Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pervez Musharraf 'will exit in days'

The Telegraph reports:

One close confidante said that the president believed he had run out of options after three of the main parties who triumphed in last week's poll announced they would form a coalition government together, and also pledged to reinstate the country's chief justice and 60 other judges sacked by Mr Musharraf in November.

"He has already started discussing the exit strategy for himself," a close friend said. "I think it is now just a matter of days and not months because he would like to make a graceful exit on a high."

US policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan is now in crisis.

That's democracy ain't it. Now we'll see whether there is broad support in Pakistan for the fight against radical Islam. Better that we know it now than after mooted plans to move masses of troops into Afghanistan eventuate, only to discover that the Pakistani logistical rear has gone over to the other side.

The current opposition coalition headed by by Asif Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto and the PML-N, headed by Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister have enough votes to unseat Musharraf outright. Musharraf's party lost so badly all of its 22 Federal ministers were not returned to the assembly. So there is no question that Musharraf is deeply unpopular.

Nawaz Sharif is the the focus of worry about the future of Pakistan. He's returned from a 7 1/2 year exile in Saudi Arabia; he's been a prime minister twice and it was under his watch that Pakistan detonated its first nukes. AQ Khan bought election ads for him in the recently concluded campaign. He is reputed to have met with Osama Bin Laden. He favors Sharia law. In other words, he is the perfect Usual Suspect. On the other hand, he's a known quantity. He's been in office before and the world didn't end.

But it's inevitable that both Zadari and Sharif will try to assert civilian control over the military. That was why the "international community" pushed for the elections. And this was what was elected.

Two issues will now be disputed. First, whether to continue fighting the Islamists on the Northwest Frontier. CNN is reporting Zadari as apologizing for the Musharraf policy of fighting the Balochis, "where intelligence officials believe Taliban leaders may be holed up". (Hat tip: Astute Blogger) The second will be the whether the continued security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal can be guaranteed.

It seems obvious that US policy in Pakistan is at a crossroads. And since the campaign in Afghanistan is strategically linked to Pakistan, that whole theater must now be re-evaluated as well. And as Cannoneer points out, the logistical train supplying Afghanistan is now that much more dangerous.




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30 Comments:

Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I hope for the good of us all that all the opprobrium heaped upon Mr. Musharraf by the western left over the last few years doesn't quickly turn to bitter ashes in its mouth.

2/24/2008 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Listen to your Loggy Toads

2/24/2008 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

Cannoneer,

Good stuff. My, my. What a tangled we we weave ...

2/24/2008 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

US policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan is now in crisis.

YOu don't think that Mr. Bush put the proverbial horse's head in Musharref's bed and made him an offer he couldn't refuse? Follow your Swiss bank account and step down, or die.

I think Dubya has become increasingly disenchanted with Pervez. Just think how many Taliban American forces can cross the border to chase and vaporize in the coming months of confusion over who's in charge and what their policy will be.

I haven't followed Pakistani politics closely enough to know who's affiliated with which Saudi oil tick, but the thought does cross my mind to wonder how antsy all this coming and going will make India, since they've been toe-to-toe and eyeball-to-eyeball with Pakistan and its terrorists for decades now.

ARe the Pakistani's taking into consideration that India is right near-by and casting a beady and jaundiced on upon their various activities?

I wonder where Musharref will go once he's just a Normal Guy again.

2/24/2008 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I think we are running out of options under the current small footprint strategy. I do think it was the right strategy to try at the beginning, even in Iraq, where the expectation was that enough "reasonable" members of the population would willingly participate in their country's liberation from oppressive government, and take a grab at the brass ring of prosperity.

It appears that tribal allegiance may trump national aspiration. Without finding the will to start mounting punitive expeditions against recalcitrant tribes I don't know what will move the locals. I add also that the British pounded the Pashtun from time to time for more than 100 years and never got more a little cooperation from time to time.

It's clear that NATO will not step up to even meet their pledges. The only substitute for manpower is tonnage, which means more local casualties. That outcome is still not an acceptable choice, yet.

Would the next President put 100,000 more troops into Afghanistan/Pakistan and secure the supply lines from the ocean to the interior?

2/24/2008 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Astute Pakistan Politicians and Pashtun Islamists may decide that the best way to get the US to go away is to give up AQ. Credit the Democrats.

It is almost to the point where the Democrats can declare victory everywhere and come home.

2/24/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

There's always the south of France. Fairly good security. Local mosque. If he really wants to get away from it all, and try something different, there's always Vegas.

