In excepts from an interview with CBS released on Thursday, [Pakistani President] Gen[eral] Musharraf said the US had threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" unless it joined the fight against al-Qaeda.Armitage denies saying this and President Bush was reportedly "taken aback" by the allegation.
He said the warning had been delivered by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Pakistan's intelligence director.
Whether true or not, President Musharraf's comments are bound to feed anti-American sentiment throughout the Islamic world -- especially in Pakistan.
Though Musharraf's new book (due this coming week) may discuss the incident in more detail -- it could be that the timing of the disclosure is related to more recent political developments. This past Wednesday, Bush told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he would send US troops into Pakistan if he had good intelligence on Osama bin Laden's location.
Upon hearing of this comment -- and latest threat to Pakistani sovereignty -- Musharraf said, "We wouldn't like to allow that at all. We will do it ourselves." Perhaps that just wasn't enough of a response for his domestic political audience.
As for the US...well, it wasn't all that long ago that proliferation experts called Pakistan's nuclear weapon the "Islamic bomb." How long will Musharraf continue to be "our bastard"?
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Filed as: Pakistan