But more than vengeance was at work in Bombay. Indian police later recovered an arsenal big enough to spark a civil war: nearly 4 tons of explosives, 1,100 detonators, nearly 500 grenades, 63 assault rifles, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Within days of the attacks, police had gotten their first break by tracing an abandoned van filled with a load of weapons. The trail soon led to a surprising suspect: not a terrorist but a gangster. And not just any gangster but an extraordinary crime boss, a man known as South Asia's Al Capone. Virtually unknown in the West, Dawood Ibrahim is a household name across the region, his exploits known by millions. He is, by all accounts, a world-class mobster, a soft-spoken, murderous businessman from Bombay who now lives in exile, sheltered by India's archenemy, Pakistan. He is India's godfather of godfathers, a larger-than-life figure alleged to run criminal gangs from Bangkok to Dubai. Strong-arm protection, drug trafficking, extortion, murder-for-hire--all are stock-in-trade rackets, police say, of Dawood Ibrahim's syndicate, the innocuously named D Company.Indeed. Since 9.11. Dawood has been a designated by the United States and the Interpol as a wanted global terrorist. It is said that the slained Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl was investigating Dawood's hideout in Karachi and his protection cover by Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence.
Understanding Dawood's operations is important, experts say, because they show how growing numbers of terrorist groups have come to rely on the tactics--and profits--of organized criminal activity to finance their operations across the globe. An inquiry by U.S. News, based on interviews with counterterrorism and law enforcement officials from six countries, has found that terrorists worldwide are transforming their operating cells into criminal gangsWhy has the U.S. waken up to this now? After all, India has been making demand for Dawood's extradition from Dubai (initially) and Pakistan (his present residence). The reason is as follows:
The implications are troubling because organized crime offers a means for terrorist groups to increase their survivability. A Stanford University study conducted after the 9/11 attacks looked at why some conflicts last so much longer than others. One key factor: crime. Out of 128 conflicts, the 17 in which insurgents relied heavily on "contraband finances" lasted on average 48 years--over five times as long as the rest. "If the criminal underworld can keep terrorist coffers flush," says Charles, the former State Department official, "we will continue to face an enemy that would otherwise run out of oxygen."It is clear that drug cartels and extortion rackets play a key role in financing the terrorists. Some of the terrorist groups provide "foot soldiers" to the mafia groups in return for financial assistance. We need to come heavy on these groups in order to eliminate terror. Read the whole thing.
Asked whether the money might win the hearts and minds of Pakistani Muslims, Howard said he'd never confronted suspicion in his dealings with Pakistanis. But he would have, had he walked up the hill to Qazi's place. The United States Air Force Blackhawk helicopter carrying Howard had barely left when the call to prayer echoed, and the mullah with the owlish spectacles expressed his admiration for the Islamic militants who for years have used the area as a launching pad for strikes on India, just five kilometres away across the disputed border in Kashmir.That's the reality there. Mullahs preching hatred and violence.
However, the Interior Minister, Aftab Sherpao, who wears a blue pinstripe jacket over his salwar kameez, warns against unrealistic expectations. "You can't switch with the push of a button, change the mindset of a people. You have to deal with unemployment and illiteracy," he said.
"The Afghan jihad had the blessing of the West, and we are left with the aftermath in the form of this militancy. You can't lift people to a certain pitch of commitment and then just expect them to disappear. You also have to distinguish between a terrorist and someone fighting for self-determination."
When the extremist Jaish-e-Muhammad group - known for its role in the Kashmiri jihad and the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl - was banned, the authorities allowed its leader to register the group as a religious and social welfare organisation under the name of Khudamul Islam.
The Jaish produced the suicide bombers who twice tried to assassinate Musharraf in December 2003. Yet when Interpol, acting at US insistence, demanded that its leader be handed over, Pakistan pleaded it no longer knew his whereabouts.
"It shows he probably has a lot of secrets up his sleeve. The Government is willing to overlook his past, so long as he keeps quiet at this critical juncture," says Talat Massoud, a former general and respected analyst in Islamabad.
It is called duplicity. The statement "All this is for American consumption only" comes to mind.
