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'Will Musharraf meet fate of Iran's Shah?'

November 26, 2007 11:55 IST

Will Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf meet the fate of the Shah of Iran, another "unpopular" leader that the United States tried to prop up?

In its upcoming issue, Newsweek discusses this question, pointing to "uneasy relationship" between Washington and Musharraf and says that it brings to mind another "compromised" leader who flew into exile in 1979.

Musharraf's "frantic struggle to regain control of his country" has raised "scary memories" of that time, the magazine stressed.

In both cases, Newsweek noted, a vital Muslim-majority nation is ruled by a "faltering strongman", a secularist considered indispensable to US interests in the region, but political activists ally with militant Islamists to demand his removal, and he orders a massive crackdown on dissent while Washington props him up. The result: many Iranians hate the US.

Shiite Iran has Ayatollahs. Pakistan's Sunni majority does not. And most Pakistanis don't seem to like fire-breathers.

In the latest elections, hardliners drew less than 12 per cent of the vote, the report conceded but pointed out that on a visit to Tehran in 1977, Jimmy Carter toasted the Shah for turning Iran into "an island of stability."

A year later, his host had fled.

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