Saturday, December 29, 2007

Does Musharraf Benefit From Bhutto's Death?

I'm sure if Sharif had died while Bhutto lived, she would be holding power-sharing negotiations with Musharraf and publicly calling for elections while totally ignoring the Supreme Court and Pakistan's electoral law. I'm sure if only one was to die, Musharraf would have chosen Sharif. Given the choice.

If Musharraf can weather the coming attacks from Sharif on his own, then he might be better off because he does not in that case have to share power. It will be harder and more stressful though. I think Musharraf willingly made the trade and told the world he'd rather Bhutto be there when he allowed her return. Maybe, probably, Musharraf can maintain his grip on power despite opposition, but he'd rather not take the risk.

Even getting both would leave him worse off than if both were still in London. I can't see Musharraf benefiting, or thinking he would benefit from these assassination attempts.

I don't think the attacker expected to kill Bhutto. It is impossible to get close enough to a VIP car in a crowd of supporters to kill the VIP with a suicide bomb on a two-wheel vehicle. The planners of the attack could not have known that Bhutto would be standing out of the sun roof and that the attacker would get a clear shot. I think he carried the gun just in case, or maybe as part of a camoflauge police uniform.

I think the aim of the attacks was to scare people away from her rallies and Bhutto's actual death was unexpected.

Musharraf might have benefitted from an attack, but not a successful one. I'm sure there are many parties that cooperated to bring about the attack. Some pleasantly, maybe some unpleasantly surprised by the result.

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