Who killed General Zia?

Who killed General Zia? February 15, 2006

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.

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