Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Baitullah Mehsud, the dreaded chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is no more. On August 23, 2009, he succumbed to injuries sustained by him in the US Drone strike on the house of his father-in-law Ikramullah in South Waziristan on August 5, 2009. Hakimullah Mehsud, who was till now one of the deputy chiefs---- the other being Waliur Rehman Mehsud---- and in charge of operations in the Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber Agencies, is the new Amir as decided unanimously by the TTP Shura at a meeting in the Orakzai Agency last week.
2. This was reportedly stated on August 24, 2009, by Hakimullah and Waliur Rehman in calls made to some sections of the media independently of each other. They have thus sought to put an end to rumours floated by Rehman Malik, Pakistan's Interior Minister, about a fierce succession struggle in which, according to him, Hakimullah was killed and Waliur was injured.
3. If the earlier US and Pakistani claims that Baitullah was killed instantaneously on August 5 after the Drone strike is correct----there is no reason to believe otherwise---- it is intriguing that the TTP took 19 days to admit his death at the hands of the US and even then attributed his death to injuries and projected it as not instantaneous. These 19 days were probably taken to decide on the successor and to identify those who had allegedly betrayed Baitullah to the Americans---either directly or through Pakistan. This long time shows that the Shura, which met in Orakzai and not in South Waziristan as claimed by Rehman Malik, needed time to sort out differences.
4. Waliur Rehman is a Mehsud of the soil. He had spent his years as a jihadi in South Waziristan, where the native place of the Mehsuds is located, and became a trusted confidante of Baitullah, his cousin. He was the man who controlled the coffers of Baitullah, who trusted him with money and wanted him to succeed him so that he would continue to have the control over the money.
5. Though Hakimullah was born in South Waziristan, grew up and had been known for his legendary exploits against the Pakistan Army there, he did not enjoy the confidence of Baitullah to the same extent as Waliur Rehman. Baitullah did not trust him with money and sent him away to Orakzai to co-ordinate operations in that Agency as well as in the Khyber and Kurram Agencies. Of the many tasks which Hakimullah performed, three need special mention: first, disruption of logistic supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan from the Karachi port; second, the organisation of suicide strikes in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the non-tribal areas of Pakistan with the help of suicide volunteers trained by his cousin Qari Hussain Mehsud; and third, operations against the Shia extremist Sipah Mohammad members headed by Hussain Ali Shah in the Kurram Agency.
6. Many successful attacks on NATO convoys in the Khyber Agency gave Hakimullah large quantities of arms and ammunition and other equipment. He shared some of these with Baitullah for use in South Waziristan, but kept a large quantity for his own use. He also captured large quantities of arms and ammunition during attacks on posts and convoys of the Frontier Constabulary and other Pakistani para-military units. Thus, after Baitullah, while Waliur Rehman will control the coffers of the TTP, Hakimullah will control its weapon holdings and its reserve of trained suicide volunteers. In terms of men, the "Daily Times" of Lahore (August 24, 2009) had estimated the total number of trained and armed followers under the command of Hakimullah in the Orakzai-Khyber-Khurram areas as 8000 as against 30,000 under the command of Baitullah in South Waziristan at the time of Baitullah's death. These 30,000 armed men in South Waziristan are now expected to be loyal to Waliur Rehman.
7. Thus the Mehsud component of the TTP, which has been the most dominant till now and which has been in the forefront of the operations against the Pakistani security forces, will now have about 30,000 trained and armed men owing primary loyalty to Waliur Rehman and another 8,000 armed men plus an unquantifiable number of suicide volunteers owing primary loyalty to Hakimullah. Waliur Rehman will have to depend on Hakimullah for weapon replenishments and suicide volunteers and Hakimullah will have to depend on Waliur Rehman for funds replenishments.
8. For the present, the two have chosen to project a picture of unity and solidarity to all the units of the TTP---Mehsuds as well as non-Mehsuds. Whether this will last remains to be seen. Ever since the TTP made its appearance in 2007 after the Lal Masjid raid in Islamabad in July of that year, the Mehsuds under Baitullah have been its driving force. This will continue at least in the short term. An interesting feature of the post-9/11 scene in the Af-Pak area has been that whereas there were splits in the Pakistani Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) with one group under Maulana Masood Azhar forming the Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2000, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), with a group owing loyalty to Zafar Iqbal and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi forming a separate organisation in 2004 which called itself the Kairun Naas (Welfare of the Masses) and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) with some elements coming out of it and forming the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), Al Qaeda, the Afghan Neo Taliban under Mulla Mohammad Omar, the TTP, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI),the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and the Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan (IMET) have maintained their unity in the face of pressure from the US. One should not, therefore, be surprised if the TTP maintains its unity even after the death of Baitullah.
9. While organisationally remaining intact, the Mehsud component of the TTP has been suffering attrition in the form of individual elements letting themselves be tempted by American offers of huge rewards for betraying their leaders. It is such individual elements which have been behind the impressive success rate of the US Drones in South Waziristan. Gnawing suspicions over US moles in their midst will impose an increasing strain on this unity. There are already reports of the TTP detaining Ikramullah, the father-in-law of Baitullah, and some membes of the family, who allegedly absented themselves from the house when it was attacked by the Drones on August 5.
10. Of the Punjabi terrorist organisations, three have been closely collaborating with the TTP components---- the JEM has been collaborating with the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) headed by Fazlullah in the Swat Valley of the NWFP, the HUJI headed by Qari Saifullah Akhtar was collaborating with Baitullah's men in South Waziristan and the anti-Shia LEJ with Hakimullah in Kurram, Khyber and Orakzai. While the collaboration of the JEM and the LEJ remains intact, there is a question mark over the HUJI. According to reliable police sources, the TTP now suspects that he was another mole of either the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) or the CIA or both and it was to protect him that the Pakistani authorities have again taken him into custody.
11. After the success of their hunt for Baitullah in co-ordination with the ISI and the Pakistan Army, the Americans have started a similar hunt for Serajuddin Haqqani, the son of Jalaluddin Haqqani. The Drones have started going after places, which were in the past known to be among his hide-outs. Surprisngly, almost the entire focus of the US covert operations, of which the Drone strikes are an important component, were initially against the TTP and now against the Afghan Taliban.When the Drone strikes initially started under former President George Bush the focus of their hunt was on Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other Al Qaeda leaders. After a number of unsuccessful strikes against suspected Al Qaeda hide-outs due to incorrect human intelligence, the focus has now shifted to the two Talibans. While the flow of correct human intelligence has been good in respect of the TTP, it is still poor in respect of the Afghan Taliban.
12. It remains to be seen whether Hakimullah as the new Amir will choose to co-ordinate the operations of the TTP from Orakzai or will shift to South Waziristan.Most probably, he will remain in Orakzai because of the suspected CIA penetratiion of the Mehsuds in South Waziristan. He will focus on identifying all the moles and getting them eliminated, continuing to disrupt NATO convoys, stepping up attacks on Shias in co-ordination with the LEJ and targeting the leaders of the Awami National Party (ANP) in the NWFP. The ANP is his sworn enemy.
13. Will there be an act of retaliation to avenge the death of Baitullah? If so, will it be directed against the Americans or the Pakistani Army and the ISI? If against the Americans, will it be in Pakistan itself or outside? These are important questions, but it is difficult to answer them now.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday, August 23, 2009
In a broadcast over his FM radio station on August 22,2009, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the Amir of the Taliban unit in the Bajaur Agency of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and deputy Amir of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), stated as follows: " The shura has appointed Hakimullah as successor to Baitullah Mehsud. The shura earlier had nominated me as the acting chief, but now I will be again deputy chief.I shall continue to be the Amir of the TTP in Bajaur."
2.He was reported to have told the Agence France Press as follows: "A Taliban shura has unanimously appointed Hakimullah Mehsud assuccessor to Baitullah Mehsud.The shura meeting continued for two days and was attended by 22 members."
3. Media reports originating from Bajaur had also quoted Faqir Mohammad as saying: " ‘Baitullah is alive but he is seriously sick.God forbid ifBaitullah is dead, Hakimullah will be his successor." It is not clear when this statement was made. Probably before the official selection ofHakimullah as the Amir of the TTP by the Shura.
4.The claims of the US and Pakistan that Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US Drone attack on the house of the father of his second wife inSouth Waziristan on August 5,2009, had been strongly refuted by the members of the TTP. If Baitullah had really been killed by a US Drone,it is difficult to understand why this was denied by the TTP because achieving martyrdom while fighting the Americans ---- any foreigner forthat matter---is considered a divinely-bestowed honour for a Pashtun.
5.The TTP had also vehemently denied the claims made by Rehman Malik, the Pakistani Interior Minister, after the Drone attack thatfactional fighting broke out at a Shura meeting in South Waziristan to choose his successor in which Hakimullah was killed.At that time, Ihad pointed out that it was surprising that the Shura meeting should have been held so soon after the attack and that too in SouthWaziristan where the Shura members would be vulnerable to Drone attacks by the US. It is now reported by tribal sources that the Shurameeting was actually held in the Orakzai Agency, where Hakimullah normally lives, on August 20 and 21.
6. In his broadcast, Faqir Mohammad did not announce the death of Baitullah. He merely announced the selection of Hakimullah as the newAmir.It would be interesting to see whether the TTP now announces the death of Baitullah and if so, what it attributes the death to---theDrone attack or his illness. Admiting his death as a result of the Drone attack would give him a place of honour as a martyr in the hearts offellow-Pashtuns, but would at the same time indicate that he was probably betrayed by some fellow Pashtuns. Attributing his death toillness would deprive him of martyrdom while fighting the 'infidel' Americans and the 'apostate' Pakistani Army.
