Pakistani Politics Shaping War on Terror

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," August 7, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, HOST: NAUERT: A constitutional crisis over there could further destruct Pakistan from the fight against al-Qaeda. So how will this impact the war on terror?

With us now is Walid Phares. He's a FOX News terrorism analyst and the author of the book called "War of Ideas."

Welcome, Walid. So how much of a chance is there of this happening, that Musharraf gets impeached or, as others are suggesting in the country, forcing him to resign?

WALID PHARES, FOX NEWS TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, first of all, we have two things happening at the same time. One, Pakistani politics; and two, the consequences of these politics and of this impeachment are now national security and the war on terror, begin with politics quickly, Heather.

Video: Watch Heahter's interview with Walid Phares

One, the man, the politician leading this movement is the former husband or the husband of the slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He wants to unseat the president, but he himself is under criticism within his own party for not being elected. So, we don't know if he's successful, and removes the general, General Musharraf from power, if he himself is going to continue.

Then, the other politician is the head of the Muslim league, the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has a score to settle with General Musharraf but, I think, don't have enough influence over the army. So, complicated politics and consequences on the war on terror.

NAUERT: OK. So, it may or may not happen, but nevertheless, any sort of tumultuous stuff going on over there negatively impacts us, because it helps take or takes their focus off the war on terror. We want — the United States wants Musharraf to remain in power, correct?

PHARES: We do want to see him remaining in power in constitutional terms. His party doesn't have a majority in their House. His party has just 50 percent in their, equivalent of our Senate. So, it's going to be very difficult for the government/opposition to remove Musharraf, but what is more dangerous than that than the constitutional gains, two things — al Qaeda and the Taliban — who do they want to see as the head of state there and the nukes.

We need to make sure that the next president if he is removed, will be an ally of the United States, and that's where U.S. policy is very much combined here. Would Musharraf, despite all his problems or remove him — and then, it's the unknown.

NAUERT: But one of the complicated things in Pakistan is just because you have control in the capital, doesn't necessarily mean, as we've seen in Pakistan, they have control over that northwest frontier province where all the — where the terrorists are.

PHARES: Look, for the last six years, General Musharraf, then President Musharraf, basically, has promised the United States to remove the Taliban, to dismantle al-Qaeda, and to clean up Waziristan, he didn't do so. Now, he says that his army basically is not able to do so because this would lead to a civil war.

So now, it's a big question. If he is removed and he is the only leader we know who has some influence over the army, what would the next leader do if this one who has all that influence won't be able to achieve the goal?

NAUERT: Right. A lot of uncertainty. Walid Phares, thanks for joining us tonight. We'll check back with you on this issue as it develops.

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