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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Musharraf's Mubarak Route?

Writing about the absurdity of supporting any dictator, liberal authoritative or communists socialists, Robert Kagan posits that Gen. Musharraf may be doing a Hosni Mubarak of Egypt:

Today, Pakistan's Gen. Pervez Musharraf is playing the old game, as is Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, and it appears to be working. Substitute radical Islamists for communists, and the pitch is the same: Apr¿s moi, le d¿luge. If you force me out, the radical Islamists will win. And Musharraf is busily trying to ensure that this is the only option. He cracks down on moderates with good democratic credentials, and with far greater zeal than he has cracked down on al-Qaeda. If he can hold on long enough, he may so radicalize the opposition that no reasonably moderate alternative will be available. [Musharraf And the Con Game - WaPo]

Sounds entirely plausible. The pharaoh has been reelected for six six-year terms by destroying - arresting and shutting down - opposition parties, while fighting the Muslim Brotherhood radicals and terrorists, and getting at least $4 billion aid annually from Washington, most for any country (the aid is mostly because Egypt made peace with Israel during Anwar Sadat time, which is currently fragile but none-the-less legal).

Although Musharraf is much older to remain in power for very long, even if the Mubarak card works, Musharraf's successors can benefit from this arrangement. But it's hard to see Washington providing billions of aid to LoP forever, if the army doesn't fight the Taliban/al-Qaida terrorists, even if it makes peace with Israel - both actions being very unlikely.