terror in delhi 10/29
Saturday, December 31, 2005
  Clueless Indian Leadership
Primary Red of Secular-Right laments on the blind trust Indian leaders place in General Musharraf in tackling terror:
We are struck by Mr. Narayanan's comment that he's been "requesting" Pakistan & Bangladesh to stop terrorism in India. Hello? Isn't that his responsibility? Also, why does he think that making polite requests of terrorist patrons will help resolve the issue?! Dr. Singh's "anguish" over terrorism and his "faith" in General Musharraf is even more puzzling. What world is our leadership living in?! Hopefully there's more to Indian security than making "requests" and having "faith"?
Sadly, this has been the pattern which this government and their predecessors have been following despite repeated attacks from terrorists in Pakistan. To further illustrate the ostritch-like mentality of the Indian leaders, we point to one of the most shameful episodes in Indian diplomacy - the Kandahar hijacking episode. Prof. Brahma Challeney gives more details in this insightful piece in the Hindustan Times. He emphatically writes that the order to hijack the Indian Airlines flight came directly from the top Pakistani leadership, perhaps General Musharraf himself resulting in the shameful release of the terrorists Masood Azhar and Ahmed Omar Sheikh.
Pervez Musharraf accomplished through this ISI-scripted hijacking much more than what he had set out to achieve with force in Kargil just months earlier. The IC-814 hijacking, as Strobe Talbott wrote in his book, came “as a personal victory for Musharraf, who was widely believed to have masterminded the incident…” Within five months, Musharraf won an invitation to a summit in Agra, an event that lifted his semi-pariah status internationally. Since then, he has progressively upped the ante to the extent that today he is able to hold the weapon of terror to India’s head and still show off an ‘irreversible’ Indian-initiated peace process.
It is clear that know-towing to the terrorists after the Kandahar did not bring any gains. Au contraire, the terrorists became emboldened to go after India's seat of power, the Parliament. More and more soft targets such as the Akshardam temple, the Diwali shoppers and the academics at the IISc. Prof. Chellany demands a new change in mindset from the Indian politcal leaders to go after the terrorists whereever they may be, exactly what we had argued here.
It was such a defining moment for the new millennium that India has continued to slip and sink. As the already-forgotten New Delhi bombings of two months ago show, India is increasingly unwilling to go after transnational terrorists and their sponsors. Contrast that with the unforgiving British response to the bombings in London that killed fewer people. Is it any surprise that terrorists are now emboldened to strike in India’s Silicon Valley? As an open, untreated sore on the Indian body politic threatening to become gangrenous, Kandahar has brought India under increasing attack from terrorism. Turning this abysmal situation around demands a new mindset that will not allow India to be continually gored and treats terrorism as an existential battle. That in turn means a readiness to do whatever it takes to end the terrorist siege of India.
 
  Terrorism: Root Cause, My Ass!
Pardon our undiplomatic language. But every time there is a terror attack, there are some who want to analyze the root causes. Nothing wrong in the exercise itself. But rather the usual fallacious conclusions are: 1) Poverty, hunger, etc. 2) Social and economic discrimination 3) Perceived injustice/persecution against a State ... blah blah. We had already discussed about one Pakistani Dr. Dawood who became a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative for none of the reasons above. Now CNN-IBN interviews a captured Jaish-e-Mohammad operative Mohammad Ibrahim. He spells out the beans like no one did. Watch the video of the interview here. It is clear neither he nor his family were suffering from poverty. Nor his terrorist recruiters from the ISI concerned about the Kashmir freedom struggle. He was specifically instructed to cause maximum damage to civilian targets in major South Indiaan cities. This clearly follows Pakistan's Gen. Bhutto's institutionalized state policy of "Bleeding India through a thousand cuts". Secondly, anyone remember how terrorism was put down in Punjab which was so active during the 80s. Many attributed it to the effective and brutal crackdown led by its Police Chief Mr. KPS Gill. No doubt, he played a major part in that (amidst allegations of torture, custody killings, etc.). The other reason is that Pakistan's ability to support Khalistani movement was severely constrained due to the heavy casualities, riots, killings, etc. caused by its own separatist movement by the Mohajairs the MQM. Naturally, both of these coincuded during the late 80s giving an impression that it is only by efforts of Punjab police that the battle was won. Hence it is important to understand that inorder to root out terrorism, we need to root out the state support for terrorism. Terrorist, even in the modern world cannot survive without an institutionalized state support to consistently attack civilian targets. Thirdly, one would like to assume that most of the terrorists are trained in the camps in Pakistani-Occuppied-Kashmir. This too is only partly true. The captured Mr. Ibrahim was hosted in Clifton area in Karachi. Obviously, this is not a camp in the middle of the jungle, but rather in the heart of Pakistan's biggest city. It is also no surprise that all the Al-Queda leadership were captured not in some remote mountaneous area but rather in the biggest of the Pakistani cities. Hence it is important for the Indian Government to strike at will the support coming from outside India. We understand that declaraing an act of open war is a very difficult decision to make. But GoI should never hesitate to use its COIN/Special Forces to good use to root out terrorist infrastructure whereever they are.
 
