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Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack

by the stormy present Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:44:07 AM EST

Not a lot of info yet.  This AP story is in The Guardian:

Blast at Bhutto rally kills 20 | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

The Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has died after a suicide bomb attack that killed at least 15 people at a campaign rally.

The explosion took place today as Bhutto left a rally in Rawalpindi, near the capital, Islamabad, minutes after a speech to thousands of supporters.

The country's interior ministry has confirmed that the returned former prime minister has died.

She was critically wounded and rushed into emergency surgery. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was earlier quoted confirming his wife was in a "serious condition" following the attack.


The Washington Post has more details:
Bhutto Reportedly Killed in Suicide Attack - washingtonpost.com

Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was reportedly killed Thursday at a political rally, two months after she returned from eight years of exile, officials here said.

Bhutto was apparently shot at close range as she was leaving the rally in this garrison city south of Islamabad. Immediately after the shooting, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near her car, killing at least 15 other people.

Bhutto was rushed to a hospital with extensive wounds to her torso, her supporters said. Shortly after she arrived at the hospital, officials came out of the building and told her supporters that Bhutto was dead.

Also Thursday, a rooftop sniper opened fire on supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at a different pre-election rally in Rawalpindi, leaving four dead and at least five injured.


I found out about it, oddly, through a friend's Facebook status message.

Display:
I find this quite shocking.  And yet, sadly, not surprising.  Thought it deserved something more than a Salon post.  I'll try to update as more information becomes available.

Your insights are, of course, welcome.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:38:40 AM EST
Huh. Last story I saw an hour ago was that she was unhurt!
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone got thoughts on the consequences?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:43:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rage.  Fear.

A friend who pays a lot of attention to Pakistan (but who is actually Indian, and who cannot be considered a neutral observer) is already convinced that Musharraf is behind it.  I suspect many of Bhutto's supporters will be similarly convinced.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:47:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The immediate question is whether the elections scheduled for less than two weeks from today will go ahead on schedule.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:49:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a chance. there may not be a civil society in existence by then to have an election for.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:54:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What ? You mean apart from a bloodbath ? I guess it will confirm that Pakistan has been allowed to become ungovernable.

I'm not even sure that a full military dictatorship can save the day for the simple reason that all it will do is try to put a lid on pressures that are already far beyond such control.

An awful lot of people are going to die in the next few weeks and there's bugger all anyone can do to stop it. However, the presence of the nuclear weapons throws a nasty complication into the mix. I suspect that america and others may have to step in and clear up we helped create, or at least get the nukes out. And that will put us into an interesting situation vis a vis Saudi Arabia as it's their people we absolutely need to exterminate (I use the word deliberately).

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:53:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any idea who benefits? Does this really benefit Mushariff, for instance?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:56:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CNN has a Bhutto spokesman on the phone now and the anchor just said to him something along the lines of isn't it far too early to be pointing fingers right now?  The spokesman begs to differ.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah. How long did CNN wait to point fingers on 9/11?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me that Musharraf's hold on power is tenuous to the point where this might just be the thing to topple him. But that's my uneducated guess.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:20:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, much as Musharaff didn't want to work with Bhutto, her death complicates things for him. For everybody.

Plus, Islamic militants had already promised to kill her for the crime of being female and a politician. Suicide bombers aren't the army's m.o, but they are those of islamists. So I guess we have to look at the Wahabi madrassas for the originators of this.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:22:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was my sense of it.  It sounds like Musharraf is being blamed initially, but didn't he agree to the amnesty because he believed that he needed to work with her?

Given their promise to kill her, it sounds like the work of militants, but we'll see.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:33:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's happened in the same area that Musharraf put her under house arrest and stopped her from going to. She went now that the state of emergency is over... and died. Obviously, there are two possible readings here.

My guess is on radical circles inside the ISI.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:35:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't put it past the ISI to have their fingers all over this, but I'm sure it was at a slight remove. They probably kicked a hornet's nest in a madrassa and sat back to watch. Bhutto and they are at daggers drawn and have been since forever. The charges of corruption against her originated from within ISI as I remember.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's a very important point -- the extremists and the Pakistani security services are not really separate things.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 So I guess we have to look at the Wahabi madrassas for the originators of this

or is that what you're supposed to think?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:05:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. There are so many possible suspects that if you brought them all together in a single dining room, the combined talents of Hercule Poirot and Nick Charles would be insufficient for identifying the true culprit.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:10:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do groups/people come forward to say they were behind these kind of incidents?  Or will it be down to forensics and experts to make their best guesses?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:38:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes they do, but sometimes those claims are not credible -- i.e. a group will have been invented out of whole cloth, or some other group will want to take credit for something that it had nothing to do with.  Any statements and/or videos claiming responsibility would have to be evaluated on their merits.

