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Musharraf's end game Musharraf's end game
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-08-19 09:01:04
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The first one has gone and it was about time. Pakistan’s dictator Pervez Musharraf resigned under the pressure of facing charges. Obviously he proved to have a bit of brain and just like Pinochet a few years ago he chose to leave power graciously with all the necessary compromises rather than in handcuffs.

I’m sure there was a drama in the White House when they found out and an even bigger one in CIA headquarters, but this is it, life is hard for the …allies!!! But was Musharraf an ally or just an opportunist that based his survival into the hands of Washington? I think the Pakistan desk in Washington has a lot to answer to both the president of USA and the conspiracy bosses in Langley, most likely they overestimated his power and they also underestimated his will to survive, perhaps his desperate will to survive.

Pakistan was never the perfect ally for the USA and in general the western world, and that has long and old roots. The truth is that the majority of the people are conservative religious Muslims to the limits of the Taleban, after all that was exactly what motivated them half a century ago to force split with India and nearly have a war between them. That’s exactly what separates them from the Indians despite their common battles they gave against the colonials. And the Pakistani were always suspicious towards even their own leaders when they were western educated and trained. Even towards Bhutto they were suspicious; don’t look now that Bhutto became a martyr in the fight against Musharraf’s dictatorship.

The Americans were too keen to find an ally in South East Asia, India despite the fact that it is the real super power in the area was not a trustworthy ally, too confident, too independent and often with one eye on Russia. Pakistan was the only alternative, a local power bordering with Iran and Afghanistan, not far from China, a perfect airplane carrier and the same time the perfect field for all the spy masters. And then along came Musharraf and his military coup.

No strong foundations and in need of support, strong support and he found it in the west, especially in George W. Bush, after all, their time in power started nearly at the same time. After 9-11 George W. Bush needed a good ally in the area and Musharraf looked perfect, so good that he was even invited on the ranch, called our best friend forgetting that the man had no real differences with Saddam.

When the Americans and, to an extent, the Europeans found out that the saying too good to be real worked with Musharraf it was too late. Musharraf had no real control in Pakistan, not that the people have, they are the victims but Musharraf had control only to his surroundings. The Pakistani security forces, strong elements of the state in Pakistan are shared, some of them even support the Taleban after all how can Bin Laden survive for so long if he didn’t have Pakistani help and the Americans due to their best friend Pervez might not like to admit it but the strongest cells of Bin Laden’s network work and settle in Pakistan. Most of them trained and armed from the Pakistani security forces in the same way Bin Laden himself was trained and armed by CIA.

The future of Pakistan now is a mystery, there are too many forces, a lot of them extreme that fight for power there and even Iran’s clerics dictators would like to have a bit of the country with the nuclear bombs and I have no doubts that this very moment they are having big meetings studying their next moves. But then again Musharraf was part of the problem and his presence as the head of the state made things much worse, at least now most of them will have to take off the masks and present their real faces.

Another side effect from the war in Iraq, the Americans moved all their interest to the invasion and occupation there – whatever is the name they might use now – and left the real problem in Afghanistan in the hands of a small NATO army and their hopes in Musharraf! And of course the Taleban are returning strong and with the support of the people this time! So the Americans are the next who definitely lost now with the fall of Musharraf and all their allies involved with the invasion in Iraq or not. If the Americans remember their European allies, the old Europe had often warned that we are losing focus; the war on terror is in the mountains of Afghanistan and not on the oil platforms of Iraq!!!

The only one who won in the end is again Musharraf himself because the last years the only thing in his agenda is how to avoid the court and the jail, how to come out of it gracefully and to my opinion he managed well. The reason I would like to see him in court is not revenge but justice. Because the next Musharraf must know that the will of the people and justice work in Pakistan and one way or another in the end they will have to deal with both of them. But he seems to escape at the moment and the only thing I can hope to see is for others to follow his example, like Zimbabwe’s Mugabe! As far Musharraf, his bosses might offer him a job in USA, you never know for as long he worked in Pakistan he served them well!

    
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Emanuel Paparella2008-08-19 21:47:45
Indeed, the greatest delusion of all authoritarian personalities is that they believe they are indispensable to a particular society. In fact, nobody is and when one is gone a substitute is promptly found. Socrates for one understood this very well and that is why he told his executioners that the real issue is how one makes oneself dispensable and at the moment of death has avoided corruption and dishonor which are faster than death and leary to let anybody go once they have him in his grip. There is another authoritarian personality that jumps to mind: his name is Putin. He deludes himself of being democratic.


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