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Former PM Benazir Bhutto Assassinated in Pakistan

[For the reaction to this event from the 2008 Presidential candidates, go here: USA Today: Bhutto’s Death: Candidates React]

As Matt Burden at Blackfive notes, “this is very bad news for freedom and democracy“. He also adds:

Benazir Bhutto, educated at Harvard and Oxford, was hated by the Taliban and Al Qaeda for being a woman in the highest position in the land, for being a supporter of the West and Democracy. She also included in her election platform a promise to go after Al Qaeda in the tribal regions of Pakistan.

Make no mistake, this was a huge victory for Islamic extremists.

The response by Bhutto’s party and President Musharraf will decide whether or not Pakistan remains on the razor’s edge of stability. Bhutto’s martyrdom could be used in a way that she would have wanted – to unify the forces for stability and democracy against the Islamic extremists. Or her legacy will be used to plummit Pakistan into chaos.

Matt also recommends Bill Roggio’s The Long War Journal for updates: Pakistan: Benazir Bhutto assassinated

The mode of attack suggests a level of training, discipline, and expertise of a military organization. If bullets penetrated Bhutto’s vehicle windshield, which was no doubt was bullet proof, the shooter was using armor-piercing rounds and had good aim. There is the possibility a sniper was placed elsewhere and aided the assault, although this has not been confirmed. The shooter also had the discipline to detonate his suicide vest after the confusion of firing into her vehicle.

Today’s attack occurred in the military garrison city of Rawalpindi, which the Pakistani military presumably controls. This was was the fifth bombing targeting military and political leaders in Rawalpindi since July.

This was the second strike against Bhutto since her return to Pakistan in mid-October. The first attack also showed a level of sophistication, training and discipline of a military operation. In the October attack on Bhutto’s return processional in Karachi, snipers, suicide bombers, and a car bomb were coordinated among a blanket of security. The attack came close to killing Bhutto. Over 132 Pakistanis were killed and upwards of 500 wounded.

Bhutto supporters have begun to blame President Pervez Musharraf for her death. The sophistication of the attack, the governments reported refusal to provide adequate security, and the location of the bombing have created distrust among Bhutto supporters.

But this attack was most likely carried out by the Taliban and al Qaeda. Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the newly united Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, or Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, threatened to kill Bhutto upon her return in October. The Taliban and al Qaeda manage training camps in Pakistan’s tribal areas and have trainers and recruits from the Pakistani military in their ranks.

Jules Crittenden asks some questions and explains why this is a huge deal in The Long War against Islamic Totalitarianism: Bhutto Assassinated

No peaceful transition to civilian leadership for Pakistan, with the murder of a major popular pro-American secularist. Questions:

Jihadis, ISI, or some combination?

Does this unite them against jihadis or just further fragment Pakistan to the jihadis benefit?

Does the election even go ahead, or is it straight to martial law? Short-term or long-term suspension, and in the event of an election, who rises?

If they buy the “dog Musharraf dog” line, or if it’s true, how bloody will the demonstrations be, and will they lead to a coup? If there’s a coup, who and what ends up on top?

No good answers to any of that yet. I have a very bad feeling about all of this. The potential for critically destablizing a flank that was difficult enough as it was, is huge. I’d feel slightly better if Rumsfeld had doubled the size of the Army, and wish Bush and Congress would crank that up. This war is far from over. This war is no artificial Bush creation or figment of anyone’s imagination, and should still be very much part of our own election, wishful thinking notwithstanding.

When Mr. Crittenden alludes to “destabilizing a flank”, he is referring to Pakistan being a flank in the anti-terrorism coalition. The problem, as he notes, is that the Pakistan government was only grudgingly assisting in The Long War (on terror) under pressure from the Bush Administration to do so. The other problem? Pakistan is a nuclear-armed nation. So now we have a nuclear-armed nation in chaos. Not good.

As Stratfor, linked by Mr. Crittenden, notes:

Given the modus operandi, it is likely the work of jihadists linked with the Taliban and/or al Qaeda. This assassination could not have been possible without the jihadists being enabled by elements within the government because both the jihadists and many within the regime fear the possibility of Bhutto’s party emerging strong in the Jan. 8 polls. This attack further highlights the murky links between Islamist militants and elements within the Pakistani security/intelligence establishment.

Bhutto’s death will trigger a serious backlash in the form of violence and unrest in the country, which could derail the polls, which the opposition is claiming will be rigged by the establishment. The unrest and violence following her death could also lead to the imposition of martial law.