7. Hakimullah is known as the mobile jihadi because of his habit of constantly traveling. He is believed to be the cousin of Qari HussainMehsud, who is in charge of training suicide bombers. Both of them are natives of South Waziristan. While Qari Hussain operates from SouthWaziristan, Hakimullah operates from the Orakzai Agency. Till his appointment as the chief, he was in charge of the TTP's operations in theOrakzai, Khyber and Kurram Agencies. He was, inter alia, in charge of disrupting the NATO's logistic supplies to Afghanistan via thePakistani tribal areas. He is believed to be in his late 20s and often moves around in a Humvee vehicle captured by his men from a NATOlogistics convoy. He reportedly has a large weapons holding of NATO origin. He is healthier than Baitullah and more ruthless.
8.On April 1,2009, a Drone attacked with a missile the house of Hakimullah Mehsud in the Khadezai area of the Orakzai Agency. Twelvepersons were killed ----- six of them followers of Hakimullah, two women and four other unidentified persons. Hakimullah himself, who wasapparently one of the targets, escaped unhurt and warned of a retaliatory strike by the Taliban in Islamabad. The retaliation through asuicide bomber came within three days. Late on the evening of April 4,2009, a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the barracks of acompany of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) from the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), which is deployed in Islamabad on VIP securityduties. At least eight members of the FC were killed by the explosion.
9. In the last week of November,2008, Hakimullah had invited a group of about 20 Pakistani journalists to his hide-out in the Orakzai Agency.In a report in "The News" of November 30,2008, Rahimullah Yusufzai, the Pakistani journalist, stated as follows: "Hakimullah, who couldaspire to succeed Baitullah Mehsud one day, made some strong-worded statements in his maiden encounter with the journalists. Hethreatened attacks against the PPP and ANP( Awami National Party) leadership for having ordered military operations against the Taliban.He made no effort to hide his group’s plans to disrupt the supplies for Nato forces passing through Pakistan and warned of a tit-for-tatresponse for the US drone attacks in the tribal areas. He claimed the Taliban could attempt to take Peshawar and other towns and cities “ifthe rulers failed to change their pro-US policies”. The young Taliban commander remarked that he found no difference between Bush andObama. He also felt former president General Pervez Musharraf’s policies were still being followed in Pakistan. Other claims made byHakimullah were that Baitullah Mehsud was hale and hearty, that their differences with Pakistani Taliban commander for North Waziristan,Hafiz Gul Bahadur, had been resolved and that there were no Taliban in Karachi. He alleged that MQM leader Altaf Hussain was raising thebogey of Talibanisation in Karachi to hide his own reign of terror. He also denied Taliban involvement in the recent bomb explosions inLahore.Obviously, there was no way to verify his claims. About the rise in missile strikes by US drones in the two Waziristans, Hakimullahclaimed the Taliban had apprehended and beheaded about 12 men spying for the Americans and guiding them to targets."
10. In the meanwhile, the TTP has undertaken an enquiry to find out how the US intelligence knew about the visit of Baitullah to hisfather-in-law's house. Ikramullah, the father-in-law, who was reportedly not in the house at the time of the attack and some other membersof his family, who were also not in the house during the attack, have reportedly been detained for questioning.
11. According to local Police sources, the TTP leadership also suspects Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the Amir of the Pakistan branch of theHarkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), who had reportedly ingratiated himself with Baitullah and was collaborating with him.Last week, theIslamabad Police reported that he was found to be undergoing treatment in an Islamabad hospital for an injury suspected to have beensustained in a Drone attack and has been taken into custody. This is the fifth or sixth time Qari Saifullah has been taken into custody forquestioning. Previously, he was detained for questioning in connection with a coup plot against Benazir Bhutto in 1995, the two attempts tomurder Pervez Musharraf in December,2003, the attack on Benazir Bhutto in Karachi in October,2007, and the murder of the SurgeonGeneral of the Pakistan Army early last year. Every time he managed to come out unscathed.
12.The HUJI was not banned by Musharraf as a terrorist organisation either in his notification of January 2002 or in his notification ofNovember,2003. No action has been taken against it by the present Government either. While the US has declared the Bangladesh branchof the HUJI as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, it has not made a similar declaration against the HUJI of Pakistan. It has not declaredSaifullah as a terrorist, No action has been taken by the US to move for the declaration of the HUJI of Pakistan as a terrorist organisation bythe anti-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council. All actions taken so far either by the US or the committee of the UNSC, whichgenerally acts at the US initiative, have been against the Bangladesh branch. It is suspected that the US and Pakistani intelligenceagencies have been going out of their way to protect the HUJI of Pakistan and Saifullah.Is he a double agent working for the ISI against theTTP and for the TTP against the Pakistan Army? That is the question which is reported to be troubling the new leadership of the TTP.
13. This may please be read in continuation of my earlier article of August 8,2009, titled "The Mole In Their Midst: The Top Guns of theTaliban Suspect Each Other" available at http://ramanstrategicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009_08_08_archive.html
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Of all the jihadi terrorist organisations of Pakistan, there is one which has never been banned either by the Government of Pakistan or designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) or banned by the Governments of the European Union Countries or by the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.
2.Of all the jihadi terrorist organisations of Pakistan, there is one whose assets and bank accounts have never been sought to be frozen either by Pakistan or by the US or by the EU or by the UNSC Committee.
3.Of all the jihadi terrorist leaders of Pakistan, there is one who has not been sought to be declared as a terrorist by the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the UNSC because this subject was not taken up by the US.
4. Which is that terrorist organisation and who is that terrorist leader? You find the answers to those questions and you will be able to make a fairly reasonable guess as to how the US managed to direct a Drone strike at the house of the father of the second wife of BaitullahMehsud, the Amir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan , in South Waziristan on August 5,2009, in which Baitullah was reported to have been killed.
5. I have written repeatedly and extensively about this organisation and its leader. I am not going to say anything more.
6. It is for you to find the answers. (22-8-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Thursday, August 20, 2009
( Article prepared for "Eternal India", a monthly published from New Delhi )
There were eight jihadi terrorist strikes in Indian territory outside Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) between 2000 and 2003 involving a total of 129 fatalities including civilians, members of the security forces and terrorists. The break-up of these strikes is given below. The identities of the terrorists involved in two of these strikes could not be established. In the remaining six strikes the suspects were from either the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) or the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) or the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HUJI), all of them Pakistani organisations sponsored by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). There was also evidence of local involvement from the Students" Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). In one incident at Kolkata an organisation called the Asif Reza Commando Force (ARCF) was also involved.
Year strikes fatalities
2000 ONE NINE
2001 3 17
2002 2 39
2003 2 64
2. During his visit to IsIalamabad in January 2004 to attend the SAARC summit, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister, took up with Pervez Musharraf, the then Pakistani President, the question of continued Pakistani sponsorship of jihadi terrorism in Indian territory and reportedly made it clear that any talks between the two countries on pending bilateral issues would depend on Pakistan stopping theuse of its territory for launching terrorist strikes against India in Indian territory. Musharraf made a formal commitment that he would not allow Pakistani territory or territory controlled by Pakistan to be used by Pakistan-based terrorists for mounting acts of terrorism in Indian territory.
3. A joint statement issued on January 6,2004, at the end of Shri Vajpayee's talks with Musharraf said inter alia : "Prime Minister Vajpayee said that in order to take forward and sustain the dialogue process, violence, hostility and terrorism must be prevented. President Musharraf reassured Prime Minister Vajpayee that he will not permit any territory under Pakistan's control to be used to support terrorism in anymanner. President Musharraf emphasised that a sustained and productive dialogue addressing all issues would lead to positive results.To carry the process of normalisation forward, the President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India agreed to commence the process of the composite dialogue in February 2004. The two leaders are confident that the resumption of the composite dialogue will lead to peaceful settlement of all bilateral issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, to the satisfaction of both sides. The two leaders agreed that constructive dialogue would promote progress towards the common objective of peace, security and economic development for our peoples and forfuture generations."
4. A careful reading of the statement would show that while de jure Shri Vajpayee had linked the dialogue process to Pakistan carrying out its commitment to end the use of its territory for terrorist strikes in India, de facto he had agreed to the dialogue process starting in February 2004, without waiting to verify whether Musharraf carried out his commitment. He decided to commence the dialogue in February2004, believing in Musharraf's good faith.
5. Musharraf did keep his de jure commitment as would be evident from the fact that there was no act of jihadi terrorism in Indian territory outside J&K between January 2004 and July 2005. After Dr.Manmohan Singh had taken over as the Prime Minister in May,2004,Musharraf visited India from April 16 to 18, 2005 at his invitation for bilateral talks. There were two significant sentences in the joint statement issuedby the two leaders at the end of their talks. Firstly, "they determined that the peace process was now irreversible." Secondly,"they condemned attempts to disrupt the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service and welcomed its successful operationalisation. The two leaders pledged that they would not allow terrorism to impede the peace process."
6. This meant a separation of terrorism from the dialogue process and an understanding between the two leaders that periodic acts of terrorism should not be allowed to disrupt the bilateral dialogue on various issues. Thus, Dr.Manmohan Singh had carried out the de facto and the de jure separation of terrorism and the dialogue process as early as April 2005.Hardly anybody in India noticed it or commented upon it. Why? The talks between Gen. Musharraf and Dr.Manmohan Singh were held against a back-drop of 18 months of respite from Pakistan-sponsored jihadi terrorism in Indian territory outside J&K. Indian public opinion was, therefore, not highly agitated over Dr.Manmohan Singh's action in removing the linkage between terrorism and progress in the dialogue process which Shri Vajpayee had introduced by inserting the condition " in order to take forward and sustain the dialogue process."
