Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Taliban Threatened Bhutto

Bill Roggio notes that the Taliban had threatened to kill Benazir Bhutto even before she returned to Pakistan.

"In early October, Baitullah Mehsud, the powerful Taliban commander in South Waziristan whose troops are holding almost 300 Pakistani soldiers in captivity, threatened to kill Bhutto upon her return."

Despite the warnings, Bhutto pushed on.

Bhutto was aware of the Taliban and al Qaeda threats but dismissed them. "At the press conference in Dubai, Ms Bhutto said she did not fear 'militants and extremists,' acknowledging that Afghan and Arab militants as well as those of the Red Mosque had threatened her," Dawn reported. "She said that threats to her life had been whipped up to 'intimidate me and the people of Pakistan.'"

"I don’t believe that a true Muslim will attack me," Bhutto said. "I believe Islam forbids suicide bombings."



Ka-boom. Reuters reports:

A suspected suicide bomber killed 115 people on Friday in an attack targeting a vehicle carrying former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto through Karachi on her return from eight years in exile. ... Militants linked to al Qaeda had earlier this week threatened to assassinate her.

Update

Bhutto's husband has accused the government of complicity in the attacks according to the Pakistan Daily Times and will name names.

Bhutto’s husband Zardari told Geo TV that he did not think that extremist elements were behind these blasts, adding that some elements within the government, including some ministers, were responsible for the blasts. He said the PPP was a democratic party and was not a threat to jihadi elements. He said some ministers were also on the hit list of jihadi elements. He said he knew some people sitting in the government who could possibly be behind these blasts. But, he said, he would not disclose their names “as only Ms Bhutto would reveal these names”. Zardari said Ms Bhutto would talk to the media on Friday (today).

Update 2

Reuters says a Taliban leader who threatened to kill Benazir Bhutto denies being responsible.

A well-known Pakistani Taliban commander, said to have issued assassination threats against Benazir Bhutto earlier this month, denied any involvement on Friday in an attack that killed 133 people in Karachi.

"I had nothing to do with it," Baitullah Mehsud told Reuters by satellite phone from an undisclosed location about the attack on Bhutto's motorcade as it edged through hundreds of thousands of supporters gathered to welcome her from years of exile.

Mehsud, who operates in Waziristan, a tribal region on the border with Afghanistan that has become a centre of al Qaeda and Taliban activity, had been widely reported as issuing threats against Bhutto after she announced plans to return to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile.

But if the attack had succeeded by whatever hand how shy would Meshud be about taking credit?

25 Comments:

Blogger JimMtnViewCa said...

"Bhutto said. "'I believe Islam forbids suicide bombings.'"
Hmmm. Sounds like a variation on the dialog from Princess Bride "'Inconceivable.' I do not think this word means what you think it means."

10/18/2007 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Hmmm,

Glad this ended differently than the Ninoy Aquino return from exile story. I hope it inspires Pakistani (relatively) liberals to resist and stand up against the illiberal forces in Pakistan.

10/18/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The truce didn't last very long did it. The Pakistani Daily Times article says Benazir will name names today. Stay tuned for the next gripping episode in this saga.

10/18/2007 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

So what if Bhutto names names? Who cares?

What matters is how many gunmen, suicide bombers, and Army people with artillery, tanks, and Air Force planes can be mustered.

This struggle is about who can kill the most, in the most effective manner, to win. That's all there is.

Bet on AQ and the Taliban. THEY are the hardest of men, have all the weapons, and control part of the military already. It is only a matter of time until Zawahari or whoever has succeeded bin Laden (if he's dead, he may not be) takes control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

THEN the question is nuke Pakistan's nukes with everything you've got or accept several to dozens of US cities gone.

10/18/2007 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Anti-Jihadist said...

I thought jihad was "a peaceful inner spiritual struggle" and all that. Yeah right.

"[Bhutto's husband] said the PPP was a democratic party and was not a threat to jihadi elements."

