“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Musharraf Should Ignore the US and UK.

Musharraf will get no advice from the US or UK that will do him any good. Britain is slathered in political correctness and the Bush-Carter Administration is still delusional with the push for democracy in the Islamic world.

Musharraf warned: hold elections and quit as army chief

Envoys to spell out ultimatum in talks today in Pakistan

Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Julian Borger
Monday November 5, 2007
The Guardian

The US and Britain are today expected to demand that Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, honour pledges to hold elections in the next two months and step down as the army chief, or face a cut in western support.
The diplomatic showdown will come in the form of a meeting in Islamabad between the Pakistani leader and a group of ambassadors, two days after he declared emergency rule - and three days after giving assurances to the prime minister, Gordon Brown, and the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, that he would stick to an election deadline in mid-January, and step down as head of the country's army.

Last night Pakistan's prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, called those promises into question when he said the government had not decided when to hold the elections and warned they could be delayed by up to a year. Wielding his new powers with an iron fist yesterday, Gen Musharraf rounded up hundreds of opposition and human rights activists and introduced tight media regulations. Mr Aziz's statement directly contradicted personal assurances Gen Musharraf apparently gave to Mr Brown and Ms Rice on the eve of the emergency declaration.
The pledge to the prime minister was made on Friday, when Mr Brown telephoned Mr Musharraf and expressed concern over reports that an emergency decree was being planned.

"He [Mr Brown] said we had heard he was considering this and we thought it was a bad idea," a British official said.

Downing Street and the Foreign Office denied claims from Islamabad yesterday that Britain had, in fact, sanctioned Gen Musharraf's declaration.

A Musharraf aide told the Guardian that the Pakistani president had "satisfied" objections raised by Mr Brown during the conversation. "There was pressure from the US and Britain in the beginning. But later on, when the government gave them the detail that elections will be held on time, and the president will take off his uniform, they did not have any objections," the official said, on condition of anonymity. A Foreign Office official insisted "no consent was implied or given".

In his address to the nation on Saturday night Gen Musharraf said the step was necessary to combat growing Islamist extremism that has seen a succession of suicide bombings and a battle in the previously peaceful northern area of Swat.

But yesterday his police turned their batons on political opponents and human rights critics from a wide spectrum of society - although notably not from Benazir Bhutto's People's party. Ms Bhutto, who has been edging towards a power-sharing deal with Gen Musharraf for months, condemned emergency rule but did not call her supporters on to the streets.

In Lahore police armed with assault rifles raided the offices of the national human rights commission.

Police seized camera equipment belonging to journalists. The ousted chief justice, Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, was trapped behind a cordon of police at his Islamabad house.

The leader of the lawyer's movement, Aitzaz Ahsan, was held incommunicado at Adiala Jail near Rawalpindi. Tammy Haq, a colleague who attempted to visit him, said she feared he was being tortured. "I've seen martial law before, my brother was in jail, and this is exactly the same," she said.

Mr Aziz said the former cricketer Imran Khan and retired intelligence chief Hamid Gul were among 500 people being held in preventative detention. Private TV channels remained off air and senior journalists said they feared arrest. The only news coverage came through the state TV channel, which broadcast a report into the lack of press freedom in India.

The British and US reaction has so far been cautious. It has fallen short of condemnation. More severe measures, as well as a reassessment of western aid to the Musharraf government will hinge on today's critical meeting.

"What we will make very clear is that the government must keep to the commitment to hold elections on time, the commitment to take off the uniform, the commitment to a free press, the commitment to reach out other parties, and the commitment to release political prisoners," a senior British official said. "How they respond to that will determine how our reaction thereafter."

Ms Rice, speaking to journalists in Jerusalem, said yesterday the US would "review" aid to Pakistan, which has totalled $11bn (£5.5bn) since 2001.

British officials said they would reassess aid in coordination with the US.