As for the investigation... well, that assumes the integrity of the officials involved, doesn't it?  If people believe that the state could have been involved, do you think they're going to believe what the state's own forensic investigators say about who did it?  Or believe the FBI's or Scotland Yard's investigators, if they were to be invited in?

In Lebanon, this is why they appointed the UN investigator into the Hariri assassination, and why they had several different forensic teams from different countries inspecting the evidence; but that also can prove problematic in different ways.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:48:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Russian expert puts finger on islamists and says life would be much more difficult for Musharraf right now. In addition, he'll have to deal with Bhutto supporters who'd be convinced it's him.
by Sargon on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:05:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What forces are available for an intervention? None in sufficient strength to achieve anything, I suspect. In any event the experience of the past few years does tend to imply that military actions by the west in Islamic countries is counter-productive.

If Pakistan does not become a nuclear armed Islamic caliphate in the next few years, it will owe more to the good sense of the Pakistani people than the wisdom of western policy.

by Gary J on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, more to the internal inter-community tensions (and the communitarian bounds of the Caliphate-ists) than both Western and Pakistani wisdom.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It can't be good, but I don't know the ins and outs of Pakistani politics well enough to venture a guess.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's my problem: I have a dim picture of competing tribal, religious, military and class based forces, but I can't make any sense of it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:57:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's much more complicated than the sort of one-on-one confrontations I'm accustomed to seeing in politics and war both in the present and in the overviews of history (even though I recognize that it's always more complicated than that).  Here we have the PPP vs Musharraf vs radicals vs whatever else you can toss in there, to say nothing of overlap and the degrees to which the parties do and don't get along.  And I just don't know how they all fit together.

Being a "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" type, I'm inclined to assume Helen is right -- that the gravity of the situation hasn't yet set in, and that we're looking at a bloodbath in Pakistan between rival factions.  It's clear to me that Musharraf holding things together for the time being is not guaranteed.

The nuclear weapons issue is frightening in the sense that we don't know what the ultimate outcome of this will be.  But I disagree with Helen about America, Europe and others getting involved, at least in any role involving the military, because the capacity to get involved simply isn't there.  That said, Pakistanis are not children, and they're more sophisticated than the western press gives them credit for.  I don't think Pakistan is likely to be taken over by the looney toons, which is obviously what most people are thinking about when they refer to the nukes.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I disagree with Helen about America, Europe and others getting involved, at least in any role involving the military, because the capacity to get involved simply isn't there.

Maybe not in terms of becoming a peacekeeping force, but the west has been increasingly uncomfortable with a nuclear armed pakistan as it became obvious the country was a shambles with dangerous elements beoming influential. I imagine they might come in to withdraw the weaponry to a safer place.

That said, Pakistanis are not children, and they're more sophisticated than the western press gives them credit for.  I don't think Pakistan is likely to be taken over by the looney toons, which is obviously what most people are thinking about when they refer to the nukes.

Just as the americans have Bush, the sophistication of the people is moot when the leaders, there by force of arms, are fools. And, let there be no doubt, there are influential, powerful and armed factions within Pakistan who are indistinguishable from looney toons. It's certainly becoming obvious that Pakistan cannot be governed without, at least, the passivity of the wahabinist madrassas.

Yet what will be the price of such passivity ? The middle classes in paklistan has divvied up power and corruption between them to such an extent that having their lives and freedoms constrained by "looney tunes" may be a force for destabilisation or at least the economic gutting of the country in the medium term. so any settlement now will create problems further down.

And any hope of peace in the middle east will be impossible without a peaceful pakistan. India will mobilize to Kashmir. Afghanistan will become a tinder box.

The only good thing may be that Al-qaeda may become distracted from Iraq, but as their influence there is fading, that may not matter so much.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:54:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghanistan is already pretty close to a tinder box, if it's not already there, and al-Qaeda's attention to Iraq is a losing cause, anyway.  It's the only group in Iraq with significantly lower approval ratings than the Americans.

Where is the West going to get the manpower to go grab the weapons?  And that also works with one of two assumptions: (1) that the Pakistani military is simply going to allow them to do this, or (2) that the western powers are simply going to do away with the Pakistani military -- again, with what manpower? -- in order to get at the weapons.  Neither of these options seems incredibly likely, especially if there is the possibility you noted of India moving.  (India might like to do this, but I don't see it happening.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:18:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All good questions and any person claiming to know the answers is both a fool and a liar.

how this pans out nobody can know, but it will be violent and bloody.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:50:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On that, I unfortunately agree.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:51:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course I have an opinion. I am a physicist.