7.Shri Vajpayee, while expressing his belief in the good faith of Gen. Musharraf, had kept a Damocle's Sword hanging over Pakistan's head by making it clear that India would not hesitate to use a military or a para-military option if Pakistan-sponsored terrorists continued to indulge in terrorism in Indian territory and that India's continued participation in the dialogue process would depend upon Musharraf's honouring his commitment of January 6,2004. His mobilisation of the Indian Armed forces after the Pakistan-sponsored jihadi terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13,2001, was meant to underline India's readiness to use the military option if left with no other alternative to put a stop to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
8. What Dr. Manmohan Singh did in April 2005, was to remove this Damocle's Sword from the head of Pakistan. Pakistan interpreted the concessions made by Dr. Manmohan Singh at New Delhi in April 2005, to mean that if it resumed the acts of terrorism sponsored by the ISI there would be no disruption of the dialogue process, which would be "irreversible" and that it did not have to fear any military orpara-military retaliation by India.
9. This newly-acquired confidence of Pakistan that it did not have to worry about the dangers of any retaliation by Dr.Manmohan Singh had its immediate effect. ISI-sponsored Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations as well as organisations of Indian Muslims supported by the ISI such as the SIMI and the so-called Indian Mujahideen (IM), which came into the picture subsequently in 2006, resumed their acts of terrorism in the Indian territory outside J&K from July 2005--- hardly two months after Dr.Manmohan Singh removed the Damocle's Sword from the head of Pakistan by deleting the conditionality dictated by Shri Vajpayee to Gen.Musharraf in January,2004.
10.On July 5, 2005, a group of unidentified terrorists unsuccessfully tried to attack the disputed temple complex in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. Their attempt was beaten back by the security forces guarding it. Since then, there has been a sharp surge in acts of jihadi terrorism in Indian territory outside J&K by ISI-sponsored Pakistani terrorist organisations such as the LET and the HUJI as well as byPakistan-helped Indian jihadi terrorists such as those of the SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen. The break-up figures are given below:
Year strikes Fatalities
2005 3 63
2006 3 241
2007 5 141
2008 7 335
11. A comparison of jihadi terrorist strikes outside J&K between 2000 and 2004 under Shri Vajpayee and between 2004 and 2009 under Dr.Manmohan Singh would be as follows:Under Shri Vajpayee there were eight strikes involving 129 fatalities.Of these, two remained undetected. Under Dr.Manmohan Singh there were 18 strikes involving 780 fatalities. Of these,10 remained undetected.
12. Since Dr.Manmohan Singh removed the Damocle's Sword from the head of Pakistan in April 2005, there has been a revival of jihadi terrorist strikes in Indian territory outside J&K after a respite of 18 months.The number of jihadi strikes has more than doubled, the number of fatalities has increased by more than six times and the number of undetected cases has increased by five times. The percentage of detected cases came down from 75 under Shri Vajpayee to less than 50 under Dr.Manmohan Singh. Dr.Manmohan Singh's tenure has been marked by the largest number of jihadi terrorist strikes since 2000 and two acts of mass casualty terrorism by any terrorist group jihadi or otherwise involving fatalities of more than 150 as against one each under Rajiv Gandhi ( the Kanishka explosion ) and Narasimha Rao (theMumbai blasts of March ,1993).
13. After the act of mass casualty terrorism directed at some suburban trains of Mumbai on July 11,2006, in which 182 innocent civilians were killed, one thought that he would reverse his post-April 2005 policy of a soft approach to Pakistani-sponsorship of terrorism in Indian territory and take a stronger line to make Pakistan pay a price for going back on its solemn commitment of January 6,2004, and for resuming the use of its terrorist groups in Indian territory. He did not do so. Instead, his attitude became even softer. A joint statement issued after his meeting with Gen. Musharraf at Havana in the margins of a non-aligned summit on September 16,2006, said: "The leaders agreed that the peace process must be maintained and its success was important for both countries and the future of the entire region. In this context, they directed their Foreign Secretaries to resume the composite dialogue at the earliest possible. The two leaders met in theaftermath of the Mumbai blasts. They strongly condemned all acts of terrorism and agreed that terrorism is a scourge that needs to be effectively dealt with. They decided to put in place an India-Pakistan anti-terrorism institutional mechanism to identify and implement counter-terrorism initiatives and investigations."
14.The focus of the discussions at Havana and the joint statement was against " all terrorism" without specifying the Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. The reference to the act of mass casualty terrorism was merely in passing where it should have occupied the main attention. Despite the death of 182 civilians, Dr.Manmohan Singh stuck to his line of "the irreversibility of the peace process" even if the ISI and itsjihadi surrogates such as the LET, the JEM and the HUJI continued with their orgy of killings in Indian territory. Worse still, he agreed to a suggestion, which reportedly emanated from the US, for setting up a joint anti-terrorism institutional mechansim with Pakistan, which is behind all acts of jihadi terrorism against Indian nationals.
15. Even the July 7,2008, explosion of a vehicle with explosives outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul would not make him re-consider his policy towards Pakistan despite intelligence reportedly collected by the US agencies that the ISI was involved in the explosion. His reluctance to act vigorously against Pakistan after the Mumbai suburban train attack of July,2006, and the Kabul attack of July,2008,against the Indian Embassy strengthened the impression in the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment as well as among the Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations that he did not have the stomach for retaliation against Pakistan. The more the number of Indians attacked and killed by the Pakistan sponsored and assisted jihadi terrorists, the more helpless he looked and the softer became his approach toPakistan. At least, that was the perception he created in the minds of the military and intelligence officers in Pakistan and the terrorists sponsored by them.
16. The inexorable result of Dr.Manmohan Singh's failure to act: The commando-style attack by 10 Pakistani terrorists of the LET, trained,armed and equipped in Pakistan on two hotels, a Jewish religious-cum-cultural centre and other public places in Mumbai, which started on November 26, 2008, and continued till November 28,2008.It was an army-style operation involving the use of hand-held weapons,explosives, sophisticated communication equipment and modern internet telephony facilities, which shocked the world and created feelings of anger and outrage in India.
17. The enormity of the public anger against Pakistan forced Dr.Manmohan Singh to freeze the composite dialogue process without disrupting the normal diplomatic relations between the two countries. He did so not because he was convinced that his earlier policy of appeasement of Pakistan had failed, but because he and his Congress (I) party were worried that if they did not give the impression of taking strong action against Pakistan, it might affect the party adversely in the elections of April-May,2009, to the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Indian Parliament. The resumption of the composite dialogue was made conditional on Pakistan acting strongly against the LET, its operatives based in Pakistan who had planned and got executed the terrorist attack in Mumbai and its terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory.
18. The Pakistani Government headed by President Asif Ali Zardari, under US pressure to act against the LET, gave the impression of acting against it and its operatives. It placed Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed, the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa(JUD), the political front organisation of the LET, under house arrest, registered a case under the Anti-Terrorism Act against five operatives of the LET named by India as the mainconspirators of the Mumbai attack and certain others, arrested five of them, started its own investigation of the conspiracy and shared its findings with the public and the Government of India.
19.The Indian expectations from Pakistan fell into three categories:
Firstly, mutual legal assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the Pakistan-based LET conspirators involved in the Mumbai errorist strike.
Secondly, action against the main leaders of the JUD and the LET, whether they were directly involved in the terrorist strike or not.India was particularly keen that effective legal action should be taken against Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed.
Thirdly, action against the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory----particularly against that of the LET_-- in order to ensure that there would be no more terrorism in Indian territory emanating from Pakistan.
20. Of these expectations, the only forward movement ---though halting and only partially satisfactory--- has been in respect of the mutual legal assistance. While Pakistan has arrested five LET conspirators who, according to Indian investigators, were involved in planning the terrorist strike and having it carried out, it has not yet started their prosecution. The Pakistani authorities have been blaming their Indian counterparts for the delay. Only if and when the case is prosecuted and it ends in conviction can India be satisfied that there has been a genuine change for the better in Pakistan’s stand on the question of mutual legal assistance.
21. There was a seeming forward movement in respect of action against Sayeed. He was placed under house arrest immediately after the Mumbai attack. However, the case for his continued detention was not prepared and pursued in a vigorous manner---- as if the heart of the Pakistani investigators was not in his continued detention. The result: he was ordered to be released by the Lahore High Court before which he had challenged the legality of his detention. The Federal and the Punjab Governments have filed an appeal against his release, but have not been pursuing it vigorously on the ground that India has not provided any firm evidence of his involvement in the conspiracy relating to the Mumbai attack.
22. There has been no forward movement at all in respect of action against the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory. Of all the pro-Al Qaeda jihadi terrorist organizations operating from Pakistani territory, the LET is the closest to the Pakistan Army and the ISI,which look upon it as a strategic asset in their operations against India. In the past, they had always avoided taking action against the LET under some pretext or the other and there has been no change in this policy.
23. Even though the US and the European nations are increasingly concerned over the links of the LET with Al Qaeda, its capability for acts of terrorism, which is second only to that of Al Qaeda, and the presence of its sleeper cells among the Pakistani-origin diaspora in many countries, they still look upon it as a looming and not an imminent threat to their nationals and interests. For them, the imminent threat is from Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Their present efforts are focused on making Pakistan act against the imminent threats while exercising only proforma pressure---- to reassure India of their solidarity--- on Pakistan to act against the LET. As a result, Pakistan’s inaction against the LET tends to be overlooked by the West so long as it is acting against the Taliban and helping the US in its actions against Al Qaeda.
