Pakistan Minus Musharraf = Al-Qaedistan
The sourced rumors seem to be that Musharraf is set to quit. (WaPo, Reuters, AFP) His spokesman came out with a denial this morning, but resignation seems to be the direction it's going. (Via MikeVotes)What's surprising is how long Musharraf has been able to hold on as America's advocate and ride herd on internally conflicting sets of stakeholders. As a measure of what "conflicting" means, he survived 6 known assassination attempts and uncounted plots. He finally ran out of magic, and sometime earlier this year Pakistan simply ceased to play its role as a payrolled ally in the Global War on Terror.
Even with an exceptional talent like Musharraf, Pakistan's value against al-Qaeda has always been precarious, and latent support for that movement is about to be expressed with much greater openness. Musharraf could feel the incoming tide, and was just buying time; he already was estate-shopping on the Chesapeake Bay last year. The reasons Pakistan implicitly supported AQ are quite simple: Pakistan exists because it won a war of self-determination, it is an Islamic-moderate nation, and, after a Mid-east fashion, it is a democracy.
Members of its intelligence service (the ISI) have long worked with al-Qaeda (the Islamic Foreign Legion), and while they maintain cordial relations with counterparts in Saudi Arabian services and the CIA, there is an emotional component missing in the latter relationships. The ISI is practiced at playing multiple ends against the middle, as their only enemy of real concern is India. But when the ISI sees al-Qaeda, they see people like they once were, people who are fighting for self-determination, who are trying to overthrow oppressive regimes and replace them with more equitable systems. They believe that if AQ succeeds, particularly against the Arabian regimes, that good will have been achieved.
The only way to guard against that fondness was to give them massive amounts of money. Now they see the milk has gone out of the cow, so they realize how tired they are of keeping the capricious, volatile idiots in the US happy, with the long subterfuge and denial of better selves that entailed. Indeed, many of the smartest ISI people already felt that way for quite some time, and although it is commonly accepted that the planning, staffing, and financing for 9/11 occurred in Afghanistan, it was happening in a far more powerful way in Islamabad.