Patterico's Pontifications

1/1/2008

Intelligence Sources say Rogue Pakistani Military involved in Bhutto Assassination

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 12:55 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

The Middle East Times reports that Indian and other intelligence sources say jihad supporters in the Pakistan military were involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto:

Lower and middle level officers of the Pakistani army and the Pakistani air force were involved in the killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, according to various intelligence sources, including members of India’s counter-intelligence service. Well-informed sources have told the Middle East Times that these rogue elements of the Pakistani military support the jihadis and share their extremist views of an ultra-conservative form of Islam.

One former CIA official told a Middle East Times source that, “It’s worrying when half of your lower or mid-level Pak intelligence analysts have bin Laden screen-savers on their computers.” The conclusion of a number of U.S. analysts is that al-Qaida and other jihadis have successfully penetrated the armed forces and security services in Pakistan. If these findings are substantiated it could be a matter of grave concern, given the fact that Pakistan is in possession of nuclear weapons.”

Rawalpindi, the city where Bhutto was assassinated, seems especially involved:

“Backing up their theory that pro-extremists found sympathy and support among influential people in the Pakistani security forces, the sources cited the example of Rashi Rauf, the prime suspect in a recent plot to blow up 10 U.S. passenger airplanes in the United Kingdom last year. Rauf escaped last week while being taken from court in Rawalpindi. The prime suspects are the security personnel, who some believe, have facilitated Rauf’s escape, the sources said.

Of the seven or eight attempts to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf, two took place in December 2003 when rockets were fired at his vehicle during a visit to Rawalpindi, the same city where Bhutto was killed on Thursday.”

The Middle East Times identified one Pakistani general that particularly concerned Bhutto:

“Bhutto’s main fear, according to a well-placed source, was that Brig. Gen. (rtd) Ijaz Shah of the Pakistani IB would prove a grave threat to her. She was worried about security but did not make it a big issue until Dec. 26 when she complained that the electronic jammers used to neutralize IED’s were faulty.

But one U.S. analyst familiar with the situation told the Middle East Times that Mrs. Bhutto was warned of security issues. “She was warned of the dangers yet she continued to behave in a way in which the Secret Service in the U.S. would never accept,” said Thomas Houlahan, director of military assessment with the Center for Security and Science in Washington, D.C.

“She insisted on having her own people run her protection,” said Houlahan, who added, “but nothing would protect her when she decided to stand through the sun roof of her car. “That was extremely reckless,” said Houlahan. “I don’t see what could have been done.”

In a related story, Houlahan (who is also a contributor to the Middle East Times) wrote this interesting op-ed on Hillary Clinton’s misstatements of Pakistani political matters, but that story has been covered elsewhere.

For more background, the Times of India addresses the bad blood between Bhutto and the Pakistan ISI in this article.

Musharraf is walking the thinest tightrope in the world as he tries to balance the competing interests that surround him and his country. I don’t know where his allegiances lie but he must be made of steel.

— DRJ

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