For some of the best coverage and analysis of this ongoing huge story on the web, be sure to go back to the previous blogs I linked for updates, and visit these bloggers as well:


Of note, Gateway Pundit points out that “Benazir Bhutto was just voted one of the 11 most influential women of 2007.”

PajamasMedia: Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Michelle Malkin: Benazir Bhutto assassinated Breaking: Benazir Bhutto killed in bomb attack

AllahPundit links to this article from TIME: TIME: Making a Martyr of Bhutto – “I am not afraid,” she told TIME last month, “I am ready to die for my country.”

UPDATE at 13:08 EST on 27 DEC 2007: Debbie Schlussel provides a bit of a realily check on the lionizing of Benazir Bhutto in the comments at and at her website: Karma: Terrorism-Supporter Bhutto Was No Saint . . . And “Jimmy Carter” Bush Moves Predicated This Outcome

The “moderate” Bhutto was actually a Saudi-backed, anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian-terrorism force of instability, anarchy, and protest in Pakistan. Her return to Paki politics would only divide and conquer pro-U.S. forces in the country, allowing the more popular Islamists to dominate. That she was assassinated was not a good thing. But that she is now gone from Pakistani politics is a positive development in a myriad of ways.

The George W. Bush-orchestrated move of returning Bhutto to Pakistan from exile in the Gulf was a bad move on so many levels. It echoes the Jimmy Carter era of ushering out the pro-U.S. Shah of Iran and ushering in the never-ending Ayatollah Khomeini/Mahmoud Ahmadinejad era. This time around, Bhutto’s opposition to Musharraf would have ushered out a pro-U.S. dictator, Pervez Musharraf, and ushered in Islamist chaos, HAMASastan-style.

True, Musharraf is not exactly the greatest counter-terrorist. He came to office in a coup which ousted Bhutto, and he comes from atop an army dominated by the pro-Al-Qaeda I.S.I. He may even be protecting the wherabouts of Bin Laden and isn’t the greatest ally of the U.S.. But he is not the worst, either, and he is far better than the alternative, including the would-be now-late Bhutto. Without Musharraf atop the country, it will revert to the natural state of what really is Greater Barbaria bubbling beneath the entire Islamic and Arab worlds. If you liked the Daniel Pearl beheading and dismemberment in Karachi, you’d love Pakistan under a short-lived Bhutto return and long-lived post-Bhutto Iran, er . . . Pakistan.

One Khalid Sheikh Mohammed running free through the streets of Pakistan, plotting murders of thousands of Americans? Under a Bhutto, or post-Bhutto overthrow revolutionary “government” in Pakistan, the country would be overrun with them, and they’d be running the country.

A few of her comments left at

To all of you who ignorantly lionize and beatify this woman, Benazir Bhutto supported Islamic terrorism. She defended Palestinian homicide bombers. This is your “reasonable” woman, whom you want more of in America? Hello . . . . Get a clue. You clearly don’t know much about this woman, who only brought more instability to Pakistan than it had already. Learn about Benazir Bhutto before making her into the saint that she most certainly is not. If you like Iran, you’d have loved the second post-Bhutto Pakistan. Bush and his re-insertion of this woman into Pakistan and calls for democracy would have made this another Gaza. The woman would have surely been overthrown.

Debbie Schlussel on December 27, 2007 at 12:30 PM

She brought “more instability” to the region? Right out of the American Left playbook….and I see you (suprise!) blame Bush for this as well…unreal. No, Bhutto was no “saint” as you put it, but she was a driving force behind moderates in a region where that is sorely needed.

JetBoy on December 27, 2007 at 12:36 PM

Riiiight. Like the moderates of Iran who were sorely needed instead of the Shah? What is moderate about defending Palestinian homicide bombings? How is that more “moderate” than U.S.-allied Musharraf? No, that’s not out of the American Left playbook. It’s out of the Those Who Understand the Middle East Playbook. And the Those Who Watched The HAMAS Elections, Hezbollah Elections, Muslim Brotherhood Elections Playbook. Yes, those were all because of Bush’s “democracy” failures that brought increasing destabilization throughout the Mid-East. That’s not a left-wing view. Left-wingers are the ones who support this “democracy in the Muslim world” BS. If you think this–Bush’s mistaken re-insertion of Bhutto into Paki politics–is different than any of the “democratic elections” cited above, you haven’t been paying attention.