Another prominent group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, known to have trained Australian Muslim converts and extremists in armed struggle, is also recovering ground through front organisations, including charitable ones involved in quake relief.
Sherpao shrugs when asked about their involvement. "From a humanist point of view we can't stop anyone helping helpless people," he says.
More on the Australian crackdown on LeT here. It will be interesting to what how NATO forces and the terrorists co-exist in Pakistani Kashmir in the coming months. Will NATO restrict themselves to humanitarian ops or will go after these terrorists as part of G.O.A.T. (Global Offensive Against Terrorism) ?
Many of the Taliban leaders, including Mullah Omar, were trained at this institution. If its teachings have been blamed for inspiring the brutal, ultra-conservative incarnation of Islamic law that that regime presided over, there is no sign that the Haqqania is ashamed of its former pupils: instead, the madrassa's director, Maulana Sami ul-Haq, still proudly boasts that whenever the Taliban put out a call for fighters, he would simply close down the madrassa and send his students off to fight.
I remarked that there did not seem to be much evidence of the Haqqania suffering from the crackdown on centers of radicalism promised by President Pervez Musharraf. Sami's face lit up: "That is for American consumption only," he laughed cheerfully. "It is only statements to the newspapers. Nothing has happened." "So," I asked, "You are not finding the atmosphere difficult at the moment?" "We are in a good, strong position," replied Sami.So much for General Musharraf's promise to do a U-Turn on supporting the Taliban.
An Interior Ministry report after September 11 revealed that there are now 27 times as many madrassas in the country as there were in 1947: from 245 at the time of independence, the number shot up to 6,870 in 2001.  A significant proportion of these are run by, or connected to, the radical Islamist political parties such as the MMM, which under Sami's vice presidency have just imposed a Taliban-like regime on Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, banning the public performance of music and depictions of the human form.Indeed. It is not only the madrassas which are propogating intolerance and hate, but also the Pakistani mainstream education system. Recently, the American Congressional Research Service published a report on the state of the Pakistani education system which openly glorifies jihad and martyrism in the name of Islam. Then, Mr. Dalrymple asks an important question:
how much are these madrassas the source of the problems that culminated in the Islamist attacks of September 11? Are madrassas simply terrorist factories? Should the West be pressing US client states like Pakistan and Egypt simply to close them down? It is certainly true that many madrassas are fundamentalist and literalist in their approach to the scriptures and that many subscribe to the most hardline strains of Islamic thought. Few make any effort to prepare their students to function in a modern, plural society. It is also true that some madrassas can be directly linked to Islamic radicalism and occasionally to outright civil violence. ... it is estimated that as many as 15% of Pakistan's madrassas preach violent jihad, while a few have been said to provide covert military training. Madrassa students took part in the Afghan and Kashmir jihads, and have been repeatedly implicated in acts of sectarian violence, especially against the Shi'ite minority in Karachi. It is now becoming very clear, however, that producing cannon fodder for the Taliban and educating local sectarian thugs is not at all the same as producing the kind of technically literate al-Qaeda terrorist who carried out the horrifyingly sophisticated attacks on the USS Cole, the US embassies in East Africa, the World Trade Center and the London Underground.Heh. How convenient. The author forgets that the mastermind of the 9.11. attacks Khalid Sheik Mohammed was caught in right near the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad on March 2003. Such a high-profile terrorist could'nt have escaped counter-terror police throughout the world for 2 years without an active support network in Pakistan. In addition, several "high-value targets" belonging to Al-Qaeda where caught in daylight in some of the biggest Pakistani cities.
