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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eric Margolis on Musharraf and Bush's Collective Dilemma

If Musharraf falls, the entire US strategy in Afghanistan, to which the US is about to send 10,000 more troops, is in grave jeopardy. Both Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari have expressed varying degrees of opposition to Pakistan’s continued role in supporting the US-led occupation of Afghanistan and US attacks into Pakistan’s tribal belt, Nawaz strongly, Zardari fitfully. Public opinion in Pakistan is almost totally against the Afghan War. Without the use of Pakistani ports, supply depots and air bases, the US could not continue its occupation of Afghanistan. All heavy supplies, including fuel and ammunition, are trucked into Afghanistan from Pakistan. US aircraft flying round-the-clock air cover for western occupation forces rely on Pakistani air bases. So Washington is desperate to keep faithful sepoy Musharraf in power at all costs. (Pls. also read this and the link* given there - MQM's Altaf Hussain: Right and Wrong)

Its Plan A is by increasing the overt and secret payments being funneled from CIA to Musharraf and his supporters. Officially, the US has provided the Musharraf regime $11 billion since 2001. But secret CIA payments to the president and certain key army officers may be double that amount, or even more. Musharraf’s sole remaining source of power is his ability to hand out stacks of $100 dollar bills to rent loyalty. My sources in Washington say secret payments will not only be increased, but new sums will be used to induce members of parliament to vote against impeachment.

The US Embassy in Islamabad, which has been hailing the Musharraf dictatorship as a `full democracy,’ will lobby intensively to block a vote against Musharraf.If Plan A fails, then Washington’s Plan B is to throw its weight behind Pakistan’s military and push the so-far reluctant Gen. Kiyani into politics.

*New al-Qaeda focus on NATO suppliesBy Syed Saleem Shahzad


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric Margolis is 101 percent correct in assessing the scenario likely to prevail while the impeachment process goes on its course in the parliament.

The temptation of dollar money is too great for the 'Wardi walas' as well as for the civi politicians to resist. So both leaders Mr. Zardari and Nawaz Sharif have to be on guard particularly Nawaz Sharif because Mr. Asif Zardari is already tainted with NRO and there are many stories circulating in the media about the sincerity of AAZ to persue impeachment to its logical conclusion. The Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association President, Aitzaz Ahson is the leading proponent of such an apprehention.

If this chance by Nawaz is missed, democracy can never be thought to get free from the clutches of men in khaki.

August 15, 2008 2:38 PM  

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