Bhutto Dead

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated; there was first a gunman firing at her at close range, followed by a suicide bomber who killed her and at least 14 people total.
I think it’s too early for accusations of Musharraf’s involvement; obviously, there are other possible culprits, including the same Islamist groups who have tried to kill Musharraf in the past (I imagine the only thing they’d like less than him is a nominally democratic, female PM). Also, it’s possible that this will allow Nawaz Sharif to emerge as the anti-Musharraf, presenting a more united front against him than previously existed, which surely wouldn’t be in Musharraf’s interest. That said, if Musharraf takes the opportunity to declare another state of emergency, it’ll be pretty clear that he’s trying to disrupt the upcoming elections and consolidate power, and involvement on his part would appear far more likely.
Bhutto’s advisers, for their part, are already accusing Musharraf. Barrett Rubin, a Pakistan expert interviewed by TPM, says that Bhutto’s presence allowed the US to minimize the democratic opposition to her, one non-threatening, hugely corrupt figure, and thus secure Musharraf’s stay in power. Now that she’s gone, U.S. strategy is, in Rubin’s words, “in tatters”.
There’s still a lot left to be learned about the actual event, and what happens next will be interesting. I’ll try to post updates as things progress.

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