December 27, 2007
Sindhs of the father: Benazir Bhutto dead thread (open)
Benazir Bhutto, ex-Pakistani prime minister, is now an ex-person. Have at the whole set of issues in this open thread, o dear readers. Others of the Aqoul team may post more detailed entries on this most unpleasant passing of the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. (BTW, I don't know who those people are who say 'why do Muslims never go out in the streets venting their anger when al-Qaeda or other extremists* do a terrorist act?') Well, clearly, they sometimes do.
* Yes, I could imagine other ultimate suspects in this case but for now the insurgent Islamists are the default and most logical choice.
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I will blame it on the ISI. The west, in particular, the US is using the usual suspects Al-Qu'ida but just read up on ISI and what they have been doing in Baluchistan, NWF and pimping for the party of Mush.
Posted by: Yul at December 27, 2007 08:26 PM
I can't decide which is the worse crime, Bhutto's assassination or that pun.
And I'd say that the ISI is the default and most logical choice with Musharraf up there with them. I don't understand how the unnamed "analysts" in the Reuters article can say that the elimination of Musharraf's chief rival is somehow bad for Musharraf.
Posted by: Djuha at December 27, 2007 11:41 PM
"I can't decide which is the worse crime, Bhutto's assassination or that pun"
Come on there's no need to exaggerate. Of course it's the pun.
Posted by: Ali K at December 28, 2007 11:56 AM
In an interesting twist it looks like she was neither shot, nor hit by the bomb. Turns out that the sunroof fractured her skull. Either the bomb blast slammed her into it or one of the bodyguards over zealously pulled her back into the car when the shooting started.
Posted by: Abu Sinan at December 28, 2007 01:07 PM
can anyone suggest some reason not to feel crippling despair when one thinks of the region? such as the nascent pro-democracy movements developing a fascination with other than feudal tribal families or the celebrity of wealth and power?
or are we facing an unstable nation [with nukes] between a re-'Talibanized' Afghanistan and a ferociously growing (and hungry) India? people are saying all kinds of ugly and horrible things, personally my mind goes back to February 2003 and the Kargil/Siachen glacier conflict, and Nawaz Sharif's 'tossback' and the instability in Pakistan which followed...
someone please tell me there's some cause, perhaps not for hope or optomism, but for reason to survive.
Posted by: dawud at December 28, 2007 03:21 PM
The sub Continent? Eh, not my beat mate.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at December 28, 2007 06:47 PM
I find the complacency with which this is being greeted curious.
I don't have a good feeling about the consequences of this at all, not even a little bit.
Posted by: pantom at December 28, 2007 09:51 PM
Well, India seems pretty damn tense now. Bus routes shut down, army on alert, etc. Weird twists after her death (cause of death switch, email she sent to some American claiming that Musharraf will be responsible for her death) have people assuming that a cover-up was underway before her body even got cold.
I'm not exactly feeling crippling despair since Pakistan has been teetering for months. Still, this is not a good thing for stability.
Posted by: eerie at December 28, 2007 11:19 PM
On our part, pantom? Can't be everything mate, afraid few of the regular Aqoul writers are sub Con informed. My philosophy is if I am not expert, I keep me mouth shut rather than prognosticating about something.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at December 29, 2007 06:27 AM
Most people thought that Bhutto's powersharing deal with Musharraf was a safety valve to release some of the tension in the system. Hence her death is interpreted as a blow to Musharraf.
Yes, she was making more of a nuisance of herself than appeared to have been agreed upon in the original deal, which may have irritated some in the Pak army - but even so, she was an opponent they could compromise with easily to create the illusion of a contest.
Think back to the great Western media kerfuffle over the al-Ghad party in Egypt a few years back. They were a party with support from a very small liberal section of the Egyptian bourgeoisie, but because they were liberals the Western media fawned over them like they actually posed a threat to Mubarak. Then the Muslim Brotherhood started winning the election and the government intervened in a very heavy handed way. That was pure theatre too.
Posted by: waterboy at December 29, 2007 08:35 AM
L: An unfortunate juxtaposition. I had just been on a traders' forum prior to coming here, so that kind of colored that statement. I know you don't like chattering on in ignorance. Kind of my default state, though.
