Sunday, January 6, 2008
More Pakistan Clarifications
On the same day that Pervez Musharraf finally conceded that Benazir Bhutto may have died of gunshot wounds, and a day after the WSJ reported that US intelligence officials are increasingly convinced that is indeed the case, The Times of India is citing a "senior Western official" who claims that she was definitely killed by the impact from the explosion after all. The main issue here, of course, is not the actual cause of death but the Pakistani government's credibility. So even if it turns out that she was in fact killed by a gunshot, all the government needs to show is that it wasn't unreasonable to believe otherwise. Given the amount of confusion now cast over the entire tragedy, that's looking more likely.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration's national security team is busy examining whether and how to carry out covert operations against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces within Pakistan itself. Interestingly enough, before her assassination, this seemed like one of the principle advantages of a possible Bhutto victory in Pakistan's elections. Now it's the aftermath of her death that might have changed the political landscape in Islamabad enough to make it possible. Whether or not it is advisable is another story, and given the track record of both Washington and Islamabad on this particular front, I'd say the handicapping on that one starts out with some pretty heavy odds in the "No" column.
And finally, AQ Khan (of nuclear black market fame) has just been elected President of the Senior Citizens Foundation of Pakistan. You can't make this stuff up.