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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.