Pakistan Update

Political Front 

There’s a lot of speculation over Musharraf and whether, how, and when he will lose his uniform. My prediction: He will lose his uniform when he decides, which will be after the campaign in the frontiers that is inevitable now, but before full elections.

Some think he will be re-elected by current assembly in-uniform, and that there will be an interim PM, that remains to be seen. These could be ideas floated to see how popular or unpopular they would be. The Benazir Bhutto / Musharraf deal seems to have dug the holes and inserted the goal posts, but they aren’t quite to pouring the concrete yet.

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Al Qaeda Split Graduates From Blogs to Media

The media has finally noticed the schisms within Al Qaeda, as new evidence of in-fighting hits the press:

Lahore, July 30 : A split has apparently surfaced within the al Qaeda over what strategy to adopt as retaliation to the Pakistan Army’s crackdown on the Lal Masjid.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, one faction favours retaliation, while the other believes that further strikes could force the Pakistan Army to attack their safe havens in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Radical Pakistani Islamists allied to the al Qaeda have revealed that Osama Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, wants retaliatory attacks on Pakistani targets. Some other senior figures within the group are, however, “alarmed” that Zawahiri’s mission to topple and kill President Pervez Musharraf could provoke a military backlash.

A rival “Libyan faction”, led by Abu Yahya Al-Libi, an escapee from the US Bagram base near Kabul, apparently suspects Al-Zawahiri of trying “to position himself as Bin Laden’s heir” with this “crusade,” the Daily Times reported.

US intelligence operatives involved in the hunt for bin Laden have confirmed the reports of this rift from senior Pakistani jihadi sources.

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Be CAIRful What You Ask For

Regardless, the precedent set by this will in my prediction be little to CAIR’s liking — Stan will find stalwart support, and will be defended. If the suit carries onward then this could go as high as the Supreme Court, but in the end freedom of speech will win over hate crime since nobody was harmed here.

Stan Smulevich has been charged with two felonies; he’s accused of tossing two Korans in a toilet at Pace University in New York on separate occasions. According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA) these acts constitute hate crimes, and they have lobbied the authorities in New York to charge them as such. The authorities complied.

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