It is true that there are several examples of radical madrassa graduates who have become involved with al-Qaeda: Maulana Masood Azhar, for example, leader of the jihadi group called Jaish-e-Muhammad and an associate of bin Laden, originally studied in the ultra-militant Binori Town madrassa in Karachi. ... By and large, however, madrassa students simply do not have the technical expertise necessary to carry out the kind of sophisticated attacks we have recently seen led by al-Qaeda. Instead the concerns of most madrassa graduates remain more traditional: the correct fulfillment of rituals, how to wash correctly before prayers, and the proper length to grow a beard.Only partially correct. Without the sympathy of these madrassas, these terrorists could'nt have planned/funded these attacks. One source of funding is the Saudi Wahhabis. But since 9.11, there has been considerable crackdown on these sources. The truth is that there is a widespread sympathy for these Islamists among the rural, religious Pakistani public brainwashed by the madrassas and the mullahs. The confidence with which the chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba Hafeez Mohammed Saeed organized and collected aid money for the South Asia quake goes on to prove that these groups command great respect among the public. Ofcourse, the corrupt military establishment and the archaic feudal system of Pakistan only serves to give political space to these extremists.
However, the more extreme madrassas have been able to resist the enforcement of even these mild measures; recently, fewer than half of Pakistan's madrassas complied when asked to register as educational institutions with the authorities. To date, the Pakistani government, far from having found ways of curbing the excesses of the more radical madrassas, does not even possess exact statistics about the number of madrassas in the country. Moreover, the military government's close alliance with the Islamist parties, which now virtually control two of Pakistan's provinces, prevents Musharraf from acting more strongly against the extremist madrassas. As a result not even one militant madrassa has yet been closed.Exactly. The relation between the Pakistani military establishment and the religious, extremist organizations is one of synergy. One needs the other inordr to survive and justify their power over the gullible public. Unless, this is realized and the nexus is cut, no amount of enticement (read American aid to reform the educational system) will help curb these terrorist nests.
We don't care if he's an SOB, as long as he's our SOB. - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson
Second is what Pakistan-based analysts describe as the GOP’s adoption of a “moderated jihad” strategy, which has involved the imposition of tighter limits upon Islamists seeking to operate in J&K and the Indian hinterland. In large part, pursuit of this calibrated approach stems from external compulsions that became increasingly prominent in the wake of the JeM- (and possibly LeT-) backed assault on the Indian National Parliament (Lok Sabba) in December 2001. Prompting a yearlong standoff with Delhi, this attack brought Pakistan’s policy of proxy warfare under renewed scrutinyWTF is a "moderated jihad"? Does it mean daily limits of number of innocent civilians underwritten by Washington?
According to commentators in Islamabad, the strategy of a moderated jihad approach has acted as a double-edged sword for Pakistan. On the positive side, it has significantly reduced international pressure on the GOP as well as allowed Musharraf to continue the peace process with Delhi while simultaneously giving him the option of resuming militant activities should negotiations collapse or fail to produce tangible results.Let's do some very brief selective timeline on Musharraf's moves: September 2001: Musharraf does a U-turn and supposedly stops supporting the Taliban regime, vows crackdown on terrorists/training camps operating in Pakistan. Dec 13 2001: Suicide attack on Indian parliament by JeM and LeT terrorists. Fast forward. Nov 2004-Feb 2005: Mohammad Sidique Khan in a posthumusly released video taped when he was actively collaborating with Al-Queda in Pakistan. Feb 2005: Shehzhad Tanweer still attends terror camp in Pakistan before blowing up himself in a London tube. Jul 7 2005: London tube attacks. Musharraf vows to crack down on terror training madrassahs. Oct 29 2005: Delhi market attacks. Musharraf voews to crack down if given proof.
Analysts within Pakistan similarly reject the notion of a globalized LeT, noting that Lashkar is one of the more ideologically unified groups that has fought in J&K, and is therefore not as prone to the type of wider, non-Kashmiri metastasization that JeM and HuJI have undergone. They also point out that there is currently no evidence to substantiate claims about LeT’s supposed internationalist activities, further arguing that anti-Western rhetoric is nothing new and certainly not something that has translated into assaults outside J&K and India. Yet it is important to stress that LeT does not have to be global to be of great significance for South Asia and beyond.First of all it is sickening to note that this analysis condones the attack of LeT in Jammu and Kashmir and India. Further more, it conveniently ignores the arrest of LeT terror suspects in the Virgiania paint ball case, Australian nuclear installation case, links to Jema Islamiayaa, among other things. This is nothing but dishonest journalism. Are they appeasing LeT so as not to attack American interests?