that were part of the policy paper creation process and they opposed using those policy papers from the outset.
Both State and CIA still don't want to go anywhere near the idea of an Islamist controlled Pakistani nuclear arsenal.
The Defense Department cannot by itself create a national policy on this without a multi-agency vetting process via the National Security Council.
Condi Rice should be shot gunning such a policy. It hasn't happened. We haven't heard jack on the subject. Given State and CIA's record of disobedience we would have if Bush supported Condi in creating a national security policy contingency plans to address that impending disaster.
This is why I am so pessimistic about the final outcome of the war. As bad as the Bush Administration has been on policy here, a Dean Administration would be far worse.posted by: Trent Telenko on 12.25.03 at 10:48 AM [permalink]
We need to keep Musharraf in power as long as possible because he is the last
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