Musharraf's Chaos Leaves US Twisting in Wind

Musharraf power grab a 'big embarrassment' for the White House
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2007 2:06 PM CST
A Pakistan political activist looks from a police van after he has been arrested in Multan, Pakistan on Sunday, Nov 4, 2007. Police wielding assault rifles rounded up hundreds of opposition leaders and...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Pervez Musharraf is gripping not only Pakistan in a tight state of emergency, but also his allies in Washington, the New York Times reports. American officials are stuck monitoring developments as the US-backed military dictator threatens a shaky democracy and spurs civil unrest. Condoleezza Rice called Musharraf’s decision “highly regrettable,” but praised his earlier democratic efforts.

Washington has little choice but to support Musharraf, one expert explains: “They can’t just decide they’re going to blow off Pakistan, because it sits right next to Afghanistan.” But the US, which has given Pakistan more than $10 billion since 2001, may restrict further aid, Reuters reports. The White House is hoping for the best, but an expert calls the situation a “big embarrassment.”