Nothing will happen. the system is so cahotic than adding a little bit of more noise is absolutely irrelevant.. in the sense  that it can lead to anywhere int he phase . but actually there is no chance from before to after.

So the possibilities of complete cahos and complete order in Pakistan remain roughly the same.

The probabilities of a Pakistan with a pseudo-control demcoracy (which is what a lot of the western elite think it is the best) are as low as before.. but hardly lower.

The multiple Paksitani factions will still have a personal dynamics.. and there is as change now of subrevolt or semirevolt or a gathering of revolts.. but I think the same probabilities than before.

So...: I guess to sum up.. I know nothing, I am from barcelona.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 03:09:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The voice of optimism speaks! And of sanity.

So...: I guess to sum up.. I know nothing, I am from barcelona.

I wanted to ask for some time: is this the Fawlty Towers reference, and if yes is it because of ET, or have you seen it?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:00:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure it is fawlty towers... and it is yes because we all catalonians know it.. adn we all know it despite the fact that in Barcelona the sentence was translated as.

"No se nada.. soy de Mexico"... because here in catalonia , he was from mexico, not from Barcelona. And he was the only speaking spanish because the rest was speaking in catalan (doubling from english).

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:04:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And he was the only speaking spanish because the rest was speaking in catalan

LOL! That's an extra twist on it...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 07:07:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. the americans will have to go back to the drawing board and pick a new puppet. perhaps nawaz sharif's stock will rise?

  2. musharaf will use this pretext to put more martial law measures into effect.

  3. who knows how the riots will play out, or if they'll link up with an ambitious and/or bhutto-tied general or two.

a nawaz sharif rally was shot at earlier in the day. most cui bono leads to musharraf, IMO.

al qaeda or islamic radicals would have struck at the general, not an out of power politician.

by wu ming on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 02:32:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Has the Chinese government issued a formal response?

I haven't been able to find one in the Western media.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 02:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would have been more surprised if it hadn't happened.  Who benefits?  Really, does it matter?  Assasination, martial law, chaos, revolution, war, oblivion: all so predictable, obvious, boring, useless, etc, etc, etc.
All proof that the human species hasn't been evolving any longer than any other "lower" organism on this poor planet.
by Andhakari on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Insights? More like despairs...

It's a tragedy either way, but I would not find this half as worrying if I thought that the people in the White House had any clue at all and the people in Brussels had any way at all to influence what is going on.

The countries in the region (India, Iran, Russia) are not going to sit idly in the case that Pakistan implodes, and I don't see any sign that either Europe or the US has any plan or coherent policy at all.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:19:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not seeing a lot of blog-reaction yet, people haven't had time to really process the news, and most of the blogs I follow focus on the Middle East, not Pakistan or South Asia.

One response from Abu Muqawama ("father of resistance," an odd name choice if you ask me), who is a former US Army officer (who served one or two tours in Afghanistan) and current think-tanker and academic specializing in counter-insurgency.

abu muqawama: Benazir Bhutto, RIP

The folks on NBC, though, are making it sound as if Bhutto was some brave liberal alternative to the Musharraf regime, swallowing hook, line, and sinker this narrative that Benazir Bhutto was some kind of Pakistani Aung San Suu Kyi.

Okay, folks, we all know she was eloquent, went to Harvard and Oxford and was a darling of the English-language media. But she was arguably the most corrupt woman in the history of South Asia. She was removed from office not once but twice on corruption charges. And ruthless? She killed her own brother in 1996.

So by all means, mourn Benazir Bhutto, but those who live by the sword...
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:02:13 AM EST
What? The MSM doesn't do nuance? Next you'll claim that Garry Kasparov isn't really the leader of the Russian opposition...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:22:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've assumed from the start that Bhutto was sponsored by the US to depose Musharraf, who was not behaving on his leash as he was supposed to.

Remember that a world leader with nukes does not have to kowtow to American interests.  It is clear that Pervez was not exactly towing the line for the Cheney folks.  I'm sure if I google Bhutto's recent comments there is a free-market angle to be found.  She certainly did not represent the poor and destitute of Pakistan, that is for sure.

I also think that Bhutto's presence has generated a huge amount of instability and she was taken care of to REDUCE that.  Ultimately the opposition needed her to rally around, to give it some kind of legitimacy and a tie to the "old days of Democracy" in Pakistan.

