Musharraf or Bhutto? Bush Decision Looms

Power-sharing deal off, Washington will likely have to pick sides
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2007 1:00 PM CST
Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto speaks with media outside her home after being released from house arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, Friday, Nov. 16, 2007. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As Pakistan's state of emergency wears on, the Bush administration is still hedging its bets on whether to withdraw support for Pervez Musharraf, Bloomberg reports. But now that a power-sharing deal with Benazir Bhutto is almost surely off the table, Bush may no longer be able to support both sides—and the White House is realizing that the general's time might be up.

Washington remains anxious about Bhutto, whose two premierships were seen as ineffectual and who supported the Taliban in the mid-'90s. Yet more and more the Bush administration thinks it might not be getting its money's worth by backing Musharraf. Said one former official, "We have allowed him for eight years to give lip service to a return to civilian rule, but deliver relatively little."