UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Riedel: Bhutto's Assassination 'Almost Certainly' Work of Al-Qaeda

Council on Foreign Relations

Interviewee: Bruce O. Riedel, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

December 27, 2007

Bruce Riedel, a former defense and intelligence official who helped make South Asia policy in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, says he believes Benazir Bhutto’s assassination “was almost certainly the work of al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda’s Pakistani allies.” He says, “Their objective is to destabilize the Pakistani state, to break up the secular political parties, to break up the army so that Pakistan becomes a politically failing state in which the Islamists in time can come to power much as they have in other failing states.” He says the United States should press the government of President Pervez Musharraf to go ahead with the parliamentary elections—perhaps after a brief pause. “The only way that Pakistan is going to be able to fight terrorism effectively is to have a legitimate democratically elected secular government that can rally the Pakistani people to engage al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist movements,” he says.

Let’s start with an obvious question. In the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, who do you think was responsible?

It was almost certainly the work of al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda’s Pakistani allies. Al-Qaeda has been trying to kill Ms. Bhutto for decades. She has been the target of assassination attempts by al-Qaeda before. They were most likely responsible for the attack on her when she first returned to Pakistan. Their objective is to destabilize the Pakistani state, to break up the secular political parties, to break up the army so that Pakistan becomes a politically failing state in which the Islamists in time can come to power, much as they have in other failing states where al-Qaeda knows its chances for success are higher.

There is supposed to be a parliamentary election on January 8, two weeks away. What will happen? Will they be postponed?


Read the rest of this article on the cfr.org website.


Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list