Reaction beyond the usual political posturing doesn't appear to be terribly concerned. The markets, particularly, are not making much of it at all.
They didn't react much to the assassination of the Archduke in 1914 either, not until Austria issued its ultimatum to Serbia nearly a month later, as Niall Ferguson showed in The War of the World.
In this case, it can't be good that the path to a stable succession in a nuclear state has been suddenly thrown into flux. States without a clear way for the head of state to be succeeded peacefully have been known, from time to time, to have civil wars. I don't think we've ever had one of those in a nuclear state, have we?
Posted by: pantom at December 29, 2007 01:43 PM
waterboy, I understand the storyline accepted by the American press that Bhutto was part of the US plan to keep Musharaf in power, but it just doesn't make sense to me.
I think the Bush administration has lost faith in Musharraf and wanted Bhutto to gradually replace him. The agreement between Sharif and Musharraf as a safety valve makes more sense to me.
Posted by: Djuha at December 29, 2007 03:22 PM
- afraid few of the regular Aqoul writers are sub Con informed.
You should do something about that, since this is a story with much bearing on your topics, and doesn't seem to want to go away.
Suggested job ad: "Wanted: blogger who knows Pakistan and Afghanistan, preferably Urdu speaking. Basic html literacy is necessary, and experience with Iran and/or nuclear warheads is a plus. No people skills required, but must have exceptional tolerance for verbal abuse."
Posted by: alle at December 29, 2007 06:14 PM
You could invite guest contributors from subcon themed blogs. ali eteraz and pickled politics spring to mind.
Posted by: Ali K at December 29, 2007 06:44 PM
Perhaps, but Pakiland I don't see as part of the beat. Sure it has nukes, but...
Well, if some other contributor wishes to do invites. I am too busy and not so inclined.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at December 29, 2007 07:11 PM
We do have persons of such background (I'm glaring at them now). This issue, like something as far away as US elections, has direct and hot bearings on and from MENA (Dubai hosted the working-accord between Mrs. B and Mr. M); after all this is the country where the very MENA al-Qaeda is now headquartered. Also, when I wrote, another contributor had something in draft already up (not the same person I am glaring at.)
Posted by: matthew hogan at December 30, 2007 10:04 AM
I won't say who I'm glaring at but it's not L, or me, or Tom or Eva, or Eerie (mostly), not Ibn, not MSK, and not some others.
Posted by: matthew hogan at December 30, 2007 10:07 AM
Hope it's not me you're thinking of. I try and pay attention to Pakistan, but I don't believe I know enough about what's happening on the ground or behind closed doors to write anything insightful. Like L, I think we are better off not writing about what we do not properly grasp.
Also, I tend to be of the opinion that Pakistan falls outside the scope of 'Aqoul's mission, whatever the heck that is. Just as Camp David, Oslo, Madrid, and Geneva are not a part of the Middle East, Bhutto's base in Dubai does not make Pakistan a core part of the MENA region, and economic/security ties aren't strong enough to change that. Pakistan is an interesting country, but generally tangential to what we do.
Well, I am no longer glaring at youl
Pakistan is an interesting country, but generally tangential to what we do.
I'd ordinarily agree, except a) this is big news for discussion of our readership, b) it affects phenomena like al-Qaeda and Islamic politics and perhaps UAE labor force that have MENA direct impact, and c) "About Aqoul" on this very site reads as follows:
'Aqoul also touches on the MENA fringe, including adjacent countries, areas with religious or cultural similarities (e.g. containing a high proportion of Muslims) . . . . Let us call it “MENA writ large”.
The first sentence is just more wordy way to say "Pakistan". Or "Afhganstan" and the other "-stans".
I think the actual author of those words could better explain it but she is in and out of the office at the moment as she is off on a tour of . . .
. . . the Indian subcontinent!
Also the only reason many of us don't write on Geneva or Camp David is not any tangentiality but we really don't want to plunge (back?) into the more-heat-than-light Palestine-Israel issue; it's enough educating the masses on the basic bread and butter, or "pita" and hummus, issues.
Posted by: matthew hogan at December 30, 2007 04:44 PM
Regarding Tom's old post on the translation of "Allah". One for the new month thread.
Posted by: Klaus at December 31, 2007 08:00 AM