This Sounds Familiar…

November 6th, 2007at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Seriously, I’m getting deja vu:

While Gen. Pervez Musharraf justified his emergency rule decree as helping him combat terrorism, it could end up weakening his ability to rein in the Qaeda militants who ultimately threaten American interests.

In fact, Western diplomats here said, each step the president takes to strengthen his hold on power in the name of stability generates instability of its own.

(…)

Western diplomats and Pakistani political analysts said the general’s move may sap his anemic public support and has already diverted thousands of policemen and intelligence agents from fighting terrorism to enforce his crackdown.

While they agree that some of General Musharraf’s arguments have merit, they also argue that his attempts to hold on to power run the risk of placing his own political future above the nation’s.

“It may be a short-term Band-Aid for his own survival,” said a Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, “but in the end – or even the middle term – it isn’t going to contribute greatly to winning the war on terrorism.”

General Musharraf invited Islamabad’s diplomatic corps to his official residence on Monday to brief them on the situation and on his reasons for declaring emergency rule. But two Western diplomats said the encounter only reinforced concerns that General Musharraf was more focused on vanquishing his political rivals than on fighting terrorism.

At the meeting, the general primarily railed against his political opponents, with special venom reserved for the Supreme Court. When asked by a diplomat to describe specific plans to crack down on terrorists, General Musharraf gave only a vague answer.

(…)

At the same time, Pakistani analysts are increasingly questioning General Musharraf’s contention that emergency rule was needed to help him fight terrorism. Across the country, policemen and intelligence agents have been diverted from hunting terrorists to arresting lawyers, who apparently are being assessed as the greater threat to the general’s rule.

These analysts argue that the extraordinary steps General Musharraf has taken against Pakistan’s courts and its news media will in any case have little effect in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where Al Qaeda and other groups are thriving. Federal judges have limited jurisdiction in the tribal areas and journalists are barred from traveling alone there.

Now here’s the beauty part:

On Monday, President Bush urged General Musharraf to hold elections and give up his army post, though he gave little indication of any real change in American policy, which has bankrolled Pakistan’s military with $10 billion in aid since 2001.

(…)

Anne W. Patterson, the American ambassador, complained to General Musharraf about the “extraordinarily heavy-handed measures” he had used, in particular the arrest of human rights activists. “It would be hard to imagine a group less threatening to the security of Pakistan,” she said, according to a diplomat.

Maybe our ambassador could have a talk with Dubya?

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Terrorism


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