In Lahore a human rights campaigner, Asma Jahangir, sent an email from home where she has been placed under detention for 90 days. "Those he has arrested are progressive, secular minded people while the terrorists are offered negotiations and ceasefires," she wrote.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, president of the ruling PML-Q party, said the decision to impose emergency rule was triggered by fears that the supreme court would rule against Gen Musharraf's recent re-election in a legal appeal. A friendly judge passed the information to the government last Wednesday. "He said the verdict may be unanimous. So we had no choice," he told the Guardian. "The debate was whether to impose emergency before or after [the court ruling]."

Asked how long the emergency measures would be in place Mr Aziz said: "As long as it is necessary."


  1. If the General President is assured of being President, you'd think that'd be enough, excepting that the Army does not respect the title or the Authority of the President, but do that of a General.

    Even when it's the same man.
    Quite a bizarre sense of honor and justice those Pakistani have.

  2. And the Russians are equally as Bizarre, or Bizantine They can't shake it off, the habits of eleven hundred years.

    We in the United States lack real knowledge about many of these other cultures. In contrast to Bush, many don't want democracy, human rights, don't know what they are, don't care. Our goal must be to defend ourselves, and not expect too much.

  3. The Perils of Petrocracy

    Historically, almost every country dependent on the export of oil has answered this question in the same way: badly.
    It may seem paradoxical, but finding a hole in the ground that spouts money can be one of the worst things to happen to a nation. With one or two exceptions, oil-dependent countries are poorer, more conflict-ridden and despotic. OPEC’s own studies show the perils of relying on oil.

    Between 1965 and 1998, the economies of OPEC members contracted by 1.3 percent a year.
    Oil-dependent nations do especially badly by their poor: infant survival, nutrition, life expectancy, literacy, schooling — all are worse in oil-producing countries.
    The history of oil-dependent countries has produced what Terry Lynn Karl, a Stanford University professor, calls the paradox of plenty.

    PetroChina Shares Triple in Debut

    Despite PetroChina’s share price tripling on debut in Shanghai and overtaking Exxon Mobil in value, it is about half as profitable as its rival. In the first half of 2007, PetroChina’s net income was $10.9 billion, compared to $19.5 billion for Exxon Mobil.

    With China’s economy continuing to grow at double digit rates and no sign that investors are losing their appetite for the share markets, this price bubble has so far been unaffected by issues that have shaken other markets, like mortgage defaults by low credit rated borrowers in the United States.

    “It could continue for a while longer yet,” said Warren Blight, a market analyst with Fox-Pitt Kelton in Hong Kong. “Everyone agrees that at some point the stock market bubble will burst. The issue is when that will happen and what will cause it.”
    Gee, last time I looked, it was Crow. Maybe she has Crow's feet?
    Still Passes the Morons for Lance test, tho.

    ...On Monday, Ashley was seen "nuzzling up" to Lance and sitting in his lap.

    A source said: "Ashley drank red wine, nuzzled up to Lance, sat on his lap and they were making out all night. They left together around 2am."

    Lance - who previously dated singer Sheryl Crow - recently split from New York fashion designer Tory Burch.

    This isn't the first time Ashley has romanced an older man.
    When she was 19, she ended her long-term relationship with 30-year-old club owner Scott Sartiano reportedly because the romance was getting too serious.
    She was also previously romantically linked to 35-year-old actor Jared Leto.
    His kids always come first, of course!

  4. The Border Fence seems to be helping in those areas where it is up.

  5. Yo, Sarko!

    SARKOZY: One must look forward. What’s new, Mr. President?

    BUSH: Well, let’s see, what do you make of our Mideast peace conference?

    SARKOZY: Not much. You spend seven years doing nothing, then call a big meeting. Bizarre. But, as we say, better to appear to do something with nothing than to appear to do nothing with something.

    BUSH: Woah! Don’t go all Left Bank on me, Sarko. My view’s simple: anything to please Tony! I miss that guy. Brown reminds me it’s not difficult to tell the difference between a sour Scotchman and a ray of sunlight.

    SARKOZY: No comment, George.

  6. Surviving the Sirens, the reward is Penelope

  7. Another look at the Sirens

    The muzzies are missing alot without art. But, then, the assaholela said, there's no fun in islam.

