WASHINGTON - March 3 -
Co-editor of the book Power and Civil Society in Pakistan and professor of international studies at the University of Oregon, Weiss said today: "It's not clear if the bombing of the Marriott hotel was to protest Bush's visit or if it was more agitation over the cartoon issue, which is really a proxy for dissatisfaction with Musharraf's relationship with the U.S. and the West regardless. ... An interesting thing to look for: which Pakistani politicians will publicly be seen meeting with Bush? Since there's been a powerful alliance against Musharraf (allegedly over the cartoon issue) in the past weeks, I wonder how many of them will show up in photos with Bush. Few, I would think. The unfortunate thing about the timing of Bush's visit is that I fear it will serve to strengthen the political appeal of the Islamist parties."
Usher is a journalist and has been a correspondent for the Economist and numerous other publications. He has written about the Mideast for years and is now based in Pakistan. His most recent piece is "Musharraf's Opening to Israel."
A physicist, Faheem recently retired from the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Italy. He is in Islamabad and can address U.S.-Pakistani relations and U.S. policy in the region, including nuclear policy. He said today: "Bush talks about fostering democracy, but Musharraf is a military dictator. Despite his talk of 'enlightened moderation,' Pakistan is not a democratic country. For Bush's visit, they have completely locked down Islamabad, the sky here is filled with military helicopters, I've never seen anything like it."