Who killed General Zia?

The fearless and always enlightening Eric Margolis on new suspicions that that perrenial favorite of Muslim conspiracy buffs–often for very good reason–the Mossad, had a hand in General Zia’s demise in 1988.

Read Another Day in Empire’s informative analysis, too, while you’re at it.

I’m far too uninformed on this to have an opinion as to the culprit, but the premise is hardly ridiculous.  It wouldn’t be the first time Israeli intelligence has been involved in assasinations or other violent black ops.  Sometimes, conspiracies are all too real.



The 1988 assassination of Pakistan’s President, Zia ul-Haq remains one of our era’s abiding major mysteries. Only the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy has produced wilder speculation and more conspiracy theories.

A recent article claiming the late President Zia ul-Haq was assassinated by Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, has been totally ignored by North America’s media. `Ancient history,’ is the way one US intelligence official dismisses the claim. By contrast, this new claim about Zia’s murder has aroused enormous interest and much fevered speculation in Pakistan and India.

I knew President Zia well and admired him greatly for his courageous statesmanship in almost single-handedly facing down the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. I was the first journalist to learn of Pakistan’s top secret role in the Afghan War, but never revealed the story until 1989. Zia ul Haq’s and Pakistan’s heroic role in bringing down the Soviet Empire has been forgotten by too many people. Once the Soviets were defeated, his former ally, the United States, turned against Zia and Pakistan.
[So very true. One Pakistani general graphically likened Pakistan to a condom discarded after being used to "penetrate" Afghanistan. Sorry, folks, but that's what he said, and not without reason. --Svend]

Now, highly respected journalist, Barbara Crossette, former South Asia Bureau chief of the `New York Times,’ reports in the latest issue of the `World Policy Journal’ that former US Ambassador to India John Gunther Dean told her Israel had assassinated President Zia.

This is a bit of a tangent, but there’s a really engrossing (and long) interview with Ambassador Dean, who despite his criticisms of Israel is not only Jewish–his family’s name before immigrating to the US from Germany in the late 1930s was "Dienstfertig"–but hails from a prominent family in prewar European Jewish life.  His analysis of Zionism is particularly intriguing. 

Margolis says that Dean’s diplomatic career was destroyed by the pro-Israel lobby. Dean claims that Israel tried to assasinate him in Lebanon due to his pro-Arab sympathies.  (Echos of Count Folk Bernadotte!)  Don’t know if either claim is true, but neither would be a first, either.

  • http://abusinan.blogspot.com Abu Sinan

    Truely a light unto the nations? Or, as The Angry Arab says, not even a matchstick to the nations? One wonders.

  • Abuljude

    I had thought this was a settled issue – the Zia assassination was supposed to be one of the greatest KGB successes of the cold war.

  • svend

    That’s a great quip about the matchstick!
    I have no idea who did the dastardly deed.

  • http://zeeshansuhail.blogspot.com/ Zeeshan

    Thanks for the comprehensive posting.
    I read the piece in the World Policy Journal, and was astounded to see that though the article was clearly on Zia, at least a good chunk of it focussed solely on Dean – not just his speculations – but about the before and after regarding his political life. I’ll see if I can get online access to it and will forward some info to you. It was quite an enlightening reading on how one dissenting diplomat’s life changed drastically after one “politically incorrect” statement.
    Thanks again for bringing this to our attention!

  • http://zeeshansuhail.blogspot.com/ Zeeshan

    here’s the Zia article from the World Policy Journal authored by Barbara Crossette: