Being a leftist makes things so easy to understand things.

It’s like sausage: Just place anything into the meatgrinder, and out comes sausage. It gives you a nice template in which to judge foreign policy.

In the Philippines, it means you can issue reports condemning the government’s hand in “extrajudicial” killing of leftists while ignoring the NPA and MILF/AbuSayyaf’s killing of low grade politicians, kidnapping business people and plain ordinary extortion schemes that end up with murder. It ignores the essentially feudal society where rich families and clan leaders rule. And, closer to home, it ignores greedy politicians who assasinate their political rivals to win elections because those in power can get rich raiding the cookie jar.

Ignore the complications: it’s just easier to see Evil American ally government against poor leftists who never hurt a fly.


So within hours of Bhutto’s assasination, Ron Paul, beloved of a lot of “Catholic” pacifist greenies, blamed her death on Bush’s backing of Musharref. And Richardson insists that Musharref should just “step down”.

Ummm…and just who will fill the power vacuum if that should happen?
I mean, just because AlQaeda and the Taliban hated a secular pro democracy (and very corrupt) female politician and even claimed to be behind the job doesn’t mean that Bush haters can’t manage to point fingers.

What I found interesting is that the rumor mills in Pakistan are pointing to an “enemy” country a lot closer: India.

Hopefully, some of the Indian bloggers on BNN will put in their point of view, but until then, let’s have some data.

The first thing you have to know about a lot of countries is that no one is really in charge.

You have tribes and tribal leaders.

You have ideologues who incite poor people to put them in power by promising utopia (this year is Sharia law, last year, communism).

Against them you have the middle class. They want stability and peace.

Then you have the traditional ruling famlies, mainly educated in the West. They want stability and peace, but to run things and stay in power.

Musharref is a dictator. He was a lot more honest than Bhutto, whose government was corrupt (and whose father was executed for corruption).

Musharref took over in a military coup, and most people were happy: The military is a lot less corrupt than the politicians, and not just in Pakistan, which is why military coups are so dangerous to democracy but are often popular in the third world.

Unfortunately, the Pakistani military is full if Islamicist sympathizers.

Musharef supported the Taliban until 9-11 and the US gave them an ultimatum: help or your economy goes kaput.

But he apparantly didn’t purge everyone in the military with pro Islamicist sympathy: Last week, a major terrorist escaped when his guards took off his handcuffs so he could pray in his favorite mosque.

So it is quite probably one sympathizer on security detail arranged or merely looked the other way when the assasin entered the crowd.
Yet Bhutto was not the only killed in recent weeks:

The attack came just hours after four supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif died when members of another political party opened fire on them at a rally near the Islamabad airport Thursday, Pakistan police said.

Analyst Anwer Sher writes:

Clearly Benazir Bhutto’s killing shows the telltale signs of an al-Qaeda style attack. It sends two messages: one to the Pakistani politicians that they should soften their tone against terrorism, and another to the Americans that their political support will be hacked down from the top. This is a huge embarrassment for General Musharraf, because all his claims of victory against terrorism have come to naught…. There are already reports of violence in the interior of Sindh, where Benazir was very popular, and it would seem that the situation may get out of hand: people will take to the streets, blaming Musharraf for the failure to ensure security in the country.

The Sindh is the financial capital of Pakistan, and before partition, was home to many Hindus and others. Lately, they are having an influx of immigrants.

Without seeing the complications of tribal politics, how can any outsider judge?

Analyst Ali Ettefaugh points out the political and tribal mix that makes Pakistan so volitile:

Welcome to Crossed Wires Central of opaque politics… where the political process is plagued by exponential variants of extremism while players might wear uniforms, civilian western-style clothes or traditional robes as they co-exist and befriend drug lords, game the intelligence apparatus, blend in as university professors, or expediently co-exist with the newly regrouped Taliban, lawyers, facilitators for al-Qaeda, or the visiting president of Afghanistan…

The murder of Benazir Bhutto will ignite several fires that are part of these tribal politics of Pakistan… I believe that her home province, Sindh, where Pakistan’s business hub of Karachi often votes with its financial might, might implode into a mix of strong protests against the central government… The Punjab province, the home of Nawaz Sharif, will also start its own concurrent grievances, as their local politician was disqualified from contesting the upcoming elections in January 2008.

And into the stew, don’t forget the Heroin dealers (a lot of the heroin feeds Iranian addicts) and the Red Mosque (Pakistan’s destruction of the Red Mosque was in retaliation for students attacking some Chinese “medical workers”).

But the news are now noticing reports about earlier announcement about a planned increase in US Special Forces going into Pakistan to fight and train Pakistani forces.

So what will happen?

I don’t know.
If Paul and Richardson have their way, Musharraf will be removed and the Islamicists will take over. Obama simplistically states that if the US didn’t go into Iraq the assasination would never have occured.

Hillary comes out as the adult in all of this, at least so far by expressing sympathy but not pointing fingers to make political points.
Joe Biden who knows a bit more about these things stated:

“It’s so wildly irresponsible that it can’t go unchallenged,” Biden spokesman Larry Rasky said of Richardson’s statement. “Asking Musharraf to step aside now would leave a huge power vacuum at a time of crisis in Pakistan. It’s the last thing we need until we know what really happened and who’s responsible.”

But the final word in all of this is from Bob Krumm:

It is worth remembering as we begin our own campaign season in earnest next week that no matter how acrimonious the political discussion becomes, we live in a country where those who root for the death of their political opponents exist far outside the mainstream and that even if an assassination attempt were to occur here, there is zero risk of anything but an orderly transition of power on January 20, 2009.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes about civil rights in Africa at Makaipa Blog.

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