Pay Attention to Pakistan

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pakistan is arguably the most important country in the fight against terrorists. It is a predominantly Muslim nation with nuclear weapons and out-of-control frontiers (including Taliban strongholds bordering Afghanistan).

At the moment, a political scrum has brought near chaos to the country.

The latest news is that Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani came under fire in an assassination attempt on his motorcade. This is not an uncommon occurrence in Pakistan. In the last few years alone, Pervez Musharraf was nearly assassinated a number of times and former president Benazir Bhutto died at the hands of assassins.

Gilani is a member for the Bhutto’s political party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, which is led by Asif Ali Zardari (Benazir Bhutto’s husband).

This assassination attempt, which the government attributes to al-Qaeda linked militants, is likely part of the power struggle now taking place; the outcome of which will have vast and important ramifications in the “War on Terror.”

More on Pakistan later…

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Musharraf Out, Chaos In

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Okay. If you’ve been reading about Pakistan you know that Gen. Pervez Musharraf resigned as president of that country. In his wake, the parties sharing political power there, the Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by Nawaz Sharif, and the Pakistan Peoples Party, led by Asif Ali Zardari (Benazir Bhutto’s corrupt husband), are quickly coming apart at the seams.

At issue is the restoration of some 60 judges, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who were deposed by Musharraf. Sharif wants them restored, Zardari does not (he is afraid he will be prosecuted if independent judges are on the bench). Sharif is threatening to pull out of the governing coalition. All of which is a prelude to a power struggle for the Presidency (which Zardari will almost certainly win).

Meanwhile, the Taliban is on the march in the tribal region of northwest Pakistan. From a story by Jane Perlez at the the New York Times:

In an attack claimed by the Taliban within the tribal region on Tuesday, a suicide bomber ripped into the emergency room of the district hospital in Dera Ismail Khan, a town near Waziristan, killing 25 people and injuring 30, said the inspector general of the police in the North-West Frontier Province, Malik Naveed Khan. He said there was some evidence that the suicide bomber was linked to Waziristan, the base of the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud.

And in Afghanistan:

Taliban insurgents mounted their most serious attacks in six years of fighting, one a complex attack with multiple suicide bombers on an American military base on Monday night, and another by some 100 insurgents on French forces in a district east of the capital, killing 10 French soldiers and wounding 21 others, military officials said Tuesday.

Lastly, there are rumors going around that Musharraf will seek asylum in the United States.

What does all this mean? A dangerous and complicated world just got more dangerous and complicated. Let us hope, and work, for a president with the intellectual power to deal with such circumstances.