The attention of the wahhabi strategists is now focused in Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons. All of the Sunni Muslims will have to counterbalance the nuclear challenge of Teheran, without being dependant from Washington. As a result, Pakistan is one of the countries which are more at risk in the planet, with Iran and Russia, the latter considering itself the victim in a new reissue of the Cold War and considering as a second hand problem the conflict with the Islamic fundamentalism.The detonators have been the “judicial revolt” and the problems with the Red Mosque. Yesterday 2 suicide terrorist attacks -in the south and in the north- have caused 32 victims, of which the greater part were policemen. Since the “battle” of the Mosque in Islamabad 140 people have been killed by terrorist attacks. The President Pervez Musharraf has proclaimed the Martial Law, after the attack against an office of the ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, in exile in London, the only opposition leader who has supported the attack against Red Mosque.
But regardless, say many analysts, Ms. Bhutto's death is a victory for Osama bin Laden's network, which called the opposition figure a tool of US influence. And, they say, Al Qaeda stands to gain most from the spreading unrest in Pakistan.Only weeks ago, Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a message saying that Bhutto, and all those who participate in Pakistan's elections, would meet their end. An Al Qaeda-linked website later claimed responsibility for the killing.Pakistan officials say the culprits worked with local Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in the restive tribal area South Waziristan. Mr. Mehsud, like Mr. Zawahiri, had earlier vowed to assassinate Bhutto if she returned to Pakistan to run in elections. He has since denied involvement in the attack.Al Qaeda has several times targeted President Mushaaraf, as well, and in recent months has twice targeted the former interior minister, Aftab Ahmed Sherpao. But in all those cases, the assassination attempts failed.The day after Bhutto was killed, Asfandyar Amir Zeb was killed by a remote-controlled bomb in Swat, an area bordering Afghanistan where the Pakistani Army is battling militants. Mr. Zeb, a member of Mr. Musharraf's ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, was an outspoken critic of Islamic militancy.And on Sunday, two men blew themselves up outside the eastern Pakistan residence of Ijazul Haq, the former religious affairs minister and senior leader of the ruling party, killing only themselves.This string of attacks on many of the country's leaders indicates a new strand of operatives working in Pakistan – the very specter of extremism that Bhutto made a focus of her campaign."[Al Qaeda] considered [Bhutto] an American asset. They would have targeted her after Pervez Musharraf, who has a lot of security. She was exposed," says the retired Brigadier Mahmood Shah, former secretary of security for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the area where Al Qaeda is believed to have its base.
the Telegraph has an incisive article on the Frankenstein’s monster of terrorism nurtured by successive Pakistani governments, including Bhutto’s, that now threatens to overtake all of Pakistan. Former PM Sharif, an Islamist with Saudi support, is not what we want to see in charge of Pakistan. For some good background, see this Stephen Cohen article on the jihadi threat in Pakistan. And this from Tariq Ali on the Saudi connection to the madrassahs and terrorists in Pakistan.
'Al Qaeda has become Pakistani phenomenon' (PTI, December 29, 2007)"Clearly, Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan does not just comprise Arabs and Uzbeks and Tajiks. It also comprises Pakistanis; and among such Pakistanis it comprises Pathans and Punjabis and possibly Urdu speakers who constitute the Pakistani Taliban," the Daily Times said in an article. (continue reading)
Al Qaeda’s Dec. 28 claim of responsibility for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was not transmitted through the organization’s usual messenger, Al Jazeera. This change probably resulted from a deal between the United States, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.Rather than using Al Jazeera, al Qaeda spokesman Al Qaeda Mustafa Abu al-Yazid — likely working through elements connected to Pakistan’s intelligence apparatus— transmitted a message via phone to Italian news agency Adnkronos International (AKI) and Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online...
The unrest turned streets in this normally frenetic city, Pakistan's largest, into empty expanses of asphalt. Dozens of burned-out cars and buses lay by the sides of the roads, evidence of nighttime mobs that roamed the city in defiance of soldiers and police.Food shortages were reported in some areas of the country, and most gas stations and shops were closed. With a large percentage of the population idle and angry, there was concern Saturday that the violence could worsen.