24. Thus, India finds itself in an unenviable position. It is not in a position to make the US and the rest of the Western world act against Pakistan for its inaction against the LET. At the same time, it is not in a position to act by itself because it has denied to itself a deniable retaliatory capability ever since the fatal decision taken by Inder Gujral, the then Prime Minister, in 1997 to wind up any retaliatory capability as a mark of unilateral gesture to Pakistan---despite remonstrations by senior officers of our security bureaucracy that Pakistan has never been known to appreciate and reciprocate such unilateral gestures.
25 The Pakistani leaders----political or military--- know the constraints on India and are taking full advantage of them to persist with their present policy of seeming to act against the LET without actually acting against it. One of the major problems faced by us in dealing with the LET’s acts of terrorism in different parts of the country has been due to the failure of our political leadership and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to make it clear to the world through facts and figures ---- and not through rhetoric--- that the LET’s acts have a much largeragenda and have no longer much to do with the Kashmir issue. Unfortunately, Pakistan has once again almost succeeded in making the US and the UK look at the LET activities through the Kashmir prism.
26. The Mumbai terrorist strike---the attacks on Israelis and other Jewish people, the targeted killings of nationals of countries having troops in Afghanistan, attacks on Western businessmen etc--- clearly illustrated the global agenda of the LET, but our political leadership and diplomacy failed to clearly draw attention to the much larger agenda. As a result, we are once again seeing references to the so-called linkages between the Kashmir issue and the LET’s acts of terrorism. Pakistan has profited from our inaction or inept action.
27. In the meanwhile, in the elections to the Lok Sabha held in April-May,2009, the Congress (I) led coalition retained power with the Congress (I) itself improving its performance as compared to the previous elections of 2004. After the elections, Dr.Manmohan Singh showed signs of wanting to return to his pre-November,2008 policy of separating terrorism from the dialogue process and treating the process asirreversible whatever be the acts of jihadi terrorism against innocent Indians.
28.It was against this background that Dr. Manmohan Singh met President Asif Ali Zardari at Yekaterinburg in Russia on June 16, 2009.The two were in Yekaterinburg as the heads of their respective delegations to attend the summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) of which India and Pakistan are observers and not full-fledged members. In an assessment prepared by me before this meeting, I had stated as follows:"Manmohan Singh is not a man of confrontation. He took the decision to freeze the composite dialogue mainly because of the fears of a likely adverse impact on the voting in the recently-held elections to the Parliament if he did not take a seemingly hard line against Pakistan. Now that the Congress (I)-led coalition has come back to power----with the Congress (I) improving its own individual position in the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Parliament--- he is unlikely to feel the need for maintaining the present hardline position on the composite dialogue...... Manmohan Singh would find it difficult to reject suggestions from the US for a political gesture to the Government in Islamabad by way of a resumption of the composite dialogue.... The question is no longer whether it will be resumed, butwhen and how it will be projected to save the faces of both India and Pakistan."
29.The Manmohan Singh-Zardari meeting did not lead to a decision to resume the composite dialogue. It merely led to an agreement for a meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries to discuss the action taken by Pakistan after the Mumbai attack. It was stated that any decision on the resumption of the composite dialogue would depend on the outcome of this meeting.
30.It was also reportedly agreed that the two leaders would meet again in the margins of a non-aligned summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt in July,2009. Zardari, on returning to Pakistan, decided to send his Prime Minister Yousez Raza Gilani to Sharm-el-Sheikh. The Pakistani press attributed Zardari's decision not to attend the NAM summit to his unhappiness over some blunt remarks of Dr.Manmohan Singh on theissue of terrorism at Yekaterinburg in the presence of the media before the two started their private talks.
31. Dr.Manmohan Singh's meeting with Mr. Gilani took place at Sharm-el-Sheikh on July 16,2009. The entire nation was expecting that the Prime Minister would stick to his firm line that there can be no resumption of the composite dialogue unless and until Pakistan gave satisfaction to the Indian demands in respect of unconditional Pakistani co-operation in the arrest and prosecution of the LET operativesinvolved in the planning and execution of the Mumbai attack and action against the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory.
32.Public opinion in India was shocked when the joint statement issued at the end of the meeting indicated that the Prime Minister had once again succumbed to the Pakistani position that acts of terrorism in Indian territory should not be allowed to disrupt the composite dialogue and that the issue of Pakistani action against terrorism should be separated from the issue of the composite dialogue. The statement said: ".Both leaders agreed that terrorism is the main threat to both countries. Both leaders affirmed their resolve to fight terrorism and to cooperate with each other to this end.Prime Minister Singh reiterated the need to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. Prime Minister Gilani assured that Pakistan will do everything in its power in this regard. He said that Pakistan has provided an updated status dossier on the investigations of the Mumbai attacks and had sought additional information/evidence. Prime Minister Singh said that the dossier is being reviewed.Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats".
33.What was disturbing was not so much the reported agreement of Dr.Manmohan Singh that "India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues" as the phraseology relating to terrorism in the joint statement, which would enable Pakistan once again to wriggle out of any negative consequences arising from its involvement in the Mumbai terrorist strike of November 26, 2008.
34. The relevant question is not whether Pakistan is against terrorism. All Pakistani leaders had said that they are against terrorism. But, not one of them had ever agreed that the LET is a terrorist organisation. Even the Pakistani judiciary has already pronounced that the Zardari Government has not been able to produce any evidence linking the LET or the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) with any terrorist movement.The Lahore High Court judgement of June 6, 2009, explaining the decision to release Sayeed from house arrest,clearly said as reported by the "Daily Times" of Lahore: "About the Dawa leaders’ involvement in the Mumbai attacks, the bench observed that not a single document had been brought on the record that Dawa or the petitioners were involved in the said incident. There was no evidence that the petitioners had any links with Al Qaeda or any terrorist movement.”
35. The oral observations made subsequently in the Pakistan Supreme Court by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury during the preliminary arguments on the appeals sought to be filed by the Punjab and the Federal Governments against the release of Sayeed made more or less similar observations and expressed considerable skepticism over the case against Sayeed and the JUD.
36. When senior judges of the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court have already expressed their skepticism in open court over Indian allegations of the involvement of the JUD, the political wing of the LET, in the Mumbai attack, to expect that justice will be done to the memory of the 166 persons killed in Mumbai-----123 Indian civilians, 25 foreign civilians and 18 brave officers and other ranks of the security forces--- by the terrorists of the LET as promised by the Pakistani co-operation against terrorism will be naivete of a very high order comparable to the naivete of Neville Chamberlain, the predecessor of Winston Churchill as the British Prime Minister.
37. One would have been at least satisfied if the two Prime Ministers had specifically stated that the two countries would co-operate against the LET instead of just saying that they would co-operate against terrorism. If the Prime Minister's advisers had properly briefed him before his meeting with Gilani, they would have drawn his attention to the following facts: ·
While even Musharraf banned the LET for some months after the December, 2001, attack on the Indian Parliament, Zardari has till today not formally banned the JUD, through a Gazette notification though his Interior Minister Rehman Malik has claimed that it has been banned. If it has been banned, why Sayeed has not been arrested for leading a banned organisation?
Zardari and his advisers have been saying that they had to act against Sayeed and his associates because of the declaration of the anti-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council that the JUD is a terrorist organization and not because they had any independent evidence against it. It was on this ground that Sayeed was ordered to be released.
38. Not a single reference to the LET. Not a single reference to its continuing terrorist infrastructure. And, we have provided dignity to Pakistan's baseless allegations against Baloch freedom-fighters by agreeing to make a reference to Balochistan in the joint statement in the context of terrorism by indirectly bringing on record, without naming them, in an official statement Pakistan’s projection of the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and other Baloch leaders as terrorists. Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed is not a terrorist, but Bugti and other Baloch leaders were or are. That has been Pakistan’s contention and we have let this figure in the joint statement in an implicit manner.
39. This agreement, which seeks to white-wash years of Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism against Indian civilians and security forces, will make all those who died at the hands of the terrorists shed tears in heaven. The public uproar in India over the volte face by Dr.Manmohan Singh at Sharm-el-Sheikh and reports of unhappiness in his own party over the implications of his volte face made Dr.Mammohan Singh and his advisers go on the defensive. Dr.Manmohan Singh denied that there had been any change in India's position of not agreeing to a resumption of the composite dialogue till Pakistan gave satisfaction on the question of action against terrorism. The Foreign Secretary, Shri Shivshankar Menon, sought to blame poor drafting for the misunderstanding that a concession had been made. Shri Shashi Tharoor, the Minister of State For External Affairs, tried to play down the significance of the joint statement by creating an impression that it had no legalvalue. The reference to Balochistan was sought to be explained away as indicating India's clear conscience since it had nothing to do with the happenings in Balochistan.
40.The explanation of the Prime Ministerin the Lok Sabha on July 29, 2009, on the subject skillfully sought to control the damage done by the ill-advised and ill-drafted joint statement. It was ill-advised because it has enabled Pakistan to claim to the international community that our PM was satisfied with the action taken by it against some Pakistan-based members of the LET for their involvement in the Mumbaiterrorist attack , in the hope that this would result in a relaxation of the international pressure to act against the LET.
41. The international pressure on Pakistan to act against the LET has been there since the attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13,2001. It was because of this pressure that Musharraf banned the LET through a gazette notification on January 15, 2002. The ban is still in force, but has not been implemented effectively by either the previous Government of Musharraf or by the present Government of Asif Ali Zardari.There was intensified international pressure on Pakistan after Mumbai 26/11 because among those killed were 25 foreign civilians. Itwas this pressure and not the bilateral diplomacy of the Government of India, which made Pakistan register an offence against five members of the LET and investigate their involvement and place Sayeed under house arrest.