From what I've seen and recall from his takeover, Musharaf is really not some Hussein-esque dictator.  He took over a corrupt country from a corrupt leader and the nukes probably had a lot to do with it.  During his term Pakistan has largely avoided major war and skirmishes with India and other neighbors.  

If you can look past the "democracy" red-herring it would appear that he's their most competent leader in a long time.  I certainly had no hope that Bhutto's faction would do any better.

by paving on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:38:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should read FarEasterner's recent diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He took over a corrupt country from a corrupt leader and the nukes probably had a lot to do with it.  During his term Pakistan has largely avoided major war and skirmishes with India and other neighbors.

Remember that he managed to get over from that corrupt leader after the US ordered that corrupt leader to pull back troops in Kashmir which were provocatively pushed forward -- on Musharraf's rogue orders.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 05:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC mentioned the death of two of her brothers, but she had him killed?

Murtaza Bhutto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bhutto campaigned as an independent in the 1993 elections, winning a seat in the assembly governing the Sindh province[1]. In 1995 he led a schism of the ruling Pakistan People's Party[1].

In 1996, he accused police of unfairly targeting his organization and denied playing any part in bombings in Karachi[1] that year. On 20th September 1996, he was shot and killed along with six supporters during an altercation with the police[1]. The police stated that Murtaza and his supporters had refused to allow police to search their vehicles as part of security measures imposed since the bombings, and that they were fired upon first[1]. The assassination took place in the posh locality of Clifton, Karachi. According to area residents the gunfire continued unabated for hours.

Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister of Pakistan at the time of Murtaza Bhutto's killing. The brother and sister were estranged at the time and were political opponents. To date the assasination of Murtaza Bhutto remains an unsolved case.



We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:59:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I don't know enough about that to make a judgment, but that's what his family claims.  

I found this 1996 news story to make rather surreal reading in light of the current situation....

Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, in a speech in parliament, accused the government of "state terrorism" against its political opponents. Leaders of the Lahore High Court Bar Association in Punjab were quoted as describing Murtaza Bhutto's killing as a murder.

Murtaza's killing "is part of a conspiracy to make Pakistan a police state and crush democratic freedom," said Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Pakistan's fundamentalist party leader.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 07:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of the comments on this blog post are just registering shock.  But one stood sadly out:

With conditions like these, I fear that Pakistan has no hope for progress in our life times.

I really wish I could disagree with that.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:16:04 AM EST
Another comment on this post at Sepia Mutiny says:

i'm on vacation in india, just watching coverage on ndtv. asma jehangir just broke down and said "damn the army" -- mariana babar, editor of the news was just pointing out that the attack was near where her father, zulfikar bhutto was hanged, and where liaquat ali khan was assassinated.

if this swings things towards sharif, well.. that's awful. we live in interesting times, i suppose.

The boldface is mine.

Other posters noted (as is mentioned in the WaPo article) that there was also an attack on a Sharif rally.

The same commenter later said this:

one particular point babar just made was that -- the ppp party workers, a lot of them are in rawalpindi, and are very very die-hard, and that musharaff may not be able to handle their anger after her death. this seems to have shaken and shocked even non-supportive pakistanis.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CNN now has footage of angry mobs running through the streets of Rawalpindi.  Some are smashing cars.  Shopkeepers are closing up their shops and pulling the gates over the doors and windows.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:32:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is exactly why it is unlikely that Musharaff ordered this.  He seems to be savvy at managing angry pockets of his constituency.  The careful dance of allowing Bhutto back into country, negotiating terms/charges, etc, could have very easily gone awry.  If anything I think Pervez has been trying to avoid this very thing and was actually protecting Bhutto as much as he could.  The man doesn't rule with an iron fist, Pakistan is largely run locally as far as I can tell.
by paving on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Still more reaction, this time from the FP Passport blog:

Needless to say, this shakes up the Pakistani political scene before the elections, which were supposed to be held January 8. Angry riots and a reimposition of martial law are probably a foregone conclusion. And for the United States, it probably means that U.S. policymakers now see President Pervez Musharraf as their only option.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:09:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters.com

Reports said security was deteriorating in Karachi, where thousands poured on to the streets to protest. At least three banks, a government office and a post office were set on fire, a witness said.

Tires were set on fire on many roads, and shooting and stone-throwing was reported in many places. Most shops and markets in the city shut down.