  8. Before taking back Penelope, one must Slay The Suitors

  9. Holy Hagar, Sarah!
    Abraham next moved to Gerar, where Sarah was again taken by the ruler to become his wife after she claimed Abraham was her brother. Abimelech, however, was warned by God in a dream not to touch Sarah. When Abimelech reproved Abraham for the deception, Abraham justified himself by explaining that Sarah was the daughter of his father but not of his mother (Gen. 20:1-12).

    Immediately after this incident, Sarah bore a son, Isaac. God instructed Abraham to name him after the laughter which Sarah had made when her son's birth was prophesied by the angel.

    According to Rashi, a Jewish commentator on the Torah, people questioned whether the 100-year old Abraham really was the father of the child, as he and Sarah had lived together for decades without conceiving. Instead, people gossiped that Abimelech was the true father. For this reason, according to Rashi, God made Isaac's features exactly the same as Abraham's, so no one could claim a different paternity.
    Crap gets deeper than Lance's Sex life!

  10. As Isaac grew up, according to the Bible, his older half-brother Ishmael began to mock him and Sarah demanded that Abraham send away both Hagar and Ishmael to protect Isaac. Some believe that Sarah's shunning, and the hard life of exile that followed, angered Ishmael and that this is one of the causes of strife between Islam and Christianity, as Ishmael became a prophet. Years later, at the death of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael came together again to bury their father in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron (Gen. 25:9).

    Sarah died in Kiryat Arba (קרית ארבע), or Hebron, at the age of 127 years

  11. With the Lord all things are possible.

  12. Come Together!
    Age, not a problem.

  13. What is Musharraf Good For?

    For years, General Musharraf has played a double-game on these issues. His imposition of marital law will not improve the Pakistani army’s performance in Waziristan, or remove Islamist sympathizers from his intelligence services, or result in the apprehension of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants.

    Nor is General Musharraf’s rule resulting in Pakistani political reform or the return any time soon of anything close to democracy. So what is General Musharraf good for?

    The U.S. and the West need a new strategy for Pakistan. Exactly a month ago , I suggested what it should be:

    What might that new strategy be? If there is no way to get the Pakistani army to be relevant within a meaningful time frame (a reasonable assumption), then the U.S., NATO, and Afghanistan will have to rely on themselves when facing the enemy sanctuaries in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. Lavish aid now going to Islamabad should be redirected to more useful destinations. The U.S. should tilt even more toward India. And since Pakistan seems to be the headwaters of global terrorist training and coordination, perhaps a travel ban to and from the West is in order.

    It is not that the West would be seeking to make an enemy of Pakistan. It’s just that under this notion the West would be bypassing a Pakistani government too weak and too ineffectual to any longer be relevant to the global terrorism problem.

    So thank you, General Musharraf, for delivering the circumstance for something the U.S. should have done long ago. It is now up to President Bush, Secretary Rice, and the rest of the U.S. government to follow through.
    posted by Westhawk at 1:15 PM
    'Rat and I have not been wrong yet for the last 2 years by predicting Bush, Secretary Rice, and the rest of the U.S. government will do exactly NOTHING, except deem it "unacceptable"
    Easy to bet on a sure loser.

  14. And she laughs not simply because she is told that she will give birth at the age of ninety. She laughs because she also understands what it will mean to give birth to the child.” Keep in mind, there’s no immaculate conception in Judaism. Which means that Sarah must first conceive the child, and to do that, Professor Rachel Adler observes, Sarah, at the age of ninety, realizes

    “that the old man and I are going to do it again!”

  15. Looks like you've been hitting the bottle again, AlbottleBobAl!

  16. !!

    By the way, the Shah of Iran, his wife, she sure was a perty skirt. Wonder what happened to her. Probably living in Vegas.

    Aloha Akbar!!

  17. Nah, not me, just got up from a good lay with my wife! Alohaaloha Akbarrr!!

  18. Diego Rivera - 1930

    The Mexican artist Diego Rivera stands by one of the murals he is painting in Cuernavaca on a commission from American Dwight Morrow, June 8, 1930.