Assuming this Paki poly-party truly is democratic (color me skeptical of this assertion at the very least), someone who thinks that democracy and jihad aren't enemies is at best in deep denial.

And as this person's opinion is quite likely an accurate reflection of his wife's opinions, I don't think Benazir Bhutto really 'gets it' and is not a leader the free world can count on. And she's quite likely the best the West can hope for from her wretched country.

10/18/2007 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

The question now arises, "Who blew up the Bhutto Bomb?"

Somebody tried to assassinate Pakistani President Musharraf's main rival. In my mind the suspects are:
1) Al Quada
2) Other Islamists
3) General Musharraf
4) Musharaf's security force, without his knowledge
5) Musharraf supporters, without the government's knowledge
6) Iran in order to neutralize an American ally.
7) Any combination of the above.

And, for completeness' sake, 8) Bhutto may have set the bomb off herself, knowing Musharraf would be the prime suspect. (okay, probably not, just listing all the possibilities...)

10/19/2007 02:32:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

NahnCee said...
Peter, it was Mossad. Silly boy.

Dang! I missed that one. At some point, Mossad will, indeeed, be blamed. If Iran was behind the attack they should break the news that the Israelis did it today. I'll add
9) Mossad
10) The same people who killed OJ Simpson's wife Nicole (they're still out there, you know)
:^)

10/19/2007 02:54:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Peter Grynch,

Your list is exactly the one I would have constructed myself. In my view the real culprit really doesn't matter. It's who the public comes to regard as the perpetrator that will count.

In the Third World most cases of this nature are never "solved". They are simply forgotten when the next or bigger outrage comes along.

Recall that the destruction of the Golden Mosque in Samarra was just a starting gun for the murderous race to begin. If this bombing is not followed by another, then the situation will probably settle down. If not then things might start to spiral upward.

Will we be spectators watching from across the border? What are our options if Pakistan really turns sour? The Indians must be watching the situation carefully. If New Delhi isn't evacuating then things are probably going to be all right.

It'll be interesting to see how things turn out.

10/19/2007 03:26:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Since that Frenchie lost the election the inane award of best looking president ever would go to Benazir Bhutto.

She talks a good game but if history means anything the Bhuttos could be the most corrupt political family ever.

10/19/2007 04:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sarkozy's wife was the best-looking presidential accoutrement...
But now, she isn't.

10/19/2007 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mary Kissel was on Bill Bennet's show discussing Pakistan.
In the immediate future, she sees a lack of conflict between Bhutto and Musharrof being key to short term stablity. Not promising so far.

Says the new head of the Paki Army is Pro-American, and if Musharraf was taken out, the same thing that has happened many times before would most likely occur, an Army General would be in control, luckily on our side for now.
Stresses substantial moderate middle classes, but seems a little weak on understanding the strong jihadist inclinations of a large portion of the Army.
---
(Mary Kissel is editor of The Wall Street Journal Asia's editorial page.
She joined the Journal in Hong Kong in 2004 as writer of the Money & Investing section's Heard in Asia column.)

10/19/2007 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Journalists on scene reported that they, and anyone else, could approach and touch Bhutto's truck:

Security a far cry from US Presidential.

Luckily for her, a rather anemic blast, but not for the throngs immediately around it.

10/19/2007 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

ok!

arafatism/islamists pov is spreading throughout the world..

the west cannot force islam to change, only islam can force it'sself...

at 1st it was cool to murder jews, since after all jews are well.... jews....

then after 30 years of blowing little jewish kids into hamburger those pesky jews figured it out and FINALLY starting building a wall....

then the moslems looked around at tried killing westerners because after all the are westerners...

now...?

moslems murder moslems..

they used car bombs, drills, knives, poison, brand one another as collaborators, blow up markets...

hamas flings fatah off roofs, shits vrs the suns baby...

in a sick way this is good... for all to long islamic peoples got away with carte blanche when it came to murdering christians, jews, hindus etc...

now the craziness is within their so called civilization

samuel huntington was wrong, it's not a clash of civilizations as much as a battle for the soul of one...

so i greet todays parade bombing with reserved glee...

maybe this will be the tipping point the paki's need?