At least 20 vehicles were torched in the central Sindh town of Hyderabad.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:56:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never understood why people do that. In what way are local shopkeepers, banks and people with cars parked on the street responsible for X?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 04:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll offer another one. Instead of spending how many billions on fighting "islamists" in Afghanistan and Pakistan, wouldn't it be oh so much more constructive to invest that Western taxpayer's money in schools, hospitals and infrastructure? Any of our politicians proposing that?
by vladimir on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because weapons are so much more profitable. Plus, you fire a missile and have to buy a new one. So instability is profit.

Schools and Health centres only need renewing after you've bombed them. So, there's no campaign contributions to be gained from promoting education and welfare.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:40:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the US will use this to get troops within Pakistani borders. Yesterday there was this article:
U.S. Troops to Head to Pakistan - Early Warning
Beginning early next year, U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units, according to defense officials involved with the planning.


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:34:28 AM EST
What, in god's name, for?  Do they need MORE chaos?  Can't the 'stanis provide their own experts in violence and death?  Surely they know how to torture just as well or better than the Americans.
Can't we find a really big pit, hole, mine or whatever where everyone who takes themselves too seriously too often can go throw themselves and leave the rest of us poor suckers alone?
by Andhakari on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Andhakari:
What, in god's name, for?  Do they need MORE chaos?

Do you even need to ask?

I'm hoping this isn't a Gavrilo Princip moment.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm hoping this isn't a Gavrilo Princip moment.

That's crossed my mind, too.  It's been mentioned by the Kossacks, but I didn't think much of it given their sensationalist tendencies.  It does kind of have the feel of that potential, though, but perhaps that's just a result of my inability to gauge what it means in the big picture.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:24:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's because they were expecting Bhutto to win the elections and open the doors to them.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:03:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is very relevant to the US-Bhutto connection.  Bhutto was to be the political enabler, making the official invitation, while the Pentagon was already planning to send the US troops in.  

This is an escalation of degree that goes far beyond the previous US air-attacks on the country.  

It also means the US was going to knife Musharraf in the back, once Bhutto was in.  Maybe he saw it coming.   Maybe others saw it to.  I can see the list of people who wanted Bhutto dead growing by the hour.    

Meanwhile:  A serious setback to US policy:  Who can they get now to invite US troops into the country?  

Maybe they will just go in anyway.  

But this is going to cost.  In more ways than one.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:22:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I am not sure whether Bhutto or Musharraf are more convenient to this US administration. Washington might be getting exactly what it wants, like probably in Iraq... It happened just in time for Iowa voters to be reminded about terror, terror... All GOP candidates there knew exactly what to say.

It's all sad that this Bhutto saga was kind of expected. But only cynics in power seem to know what to do in this shock, and how to do it.

by das monde on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:43:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, the US is back to dealing with Musharraf, which is where they started.  He doesn't get much choice either, despite the attempt to destroy him.  

But I don't expect him to last long now.  

It looks like the US will be opening another front in its endless war, one way or another.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 12:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC just had Nawaz Sharif on the phone.  They asked him "who benefits."   I wasn't paying full attention, but it sounded like he sort of dodged the question.  Which is probably smart.

On a side note, been switching channels around (English-only at this point, no energy to parse the Arabic coverage of this yet) and have to say BBC coverage has been a lot better than the competition.

CNN has been fairly staid.  Not terribly insightful, but not really terrible, except in flashes.  They cut away to their White House correspondent for a moment, and she had something like this to say:  "It's a holiday week in Washington, but I was just talking to a spokesperson..."  In other words, everyone was caught off guard and she had nothing to add because only the third-string is in the office today.  But CNN does seem to have this institutional need to cut away to the White House for comment, even when there's no comment.

Al Jazeera English, sadly, is completely hopeless.  This is too bad, because I usually like them, but I don't think they've done well with breaking news in the past, either.  Their correspondent was really floundering and started into a long digression on gender in Islam that I found utterly incoherent.  Poor guy, seemed a bit out of his depth.  At the moment it looks like the whole channel is run by very handsome 22-year-olds.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:52:05 AM EST
I just watched BBC News coverage and found it quite good. They had an expert in the studio who had to end his intervention by saying "I don't mean that Pakistan is hopeless and will become a failed state" or something to that effect, after saying that neither civilian not military people in pakistan have any real control of the situation and that Bhutto herself had told him that nothing could be done about islamic extremism except wait for it to burn itself out.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:57:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was also a complete non-sequitur about "Pakistan's nuclear weapons are firmly under control of the military". I wonder whether there was something more substantial they wanted to say and it was edited out.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PRC has been Pakistan's ally balancing India.  The Chinese are starting to have problems with their Muslim minorities and can't be pleased with the prospects of loose Nukes in their own little 'stans.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 06:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For all the coverage this has gotten, especially for Sharif, it remains universally unmentioned that SHARIF IS THE GUY MUSHARAFF DEPOSED IN A COUP.

