Thursday, December 27, 2007

Well, this complicates things

Benazir Bhutto, the first prime minister of an Islamic state, was assassinated this morning.

My wife shouted this announcement to me at around 6:30 this morning when we first woke up. I'm genuinely sad about this, maybe because we have been really following the progress of Pakistan and the issues around Bhutto in my International Studies class. You got the feeling that she was going the right direction in terms of creating a moderating influence in a country that is remarkably unstable. One could hope that she would, at the very least, bring the people together to fight extremism. However in the end, that extremism is what killed her.

From a more pragmatic point of view this is hardly a surprise. Pakistan is horribly dangerous, and the Islamic fundamentalist element made no secret their plans to kill Benazir Bhutto. Now the question becomes, "What next?" Right now the riots around the country are not only anger at Bhutto's death, but also anger against President Pervez Musharraf's corrupt government and his inability to bring down an entire region that is slowly eating away at the Muslim world. Now the time has come for Musharraf to make a choice, because he is not going to last much longer sitting on the fence of allowing the tribal extremists to run wild while still holding political power. While Musharraf probably didn't have anything to do with Bhutto's assassination, his Intelligence Unit, which may be the most corrupt organization on the planet, probably allowed the extremists access to her security.

All in all, the situation is now more grim in Pakistan. Keep an eye on the country, it could be very interesting.
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