Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated - Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility

This is bad.

Bhutto was, by my reading, a polarizing figure in Pakistani politics. Western educated, not an Islamic traditionalist, and married to a man many considered corrupt she antagonized many during her two terms as Prime Minister. Still she had become the face of the idea of a pro-western democracy in Pakistan and now following her assassination her supporters are rioting in an already unstable Pakistan.

This is bad for two reasons. First off - Pakistan has nukes. If the government should fall we have no idea who will end up in charge and Kabul may end up a mushroom cloud the next day. Secondly - If Musharraf's government falls we may well end up with an Islamist in charge in Pakistan, one who is supportive of both the Taliban and Al Qaeda. If that happens the wink and nod support they are currently receiving will probably turn into full on support and Afghanistan suddenly isn't that big a deal anymore because now Pakistan is the base of operations.

The only possible good that can come out of this is if Al Qaeda continues to claim responsibility and that leads to an erosion of their support in Pakistan.

Here is a pretty good obituary on Bhutto

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