2/24/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...

with all due respect wtc, i diagree with this:

"It seems obvious that US policy in Pakistan is at a crossroads."

pakistan is at the crossroads.

if they put themselves in the enemy camp, then and only then will the USA will haver to deal with it.

if the White House is GOP, then our response will be vigorous and perhaps kinetic: we might use MORE drones over Pakistan and more incursions a la Turkey versus the PPK.

we have been respectful up to now because of musharraf.

with a hostile administration we will be less accommodating - IFF the McCain wins.

If Obama wins, i expect he will do as they did to South Vietnam (turn our backs on our allies - - Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan - - and turntail- with even worse consequences this time.

Should the next Paki PM ally Pakistan to the Taliban again, then Bush/McCain should support another coup.

Obama won't.

Dems don't support any military actions - except those by our enemies.

2/24/2008 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pakistan is small Potatoes, here's the big Headline of the day:
---
Related Stories: Deception Indicated in Both of Larry Sinclair's Polygraph Tests by First Polygraph Expert
---
So as we all expected, Barry is a Pure as any Driven Commie Organzier could be expected to be.

2/24/2008 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

golly, what would jesus, er, i mean, obama do??

2/24/2008 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Afghanistan - Korengal Valley
The counterinsurgency in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley is one day after another of difficult decisions and bloody consequences.

2/24/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

Doug,

The Afghanistan - Korengal Valley story calls into question the strategy of pouring a lot of men into Afghanistan, which sputters off into the 'stans and into China as well.

The real strategic gravity of al-Qaeda isn't in Pakistan. It's in the Middle East.

2/24/2008 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Nuristan-Kunar Corridor illustrates the topography of the Korengal.

AfghaniDan has pics.

Rise, gentlemen. These men served in the Korengal.

2/24/2008 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

President vows to spare noone in fight versus corruption
Arroyo/Feingold coming soon!

2/24/2008 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Mrs. Arroyo, in a radio interview Saturday, said she was told of irregularities in the $330-million broad­band deal with ZTE Corp. the night before the project contract was signed on April 21, 2007 in Boao, China."
---
The LA School District is paying $300 Million to fix their new 90 Million Dollar Payroll Program!
...and the Dept of Water and Power is offering a New Contract for a Lactation Specialist!

2/24/2008 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

On the other hand, Obama is reported to have sustained, post-9/11 contacts with Weatherman terrorists Dorn and Ayers. Somewhere Lee Atwater is smiling.

I think it likely that either party, no matter which forms a government, will cease any agreement to allow US forces to target Taliban, allow US logistics to supply Afghanistan, and reassure the US as to nuclear safety.

Neither political party has men under arms as an effective fighting force. The easiest way to rule is to make bargains with Islamists and Islamists in the Army (also Pashtun and Baluchi tribalists). I fully expect that to happen because practically the Army or at least elements in it must assent to whatever civilian government forms.

As such we may be a month or two away from an evacuation in Afghanistan and outright defeat there. Along with AQ having nuclear weapons.

Which could pose interesting questions for Obama.

McCain will outflank him on the right with threatened nuclear destruction. Which would be quite popular with Americans I think.

Obama is likely to continue calls for "talk" as we evacuate Afghanistan and Osama boasts of nuclear weapons.

I think Bush would simply do nothing. He's clearly a spent force and lazy.

2/24/2008 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The real strategic gravity of al-Qaeda isn't in Pakistan. It's in the Middle East."
---
Wretchard,
Pardon my witlessness, but could you please describe WHAT AQ's "strategic gravity" is?

Thanks.

2/24/2008 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

I disagree with Wretchard. Pakistan's ISI helped create the Taliban, with Saudi Money. It helped AQ at critical moments (with Saudi Money). At every turn, the Pakitani Army and Saudi Kingdom have used AQ and the Taliban to push internal strife outwards towards America.

2/24/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Doug, if you ask me, AQ's strategic gravity is the flimsiness of the few events AQ would need in order to achieve de-facto control over the pricing and distribution channels of OPEC.

2/24/2008 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

"The real strategic gravity of al-Qaeda isn't in Pakistan. It's in the Middle East."


AQ in Pakistan can't hurt anything.

AQ in the Middle East can.

Certainly being dirt poor and stupid Pakistan has less power than Saudi, Egypt and Jordan ... excepting Paki's nukes. And it's yet to be demonstrated just how much power Iran has or does not have. So I don't know that I'd agree with the statement.

As troublemakers, AQ is an equal opportunity employeer, and can cause just as much bloodshed in Chechnya, Indonesia, the Middle East and Pakistan. Which is why we need to get past current power politics and start reforming and/or demolishing Islam. Even without Islam, AlQueda would continue to kill, but it would become even more apparent that they're crazy and need to be put down.

2/24/2008 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Nahncee -- AQ in Pakistan is protected by a nuclear umbrella. So they can do whatever they want and be safe. Because the US won't retaliate on their home base. An impregnable safe haven.