At the time it was accused that Sharif tried to kill Pervez but denying his low-fueled planes the right to land at the airport, inciting the events.

I would think it highly relevant to mention this political context yet NO coverage I have seen that included Sharif and his opinions has seen need to mention this, uh, glaring 80lb gorilla when discussing Musharaff and Sharif.

by paving on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 08:25:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC just played an interview with a former Bhutto advisor.  He said something like this:  "Rawalpindi is the most secure city in all of Pakistan.  There are intelligence operatives everywhere."  He said if Rawalpindi wasn't secure enough to hold a political rally, then "there is something very, very wrong with the way Musharraf is running Pakistan."

And this perspective will be a problem for Musharraf -- he's supposed to be the "security and stability" option, right?  But if he can guarantee neither security nor stability....  no surprise he will be blamed, either by people who think he's directly responsible or by those who hold him responsible for the overall security climate in Pakistan.

And on that, they have a point.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:21:24 AM EST
Vinod at Sepia Mutiny has updated his post and makes a similar point, more succinctly worded than mine:

"What's worse, that Musharaff may have had a role in this or that he was powerless to stop it?"

Vinod also points to the Getty Images photo archive, for photos of the scene, and there's a slideshow on Yahoo news that includes both images from the scene and file photos of Bhutto.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's the scary question.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:51:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Pervez has said as much, re: not really being able to protect her.
by paving on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:46:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not really relevant I think.

A reporter on the Swedish radio described how things had been when she was travelling with Butto a few months ago.

Chaos everywhere. Trampling estathic crowds, pushing, hugging Butto so hard she lost her breath, shouting as loud as they could in her ears and so on. She didn't seem to mind in the least, nor did her aides or the soldiers escorting them.

So, the idea that they cared much about security is not really relevant.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 04:00:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to press here Al Qaeda has revindicated the assassination. Al Qaeda member Sheikh Saeed declared by phone to AKI-Adnkronos International that the murder of Bhutto was carried out by the terrorist cell Lashkar-i-Jhangvi of Punjab at the behest of Al Zawahiri.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:27:04 AM EST
Large explosion in a commercial center in Moscow...
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:30:54 AM EST
Link?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:38:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RSS feed www.agi.it/estero from agency Ria-Novosti.
Link.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:58:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's odd. There's nothing on Ria Novosti's English-language site.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:07:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agi ran two feeds on the event citing Ria Novosti. It's odd but what can one add? It's probably a case of heightened etherspace paranoia as "civil" war menaces Pakistan.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It turned out to be nothing of importance. Lot's of panic, police cordoned off the center. No damage.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:11:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Security Council has just started an emergency session.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:37:01 AM EST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is on BBC now, in a press conference in Kabul.

He said he met with Bhutto this morning and found her to be "a very very brave woman."  He keeps referring to the cowardice and brutality of her killers.

He also said she had been "martyred."  The use of this word is important.  I think we will hear it again.  And again.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:51:17 AM EST
I can't decide if using that word is a good thing, in that it turns extremist language against the extremists, or a bad thing, in that it continues the destructive language that we really need to do away with.  I'm inclined to think it's the latter.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I'm of two minds about it.  It is meaningful to a certain constituency, and that's important.  But then, as in Lebanon, you start to build this culture of martyrdom, where each side near-deifies its own "martyrs," and in a polarized and highly charged atmosphere, it just contributes to the downward spiral.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 10:58:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it likely results in scoring political points for the moment at a cost of further destabilization in the long run, which is, I think, what you were getting at with mention of the culture of martyrdom.  It's dangerous.

Now, granted, I'm thankful to not have Hamid Karzai's job.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:19:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The barrel is now at quota 97 dollars(nothing to do with Bhutto assassination of course).
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:04:48 AM EST
Was she shot in the face?  Where was Cheney?
by Andhakari on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:13:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This seems mostly linked to the just released report on US oil stocks, which shows a much larger than expected decline in oil and associated stocks.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:19:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That makes more sense.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:20:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The WSJ is naming the Bhutto assassination as a contributing cause of the spike:

Oil Gains on Bhutto News, Dollar - WSJ.com

Crude-oil futures touched a fresh one-month high Thursday, boosted by the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, expectations of a sixth straight draw in U.S. crude oil stockpiles and a weakening dollar.

Light, sweet crude for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was recently up nine cents to $96.06 a barrel after rising as high as $96.70, the highest intraday price for a front-month contract since Nov. 27. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange rose 26 cents to $94.20 a barrel.

