The assault on the US consulate in Insanbul’s Istinye suburb still has many mysterious elements as police and security forces attempt to figure out who was behind the attack and what was the object. Interior Minister Besir Atalay commented: “What we need to do now is to define the connection there people had… the general view on the assault is that it is a suicide attack.” One curious element is that one of the attackers, Raif Topcil’s father was involved in a 1996 operation against the Hezbollah which is a terrorist organization. There is still speculation the attack is somehow linked to al-Qaeda.
There are still some who believe the entire operation may be linked to recent reports concerning a planned coup against the Turkish government that was being organized by retired generals as well as some journalists who wanted to overthrow the Muslim government led by Prime Minister Erdogan. Papers seized in police raids indicate part of the plan was to create chaos in order to allow members of the military to claim they had to step in to restore law and order.
The violent attack upon former prime minister Benazir Bhutto during her return from exile has raised uncomfortable second thoughts in the minds of the Bush administration. It was Bush who pushed for a power-shaing deal between the Pakistan People’s Party leader, Benazir Bhutto and President Musharraf. He feared Musharraf required additional political support in order to maintain power in the face of strong opposition from fundamentalist groups. After the attack, Mrs. Bhutto made several veiled allusions to possible actions by supporters of Musharraf in carrying out the bombing attack.
During the past few years, Bush officials have courted Bhutto while she was in exile as they searched for additional support for Musharraf. They feared the return of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifm who is an acknowledged enemy of Musharraf would leave him without sufficient support. There are reports members of the American State Department from the beginning opposed power sharing between Bhutto and Musharraf because of her volatile past and the reality large sections of the Pakistan population opposed her policies. According to southeast Asia analyst, Bruce Riedel, “Mrs. Bhutto and Mr. Musharraf detest each other and the concept that they can somehow work collaboratively is a real stretch.”
The current confusion in Pakistan is merely another example of the inept Bush approach to diplomacy. State department experts were wary of the merger of two people who lacked confidence in one another, but at that period, Colin Powell was secretary of state and his advice was usually ignored. The Bush go alone approach again may prove disastrous to American foreign policy interests.
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Muslims, Peace, Politics, Republicans, United States, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Bhutto, Bush, Colin Powell, Musharraf, Pakistan, suicide attack