( i thought the red mosque would be it but, what the hell)

10/19/2007 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

I like Wretchard's analogy to Samarrah; immediately after we were all floundering, wondering whodunnit: AQ? mustaffa? etc.

but, perhaps should have taken it at surface value; radical moslems attacking a shia holy place...

...like Wretchard said, we probably will never know; but, most likely this was the major beginning of AQ's resorting to violence on Iraqi moslems, which started them down the slippery slope of an ever shrinking popular safe haven that continues to this day...

Similarly, the Blutto blast should perhaps be considered at surface value...

Bhutto represents a western, moderate moslem ruler, similar to Mushariff; but, with one major difference, major popularity potential!

what would be more intimidating to groups of radical-ized moslems with a history of ruling through oppression, than having to suppress a popular uprising?

craftilly, Bhutto came out against these pious islamists by pointing out their most blatant hypocrisy - the fundamentalist acceptance that the means justifies the end...

...what is surprising is that she has come out so soon, ready to name names; I would have thought that she would waited a bit to consolidate/validate her popularity before striking out on such a strident course...but, I have to trust her women's intuition, as she's the queen in this deadly game of chess!

10/19/2007 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

I like Wretchard's analogy to Samarrah; immediately after we were all floundering, wondering whodunnit: AQ? mustaffa? etc.

but, perhaps should have taken it at surface value; radical moslems attacking a shia holy place...

...like Wretchard said, we probably will never know; but, most likely this was the major beginning of AQ's resorting to violence on Iraqi moslems, which started them down the slippery slope of an ever shrinking popular safe haven that continues to this day...

Similarly, the Blutto blast should perhaps be considered at surface value...

Bhutto represents a western, moderate moslem ruler, similar to Mushariff; but, with one major difference, major popularity potential!

what would be more intimidating to groups of radical-ized moslems with a history of ruling through oppression, than having to suppress a popular uprising?

craftilly, Bhutto came out against these pious islamists by pointing out their most blatant hypocrisy - the fundamentalist acceptance that the means justifies the end...

...what is surprising is that she has come out so soon, ready to name names; I would have thought that she would waited a bit to consolidate/validate her popularity before striking out on such a strident course...but, I have to trust her women's intuition, as she's the queen in this deadly game of chess!

10/19/2007 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Marzouq the Redneck Muslim said...

what is "occupation",

The term Arafatism is a good one!

Salaam/Shalom!

10/19/2007 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

"Bhutto said. "'I believe Islam forbids suicide bombings.'

In the same vein, I believe George Bush said, "A nuclear Iran is unacceptable." But then he also said a nuclear North Korea was unacceptable, right before he accepted it.

10/19/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

The term Arafatism is a good one!

The politics of self-immolation. Gets lots of headlines, but grinds one's society into the dust.

10/19/2007 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"then after 30 years of blowing little jewish kids into hamburger those pesky jews figured it out and FINALLY starting building a wall...."
---
Sadly, Wasps led by the Compassionate Globalist Cowboy George can't learn from Joos, so Gringo Moms and CHILDREN are still transformed into Hamburger by "Hispanic" Coke Dealers, Drunk Drivers, and Gang Bangers.
No fences for compassionate Dhimmis.

10/19/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bhutto Says She Warned of Plots Against Her

Benazir Bhutto said she had word that people in the Pakistani government were plotting against her prior to the attack that killed 134 people yesterday.
---
The A.P. said Ms. Bhutto had written to General Musharraf on Oct. 16. In a separate interview today in Paris-Match, Ms. Bhutto said: “I know exactly who wants to kill me.” She blamed former officials of the regime of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq who she said are now behind extremism and fanaticism in the country.