Traders said while the assassination of Ms. Bhutto, who was killed during an apparent suicide bombing attack in the military garrison town of Rawalpindi, doesn't directly threaten oil supplies, it adds to global instability and a confluence of factors holding up crude oil in thin post-Christmas trading. Crude prices were buoyed Wednesday by Turkish air strikes against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

"Bhutto's death is certainly no incentive to sell, and adds to a number of bullish factors at the moment, including northern Iraq and a lower dollar," said one New York trader who declined to be named.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:32:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The assassination certainly can't help, but it matters more on pricing risk of further instability in the region.  So a little bit of a hike isn't terribly surprising.  I think stocks and the dollar have more to do with it, though.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:17:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Asian Times Online, Dec.19
On November 11, The Washington Post reported that the United States sent "tens of millions of dollars worth of equipment such as intrusion detectors and ID systems to safeguard Pakistan's nuclear weapons". A week later, The New York Times, which had been sitting on the story for three years, revealed that the program was in fact much larger, "Over the past six years, the Bush administration has spent almost $100 million on a highly classified program to help General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, secure his country's nuclear weapons." The assistance ranged from "helicopters to night-vision goggles to nuclear detection equipment".

The US military claims to be confident about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. A Pentagon press spokesman said, "At this point, we have no concerns. We believe that they are under the appropriate control." The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff declared, "I don't see any indication right now that security of those weapons is in jeopardy."

It would amaze me if the Americans don't know exactly where the nukes are and have plans ready to pick them up without making any fuss.

by Trond Ove on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 11:57:24 AM EST
"rumors" only, mind you, but rumors nevertheless of US quick reaction teams on site working with the paki military.  I can't remember if that was Seymour Hersh or not.  Nothing substantial though, sorry no links.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"
by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:07:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know either, but that certainly sounds like a Sy Hersh work, and he has, from what I've seen, been out in front of a lot of people.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:15:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can dimly remember a Newsweek article roughly three years ago. There was speculation about rapid reaction special forces stationed on Diego Garcia trained exclusively for taking control of Pakistani nuclear facilities.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If so that is true, they are probably airborne as we write.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"
by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:33:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kudos to your memory. Seymour Hirsch wrote on this in 2001.

Annals of National Security: Watching the Warheads: The New Yorker

Nonetheless, in recent weeks an élite Pentagon undercover unit--trained to slip into foreign countries and find suspected nuclear weapons, and disarm them if necessary--has explored plans for an operation inside Pakistan. In 1998, Pakistan successfully tested a nuclear device, heralded as the Islamic world's first atomic bomb. According to United States government estimates, Pakistan now has at least twenty-four warheads, which can be delivered by intermediate-range missiles and a fleet of F-16 aircraft.

[...]

In recent weeks, the Administration has been reviewing and "refreshing" its contingency plans. Such operations depend on intelligence, however, and there is disagreement within the Administration about the quality of the C.I.A.'s data. The American intelligence community cannot be sure, for example, that it knows the precise whereabouts of every Pakistani warhead--or whether all the warheads that it has found are real. "They've got some dummy locations," an official told me. "You only get one chance, and then you've tried and failed. The cat is out of the bag."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:44:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A week later, The New York Times, which had been sitting on the story for three years, revealed that the program was in fact much larger,

HAHAHAHAHA. Typical NYT. Just like the FISA stroy. Wonder what else they've stashed down in the vaults cos it's embarrassing to the repugs.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:37:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the NYT keeps those things in the vault b/c they are embarrassing to the entire country.
by paving on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:48:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there are similar stories of the Murdoch empire having various things in their vaults in the UK

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Pakistan falls to powers openly hostile to the US and if the US attempts to relieve Pakistan of its nukes, the consequences will be profound.  Successful or not, the frustration and anger of the Islamic world would overflow.  
Overwhelming Afghanistan and invading Iraq are hardly comparable to engaging in an act of war with a country of a billion people.
I won't offer a prediction for the future, but we should not expect some fly-by-night nuke rescue to solve the over-arching problem.  Afghanistan is not going to remain in US control for long, that's for sure.  Guessing what happens next does not include any happy endings.
by Andhakari on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:00:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Overwhelming Afghanistan and invading Iraq are hardly comparable to engaging in an act of war with a country of a billion people.

Leaving aside that Pakistan has nowhere close to 1 billion people, I have to say that removing a couple of nukes hardly seems comparable to directly or indirectly killing hundreds of thousands of people.

