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I’ve already said that I believe the most likely suspects in the killing of Benazir Bhutto are Islamic militants. The government in Pakistan is blaming an “an Al Qaeda linked militant.” Eli Lake, a friend from the New York Sun sent me a story saying, “American and Pakistani military leaders are seeking to account for what may be renegade commando units from the Pakistani military’s special forces in the wake of the assassination.”
I’m still sticking with my original guess, but the former U.S. intelligence official I spoke with earlier about Bhutto’s saintly status had some further, very interesting thoughts:
First, I would not be surprised if some pro-Musharraf elements within the Pakistani security services were involved in the assassination. Of course, it is convenient to blame the dastardly act on Islamic radicals, but in fact, the Musharraf camp would gain the most from her death. And I don’t trust any Pakistani government investigation of this crime.
Second, we need to watch what action or a series of actions the military, under General Kayani, would take in response to Bhutto’s murder. Will such action support Musharraf or undermine him and will it involve reinstating the state of emergency, suspending the constitution, and canceling the elections? Will the military conclude that the growing violence in the country is caused by Musharraf’s continued rule and therefore decide to remove him? Before they embark on this course of action, the military would have to ensure continued U.S. support after sacking Musharraf. Should the United States promise support, as we did in Iran on the eve of removing the Shah, what guarantees could the US extract from the military as a quid pro quo?
Third, if the above idea has merit, I can imagine Pakistan becoming more lawless and violent and its nuclear arsenal at risk. In this scenario, the U.S. military goes to Pakistan ostensibly to protect its nukes, but in fact to widen the so-called “war on terror,” which will conveniently take the American public’s eye off Iraq and Afghanistan. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination becomes a distant memory and irrelevant.
Fourth, I do not mean to imply that Islamic militants could not have been involved or could not carry out such an act. This is of course the prevalent view all over the media. But I do think we should take another look. Talking heads seem to be in agreement that Musharraf would not benefit from her death–groupthink at its best! If he blames her assassination on Islamic militants, as he has done, and if such a strategy is accepted on face value in the west, especially in Washington, he would be free to either cancel the elections or choreograph them as he likes. In either case, he would guarantee his continued control. By holding elections, well-orchestrated in advance and with anticipated results, he would project himself as pro-democracy while at the same time continue with his authoritarian rule. I didn’t think Bhutto posed a real threat to Islamic militants because they didn’t see her as a credible challenge to Musharraf. He has been a wily figure who has mastered the art of speaking to Washington and playing the administration like a yoyo.
Admittedly, the above ideas are out-of-the-box, but isn’t this what analysis is all about?
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”