As we observed in the hours following Benazir Bhutto's assassination, the collective actions of Pakistan's government--multiple explanations regarding the cause of her death; the curious failure to conduct an autopsy--suggested a regime that was disinterested in following legitimate leads, or fearful of where they might lead.
Now, security analysts in the U.S. and South Asia are suggesting that Bhutto's death was the work of mid and low-level Pakistani Army and Air Force officers, sympathetic to "ultra-conservative Islamists with ties to the jihadis." Looks like the trail of suspicion is leading back to the usual suspects, but that begs an obvious question: could that group successfully execute (and cover up) such a plot without the complicity of higher-ranking officials?
As noted in this UPI analysis by Claude Salhani, editor of the Middle East Times, junior military personnel have also been implicated in past attempts on the life of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. While some believe that the conspiracy to kill Musharraf extended into the upper echelons of the military and intelligence services, only lower-ranking officers were arrested and court-martialed. Investigations into the plots to kill Musharraf are "dead in the water" one source reports. No surprise there. Lower-ranking conspirators are sacrificed, while senior participants are free to plot again and again.
Within 24 hours of Ms Bhutto's death, officials in Islamabad were already blaming terrorists for the assassination, and declining offers of outside assistance. On its present course, the Bhutto probe may reach "cold case" status in record time.
Captain Renault from Casablanca would certainly understand.