42. As a result of the unwarranted certificate of good neighbourly co-operation given by Dr. Manmohan Singh to Pakistan, there are already signs of this pressure being relaxed. This would be evident from the absence of forceful international reaction to the farce of the legal proceedings against Sayeed, which has resulted in his being released from house arrest.
43. The joint statement was also ill-advised because it has unwittingly conveyed an impression to Pakistan’s political leadership and military-intelligence establishment that a terrorism fatigue has set in among our political leadership and that continued use of terrorism by the ISI against Indian civilians and economic infrastructure could ultimately make India amenable to a change of the status quo in Jammu & Kashmir.
44. The Prime Minister is right in wanting peace and good-neighbourly relations with Pakistan, but unwise in giving an impression to Pakistani leaders that he is over-keen for peace with Pakistan and that he does not have the stomach for a prolonged confrontation with Pakistan on the terrorism issue----whether the confrontation is political, economic, military or covert. That was the impression which Gilaniand his advisers would have got at Sharm-el-Sheikh and the Prime Minister’s statement in the Lok Sabha has not been able to dissipate that impression.
45. The Prime Minister made use of the dossier given by Pakistan before Sharm-el-Sheikh on the investigation made by it so far against the LET in two ways. He tried to project this dossier as justifying the action taken by him at Sharm-el-Sheikh. He also tried to score a debating point against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led opposition coalition by claiming that his Government through pressure had been able to make Pakistan concede the LET involvement whereas the BJP-led Government was not able to do this.
46. If the BJP members had carefully studied and mastered facts and figures, they could have effectively countered the PM’s claim of credit by pointing out the following:
There have been four acts of mass casualty terrorism since 1981. All the four were carried out when the Congress (I) was in power in New Delhi.
There have been three instances of targeted attacks on foreigners since 1991----two in J&K and one in Mumbai. All the three were carried out when the Congress (I) was in power.
There have been seven acts of ISI-sponsored aircraft hijackings since 1971. Six of them were carried out when the Congress (I) and one when the BJP was in power.
There has been one instance of an Air India plane being blown up in mid-air killing over 250 persons. This took place when the Congress (I) was in power.
The LET was banned by the Musharraf Government as a terrorist organization through a Gazette notification on January 15, 2002. The Manmohan Singh Government has not been able to get the JUD banned by the Zardari Government through a Gazette notification even nine months after the Mumbai attack.
Indira Gandhi was assassinated when the Congress (I) was in power in New Delhi. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated when an ally of the Congress (I) was in power in New Delhi and another ally in Chennai.
The Indian Mujahideen came into existence when the Congress (I) was in power.
The first commando-style complex terrorist attack in Indian territory by a group of terrorists, all hailing from Pakistan, has taken place when the Congress (I) is in power.
47. The PM used the dossier against the LET received from Pakistan in justification of his action at Sharm-el-Sheikh. A close examination of the dossier as published in the media and a study of the various statements made since February,2009, by Rehman Malik, the Pakistani Interior Minister, would bring out the following:
The Pakistani authorities continue to make a distinction between the LET and the JUD, projecting the LET as a defunct organization in view of the January 15, 2002, ban still in force and the JUD as a legitimate organization despite the declaration of the anti-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council calling it a terrorist organization.
Their action has been confined to those who hold position in the LET and not to those who hold position in the JUD.
Till now, their action has been focused on the logistics cell of the LET in Karachi and not against the planning and training cell of the LET based in Muridke in Punjab and in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
They continue to project the Mumbai attack as the outcome of a multi-national conspiracy involving elements in Pakistan, India, Europe, the US and Russia.
They have been trying to claim that the role of the Indian elements has not been fully investigated by the Mumbai Police.
48. As a result of the pressure from the Governments of countries whose nationals were killed in Mumbai, Pakistan has embarked on an elaborate exercise of seeming co-operation with India in the investigation, but the sincerity of this co-operation is yet to be established. We should have waited till this sincerity was established. What was the need for the indecent hurry shown by Dr.Manmohan Singh at Sharm-el-Sheikh for fresh talks with Pakistan?If we had waited for a few months more till a clearer picture emerged from the proceedings of the Anti-Terrorism Court, will the heavens have fallen on our heads? A convincing answer to this has not been forthcoming from the Prime Minister.
49. The Prime Minister used former President Ronald Reagan of the US as a prop by quoting his remark: “Trust, but verify”. Yes, he had said it. In 1986 some US soldiers were killed by an explosion in a West Berlin discotheque. The US investigators established that the terrorists had come from Libya. After verification, he ordered the US Air Force to bomb the training centre in Libya.Indian investigators have clearly verified and established that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai were trained in the POK. Will the Prime Minister emulate Reagan?
50. By posing this rhetorical question, I am not advocating a military strike against Pakistan if there is another Mumbai 26/11.There is a basket of retaliatory options available before one is forced to consider a military retaliation---political, economic, diplomatic, covert action etc. Instead of considering these options, the Prime Minister keeps on repeating that there is no alternative between talks and a war. This is the typical argument of an appeaser who wants to avoid having to take firm action and to retaliate. It is not surprising that the Pakistanis have come to the conclusion that Dr.Manmohan Singh does not have the stomach for retaliation or a confrontation on the terrorism issue and so they can continue using terrorism against India.This impression of helplessness also encourages the terrorists.
51. In a study of the Mumbai attack, the prestigious Rand Corporation of the US has stated that more such terrorist attacks are possible because the jihadi terrorists have found out that India has neither an adequate preventive capability nor an effective retaliatory capability.All Prime Ministers after Shri Gujral have neglected this vital task of building up a retaliatory capability. Even if we have one today, of what use will it be when the Prime Minister of this country does not have the will for retaliation and would rather appease the state-sponsor ofterrorism than retaliate against it?
52. The Balochistan issue has not been properly understood by any party or even by the strategic analysts community. There has been a freedom struggle going on in Balochistan for nearly three years. Many Baloch nationalists are living in political exile in the UK, the US and other countries.The Pakistan Government has been trying to have them deported by projecting the freedom struggle as terrorism. No country in the world has recognised it as terrorism.By allowing a reference to Balochistan in the context of the references to action against terrorism, we have become unwitting accomplices of Pakistan to demonise the Baloch freedom struggle as terrorism.Balochistan is Pakistan's internal affairs. It is for Pakistan to sort out its problems with the Baloch people. There is no question of our helping the Balochfreedom-fighters.But we must not harm their cause by allowing Pakistan to use a joint statement with India for projecting the Baloch nationalists as terrorists.
53. Pakistan does not agree with us that the indigenous Kashmiri organisations such as the J&K Liberation Front and the Hizbul Mujahideen, whose leader operates from Pakistani territory, are terrorist organisations. It projects them as freedom-fighters. Why should we agree to any reference to the Balochs in a bilateral statement on terrorism? The question is not so simple as our having a clear conscience and hence not objecting to the reference to Balochistan. The issue is that in a bilateral statement on Pakistani-sponsored terrorism in Indian territory, Balochistan is irrelevant. ( 19-8-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
Saturday, August 8, 2009
There is a full-scale Psywar going on in Pakistan over the sequel to a successful missile attack by a US Drone (pilotless plane ) on the house of the father of the second wife of Baitullah Mehsud , Malik Ikramuddin, in the Zangarha area, 15km to the north-east of Ladha inSouth Waziristan early on the morning of August 5,2009.
2. Claims and counter-claims and allegations and counter-allegations have been made by Rehman Malik, Pakistan's Interior Minister, who is a retired police officer, and the top guns of the Pakistani Taliban known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).Malik's claims regarding the death of Baitullah Mehsud, the Amir of the TTP, in the missile attack have been strongly denied by leading figures of the TTP such as Hakimullah Mehsud, who is the TTP's operational commander for Orakzai, Khyber and Kurram areas and responsible for disrupting logistic supplies to the NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Qari Hussain Mehsud, who reportedly trains suicide bombers.
3. Malik's claims, as he himself admits, are based on information from tribal sources in the area where the missile attack took place. He also admits that he has no material evidence in confirmation. Such material evidence, if forthcoming, would normally be in the form of technical intercepts and forensic evidence based on an examination of the body parts believed to be that of Baitullah.
4. For confirming deaths, technical evidence cannot be conclusive. There could always be a misinterpretation of the identity of a person whose death is reported through telephone or wireless. Forensic evidence can be conclusive but since the Pakistan Army does not control the area in which the missile attack took place, it won't have access to body parts.
5.So, unless the TTP itself confirms the death of Baitullah or disproves claims of his death by producing video pictures of him, the mystery over the fate of Baitullah will continue. Presuming that Baitullah is dead as claimed by Malik and also by unidentified American officials, it is difficult to assess why the top guns of the TTP are denying it. One reason could be the lack of a consensus so far as to who should succeed him. Till such a consensus is reached, they will try to avoid admiting that he is no more. Now that they have taken a strong position that he did not die in the missile attack, the only face-saving option left for them would be to admit his death after a successor is named, but attribute it to illness. Baitullah was known to be suffering from many ailments.
6. Some things are certain. The US intelligence, with precise information from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), carried out a remarkably successful strike. It was a classic case of precise human intelligence, prompt communication to the command and control of the Drone strikes, brilliant real-time assessment and instant follow-up action. It is also certain that among those killed were some---if not all--- bodyguards of Baitullah. The fact that the bodyguards were killed clearly shows that Baitullah was present in the house when it was attacked. Whether he was killed or not, it is a different story which only future can confirm.