Friday, December 30, 2005
  GoI Responds after Terror Attack
Warning: This post is not made up but the actual statements from high-level officials representing the various organs of the Government of India. "It would be too early to call it a terrorist attack. We have to investigate. It could have been targeted at an individual." says Sri Prakash Jaiswal, India‘s junior home minister. The Chief Minister of the Karnataka state Dharam Singh said that the IISc shootout was pre-planned He added that the IISc campus was chosen as a random target with an intention to create fear. The coup de grace goes to the top cop of Karnataka. Thanks to Bangalore Guy.
Media: "Attack at the IISc, security lapse?" DGP:"No, how can you say that? If a crime happens within a few yards of a police station, how's the cop inside to know? If your car gets stolen from your home are you responsible?" .. DGP:"We found (some number) of that, what do you call that (pause, prompted by commissioner) yes, magazines". ... DGP:"We dont want to remove the live grenade or the AK because we need to get the fingerprints of them. And we dont more casualties because of the live grenade"
Such competent blokes. Onto some serious stuff which this blog discusses. Praveen Swami, who we consider as the best journalist covering terrorism issues in India says that there were multiple warnings sent out for the past few months by other police/intellegence services about the threat from the likes of Lashkar-e-Toiba. The Bangalore and Karnataka police seem to have missed most of them. In addition there was a specific threat alert which was sent out to them a couple of weeks back. B. Raman, another prolific counter-terror analyst writes a well-articulated history of the various jihadi groups which seem to have made South India its new target. The crux of his paper is not only the involvement of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed but also Bangladesh-based groups which are active in South India. In many cases, it looks like these Bangladeshi groups playing the role of 'foot soliders' of their Pakistani masters. Another point, is economic terrorism. Southern India is generally free of terrorist attacks (except, Naxalite movement which attacks government installations in rural areas) and is now having a booming IT sector. The Pakistani groups are clearly determined to go after these targets. The question is what is the Government of India going to do about it? What is their strategy to beat the terrorists? More later.
 
  Terrorists strike at a temple of learning
The spot where terrorists attacked scientists in IISc campus the day after the attack.
Ms. Sangeetha, a Lab Assistant who was injured in the terrorist attack at IISC in Bangalore.
Prof. Sonia (32) being wheeled in for a checkup at Mallige Nursing Home minutes after the attack in Bangalore.
 
  Prof. MC Puri. R.I.P.
Dr. MC Puri, retired Professor of Mathematics, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi vicim of terrorist attack in Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore on December, 28th. We salute your courage in saving others from danger while taking the bullets from cowardly terrorists. May you rest in peace. We shall never forget the blood shed by Indians of all walks of life from terror. God bless.
 
Monday, December 19, 2005
  Hilarious Video on A.Q. "Xerox" Khan
This blog has been covering serious issues concerning terrorism. But during the holidays, it is time to spend more time with our loved ones and have a good laugh. Here is one way. Rudradev at Bharat Rakshak has made a hilarious yet factual story of A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistani Nuclear Bomb. Click here for the real story as it happened (Flash animation). And Happy Holidays everyone.
 
