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The Bhutto Hit — Why Now?
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The Bhutto Hit

Laura Rozen notes that people are starting to figure out that there were multiple assassins in this hit. They still haven’t noticed that the actual shots that killed her were probably fired from the top of a building in the area while the gun wielder and bomb carrier were down on the ground. An autopsy would be crucial in proving what I believe to be the case, so I’m working from standard practice for political hits.

First off, you don’t need any special, insider information or assistance for a hit like this. The rally was announced well in advance, so there was plenty of time to get into position. There was plenty of security at the rally itself, and few avenues of escape, but Ms Bhutto had a habit of standing up through the sun roof of the Land Rover to wave to her supporters, and she always wore a white scarf which provides an excellent target.

The pictures and video show a man waving what appears to be an AK-47. That is an assault rifle. If you are going to use it in an assassination, it has to be short range, gripped with both hands [the muzzle raises quickly when fired], and on full auto to maximize the chances of a hit. People report hearing two or three shots, and he is waving the gun with one hand. The bomber is now identified as a separate person, and based on the destruction of the bomb, was designed specifically to prevent the capture of the man with the AK-47. A more powerful bomb would have been needed to damage Ms Bhutto’s armored vehicle.

People in Pakistan and Afghanistan have been killing each other with guns since they were first introduced to the region centuries ago. You would be hard pressed to find a village smith in either country who couldn’t manufacture a firearm, including AK-47s. They don’t need the power of the state to carry out an assassination, the word itself is derived from an 11th century group formed by Hassan-i Sabah in Iran.

There were a lot of groups in Pakistan who hated Benazir Bhutto for a lot of different reasons, and all of them are quite capable of carrying out this kind of garden variety assassination. To make matters even murkier, most will, at one level or another, claim credit for it. In time, with patience, the facts will be known as the claims for credit are examined in tea houses. I seriously doubt al Qaeda’s claim of credit, as they can’t move freely in the area, but there are multiple groups who can. I’m leaning towards the Kashmiri groups.