Ms. Bhutto had retreated inside the armored truck a few minutes before the attack and was unhurt

10/19/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

doug:

In other words, she is blaming the usual suspects. Although she overtly blames former members of the Pakistani military (probably Hamid Gul & company), she is really blaming al-Qaeda; one hand washes the other. (Al-Qaeda is more popular in Pakistan than its ISI handlers, so this affects what she says in public.)

Ms. Bhutto may overtly say, "I don't believe that a true Muslim will attack me. I believe Islam forbids suicide bombings." She is really saying that her enemies are apostates against Islam. For that matter, Ms. Bhutto's plan to give a speech at Mr. Jinnah's tomb was an open challenge against al-Qaeda because Wahhabism prohibits tombs and mausoleums.

From a cold-blooded political perspective, the suicide bombings were a victory for the PPP, as it allows Benazir Bhutto to show pious outrage and gives her party ample opportunity to demonize her enemies. Given that al-Qaeda had already threatened her, al-Qaeda would have lost face if it hadn't murdered people at the rally. As it is, al-Qaeda has neatly fallen into Ms. Bhutto's trap.

Whatever else can be said about her, Ms. Bhutto is a clever politician in a neighborhood of cutthroats. I may not trust her word, but I do trust her spite.

10/19/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Pakistan plans all-out war on militants
Asia Times

An all-out battle for control of Pakistan's restive North and South Waziristan is about to commence between the Pakistani military and the Taliban and al-Qaeda adherents who have made these tribal areas their own... All previous military operations - usually spurred by intelligence provided by the Western coalition - have had limited objectives, aimed at specific bases or sanctuaries or blocking the cross-border movement of guerrillas. Now the military is going for broke to break the back of the Taliban and a-Qaeda in Pakistan and reclaim the entire area.
--------
If this massive operation has been going for two weeks then how could it not be big news?

10/19/2007 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/19/2007 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bhutto Says She Warned of Plotting Days Before Attack

Benazir Bhutto said she had given Gen. Pervez Musharraf names of people in his government who were plotting against her.
---
Friday that she had warned the Pakistani government that suicide bomb squads were going to go after her on her return to the country and that it had failed to act on the information.

Ms. Bhutto did not blame the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, for the bomb blasts and said extremist Islamic groups who wanted to take over the country were behind the attacks, which killed 134 people.
But she pointed the finger at government officials who she said were sympathetic to the militants and were abusing their powers to advance their cause. She did not identify them on Friday, but said she had in a letter to the government this Tuesday. It was not clear if she was implicating the officials directly or accusing them of dragging their feet on her warning.

“I am not accusing the government, but I am accusing certain individuals who abuse their positions, who abuse their powers,”

Ms. Bhutto seemed careful on Friday not to implicate General Musharraf, taking pains for the time being to preserve the power-sharing arrangement that allowed her to return to Pakistan, and which may make her prime minister for a third time after parliamentary elections in January. She spoke to the president by telephone on Friday.

The ISI has for decades backed militant Islamic groups in Kashmir and in Afghanistan in pursuit of a military strategy established by the former military dictator, Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, in the 1970s. “I know exactly who wants to kill me,” Ms. Bhutto said. “It is dignitaries of the former regime of General Zia who are today behind the extremism and the fanaticism.”

Before her return, she said a “brotherly country,” which she did not identify, warned her that several suicide squads were plotting attacks against her — one from a Taliban group, one from Al Qaeda, one from Pakistani Taliban and one from Karachi.
That friendly government, she said, had also supplied Pakistan’s government with telephone numbers the plotters were using.

It added that the president had ordered law enforcement authorities to track down the mastermind of the bombings within 48 hours, and had offered a force of special services commandos trained by the United States to Ms. Bhutto for her protection.

10/19/2007 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

If Pakistan finally gets tough on terrorist Waziristan, how long before Jimmy Carter travels to the region and labels it "genocide"?

Who will watch the watchers?
How can we defeat the defeatists?

10/20/2007 09:24:00 AM  

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