Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Fallout From Benazir Bhutto's Death

AlJazeera reports that Benazir Bhutto was shot in the chest and neck. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. Tas noted there was coflicting reports of how Bhutto died.

President Bush called the assassination "cowardly" andurged Pakistan to follow through with their election. President Pervez Musharraf is considering postponing the election. Professor Joe Elder warns that Pakistan will take a step back if elections are delayed.

"The fact that the election could be delayed and a major candidate has been killed makes it very difficult to go ahead with establishing the impression that Pakistan has at last returned to a democratic process," said Joe Elder, professor of sociology and a specialist on Pakistan at the University of Wisconsin. "This is a very serious blow to the democratic process in Pakistan."

Musharraf comes out the winner in this. Democratic reform is a threat to his power. Musharraf took power in a military coup and named himself President. He recently declared marshall law and arrested political opponents. It is doubtful he is shedding tears over Bhutto's death.

The assassination may make Bhutto a martyr. That would be damaging to
Musharraf and the United States. For too long America has invested in Musharraf and gotten nothing in return. Musharraf signed a peace treaty with the Taliban. The whole purpose of the United States backing Musharraf was for his government to disrupt Taliban and Al Qaeda forces. The Bush administration should have pulled financial aid the moment Pakistan (temporarily) stopped fighting terrorism.

Anti-American sentiment will be strong in a post Musharraf government. Musharraf is hated by his people and the United States has backed him. Hardly a way to win the hearts and minds of the Pakistani people.

The question is who is responsible for Bhutto's death? The assassin blew himself up. Law enforcement can not question a dead man. The Pakistan government is corrupt and incompetent. Foreign pressure and assistance is the only way to insure a proper investigation.

Update: Scott Stanzel gives a horrible press briefing. He tells the press corp that it is to Pakistan if they want to postpone elections. Stanzel says it is up to Pakistan how they investigate Bhutto's assassination. Stanzel gives the impression that the White House has no idea how to handle the situation.

Stanzel is asked how aid money to Pakistan has been wasted. Stanzel defends Pakistan. At what point does the White House start putting the pressure on Musharraf.

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