Next, nukes can ruin your entire day. Imagine AQ nuking Copenhagen or NYC and the US being totally unable to do anything about it (particularly under Obama). AQ could very will "win" because Dems would have no other alternative but to concede to AQ demands.

Finally, Pakistan is the pipeline for terrorism in the West. Britain is basically a Pakistani colony now, with Labor willing to do whatever Pakistani-based Islamists demand, both internally and externally. Nearly unlimited manpower, access with no restrictions to Britain, and the ability to intimidate Western nations through terrorism is not trivial.

By contrast Iraq is a sideshow. Irrelevant except as another loss on the negative side and a base to press Iran on the positive side.

But the heart of the Jihad is Pakistan-Afghanistan. Nuclear. Massive population. Able to impose it's will already on Britain and perhaps the US.

2/24/2008 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

Doug,

Sorry. I meant 'strategic center of gravity'. Some may disagree but I think the two most powerful mainsprings of radical Islam are ideology and money. Afghanistan provides the scenery. The mountains and fastnesses. But there are always other fastnesses and if by any chance the Taliban were totally annihilated tomorrow, while Wahabism and its money dynamo remained active the problem would continue.

On the other hand if the center of gravity of radical Islamism could be defanged it would virulence. The mountains would be become wholesome again, except as they had hosted their banditry from time immemorial.

2/24/2008 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks,
You remind me that someone posted a link to a survey of Mosques and their teachings in this country.
I'll try and fetch it.

2/24/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/24/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I agree with Buddy, also.
B-1 Bob's plan was to liberate Southern Iraq, Securing the Basra fields and Port.
Also would have made good on our previous un carried out intent with the Shiites.

2/24/2008 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

I agree that Saudi money FUNDS much of jihad, but the men and arms are supplied by Pakistan. And it is a big mistake to think of Afghanistan alone. Afghanistan has since 1946 existed as an extension of Pakistan.

2/24/2008 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger jono39 said...

What policy exactly are you referring to? If we have a policy, it is simply to kill Bin Laden. Everything else is irrelevant. We can support India and Pakistan to modify their continuing civil war. We can make it clear to Pakistan we do not view Islam as the enemy, but if we are forced to choose between Hindus and Muslims, Pakistan is finished. The U.S. should put the U.S. Marines and other Special Forces in secure bases, give them lots of money and one objective: Kill Bin Laden, kill his successor and his successor too. We are not at war with Islam, but we are at war with people who seek to kill us. Any other so called policy is waste of treasure, precious American lives,and poisons the airwaves with blather about building democracy. We need to rebuild it in America first.

2/24/2008 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

Bhutto's party used the NWF tribesmen to effect before, spreading the love to the North eastern parts of the country. Early efforts at renewing the bonds are only to be expected, especially if the Government is to be allowed to form, without undue influence from Washington. That would be a perception that Mrs. Bhutto could not have as easily shaken. Tossing off Al Qaeda and taming the Islamists are feats that will be no doubt more difficult for the party, but the governing coalition will find it is easier. It will take some high wire politicking to keep the government from exploding I think.

The question is if the President and Mr. Bhutto are up to High Wire Performance.

Indian interests are also of concern, as the Bhutto's have never been keen on being good neighbors, east or west.

2/24/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Jono -- bin Laden is protected by Pakistan's Army backed up by nukes. Any attempt to kill bin Laden risks NYC and DC and other US cities.

Fact. It's the reality of Bill Clinton not stopping Pakistan from going nuclear when he could before 1998. After that, bin Laden and AQ would ALWAYS be safe in Pakistan.

If you want nuclear war with Pakistan and the loss of several US cities, then yes we can kill bin Laden. Or pre-emptively strike all Pakistani nuclear sites, kill millions, and get bin Laden. And hope no spare "emergency" nuke is squirreled away somewhere.

America does not have any answers to nuclear proliferation. It allows a failed state like Pakistan to provide safe haven to Osama and Co. without any repercussions. We dare not kill bin Laden.

2/24/2008 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

American nukes can ruin your entire day.

North Korean nukes fizzle and spit.

Russian nukes leak acids and die slow deaths in their silo's.

Arab nukes just don't -- too much sand in them.

AQ in Pakistan is protected by a nuclear umbrella.

When was the last time anyone actually saw a Pakistani nuclear weapon detonate, or observed it to blow up on command? If there is a shelf half-life to nukes, I'd very much like to see a demonstration that Pakistan's are still functioning before giving them the key to civilization.

Just because it looked good on paper 20 years ago, doesn't make it a done deal today. Ditto France's nukes, too.

2/24/2008 10:03:00 PM  

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