March 14, 2007
The Australian

US Looks at Plan to Oust Musharraf

by Bruce Loudon

THE US has indicated for the first time that it might be willing to back plans by elite echelons of the military in Islamabad to oust Pervez Musharraf from power, as the Pakistani President was beset by major new difficulties over his attempts to sack the country's chief justice. Reports yesterday quoting highly placed US diplomatic and intelligence officials - previously rusted on to the view that General Musharraf was an indispensable Western ally in the battle against terrorism - outlined a succession plan to replace him.

US officials told The New York Times the plan would see the Vice-Chief of the Army, Ahsan Saleem Hyat, take over from General Musharraf as head of the military and former banker Mohammedmian Soomro installed as president, with General Hyat wielding most of the power.

The report adds another dimension to the range of challenges bearing down on the embattled military ruler following his weekend sacking of chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, whom he appointed just over a year ago. . . .


[AUDIO: Operation Ajax, as the plot was code-named, reshaped the history of Iran, the Middle East and the world. . . . inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection.--"All The Shah's Men," OnPoint Radio, August 20, 2003]

[The surprise appearance of the day came from retired lieutenant-general Hameed Gul, former chief of Pakistan's Inter-services Intelligence Agency, who broke through police barriers dressed in his military jacket, promising to call 2.2 million retired army personnel onto the roads if police tried to stop him.--Sonya Fatah, "Pakistan protests mount to oust Musharraf," Globe and Mail, March 23, 2007]

Declan Walsh, "Anti- Musharraf protesters rally outside court to defend judge," Guardian, April 4, 2007

[U.S. policy toward Pakistan, in other words, is based on trust. But too much trust is making Musharraf's Pakistan a potential threat to long-term U.S. security.--"Misplaced trust," USA Today, April 4, 2007]

[Musharraf's honeymoon with the West has soured. The main reason is the revival of the Taliban Islamic militia in neighboring Afghanistan, a revival Afghan leaders blame on support from Pakistan. U.S. officials, after years of praising Pakistan for its cooperation against terrorism, have begun criticizing it for failing to control Islamic extremists at home.--Pamela Constable, "Pakistani Political Strife Prompts Action Among Emigres," Washington Post, April 7, 2007]

Jim McIlroy, "'Crisis for the regime is very deep' in Pakistan," Green Left Online, April 12, 2007

[Under the emerging deal, Bhutto's powerful Pakistan Peoples Party would back Musharraf's re-election bid, essentially guaranteeing that he'd stay in power. In return, Bhutto could end her decadelong exile.--Zahid Hussain and Ron Moreau, "Musharraf's Secret Deal," Newsweek, April 30, 2007]

"Tens of thousands welcome sacked Pakistan judge," AFP, May 5, 2007

S. Amjad Hussain, "Pakistan is plunged into political crisis," Toledo Blade, May 21, 2007

Griff Witte, "Teetering Musharraf Buoyed by U.S. Alliance," Washington Post, May 28, 2007

"Pakistan buries Red Mosque dead," BBC News, July 12, 2007

Imran Khan, "Musharraf's Massacre: When Dictators Serve US Interests,", July 13, 2007

Farhan Bokhari and Jo Johnson, "Pakistan court reinstates top judge," Financial Times, July 20, 2007

Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, "The plot to bring back Benazir," Guardian, July 21, 2007

Carlotta Gall and Salman Masood, "Bhutto Returns to Pakistan After 8-Year Exile," New York Times, October 19, 2007

Declan Walsh, "126 dead in suicide bombing as Bhutto returns to Pakistan," Guardian, October 19, 2007

[Bhutto's return to Pakistan is part of a complex arrangement brokered by Washington and its allies to ensure that a pro-Western government gains power after parliamentary elections in about three months' time.--Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Bhutto bombing kicks off war on US plan," Asia Times, October 20, 2007]

[She went into self-imposed exile while investigations continued into millions she had allegedly stashed away into Swiss bank accounts ($1.5 billion by the reckoning of Musharraf's own "National Accountability Bureau"). . . . Musharraf, who in his first months in power declared it his express intention to wipe out corruption, has dropped all charges against her and granted her immunity from prosecution.--Jemima Khan, "Return of Benazir Bhutto: The Kleptocrat in an Hermes Headscarf," Telegraph, October 21, 2007]

[And while debate swirls in Pakistan over the possible perpetrators of the attack, the biggest winner could be the powerful Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the opposition six-party religious alliance, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).--Syed Saleem Shahzad, "US forced into 'Plan B' for Pakistan," Asia Times, October 24, 2007]

Griff Witte, "Musharraf Declares Emergency Rule in Pakistan: Constitution Suspended; Chief Judge Fired," Washington Post, November 4, 2007

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Helene Cooper, "Musharraf Leaves White House in Lurch," Washington Post, November 4, 2007

["For more than five months the United States has been trying to orchestrate a political transition in Pakistan that would manage to somehow keep Gen. Pervez Musharraf in power without making a mockery of President Bush's promotion of democracy in the Muslim world. On Saturday, those carefully laid plans fell apart spectacularly."--Gary Leupp, "General Musharaff's 'State of Emergency',", November 5, 2007]

Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Musharraf plays his last ace," Asia Times, November 6, 2007


Steve Coll, "Miscalculations," New Yorker, November 19, 2007

[Stratfor reported on Monday that the "United States delivered a very clear ultimatum to Musharraf in the wake of 9/11: Unless Pakistan allowed US forces to take control of Pakistani nuclear facilities, the United States would be left with no choice but to destroy those facilities, possibly with India's help."--Chidanand Rajghatta, "Pak nukes already under US control: Report," Times of India, November 20, 2007]

Bill Van Auken, "US steps up plans for military intervention in Pakistan," Global Research, November 22, 2007

Ahmed Quraishi, "The plan to topple Pakistan's military," Asia Times, December 6, 2007

[US special forces snatch squads are on standby to seize or disable Pakistan's nuclear arsenal in the event of a collapse of government authority or the outbreak of civil war--Ian Bruce, "Special forces on standby over nuclear threat," Herald, December 31, 2007]

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