  19. Alohaaloha ElephantAkbarrr!!

  20. "Nor is General Musharraf’s rule resulting in Pakistani political reform or the return any time soon of anything close to democracy."

    - westhawk

    What's it to ya?

    Just to be clear, Doug, you agree with Westhawk that the US ought to do the following?

    "What might that new strategy be? If there is no way to get the Pakistani army to be relevant within a meaningful time frame (a reasonable assumption), then the U.S., NATO, and Afghanistan will have to rely on themselves when facing the enemy sanctuaries in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. Lavish aid now going to Islamabad should be redirected to more useful destinations. The U.S. should tilt even more toward India. And since Pakistan seems to be the headwaters of global terrorist training and coordination, perhaps a travel ban to and from the West is in order."

  21. By the way, the Shah of Iran, his wife, she sure was a perty skirt. Wonder what happened to her.

    Empress Farah Pahlavi (homepage). Wikipedia claims that in 2001, she bought a home in Potomac, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., to be near her son and grandchildren; she now divides her time between Washington D.C., New York City, Paris, and Cairo, where she has a palace.

    Lifestyles of the royal and dispossessed.

  22. From the NRO
    by Stanley Kurtz

    The Threat
    Consider the nature and scale of the Islamist threat. Pakistan’s central government has never exercised direct control over its unruly northwestern tribal regions. As in colonial times, that part of the country has been ruled by tribal law. Even so, following British colonial practice, the tribal regions have been supervised by representatives of the central government (backed by elite military forces) who’ve worked with pliable tribal elders to keep rebellion in check. Today even that system of indirect rule is defunct. Not only have the central government’s agents been expelled from the tribal regions, most traditional tribal elders have been eliminated by a systematic Taliban campaign of assassination. And now jihadist control has pushed beyond the core tribal regions into historically more pliant agricultural districts, and to some extent even into urban areas. There is no precedent for a successful Islamist rebellion on this scale.

    Traditionally, religious, tribal, or ethnic rebellions in Pakistan’s northwest have been put down by military incursions. Today, however, Pakistan’s vaunted military is in crisis. Having taken heavy casualties over years of humiliatingly unsuccessful fighting against their own countrymen, Pakistan’s soldiers are beginning to desert or surrender to the Islamists in large numbers. Some commit suicide. Since the army was ordered to clear out the Islamist Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in July, the jihadists have retaliated with a series of deadly terrorist bombings targeting elite military compounds, including General Musharraf’s own ultra-secure compound. Military morale is at its nadir. And although Pakistan has suffered defeats in war, there is no historical precedent for this sort of collapse of morale and discipline.

    An enlightening perspective

  23. This fellow, a long time reporter from the region believes that mat's idea of ethnic Nations would be a disaster in Pashtunistan

    All this has raised the specter that a breakaway "Pashtunistan" will emerge under Islamist leadership. Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, retired Maj. Gen. Mahmud Ali Durrani—himself a Pashtun—warned of this last spring: "I hope the Taliban and Pashtun nationalism don't merge. If that happens, we've had it, and we're on the verge of that."

    Pakistan's ethnic minorities hope that if Bhutto, a Sindhi, gets a strong majority in Parliament, she'll support the provincial autonomy envisaged in the country's 1973 Constitution, which was adopted during the presidency of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but later shelved by military rulers.

    Selig S. Harrison has covered Pakistan as a journalist and author since 1951. He is director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy.

    He says push the General President into allowing the elections to go forward and the General President stepping aside.

    Fantasyland, that idea.

    Mr Harrison does list some of the other ways the US funds the Pakistani, outside "Direct Aid", seems that sine 2001 we have spent $7.5 Billion USD in direct subsidies to their military.

  24. No comment added:

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush says he gains influence with world leaders by building personal relations with them. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf got a dose of that diplomacy at the White House last fall, when Bush hailed him as a friend and a voice of moderation.

    "The president is a strong defender of freedom and the people of Pakistan," Bush said that day, side by side with Musharraf.