Monday, December 05, 2005
  Following terror money in Pakistan
Beyond the tragedy of more than 70,000 lives being lost in the October 8 earthquake that devastated large sections of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the disaster alerted US intelligence to the fact that the financial conduits that feed militancy and terror remain very much intact. At very short notice, millions of dollars poured into the coffers of the jihadi group Jamaatut Dawa (formerly Lashkar-i-Taiba), allowing it to immediately take over relief operations in Kashmir while the Pakistan government dallied.
writes Syed Saleem Shahzad in the Asia Times Online. It is very important to understand the flow of money which funds terror groups. Post 9.11. international governments and counter terror agencies are working hard to put an end to money laundering and drug trafficking funding terrorist groups. However, a highly Islamisized society such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia has enough religious groups which collect money from the faithful spinning it as part of Islam.
A high-level Washington-based source told Asia Times Online: "Like prayers, zakat [compulsory charity - 2.5% of an individuals's annual reserves/savings in Sunni Islam and 5% among Shi'ites] and pilgrimage, jihad is also an integral part of the Muslim faith, that is why there is a trend that those Muslim philanthropists who build mosques, seminaries and donate money to Islamic relief operators also send money to those they view as mujahideen. That is the reason decision-makers in Washington are convinced that those who contribute money to Islamic groups in Kashmir are also involved in supporting the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Our earlier post on Jamaat ul Daawa and its chief Hafeez Mohammed Saeed here. Now, a case study of former medical doctor turned terrorist Dawood Qasmi:
Dawood is a former commander of the banned Laskhar-i-Taiba in Sindh province. His role was to recruit civilians to join the Kashmiri movement. He was closely associated with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Kashmir cell. The ISI provided him with ample funds to recruit youths, beside giving him expensive vehicles and armed guards. Laskhar-i-Taiba was one of the most active militant groups in Kashmir. "Dr Dawood Qasmi fully realized it [operations in Kashmir] was not a jihad but a Pakistan Army operation for which it was only using civilians as gun fodder. So he set himself aside. Initially he was working with an online medicine research firm and later on he joined the National Institute of Child Health," said his daughter, Dr Hania Dawood Qasmi of the Baqai Medical University in Karachi. "Three months ago a colonel approached Dawood and tried to prepare him to work again for Laskhar, but Dawood refused. He said to me that he knew that as he had already been tracked by the FBI, an association with Laskhar was essential as it was the only way to get government protection. But he said that his conscience was not ready for him to become a Laskhar member again, as it would mean being an ISI proxy," Hania Dawood maintained. Dawood was then left alone. But once the relief operation started in Kashmir, he was contacted by the Jamaatut Dawa to help as a doctor. He agreed, and was quickly provided with huge sums of money to purchase medicine and surgical equipment to be taken to Kashmir to establish mobile hospitals, and even an operating theater.
Many interesting points arises from this case study: 1) Poverty is not the root cause of Dr. Dawood turning to terrorism. 2) State support (from the ISI in this case) is crucial for maintaining the terror infrastructure. 3) Religous charity groups need to be watched with attention to prevent the money collected from funding terrorists.
 
  Did Media Fall for False Claims About #3
An enlightened article from the Associated Press on the alleged killing of the alleged Al-Queda No. 3:
All weekend, the U.S. media trumpeted the death of a man in Pakistan said to be near the very top of al-Qaida's operations, allegedly ranking just below Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri. But for a man reputedly at the forefront of al-Qaida's global terror operations - with one finger in plots to target America and another in attempts to assassinate Pakistan's president - Hamza Rabia kept a remarkably low profile. The Egyptian wasn't on the FBI's list of the world's 15 most wanted terrorists, nor had he made Pakistan's most wanted list. In fact, there had been little public mention of Rabia--before he was apparently killed last week in an explosion at his tribal hideout. U.S. officials haven't confirmed the death, despite claims by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he is "200 percent" sure Rabia died.
The arrest of this man poses more questions than answers. We had earlier posted on the duplicity of General Musharraf playing Russian Roulette in announcing the capture/killing of numerous Al-Queda No. 3s. But counter terror analysts are not satisfied with this explanation:
"He may be a serious planner that has been lurking in the shadows, but I would like to see more evidence of his terrorist credentials before saying he's a particular number in the hierarchy. I think these are relatively low-level operators," said Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College, referring to Rabia and his associate, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, who was captured in Pakistan in May. Paul Wilkinson, chairman of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said Rabia appears to have been more of a ground commander, not a key international terror mastermind. "There have been so many people suggested as the No. 3 in al-Qaida that I would not go along with that, though he is clearly a valued member of the hierarchy," he said. "We can't really say that he will be a major loss in terms of planning because he didn't have a profile in that area."
Indeed, it would be the sixth Al-Queda No. 3 to be captured/killed so far.
Ranstorp said he feared the story was being touted in Washington and Islamabad for political reasons. The two countries are allies in the war on terrorism, both with a stake in showing their uneasy partnership is bearing fruit. "I think it is a legitimate question to ask whether this guy was really such a big fish," he said. "There has been an unending cavalcade of faces that roll by of people who supposedly represent a clear and present danger to (U.S.) national security, and all this deflects attention away from the incredible failure of the war on terrorism to capture bin Laden or al-Zawahri."
We expect more such superficial arrests, killings to occur in the coming months. This would keep the gullible American public happy while the Bush administration plays fiddle with the Pakistani establishments terror connections and supplies it with powerful weapons having nothing to do with the Global Offene Against Terror (G.O.A.T). Our wishful thinking is no more innocent people die from further attacks with such laissez faire attitude of the Bush administration.
 
