The Survivor

Some interesting analyses of the Musharraf surviving Strike Two, at LGF and Daniel Drezner.
That two suicide bombers seem to have been involved in this attack suggests that the assassins are getting increasingly desparate. That must be so – as Musharraf has seemingly yielded on two of Pakistan’s most enduring dogmas; Kashmir and the nuclear weapons. It is now almost certain that Musharraf became accomodating on Kashmir as he knew that the nuclear proliferation stories were impending. In his famous “u-turn” speech of Sep 2001 he told the Pakistanis that he had thrown in his lot with the Americans to protect the ‘Kashmir cause’ and the ‘strategic assets’. By Dec 2002 he was forced to consider trade-offs on both. While the jehadis have good reason to have him out of the picture, they are not powerful enough to execute an assassination by themselves.

In recent weeks the extremists have been infuriated by Islamabad’s rapprochement with India. After intense American pressure, a major summit next week between Gen Musharraf and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Indian prime minister, was expected to lead to serious negotiations on resolving the Kashmir dispute.Ahmed Rashid, The Telegraph

Agreeing to vacate his position as Army chief by end 2004 almost certainly means that General Mohammed Aziz Khan – his co-conspirator in Kargil and the Coup – will not get a stab at the top job. Since 2001, Musharraf has been forced to abandon several more of his erstwhile supporters in the top ranks of the Army. To believe that these ‘reshuffles’ have not led to resentment in some quarters would be denying the realities of organisational politics. The Army certainly has a motive to dispatch him Zia style, and could use the jehadis as a convenient route to execute its plan. Musharraf escaped the last two attempts by a whisker in high-security Rawalpindi – facts that suggest an ‘insider’ is involved.

The extremists, and the fundamentalist nuclear scientists who dominate Pakistan’s nuclear programme, are also furious at Gen Musharraf for accepting demands by the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate the sale of Pakistani nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea.
Fundamentalism is also growing in the army. After a tip-off by the CIA, at least five army officers were arrested in October for helping al-Qa’eda members in Pakistan’s border regions with Afghanistan. Ibid

Musharraf is a shrewd tactician – Kargil, the 1999 coup, the “u-turns”, the referendum, LFO, all reveal masterful tactics but an absence of sound strategy. Tactics have been responsible for his rise to power,for his current troubles; and may yet prove to be his undoing.
Related Links

  • After the military reshuffle – From South Asia Tribune Online
  • Waiting in line to succeed Musharraf