If it’s possible, the Middle East became a lot more dangerous Thursday. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has thrown already unstable, nuclear-capable Pakistan into further turmoil, threatening the stability of the region and, potentially, the safety of the entire world.
If it’s possible, the Middle East became a lot more dangerous Thursday. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has thrown already unstable, nuclear-capable Pakistan into further turmoil, threatening the stability of the region and, potentially, the safety of the entire world. Bhutto’s supporters reacted to their leader’s death with understandable anger. They lashed out with violence and blamed President Pervez Musharraf for her death. While the suicide bomber who killed Bhutto and 20 supporters Thursday has been linked to al Qaeda, Bhutto’s supporters are right to throw some of the blame at Musharraf. Bhutto, herself, had previously said that her political rival would be at least partly to blame should she be murdered. "I would hold Musharraf responsible," Bhutto wrote in a letter to U.S. spokesman and friend Mark Siegel two months ago. "I have been made to feel insecure by his minions and there is no way what is happening ... could happen without him." Bhutto was referring to Musharraf’s refusal to provide better security for the former prime minister and presidential candidate, despite clear threats to her life. He even tried to prevent her from protecting herself, "stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides." It’s not like this was a great surprise. Bhutto wrote the letter eight days after the last assassination attempt, a suicide bombing that killed nearly 140 of her supporters after her return from exile in October. Whoever is ultimately responsible for her death, Musharraf is the most direct beneficiary. Likely to have lost the presidency to Bhutto in the Jan. 8 election, Musharraf will now retain power, which has seemed to be his goal all along. It was only a few weeks ago that — under intense U.S. and international pressure — he finally removed his military uniform and released the country from police rule, agreeing to face off with Bhutto in a civil election. What’s to stop him now from donning the fatigues and continuing his march toward dictatorship? If anything, he’s been given an excuse to do just that in the name of safety and stability. He has already announced he is debating whether to postpone the election. Unfortunately, the other winners here are the Islamic terrorists, who revel in death and chaos. Pakistan is a hotbed of extremism, the known home of al Quaeda and Taliban-related groups. Osama bin Laden himself has long been rumored to be hiding in Pakistan’s remote regions. The chaos and instability likely to follow Bhutto’s death can only aid these murderous groups that seem hell-bent on destroying the world. Global security is potentially at risk. Bhutto represented hope that a strong, Democratic government could put an end to the instability and lead Pakistan into a safe, prosperous, peaceful era. Bhutto is now gone, but hope does not have to be lost with her. Fair and free elections should continue as scheduled, allowing Pakistanis to fulfill Bhutto’s dream of a safe, peaceful Pakistan. Anything less allows the terrorists to keep winning. The Herald News