Thursday, January 24, 2008
It's The Economy, Stupid
Regular readers of this site will already be aware of the flour shortage in Pakistan, since I flagged it three weeks ago. So this lede from McClatchy should come as no surprise:
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has survived constitutional crises and three assassination attempts, but the more prosaic challenge of supplying flour to his people could be his government's undoing.
As an election scheduled for Feb. 18 approaches, the voters' main grievance appears to be a severe shortage of wheat flour, which is used to make roti, the round flatbread that's a staple food for Pakistanis.
Meanwhile, there have been a string of stories this past week regarding Musharraf's loss of support among the current and former army officer corps that makes up his real base of power. The likely beneficiary is his replacement as Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Ashfaq Kiani. I predicted back in November that Kiani would be running the country before the month was out. It looks like it took him a bit longer to make his move. But don't be surprised to see him do some serious maneuvering, either just before or just after the upcoming elections. The assumption that we'll be stuck with Musharraf as "our man in Islamabad" when we've got the President of the Pakistan Golf Association waiting in the wings strikes me as inherently flawed.