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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The New Republic has an interesting article on-line about Pakistan. According to Pakistani officials, the U.S. is pressuring Pakistan to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden and his associates before the election, and preferably within the first three days of the Democratic convention. Now, this sort of electioneering is nothing new -- Presidents and other elected officials have often tried to shape world events to make themselves look better. However, as the article points out this whole affair is forcing Pervez Musharraf, and potentially the U.S., into a tight spot. On the one hand, Musharraf's concerned about remaining in the U.S.'s good graces after November. The U.S. has turned a blind eye to Pakistan's proliferation efforts and generally accepted the military dictatorship on acccount of Pakistan's willingness to help the U.S. in its "war on terror". On the other hand, as Seymour Hersh has reported the Taliban and even Al-Qaeda have numerous ties to Pakistani intelligence and a number of supporters among the people of Pakistan. For Musharraf to be seen as a political tool of the U.S. to do its bidding and agressively pursue the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is a very risky proposition. We remind our readers that Pakistan is currently run by a man who staged a military coup. I don't think there's much in its history to prevent such an occurance again, and if Musharraf treads too close to the line he may find he's been replaced. We won't consider, for the moment, how the U.S. would recact to such a scenario, but it's current pressure (if this story is true -- we're not sure how the fact-checkers at TNR stack up to the New Yorker's fact checkers) _is_ forcing Musharraf into that corner. If this story is true, the U.S. may find itself in the uncomfortable position of deploying to Pakistan to protect an embattled Musharraf in a few months. We'll continue to monitor the situation with interest.

Andrew 4:42 PM : |


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