    Over the weekend, that advocate of freedom emerged with a different world image: a military dictator willing to crush the rights of his own people. Now Bush will need to rely on the other half of his personal diplomacy formula -- dealing bluntly with those he has put faith in -- and hope it works.

  25. ISTANBUL, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The presence of pro-Kurdish parliamentarians at the release by Kurdish rebels of eight Turkish soldiers proves their party has links to the militants, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said on Monday.

    NTV television said an Ankara prosecutor had launched a probe into the presence of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies in northern Iraq, where the soldiers were handed over by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas on Sunday.

    The troops' release could ease public pressure on Ankara to launch an incursion into northern Iraq against around 3,000 PKK rebels who launch attacks into Turkey from bases there.

    The three DTP lawmakers had gone to Iraq to help secure the release of the soldiers, who were captured in an ambush last month. They were handed over to Iraqi Kurdish officials before being sent back to Turkey.

    "They were caught red-handed," Cicek said of the three MPs in an interview with CNN Turk television.

    "There is something that cannot be ignored in the footage from yesterday. It is very evident who is entwined with the terror group," he said.

    Previous pro-Kurdish parties have been closed for links to the Kurdish guerrillas. The DTP denies any links to the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

  26. PM slams Israel rightists' provocation over peace
    By Joseph Nasr
    JERUSALEM, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed on Monday to fight violent "incitement" by Israeli groups opposed to his efforts to negotiate with the Palestinians and said he was ready to make "painful concessions" to secure peace.
    His speech, heavy with memories of violence within Israeli society, was a reaction to displays of hostility that marked Sunday's 12th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was shot by a Jew angry at his peace efforts.
    Soccer stadium chants, posters showing Israel's president in an Arab headdress, celebrations of the birth of a son to Rabin's jailed killer and a torchlight rally during a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice triggered comment in some newspapers about a resurgence of right-wing radicalism.
    "We will fight these phenomena that incite violence and will eradicate them," said Olmert, who denounced jeering right-wing fans of his own hometown soccer team as "brutish and violent".
    "Peace is achieved through concessions. We all know that," said Olmert...

    Several hundred marchers in Jerusalem on Sunday said they opposed any handover of parts of the city to a Palestinian state. Many also oppose the creation of any such Arab state on land they believe was given to the Jews by God.

    "Contrary to all that those provocateurs are saying, the state of Israel will be ready to make numerous and painful concessions to change reality in the region," Olmert said.

  27. continuation of hostilities on the horizon...

    Hezbollah Stages Maneuvers

    Israel Stocking up on Missiles, Munitions

    Would an attack on the Unifil contingent trigger the NATO mutual defense clause?

    Haven't read much about naval assets in the med lately.

    gotta go...

  28. I think you got to be an asshole to do This

    I bet I'm the only one here that has seen an albino ground squirrel!

  29. Austin Bay on the rovolt of the diplomats---

    "selective job dedication" –he'll go where he wants to go, not where his department sends him. At best his is a tourist's approach to diplomacy. At worst — well, it doesn't get much worse, at least in terms of shameful behavior by a supposedly responsible government official.

    'a tourist's approach to diplomacy'

  30. Wretch's latest post about Austin.

  31. Deuce,
    W has made more Orwellian Statements than anyone I can recall.
    Scares the crap out of me that we have become the nation of surrender, even of the language!

    Bubba and the missus possibly excepted.

  32. I'll tell you, Trish, after you tell us what YOU would do:
    I'm sick of your carping while refusing to be responsible for whatever your stealth positions are.

  33. trish was questioning why one of the stated goals of US foreign policy was important to you, doug.

    As a citizen, when the stated goals of the United States are falling astearn, I think there is ample reason for concern. At least to discuss at the Bar.

    When or does or is Pakistan already a hostile State. Guess we are funding them in the $2 Billion USD per annum range, with the direct subsidies to the Army factored in. So it's either tribute payment or they are a good ally.

  34. Did you check out the Israeli shopping list?

    The 107 rounds, a tidy pile they'd make.