Saturday, December 03, 2005
  Brahma Chellaney: All terror roads lead to Pakistan
Prof. Chellaney writes an excellent summary on the state of terror groups after the Pakistani earthquake, the duplicity of President Musharraf and what the international community needs to ask from the Pakistani establishment.

Musharraf has since 9/11 ridden two horses -- extending selective anti-terror cooperation to the United States, symbolized by some high-profile al-Qaida arrests, and maintaining a political alliance with Islamist parties at home. That way he has managed to pocket billions of dollars in U.S. aid and helped marginalize the political mainstream. His standing at home, however, has been undercut by his inept handling of the earthquake.

The latest calamity highlights the need for international action to help move Pakistan toward a better future by encouraging Musharraf to uproot the terrorist complex and take measured steps toward democracy.

Indeed. High profile arrests and killing of supposed Al-Queda No. 3s as highlighted by this post.

That makes it necessary to ensure that international aid is not illicitly diverted to terrorist groups or employed to rebuild the “hate factories” that churn out trained and committed extremists. The aid needs to be used to help foster development and societal de-radicalization in a region steeped in religious bigotry and teeming with Islamists of different hues and nationalities.

This necessity has been underscored by the way the earthquake relief effort is being directed by young militants wielding AK-47 rifles and walkie-talkies at some of the field camps set up in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. In fact, underground extremists, seeking to shore up their standing among the local people are competing with international teams in relief work, with the lead being taken by Jamaat ud-Dawa, an offshoot of the terrorist group that is the main suspect in the New Delhi bombings. Children orphaned by the quake are being “adopted” by terrorist groups for imparting what the Jamaat ud-Dawa calls “Islamic education.”

Prof. Chellaney is referring to the Lashkar-e-Toiba. More on the 'charity' group Jamaat ud-Dawa, L-e-T's front organization here. Previous posts on Lashkar here, here and here.

In Pakistan, where the culture of jihad is deeply woven into the national fabric, cleansing the stricken areas of their terrorist nurseries will not be easy. Despite the large losses they suffered, underground groups have not slowed their activities, as is evident from the killing of dozens of their members by Indian border troops while attempting to sneak in since the quake. What is needed is not just action against such groups, which keep changing their names, but the complete dismantlement of the infrastructure of terror in Pakistan.

We had pointed to the Congressional Research Service's report on the state of Pakistani education system which openly glorifies jihad and martyrism in the name of Islam. Yet, the aid given by international community, particularly the United States towards reforming this is miniscule compared to the military aid Pakistan receives. Our priorities should be to: 1) Force President Musharraf to dismantle all the terror camps operating in the country. 2) Initiate a Marshall Plan to de-jihadify the Pakistani educational system and divert as many students away from the madrassahs. 3) Reduce the influence of extremists parties and the military in the Pakistani civil society. 4) Reinforce the support for mainstream political parties and conduct a free and fair election in Pakistan. Previous post on Prof. Chellaney's article here.
 
  Yet Another Al-Queda #3 killed/captured in Pakistan
NBC News reports the killing of Abu Hamza Rabia an alleged Al-Queda No. 3 in command.
The operational commander of al-Qaida, possibly the No. 3 official in the terrorist organization, was killed early Thursday morning by a CIA missile attack on a safehouse in Pakistan, officials told NBC News. Pakistan's information minister later confirmed the militant leader's killing.
The Last Al-Queda No. 3 Abu Faraj al-Libbi was captured on May 2005:
The alleged No. 3 man in al Qaeda -- believed responsible for the terror group's global operations -- has been captured in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani and U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Before that it was Saif al-Adel back in May 2003:
Al-Qaeda's third-ranked leader and alleged mastermind of this month's bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been seized in Iran, according to senior intelligence sources.

The United States has identified Saif al-Adel as the most senior al-Qaeda member linked to the attacks that killed 34 people, including one Australian.

And then there was the mastermind of 9.11, Khalid Sheik Mohammed who was arrested in March 2003:
Al Qaeda's former No. 3, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed , a key planner of the Sept. 11 attacks who was arrested in March 2003 during a raid near Islamabad.
There are few more No. 3s:
The first man dubbed al-Qaida's No. 3, Mohammed Atef, was killed by a U.S. airstrike on Kabul in November 2001 as the Taliban regime crumbled in Afghanistan.

Abu Zubaydah, the next to assume the role, was captured March 28, 2002, in the eastern city of Faisalabad, Pakistan. The Saudi-born Palestinian survived gunshot wounds in the stomach, groin and leg, and has been in U.S. custody ever since.

 
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