Friday, January 18, 2008
The New Black
Last week I mentioned that Baitullah Mahsud is one Taliban worth watching. Over the past year, he's increasingly shown up on the South Waziristan scouting report radar, but a steady proliferation of recent articles about him seemed to strongly suggest that he was about to have something of a breakout season. That suspicion is only reinforced by the news that the CIA has now concurred with the Pakistani government and identified Mahsud as the prime suspect in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
In addition to his stellar rise through the Taliban ranks and his reported links to people reportedly linked to Al Qaeda, Mahsud has something else to recommend him to take over the role of chief terrorist bogeyman and principle fallguy for all things nefarious. Namely that he shuns publicity and has almost never been seen in public. This guy is like the Clear of badguys: He only shows up in the statistics.
With Osama Bin Laden's marquee value largely tarnished by six years of spotty video production values and his ability to strike fear into the hearts of the nation on the wane, I think Mahsud's time has come.