It will piss off alot of people, true, but if Pakistan implodes, there are no good options when it comes to their nuclear weapons. Having them removed by the US might be one of the less dangerous ones, and might even be supported by parts of the current powers in Pakistan.

All this is of course pure speculation.

by Trond Ove on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:51:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, I misspoke regarding the population figure.
In respect to the removal of nukes, I was not suggesting that nukes in the hands of irresponsible leadership was preferable to their removal (be they eastern, western, American or Pakistani), but rather that the removal did not solve the problem so much as redefine it.
The occupation of Afghanistan does become a very different sort of problem with an openly hostile Pakistan.  If that kind of problem is met by someone of George Bush's temperament and subtlety, then I think we can anticipate many new and less than entertaining developments.
And yes, many folk in the region would be happy to see Pakistan without nukes, but I don't think that will stop them from hating America more for their interference.  We don't need to anticipate "rational" reactions -- that would be a bit much to ask.
by Andhakari on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:41:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is also India to consider.

India/Pakistan damn near came to war several years ago and there are, unconfirmed AFAIK, reports of nuclear weapons being released to theater commanders.  Meaning, the world hovered on the brink of a nuclear exchange¹ with the 'hold' being the least stable theater commander.

India has continually repeated they think terrorist attacks in India are being supported and financed by the ISI.  Upon the military and political leadership concluding Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is under, or going to be under, control of the ISI or their political allies a sufficient condition for a pre-emptive First Strike has been met.  

¹ Jargon for a small scale nuclear war.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:35:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Andhakari:
Overwhelming Afghanistan and invading Iraq are hardly comparable to engaging in an act of war with a country of a billion people.
You're mixing up the "one billion muslims" figure with the population of Pakistan, which is 1/6 of a billion. Than again, Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world by population so it doesn't matter how big it is in absolute terms. It's still huge.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 06:36:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What makes you think the US is even remotely capable of pulling off such a stunt? We are talking about people that screwed up such relatively simple operations as rescuing hostages from Tehran. About people that got themselves famously shot up in Somalia. And those were the elite units of the military.

There is no way such a thing is going to work.

by wing26 on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 09:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think they could only hope to do it with help from the inside. Which when it comes to Pakistan is not beyond the realm of the possible. Whether they would still manage to screw it up is another question entirely...
by Trond Ove on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 09:06:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they managed to get the intel on the location and security of all the missiles, presumably they can plan an operation to take them out.

The problem is that even if you assume, say, a 95% chance of success for each individual mission, the odds of not being able to do everything are quite large. Not to speak of the political consequences of even attempting to do something like this, whether they succeed or not.

How many warheads does Pakistan have? How many missiles? How many silos? How many different locations?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 09:24:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A few dozen to a few hundred warheads. Likely and probably not more than 300.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 09:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does that mean 300 missiles or, using MIRVs, maybe as little as 50 missiles?

We're talking about a massive operation to take them all out in any case.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 09:41:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would stick to the few dozens. And no silos, only a handful of truck-towed crappy med-range missiles, single headed, which they don't even trust to take off. They would rely on dropped bombs (from F16), that's what they will have in higher numbers, but I doubt it gets to a hundred.

Pierre
by Pierre on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 09:54:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Wikipedia (itself based on the bulletin of Atomic scientists 2001) Pakistan has 30-80 warheads.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 10:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would amaze me if this administration had any relevant contingency plans whatsoever.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 03:59:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? That is its entire track record. They make shit up as they go along, and the shit usually comes from Bush' gut.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 04:31:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's exactly what I said.

They have no contingency plan and might very well just come up with some crazy shit right now as they go along.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 04:42:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah! I misread the comment.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 04:44:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are trying very hard to give the impression that they do, as a simple google search will tell you. Whether the plans they (probably) have are grounded in reality is another matter entirely.
by Trond Ove on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 09:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"No plan survives first contact with the enemy" anyway.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 09:25:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have nothing to add to this conversation but I wanted to say that this is why I read ET and this conversation is the best on the blogs today.  

It is a very sad day and, I fear, a precursor to more sad days to come.

by Maryb2004 on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:14:08 PM EST
Hey Maryb...I agree.  I came over here because I figured Eurotrib people would have the best comments and insight around.

"People never do evil so throughly and happily as when they do it from moral conviction."-Blaise Pascal
by chocolate ink on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just seen a Sky correspondent saying that it had been said that Bennazir had hinted that she would allow representatives of the US government to interview A.Q.Khan. This was a possible reason for ISI to use millitants to assasinate Bhutto.

Now this is all so much tinfoilhattery and has the added stamp of Murdoch.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 09:06:03 AM EST


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