Israeli-Pakistani contacts were a distinct possibility over the weekend as
Defense Minister Ehud Barak attended the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado on
Saturday alongside former Pakistani president and possible 2013 presidential
candidate Pervez Musharraf.
Barak left late Thursday night for the United
States with a stopover in New York, where he was scheduled to hold meetings at
the United Nations. He then continued to Aspen for the Ideas Festival, an annual
gathering of politicians, businessmen and leading thinkers to debate global
Barak was scheduled to be interviewed Saturday afternoon by New
York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
It would not be the first time that
Barak and Musharraf meet.
The two secretly met in Paris in 2008 for
lengthy discussions about nuclear proliferation. At the time, Barak told
Musharraf that he was concerned with the rise of Islamic extremists in Pakistan,
a country with nuclear weapons.
Israel and Pakistan do not maintain
diplomatic ties, and contacts between officials of the two countries are
Barak has warned privately in the past that while Iran could one
day pose an existential threat, an Islamic bomb already exists in Pakistan and
needs to be closely tracked by the West to prevent proliferation to rogue
Musharraf, a retired four-star general, served as Pakistan’s
10th president from 2001 until 2008.
He has since lived in London in
self-imposed exile. In 2010 he established the All-Pakistan Muslim League and is
said to be planning a return to Pakistan in the coming months to begin his
campaign for the presidential elections, scheduled for next year.