7. Reliable reports from police sources in the Pashtun area indicate that the Taliban leaders fear more and more that the TTP has been penetrated by the ISI and the CIA acting in tandem. This suspicion has been caused by the fact that none of the 28 Drone strikes of this year hit wrong targets causing collateral civilian casualties. In previous years, the Drones had attacked a number of wrong targets killing dozens---if not hundreds--- of civilians, including many children. This year, there has hardly been any such instance. That is why the 28 strikes of this year have not caused the same kind of public demonstrations against the US in the tribal areas as one used to see in previous years. While collateral damage due to air strikes continue to take place in Afghan territory, it has been reduced remarkably in Pakistani territory, indicating a very tight supervision over the Drone operations from its command and control in the US.
8. Who is the mole in their midst? There are rumours and speculations galore. Some in the tribal areas suspect that Ikramullah, the father-in-law of Baitullah, was the mole. According to them, the Pakistan Army was recently in touch with him under the pretext of seeking another cease-fire. He used to visit Pakistani army posts for discussions in his vehicle. They allege that the ISI must have got a listening or photographing device fitted into his vehicle and that is how it came to know of the arrival of Baitullah in his father-in-law's house for medical treatment.
9. Others, who don't buy this theory, suspect that the mole must have been a senior office-bearer of the TTP close to him or one of his entourage. It is the fear of this mole in their midst, which is responsible for the welter of confusing and conflicting statements coming from the top guns of the Taliban and their subordinates. The Interior Minister has been trying to take advantage of these mutual suspicions by having stories disseminated about a clash between two potential successors of Baitullah---- Hakimullah and Waliur Rehman---- at a meeting convened to choose the new leader. The story in circulation is that the two, after a heated argument, exchanged fire in which Hakimullah was killed and Walilur was injured.
10.TTP sources have strongly denied this. Malik has challenged the TTP to produce video pictures of Baitullah and Hakimullah. Presuming that Baitullah is dead, it is surprising that the TTP should have been holding its shura to decide on his successor so quickly after his death and that too in South Waziristan, where the shura would be liable to a missile strike by a Drone. The CIA could not ask for anything better than a Shura meeting in South Waziristan.
11. My own expectation was that the TTP would hold the Shura meeting in an area away from the reach of the Drones---either in the Malakand Division of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) or in the Quetta area of Balochistan. Both these areas are away from the present reach of the Drones. Moreover, in the Quetta area the Shura would have enjoyed the protection of the Afghan Taliban. Its Amir, MullaMohammad Omar, could have intervened to promote unity.
12. There have been sensational assessments after the missile strike and the reported death of Baitullah. Some see in it the beginning of the end of Al Qaeda itself. Their assessment is that without the protection of Baitullah Al Qaeda leaders cannot survive for long in theWaziristan area. They forget that Al Qaeda survived in the Waziristan area for over four years when Baitullah had not emerged as a leader and acquired his aura. Others assess that the TTP, without Baitullah, could split into different tribal factions. As I had pointed out in the past, there are Talibans and Talibans and there are are as many Talibans as there are tribal sirdars. Baitullah brought them together undera single umbrella organisation in the form of the TTP just as Osama bin Laden brought different jihadi organisations together under the umbrella of the International Islamic Front (IIF).
13. It is quite possible that if Baitullah's death is confirmed or even in the eventuality of his incapacity due to illnes, the TTP may no longer be such a strongly knit organisation as it has been till now. If its bonds of Islamic and Pashtun tribal solidarity weaken it may give some relief to the Pakistan Army but not to the US-led forces in Afghanistan. Now they are focussing all their operations against the Pakistani security forces. If they stop doing this, they might all go to Afghanistan and buttress the strength of the Afghan Taliban. (9-8-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Friday, August 7, 2009
The post-Prabakaran attempts by some never-say-die sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora across the world to resurrect the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suffered a blow on August 6,2009, when the Malaysian security agencies handed over to their Sri Lankan counterparts Kumaran Pathmanathan (known as KP), whom they had reportedly picked up from a hotel a few hours earlier.
2. It was suspected by investigation and intelligence agencies for some years that KP was residing in Malaysia and operating clandestinely from there with the help of LTTE sympathisers in the local Tamil community-----of Sri Lankan as well as Indian origin. For nearly 20 years he was a great asset to Prabakaran and the LTTE not because of any special political acumen he had, but because of his ability to work clandestinely without attracting much public attention to himself.
3. He emerged as the alleged main brain behind the LTTE's vast arms procurement, gun running, arms piracy from ships in mid-sea,money-laundering and commercial shipping network. The LTTE would not have been able to develop its capability as a conventional fighting force to the extent it did but for his alleged clandestine work. In connection with this, he travelled frequently and extensively in South-EastAsia, East Europe and South Africa. He kept away from West Europe (except Greece and Cyprus) and North America for fear of being caught by the local intelligence agencies, but from his base in Malaysia he allegedly guided the arms procurement and money-laundering networks in those areas too.
4. The fact that Prabakaran gave him a free hand in handling the cash flows from the shiping fleet, alleged narcotics smuggling and alleged extortions from the members of the Tamil diaspora and in negotiating the prices of the arms and in arranging the shipping schedules indicated the confidence he had in KP.
5. It used to be alleged that the Malaysian authorities avoided acting against him because of the support enjoyed by him in sections of the local Tamil community. His low profile and his ability to keep his mouth shut helped him in ensuring that the local security agencies would not act against him.
6. All this changed in January this year when Prabakaran appointed him as the in-charge of the international relations department of the LTTE. One does not know why Prabakaran chose him for this job. Outside Malaysia, KP had no political contact. He was not a well-known and well-respected figure in the international community of human rights organisations. He could not have travelled to the West without fear of being arrested. He was no Anton Balasingham. Nor was he a Thamilselvan. He was allegedly in some aspects a Sri Lankan Tamil version of Dawood Ibrahim. Dawood is a mafia leader. KP is not. But Dawood and KP allegedly had similar capabilities for gun running and money-laundering.
7. After his nomination to this post, the previously discreet and low-profile KP became increasingly high profile. He started interacting with journalists and non-governmental organisations from his safe sanctuary in South-East Asia. After the death of Prabakaran, he became the self-promoted head of a group of Sri Lankan Tamils in the diaspora, who tried to resurrect the LTTE as an organisation wedded to the same objective of an independent Tamil Eelam as was the organisation headed by Prabakaran, but advocating a non-violent movement to achieve this objective.
8. One does not know what real following he commanded in the diaspora and who were the people prepared to support him.However, one knows that there are elements in the diaspora who continue to hope that the LTTE will rise again like Phoenix and resume the march to the goal of an independent Eelam. Probably, some of them rallied round him.
9. The Sri Lankan Government was interested in getting him even before KP started this move for a neo-LTTE. The Sri Lankan agencies' campaign against the LTTE was not over with its defeat and the decimation of most of its leadership.A lot of work still remains to be done like identifying its supporters in the diaspora and its secret bank accounts abroad and getting them frozen, identifying the various arms smuggling channels exploited by it and determining how the LTTE succeeded in smuggling the clandestinely procured weaponry, including the aircraft,into Tamil territory without being detected by the intelligence agencies of different countries, including India and Sri Lanka.
10. There is a need for a total and painstaking reconstruction of how the LTTE operated abroad and how it was able to acquire the position it did. Such a reconstruction would not be possible without a thorough interrogation of KP. The Sri Lankan authorities, therefore, mounted a diplomatic drive for getting hold of KP. This drive was focused on South-East Asia. Their drive ultimately succeeded and the Malaysian authorities reportedly picked him up and handed him over to Sri Lanka.
11. His thorough interrogation would be necessary not only for finding out about the past, but also for finding out about the future plans of the die-hard elements in the diaspora.
12. The Government of India should be interested in interrogating him in connection with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May,1991, and the attempted gun-running by the LTTE from Pakistan in 1993 in an LTTE ship in which Kittu was travelling. When an Indian Coast Guard ship intercepted it, the crew set fire to the ship,which went down.Kittu and some others chose to go down with the ship. Some others tried to escape and were arrested. The full story of this incident of gun-running by the LTTE from Pakistan is not yet known. KP may also know about any arms procurement cell of the LTTE still present in South India, but dormant. (8-8-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd),Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and,presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
( To be read in continuation of my article of June 26,2009, titled "Co-Ordinated Hunt For Baitullah Mehsud" athttp://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers33/paper3275.html . Article annexed for easy reference)
The co-ordinated hunt for Baitullah Mehsud, the Amir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), undertaken by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and the US scored a major success early on the morning of August 5,2009, when an unmanned US aircraft (Drone), acting on intelligence furnished by a source of the Pakistani intelligence from South Waziristan, fired two missiles on the house of the father of the second wife of Baitullah , Malik Ikramuddin, in the Zangarha area, 15km to the north-east of Ladha in South Waziristan.Eight persons were killed. Seven of them have been identified by local sources as the second wife of Baitullah and six of his bodyguards.The identity of the eighth person has not yet been established, but it is widely believed that the eighth person killed was Baitullah whose body was blown to pieces by a missile. The confirmation of his death, if true, will ultimately come from the TTP after it has chosen his successor. The TTP, in keeping with its tradition, will not deny his death, if true.
2. Even before this remarkable human intelligence-driven operation, there were indicators that the TTP was facing difficulty in maintaining its high level of activity. One could see a decline in its spectacular and successful strikes not only in the non-tribal, but also in the tribal areas. The Drone strikes----28 of them already so far this year as against 36 last year --- have made it increasingly difficult for the senior leaders of the TTP to move around and guide their men. The increased number of Drone strikes invariably targeted correctly the hide-outs of the TTP though till August 5 they did not succeed in killing any senior leader of importance.