Debbie Schlussel on December 27, 2007 at 12:48 PM

I’m guessing we are too ignorant to disagree with you. No one on this board has “beatified” Bhutto. In interviews I saw with Bhutto, she wanted democracy to prevail in Pakistan and to bring an end to Al Queda in her Country.

This ignorant person (me) sorta kinda believed her.

That being said, who can actually be trusted in that area of the world? I’ve supported our President in his decisions regarding these Middle Eastern crazies. He knows more than we do about the subject and I prefer to keep it that way.

SouthernPride on December 27, 2007 at 12:43 PM

How do you like the democracy Bush obtained in Gaza, Lebanon (where Hezbollah gained seats and ministerial positions), Egypt (where the Muslim Brotherhood gained seats)? He knows more than we do? Hilarious. The only thing he knows how to do is create Shi’ite and Sunni extremist revolutions at the ballot box, and force Israel to give up more of its country in exchange for nothing. He knows very little about this topic, except how to outdo Jimmy Carter in failing in the Mid-East. Even John Bolton, his own UN guy, has been saying the same as me, in his book. He says that George Bush is now pursuing the policies of the left all over the world, esp. in the Mid-East. So, if you believe he knows more than we do, you must think Jimmy Carter knew more than we do. Speak for yourself.

Debbie Schlussel on December 27, 2007 at 12:53 PM

I’m not sure why you keep blaming Bush for “re-inserting” Bhutto into Paki politics . . . .there’s nothing that says the Bush Admin. was in any way responsible for putting her there. . . .

And I’m not sure how you equate the extremist takeover (read: not democratically elected) in Iran…Iran today is a prime example of how ignoring the situation fails. Our concern these days is that Iran is pursuing nuclear ambitions…whereas Pakistan already HAS that.

JetBoy on December 27, 2007 at 1:08 PM

America openly pressured/forced Musharraf to allow Bhutto to return to Pakistan. That’s undisputed (except by you).

Re-Iran, do you remember a guy named “The Shah”? Do you remember how Jimmy Carter helped usher him out in favor of “democratic elections”? Did you know that they had “democratic elections,” which elected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a long line of post-Shah extremists “democratically” elected to run Iran? If you can’t realize that democratic elections Bush has pushed all over the Mid-East, ie., election of HAMAS, Hezbollah gains in Lebanon, Muslim Brotherhood gains in Egypt, etc., are any different than what will happen now that Bush has pressured Musharraf into elections, then I don’t know what to tell you.

What’s happening in Iran today did not just happen in a vacuum. It is the result of the progression of things since Jimmy Carter ushered out a pro-US dictator and ushered in “democracy.” Think it’s different anywhere else in the Mid-East (except Israel)? Why not push for the Saudi Royal Family to hold elections today? Guess who’d win? Bin Laden. And he’s the most popular figure in Pakistan, too.

Debbie Schlussel on December 27, 2007 at 1:22 PM

Debbie, I always thought we did not go after UBL in Pakistan to try to preserve Musharrif’s power there for the sake of the nukes. If GWB undermined him after all, why didn’t we just invade years ago?

Buck Turgidson on December 27, 2007 at 1:17 PM

That is a belief that has a lot of credibility. And that’s a great question, which only the Condi-Bush Admin can answer. Even John Bolton has pointed out in his book and in recent interviews, that in the last year or two, Bush has radically reversed his foreign policy to a disastrous one that imitates that of the Clinton Administration and a left-wing President. And it’s bad for America.

Like every President, Bush wants his legacy. And he is now in his lame duck days, so this is his last chance to get one. I think he wants to say his legacy is democracy in the Mid-East. (And that is his legacy–HAMAS democracy, Hezbollah democracy, etc.)

Debbie Schlussel on December 27, 2007 at 1:27 PM

UPDATE at 14:24 EST on 27 DEC 2007:  Some interesting related links at PajamasMedia related to the background of Benazir Bhutto:

Is Benazir Bhutto Really Pakistan’s Prodigal Daughter?

The Fraud That Is Benazir Bhutto, The Taliban And The Leftists Who Love Her

US Pressures Musharraf to End Emergency Rule

Benazir Bhutto Announces Massive Rally Protesting Pakistan’s Emergency

“Benazir Bhutto, The Corruption Diva…” And The Link To Hillary


December 27, 2007 , 12:48PM - Posted by | al Qaeda, Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan, Terrorism, The Long War

1 Comment

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    Pingback by More on Benazir Bhutto; She was Not What She Seemed to Be « AmeriCAN-DO Attitude | December 28, 2007 , 11:27PM

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