Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the newly named vice-chief of staff, could be Pakistan’s next strongman. He’s Washington’s Plan B. If Musharraf does finally resign his command, Kiyani will control the military. Musharraf, who has near zero popular support, will be left without a power base — or even army protection.
More notes from Eric Margolis’ Who Will Be The First To Blink?Pakistan Teeters On The Edge While Bhutto, Musharraf Plot Out Next Moves
This week, the self-appointed apostle of democracy, George W. Bush, underlined his continued support for his ally, Musharraf. Bush called on Mush to doff his uniform and hold elections. Musharraf dutifully agreed to do so early next year and to hold elections.
But Musharraf has won every previous elections by blatant vote-rigging and bribery — we can expect more of the same.
He would lose any fair vote by a landslide.
Bush made no mention of Musharraf’s disgraceful firing of Supreme Court justices who were about to declare Mush’s ongoing rule violated the constitution. Nor has Bush or the U.S. Congress issued any demands that the exiled former PM Nawaz Sharif, leader of Pakistan’s other major political party, the Muslim League, be allowed to return to contest elections. So much for supporting democracy.
In Washington’s wrongheaded view, it’s either Mush or the mullahs. Or if Mush falters, then it’s Bhutto or Gen. Kiyani.
As of this writing, Bhutto still has not decided whether to collaborate with Musharraf or try to force a bloody confrontation with him.
Kiyani remains a cipher.
Anyone who still wonders why so many in the Muslim world hate the West needs look no further than Pakistan, where, in the name of “democracy” and “counter-terrorism,” Washington and London are stirring a witches brew of dictatorship, intrigue and violence.