3. The accurate strikes coming one after the other on the hide-outs of the TTP---even if they did not kill any important leader--- created suspicions among the leaders that their organisation had been penetrated by either the US or the Pakistani intelligence and they started having fears of a mole in their midst. This created a certain demoralisation. Their new focus was more on identifying the mole and saving themselves than on launching new operations.
4. The death of Baitullah is unlikely to lead to a disintegration of the activities of the TTP, but it could change the focus of its attacks. None of those tipped to be in the race to succeed him ---Hakimullah Mehsud, Maulana Azmatullah and Wali-ur-Rehman----nurses such a strong antipathy to the Pakistan Army, its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its commando force called the Special Services Group (SSG) for their raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July 2007 as Baitullah did. One may see a decline in the suicide attacks on the Army, the ISI and the SSG, but the TTP will continue to attack logistic supplies to the NATO forces in Afghanistan and help the Afghan Taliban in other ways.
5. Before the attack of August 5, there was speculation that the Pakistan Army was in touch with Baitullah's father-in-law in order to explore the possibility of another cease-fire. It is not clear whether the father-in-law's reported contacts with the Army had played a role in facilitating the attack. (7-8-2009)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Co-Ordinated Hunt For Baitullah Mehsud - International Terrorism Monitor--Paper No. 537
According to well-informed Pakistani police sources,the US and Pakistani Armed Forces, intelligence agencies and special forces have launched a co-ordinated hunt for Baitullah Mehsud, the Amir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in South Waziristan in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). It is a co-ordinated and not a joint operation. In a co-ordinated operation the two collaborators operate independently of each other and not jointly together under a common command and control, but keep each other informed in advance of their operational plans to avoid attacking each other by mistake instead of their common target.
2. The operations undertaken by the Pakistan Army in the Swat Valley of the Malakand Division in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP)since April have started coming in for some criticism because while the Pakistan Army has claimed to have killed over 1500 foot soldiers of the Pakistani Taliban hardly any important leader has been killed or captured. To avoid such criticism, the focus of the operations in SouthWaziristan would be on killing Baitullah Mehsud and Qari Hussain Mehsud, one of his lieutenants, who reportedly trains suicide terrorists,and not on re-establishing immediate territorial control over the Mehsud areas of South Waziristan. While re-establishing territorial control will be the ultimate objective, eliminating Baitullah and Hussain would be the immediate objective. The calculation is that if they are eliminated, the TTP could disintegrate.
3. The initial emphasis would be more on the use of air power than ground forces. While the Pakistanis would use their F-16 aircraft and helicopter gunships, the US would continue to use its unmanned Drones with their missiles. The initial emphasis on the use of air power by Pakistan also takes into account the difficulties that it might face in diverting adequate forces to South Waziristan till the operations in the Swat Valley are over. The internally displaced persons from the Swat Valley, who are presently living in camps in the NWFP, are anxious to go back to their villages in Swat. Making arrangements for their return and for maintaining control over the re-captured areas of the Swat would keep a large number of Pakistani troops tied up in the Swat Valley. Thus, the ability of the Pakistani Army to deploy adequate troops for any ground operations in South Waziristan would be limited. Keeping all these factors in view, the initial focus will be on a co-ordinated hunt for Baitullah and Hussain from the air.
4. A well-planned, intelligence-driven and smartly-executed double strike by US Drones in South Waziristan on June 23, 2009, had targeted Baitullah and Hussain, but it failed to achieve its objective for want of luck despite the operations being executed with precision. The double attack was carried out at a village called Lattaka in the Shabikhel area of South Waziristan, where one of the buildings periodically used by Baitullah is reported to be located. In the first strike directed at the building, Khwaz Ali, a close associate of Baitullah, and five other unidentified persons were killed. The second strike was directed some hours later at the village graveyard where about a hundred people had gathered for the burial of Khwaz Ali. About 80 of the mourners, including some children, are believed to have been killed. Initial reports that Qari Hussain Mehsud of the Pakistani Taliban and Maulvi Sangeen Zadran, a close associate of Serjuddin Haqqani of the AfghanTaliban, were among the mourners killed have not been corroborated. There have been conflicting reports about Baitullah. Some reports say he was among the mourners, but had left the graveyard before the Drone attack. Others deny that he was among the mourners. The fact that there has been no public demonstration in the area indicates that the majority of those killed must have been members of the Talibanand not innocent local villagers as subsequently alleged by Taliban elements.
5. The US has carried out 24 Drone strikes in Pakistani territory so far this year as against 36 during the whole of 2008. The Obama Administration is not relenting in its policy of using the Drones whenever warranted by specific intelligence without worrying about proforma protests from the Pakistani authorities and leaders or about warnings by some US analysts that increasing civilian casualties due to theDrone attacks could drive more tribals into the arms of the Taliban. The stepped-up Drone strikes, which were initially justified as necessary
to disrupt the presence and activities of Al Qaeda remnants in Pakistani territory, are now sought to be used to indirectly help the Pakistan Army in its operations against the Pakistani Taliban.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
John O. Brennan, a former career intelligence officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who now functions as President Barack Obama's Assistant for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism, has in two interactions on August 5 and 6,2009, unveiled the first details of what will be the counter-terrorism doctrine of the Obama Administration.
2. The first interaction on August 5,2009, was with a select group of Washington-based journalists. The second on August 6 was in the form of a presentation before the Centre For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington DC. Salient points from his presentation at the CSIS are given in Annexure I. His bio-data as carried by Wikipedia is at Annexure II.
3. The new policy as outlined by him will be a mix of hard and soft power, the professional and political options and treating terrorism as a threat and at the same time as a phenomenon, which requires a multi-dimensional approach. He was critical of attempts to make the entire foreign policy hostage to counter-terrorism. It will no more be a war on terror as projected by the previous administration of George Bush.Instead, it will be a campaign against terrorism.
4. The "Washington Post" of August 6,2009, has quoted him as saying during his interaction with the media: "It (counter-terrorism) needs to be much more than a kinetic effort, an intelligence, law enforcement effort. It has to be much more comprehensive,.This is not a 'war on terror.' . . . We cannot let the terror prism guide how we're going to interact and be involved in different parts of the world."
5. The message, which he has sought to convey through his two interactions is: Counter-terrorism will continue to be an important priority of the administration, but not an obsessive priority. One cannot ignore other issues requiring attention under the pretext of preoccupation with counter-terrorism.
6. Speaking on a day when there were unconfirmed reports from Pakistan that Baitullah Mehsud, the Amir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) might have been killed in a strike by an unmanned aircraft of the CIA in South Waziristan,Brennan has made it clear that the new doctrine will not mean the slowing down of the operations against Al Qaeda and other terrorists operating from the Af-Pak area. What he means is that while continued military operations are necessary, military operations alone cannot eradicate terrorism. There is and there ought to be a role for other components of counter-terrorism.
7. Comprehensive counter-terrorism combining all facets of national power----political, economic and military---- will be the policy from now onwards. The "Washington Post" has quoted him as saying: "We are not saying that poverty causes terrorism, or disenfranchisement causes terrorism, but we can't mistake there are certain phenomena that contribute to it.Terrorism needs to be fought against and certainly delegitimized or attacked, but some of the underlying grievances that might in fact lead individuals astray to terrorism cannot be ignored."
8. He also reportedly told the journalists: "It's important to maintain the offensive against what are clearly terrorist training facilities and camps, and we're working closely with the Afghanistan and Pakistan governments to root out these facilities.. At the same time, the use of lethal force must be very focused, and ensure that we are not incurring any type of collateral damage."
9. In his presentation at the CSIS, he deplored the use of the expression 'jihadi terrorism" and said:"Describing terrorists in this way—using a legitimate term, “jihad,” meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal—risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve. Worse, it risks reinforcing the idea that the United States is somehow at war with Islam itself. " However, he did not indicate how else to characterise the terrorism of Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations. Just terrorism? Without saying Islamic or jihadi terrorism? He was not clear, but that is probably what he meant.
10.Obama's detractors describe the new approach to counter-terrorism as the Jesuit approach. Will it succeed? Obama and Brennan want to give the new policy a try.
11.Ultimately, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
12.It needs to be noted that the remarks of Brennan and the new policy as outlined by him related to the campaign against Al Qaeda and other pro-Al Qaeda organisations. He avoided any detailed remarks on the campaign against the Taliban.(7-8-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India,New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Salient points from John Brennan's talk at the CSIS on August 6,2009, as collated from open sources
There is a need for “a new era of engagement with the world, including committing the United States to a new partnership with Muslims around the world—a partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.”
Keeping the American people safe is Obama’s most important responsibility. Other priorities include:Nonproliferation, food security,cybersecurity,repudiating torture and ending the Iraq war and “defeating al Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
“Tactics such as waterboarding were not in keeping with our values… and should not, and would not, happen again.”
The new policy would mean neither a “wholesale dismantling” of the Bush approach nor a “wholesale retention.” No “absolutist approach”nor “rigid ideology.” Obama’s views are “nuanced, not simplistic.”
Obama understands that preventing terrorists from slaughtering the innocent sometimes requires making very difficult decisions—deployment of military forces, authorization of sensitive intelligence activities, the handling and disposition of terrorists that we capture and detain; and the policies we make and the measures we take to protect our homeland.
Immediate “near-term” challenge is “destroying al-Qaeda and its allies."
Al Qaeda and its affiliates are under tremendous pressure. After years of U.S. counterterrorism operations, and in partnership with other nations, al Qaeda has been seriously damaged and forced to replace many of its top-tier leadership with less experienced and less capable individuals. It is being forced to work harder and harder to raise money, to move its operatives around the world, and to plan attacks.