    Reach out for with words of friendship, while palming the blade. Like Doc Holiay's intro scene in Tombstone.

    Or Wyatts introduction to Curly Bill and Ringo, later in that same film.

  35. Yeah, as long as Omlette and Candy don't actually DO anything!
    Pay the Pakis,
    Pay the Palis,
    Pay the UN,
    Pay the Israelis,
    (with the understanding that they continue to support the Palis)

  36. Then the tv folk wonder why gas is hitting $3 per gallon ...

    When saudi sweet is $96 a barrel

    Tough deal, if the Paki Army is as fragile as it is protrayed by the Swat situation.

  37. Nine room boutique hotel, in Tambor Costa Rica.

    Looks likean Elephant Bar

    Established Sports Fishing Destination Hotel /4* Star Restaurant & Bar

    Price: $1.2 MIL US

    Lot Size: .350 acres/ 1391.43 m2 (square meters) on the beach.

    Operating 9 room Hotel, turn key business opportunity. Full of character, for the boutique hotelier. Plenty of beach frontage. In lobster & whale breeding bay. Mega Marina in the works, close to many luxury hotels and airport. Toes in the sand experience…

    I'm tellin' ya, bob ...
    duece may be right, $133,000 a room
    for a third of an acre ...
    On the beach ...

  38. "I'll tell you, Trish, after you tell us what YOU would do..."

    I told you what I would do. And a fine idea it is, too. It'll be awhile, though, if it'll be at all.

    Less than two more months of my carping at the Bar, Doug. (Think of it as a XMas gift from the USG to you.)

    As a citizen, when the stated goals of the United States are falling astearn, I think there is ample reason for concern. At least to discuss at the Bar.

    "As a citizen, when the stated goals of the United States are falling astearn, I think there is ample reason for concern."

    Ample reason to question the wisdom of the stated goals and their place in a coherent foreign policy.

    "When or does or is Pakistan already a hostile State."

    Do you want to declare Pakistan a hostile state?

  39. No harder to manage than an RV park outside of Moscow

  40. Rush reminded us of the Chicoms preparing to pump crude off our Coast along with the Cubacons.

    Talk about a stupid situation that they are and we are NOT!
    (he didn't mention it was none other than W and Jeb that cemented this policy in stone.)
    Boners to the bone, set in stone.

  41. "I told you what I would do. And a fine idea it is, too. It'll be awhile, though, if it'll be at all."
    Thanks for the non-answer.
    About as helpful as your non-linked opinions.

  42. Me, nah ...

    Maybe parts of it, those Tribal Areas where the purge of tribal leaders have taken place. Where the cross border terrorists stage and train.

    But are the Tribal Areas "really" part of Afghanistan in a civil sense, does the Pakistani Government control those areas, like Swat?

    But the General President? I don't think he newly embodies evil, he is the same General that deposed the civilian government in 1999.
    Civil authority does not seem to impress him. I'd say it is cultural epidemic with regards their military, or he'd relinquish the Army uniform, for the Presidency. But he will not.

    But if was really our ally, last month, and he seems to have been, then he should still be today.
    His stripes have not changed

  43. "But are the Tribal Areas "really" part of Afghanistan in a civil sense, does the Pakistani Government control those areas, like Swat?"

    They ARE a part of Pakistan - and so considered by Pakistanis. They have never been controlled by Islamabad or Rawalpindi. They never will be.

  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Well they could make themselves hostile to US, if they maintain that perspective, in the face of those realities.

    Depends upon how important "getting" at one of the root balls of Islamofacsism is.

    Which Pakistani or Afghan Pashtun General can become a proxie warlord for US? I really do not know if such a fellow even exists.

  46. "Which Pakistani or Afghan Pashtun General can become a proxie warlord for US?"

    I wouldn't be looking for a General. I wouldn't be looking at the military.

  47. "I told you what I would do. And a fine idea it is, too. It'll be awhile, though, if it'll be at all."

    I think I remember, but mind restating it?

  48. What do you think you remember?

  49. I figured it was better to ask rather than misrepresent it. I still figure.