29 December 2007

Thoughts on Pakistan

Over the past two days, there has been much fallout concerning the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Much has been written about the matter, must reported on television, and yet there seems to be little in the way of clarity. From what I’ve read about the history of the region, no one should be surprised by that. Trying to impose our (Western) logic and order on the situation is to depart from reality.

Al Qaeda reportedly has claimed responsibility for the attack, but there is more than a little dissent concerning that claim. Regardless of the truth, I don’t think there is much doubt that al Qaeda benefits from the chaos in Pakistan. Just as Sunni versus Shia violence worked to destabilize Iraq, so will pitting rival political parties against each other destabilize Pakistan. As is oft noted, a destabilized – or worse, Islamofascist controlled – Pakistan is a serious concern given the location and weapons capabilities therein.

That being said, one wonders if the elections in Pakistan scheduled for January 8th ought to go on as planned or postponed. Holding them as planned might lend some stability to the situation if Musharraf wins. Given the amount of blame flowing toward him from within Pakistan, that’s not a given.

The most clear and concise point I’ve read yet about the situation comes from Andrew Walden at American Thinker:

Western-friendly Pakistani governments are just a billion-dollar veneer with mostly theoretical control over the Pakistani military and its nukes. With Musharraf out as army chief, his control becomes even more theoretical. Pakistani reality is not so dissimilar to that of pre-9-11 Afghanistan, Iraq before the surge, Somalia, Gaza, Chechnya, Sudan, or other failed Islamist states. The only difference is that the state has not yet failed. If the PPP is knocked out of the picture, the end is a lot closer than many realize.

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