Monday, May 07, 2007

Stratfor: Musharraf will end up losing power

Strategic Forecasting Inc., more commonly known as Stratfor, a private intelligence agency (dubbed by Barron’s magazine as "The Shadow CIA") maintains that Musharraf is
running out of options and ‘ultimately will end up losing power’:

Musharraf's Political Dilemma
May 08, 2007 02 00 GMT
…The government is watching how the protests have increased from the thousands to the tens of thousands since the crisis began a little under two months ago, and more important, the fact that the protests have not fizzled out.

But Musharraf also is being advised to cautiously handle the crisis or risk exacerbating the situation. One of the signs that the battle over the judiciary has gone badly for the government is that Punjab province and its provincial capital, Lahore, have now moved to express solidarity with Chaudhry.

Historically this province has been the support base of authoritarian governments and has proven to be decisive in turning against unpopular governments. Already there is resentment against Musharraf in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, as well as the North-West Frontier Province, although for different reasons.

Therefore, strong-arm tactics are not an option in resolving the matter. This is why Musharraf and his allies are maintaining that they will abide by whatever decision the judiciary makes, even if it amounts to Chaudhry's reinstatement. But undoing the decision to sack the top judge will not end the crisis -- it will only exacerbate it because an emboldened civil society and judiciary will not allow Musharraf to seek a controversial second term from the same electoral college, especially while he is president and military chief.

Consequently, Musharraf has at his disposal few options, none of them good. He can follow the advice of those advocating a hard-line approach and end up like former Pakistani military dictator Field Marshall Ayub Khan, who was driven out of office amid protests in 1969; or he can cut a deal with the main opposition group, the Pakistan People's Party of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and share power. Musharaf has been, to a great degree, an unorthodox military leader and is known to opt for pragmatism in the face of a difficult situation, and he is likely to go for the latter option. But doing so will just delay the pace at which he will lose power, since stepping down from the military in the current circumstances could erode his position to the point that he might not complete the second five-year term he is seeking.

Some would argue that because he fears losing power, Musharraf might not cut a deal and tough it out. This cannot be completely ruled out. But regardless of which option he chooses, Musharraf ultimately will end up losing power. He can only choose between a fast and complete loss of power, or sharing it -- a move that could lead to a decent exit.


11 comments:

Syed said...

Rao Sikandar is in after Wasi Zafar, guess who is next?

Anonymous said...

Well, Stratford is not writing that Mush and his cronies are capable of clamping down on whatever is leftover of civic space, arrest / arbitrarily detain and even disappear anyone who is open minded and democratic or is percieved to have secular ideas. This could come with dangerous moves by Mush hatched chaudarys by way of mobalising their relegious cards.
Such a scenario could place Pakistan in a very bad shape. True Mush is unconventional - but I would say EXTREMLY DANGEROUS and CRUEL as well.....

libertarian said...

It's all fine to get Mush out. But it's far more important to figure out a post-Mush dispensation. A political vacuum is always filled - and not necessarily by the best dispensations available. In short - more political space for the beards.

AAS said...

To Libertarian:

I agree with you to a certain extent. Let's not call all religious people extreme. Most "beards" are not extremists.

The reason i don't want the religious parties to come to power is because of their leadership is as rotten to the core as any of the ones provided by the army or our secular politicians.

What Pakistan needs is someone of moderation, honesty, integrity and leadership. It could be someone with a beard or clean shaven for all i care, as long as they have those qualities, i am fine with it.

Balu said...

Well,

Its about time that post MUSH political planning , alliances and the most importantly, a "process" must be discussed.
I am not very aware of the Mush and Military dynamics if he is let. DOnt want to see another general conquoring Pakistan again.

libertarian said...

aas: The reason i don't want the religious parties to come to power is because of their leadership is as rotten to the core as any of the ones provided by the army or our secular politicians.

My suggestion: don't get hung up on the corruption issue. It's a universal bane - every society has it to some extent. Choose corrupt competent folks every time over incorruptible incompetent ones.

What Pakistan needs is someone of moderation, honesty, integrity and leadership.

Pakistan needs strong institutions way more than it needs strong individuals. End of the day Mush was no Zia - and likened himself to Ataturk. He still failed miserably.

My point about the beards: Abrahamic religions and politics are best kept separate. Political Islam is going to be the same disaster that political Christianity was.

AAS said...

To Libertarian:


I really do see what your saying. But how do we build stronger instituions with out someone willing to do honest and hard work? The people currently entrenched in those institutions are not just going to kindly make way.

But i understand your point about the cult of personalities that always seem to garner power in Pakistan.

Honest and hardworking people make "strong institutions".

Yes, corruption is universal but how long do we have to accept Pakistan being at the bottom of that sentiment?

I don't believe Islam is the problem. It has always been people. Do you know the history of the Popes? It was Pope Leo(one of the Medici) who sold dispensenions on a huge scale that infuriated(other issues as well but that was major) Martin Luther and led to the protestant reformation. Christianity(bible) says nothing about being saved by buying a piece of paper.

I do believe Islam is more than compatable with democracy. I think the key is that people need to be moderate and balance current realities with universal truths without forcing it down peoples throats.

libertarian said...

aas: the CJP (non-functional) is an excellent example of standing up for an institution. It just needs to become a more common occurrence. If the judiciary can make itself relevant again, and the press plays its part, that's a great start. A fairly elected legislature will eventually follow and drag the executive along.

The elephant in the room is the Army, and the "elites" who benefit from military rule. One way to dilute their power is to push for greater federalism (which was in the 1973 Constitution but never implemented). This is anathema to many Punjabis (especially the landed, feudal ones) - but it might provide much better checks and balances than there are currently. An extension of this concept is to split Punjab and Sindh into more states and dilute its stranglehold. The populations are large enough to warrant it.

Anyways - don't mean to sound like I'm sermonizing. Its frustrating to see good people suffer in a messed up system.

AAS said...

Libertarian:

I guess Pakistan needs both strong individuals and strong institutions.

I think the key to Pakistan becoming stable is a new constitution, land reform, term limits and an all out fight against corruption.

But with the clowns in office now and the bloodsuckers waiting to take their place...i hardly doubt it happen.

Its cool sermonize all ya want. :)

Anonymous said...

Pakistan current political medium so filled up with kufr political mess that even an angel trying to sprung out of it is adulterated to everyone disgust.

Yet as people of pakistan are pondering to fill the leadership vacuum. It has to be filled with a leadership with clean track record of standing up for principle and ideals.

The name that has been repeated by state dept and even the last bush's speach is no other than 'Caliphate'.

The only name that comes to one's mind is Hizb ut tahrir.

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