It's interesting the government is already formally blaming al Qaeda before their dual investigations have even begun:
Cheema described Mehsud as an al-Qaida leader who was also behind most other recent terror attacks in Pakistan, including the Karachi bomb blast in October against Bhutto that killed more than 140 people. "Mehsud is thought to be the commander of pro-Taliban forces in the tribal region of South Waziristan, where al-Qaida fighters are also active.Of course, we also blamed bin Laden for 9/11 before our investigation was completed. If history repeats we'll soon see the "Bhutto isn't really dead" conspiracies begin.
In the meantime, why would the Paki government be so eager to blame terrorists in the tribal areas when Musharraf has a horrific track record with them? It almost seems he's trying to pick a fight, one he couldn't wage previously due to the mood of his population but one he might now better undertake if Bhutto's enraged supporters throw in behind him to avenge her death. How would the U.S. fit in to such a scenario?
Well, the situation in Afghanistan has to be frustrating to Bush. He's got one year left and clearly doesn't want to be the next president who didn't get bin Laden. Unless Thompson, McCain or Giuliani succeed him it's likely that any democrat or Ron Paul would retreat and let the chips fall where they may, later blaming Bush (or in Paul's case, Eisenhower) when the next attack occurs. And once we're gone it'll be hard to go back, meaning the area will become a terrorist Club Med.
AQ obviously knows our hands are tied and that we need to shut down the tribal areas if we ever hope to succeed in Afghanistan. They know it's not possible without Pakistani help. They know it's a race against time with our elections. Before the Bhutto assassination, stories were already starting to surface about increased American Special Forces activity into Pakistan in the coming months, and today we got another one (HT Jihad Watch):
"Pakistan should be carefully watched because it could prove to be a significant flashpoint in the coming year," US think tank Strategic Forecasting said in an evaluation of al-Qaida's tactics as the Islamist group comes under mounting pressure in Iraq.Quick time out--anyone think the anti-war set will start caterwauling about warmongering in Pakistan as they did during our rhetoric war with Iran (even though Pakistan already has nukes)?
With the "rapid spread of Talibanisation" in Pakistan's insurgent northwest, the country would become "especially important if the trend in Iraq continues to go against the jihadis and they are driven from Iraq", the assessment said.
As to the culprits, perhaps AQ did stage the attack as a sort of hail mary play to destabilize the country with hopes Musharraf would get toppled before any such allied initiatives could come to pass. If so, it may completely backfire should the bulk of the Pakistani people turn on them as many Iraqis have now done. And if that allows a clean up in the tribal areas, assuming such a thing is possible, then we win.
And so it begins. This video is apparently making the rounds with the obvious suggestion that Bhutto was eliminated due to a verbal slip-up. It's a clip of this interview, which displayed her charming ability to focus while also illustrating quite well why some people made the connections about maintaining democracy, since she herself was the main propagator of that vision, whether real or imagined. It sure sounded good, though.
In a way this video slip-up reminds me of this one, since it could have easily been a brain fart rather than a fatal slip-up. As to the man she's referring to, Digital Journal explains further.