Al Qaeda has safehaven in Pakistan’s tribal area, with its capabilities “leveraged” by allies in “the Arabian Peninsula, from East Africa to the Sahel and Maghreb regions of North Africa.”
“We have presented President Obama with a number of actions and initiatives against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.” Obama has encouraged his team “to be even more aggressive, even more proactive, and even more innovative, to seek out new ways and new opportunities for taking down these terrorists.”
"We are continuing to adapt and strengthen the intelligence community by expanding human intelligence; strengthening operations;enhancing the workforce with improved linguistic and cultural skills; filling intelligence gaps; improving collaboration across the intelligence community; and promoting greater coordination with foreign intelligence partners."
The long-term challenge: “the threat of violent extremism generally, including the political, economic, and social factors that help put so many individuals on the path to violence.”
"Rather than looking at allies and other nations through the narrow prism of terrorism—whether they are with us or against us—the administration is now engaging other countries and peoples across a broader range of areas. Rather than treating so many of our foreign affairs programs—foreign assistance, development, democracy promotion—as simply extensions of the fight against terrorists, we will do these things—promote economic growth, good governance, transparency and accountability—because they serve our common interests and common security; not just in regions gripped by violent extremism, but around the world."
"Why should a great and powerful nation like the United States allow its relationship with more than a billion Muslims around the world be defined by the narrow hatred and nihilistic actions of an exceptionally small minority of Muslims? After all, this is precisely what Osama bin Laden intended with the Sept. 11 attacks: to use al Qaeda to foment a clash of civilizations in which the United States and Islam are seen as distinct identities that are in conflict."
No more “war on terrorism.” It would focus on tactics & confusing ends and means. Self-defeating because you can’t win a war on a tactic.Similarly, no talk of a “global war” which “plays into the warped narrative that al Qaeda propagates. It plays into the misleading and dangerous notion that the U.S. is somehow in conflict with the rest of the world.” But global operations against al-Qaeda will continue.
"The counterinsurgency lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan apply equally to the broader fight against extremism: we cannot shoot ourselves out of this challenge. We can take out all the terrorists we want—their leadership and their foot soldiers. But if we fail to confront the broader political, economic, and social conditions in which extremists thrive, then there will always be another recruit in the pipeline,another attack coming downstream."
"It is people in these countries, not the United States, who ultimately will isolate these extremists: governments that provide for the basic security and needs of their people; strong and transparent institutions free from corruption; mainstream clerics and scholars who teach that Islam promotes peace, not extremism; and ordinary people who are ready to choose a future free from violence and fear. Still, the United States can and must play its part. For even as we condemn and oppose the illegitimate tactics used by terrorists, we need to acknowledge and address the legitimate needs and grievances of the ordinary people those terrorists claim to represent."
"The most effective long-term strategy for safeguarding the American people is one that promotes a future where a young man or woman never even considers joining an extremist group in the first place; where they reject out of hand the idea of picking up that gun or strappingon that suicide vest…”
There is a need for “negotiations to achieve the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security” .
“And at home, we know that we can rely on the extraordinary capabilities of the American people to be fully engaged in our shared effort to protect ourselves. We will not live our lives in fear, but rather in confidence, as we strengthen our ability to prevent attacks and reduce our vulnerabilities wherever they exist.”
JOHN BRENNAN'S BIO (From Wikipedia)
John O. Brennan is the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. An "Assistant to the President" is the highest rank that any White House staffer can hold. He was interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center immediately after its creation in 2004 through 2005, and since 2005 has served as CEO of The Analysis Corporation. He advised Obama on foreign policy and intelligence issues. Since 2007, Brennan has served as Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. It was assumed early on by some that Brennan would be appointed next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency by Obama. Brennan withdrew his name from consideration in November 2008, however, over concerns that his nomination would be a distraction, due to his previous associations with controversial harsh CIA interrogation techniques. Brennan's responsibilities as Deputy National Security Advisor include overseeing plans to protect the country from terrorism and respond to natural disasters.
CEO of The Analysis Corporation
Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA)
Interim director, National Counterterrorism Center
Director, Terrorist Threat Integration Center Deputy Executive Director,
CIA Chief of Staff to Director of Central Intelligence,
CIA Chief of Station, Middle East, CIA (1996 - 1999)
Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, CIA
Deputy Director, Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis, CIA
Daily Intelligence Briefer at the White House,
CIA Deputy Division Chief, Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis,
CIA Chief of Analysis, DCI's Counterterrorism Center,
CIA Middle East Specialist and Terrorism Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence,
CIA Political Officer, U.S. Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Department of State
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The police authorities of Melbourne charged before a local court on August 5,2009, four Muslims with "conspiring to commit an act in preparation or planning a terrorist act." The police alleged that the charged persons were planning to carry out an act of suicide terrorism on some barracks of the Australian Army located at a place called Holsworthy on the outskirts of Sydney. In addition to army units, the Holsworthy base, according to the Australian media. also houses an anti-extremism unit.
2.The names of the arrested and charged persons were given out as Nayef El Sayed, Saney Edow Aweys, Wissam Mahmoud Fattal and Yacqub Khayre. According to the police, a fifth suspect, who was already in custody in connection with some other offence, was also expected to be charged along with them. The arrested persons have been described as of Somali or Lebanese origin. Khayre has also been accused of travelling to Somalia to train and fight with the Al-Qaeda-inspired Al Shabab, which is fighting against the pro-government forces and controls large parts of Somalia.
3.Tony Negus, acting Chief Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, told the media: "The men's intention was to actually go into the army barracks and to kill as many soldiers as they could before they themselves were killed.Members of the group have been actively seeking a fatwa or religious ruling to justify a terror attack on Australia." A Victoria ( provincial ) police statement said that "police believe members of a Melbourne-based group have been undertaking planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Australia and are allegedly involved in hostilities in Somalia.' Peter Dein, the counter-terrorism chief of the New South Wales Police, said that the planning was probably getting to the point where the act of terrorism would have happened within weeks.
4.There are about 16,000 residents---many of them Australian citizens--- of Somali origin in Melbourne. Many of them came as refugees after civil strife broke out in Somalia in 1991. These Somalis belong to different Somali clans including the two principal Daarood and Hawiye clans which have been fighting for the control of Somalia. Somalia's transitional federal government (TFG), which drew its support mainly from the Daarood clan, was overthrown in 2004 by a pro-Al Qaeda group called the Islamic Courts Union, consisting largely of members of the Hawiye clan. The ICU was defeated by the TFG in late 2006 with the help of US-backed forces from Ethiopia. The defeated remnants of the ICU, emulated the Afghan Taliban, and formed a new organisation called al-Shabab, which has been fighting for the control of the country with the support of Al Qaeda.
5. As stated in the Chapter titled " Global Jihadi Terrorism As Seen by Al Qaeda" in my book titled "Terrorism---Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" ( www.lancerpublishers.com) , Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 to Osama bin Laden in Al Qaeda, has been speaking of a global jihadi Intifada in which the Somali Muslims will play an important role. By jihadi Intifada he means a kind of a struggle in which the role of motivated individual Muslims will become more important than that of organisations so that the weakening or collapse of an organisation would not result in a collapse of the Intifada.
6. In a message of December 20,2006, he said: " Brothers in Islam and Jihad in Somalia, know that you are on the southern garrison of Islam,so don't allow Islam to be attacked from your flank......Know that you are fending off the same Crusade which is fighting your brothers in Islam in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon."
7. In Al Qaeda's portrayal, among the alleged Crusaders fighting against the Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan are the 1550 Australian troops in Afghanistan and Australian personnel helping the US in its campaign in Iraq. Thus, Australia is a legitimate target for acts of reprisal for its role in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as for its earlier alleged role in helping East Timor break away from the Islamic Ummah.The targeted attacks on Australians in Bali and Jakarta since 2002 by terrorists allegedly belonging to the Jemaah Islamiyah are justified as legitimate acts of reprisal.
8.While pro-Al Qaeda elements have been able to carry out acts of reprisal against Australian nationals and interests outside Australia in Indonesia, they have till now not succeeded in mounting any act of reprisal in Australian territory itself for want of support in the local Muslim population. The present arrests indicate that Al Qaeda has succeeded in motivating individual elements of Somali and Lebanese origin in Australia to join the jihad through acts of reprisal mounted in Australian territory. Just as the Pakistani supporters of Al Qaeda in the diaspora in the UK were recruited during their visits to their relatives in Pakistan, the arrested persons from the Somali community in Australia would appear to have been motivated and recruited during their home visits to Somalia.
9.The Somali Muslims have had a long history of contacts with Pakistani jihadi organisations. Pakistani jihadi elements, to escape arrest by the police, often take shelter in Yemen or Somalia. The Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) of Pakistan has been very active among the Somalis in Somalia itself as well as among the Somalis residing abroad. In the early 1990s, Somalia had banned the TJ as an extremist organisation. Despite this, by taking advantage of the civil strife in Somalia, it continues to be active. It has been bringing a number of Somalis to Pakistan for studying in the madrasas controlled by different jihadi organisations. According to Pakistani sources, the Tablighi Jamaat is the only Pakistani organisation, which has an organisational presence in Australia. The February 1998, issue of the "Newsline", a monthly of Pakistan, had quoted workers of the TJ as saying that the TJ had many offices in the US, Russia, the Central Asian Republics, South Africa, Australia and France. Its active presence in Somalia was utilised by Al Qaeda for years to motivate and recruit Somalis for the jihad. If its presence in Australia continues, it could similarly help Al Qaeda in motivating and recruiting from the Somali community in Australia.
10. Sections of the Australian media have been drawing attention for some months to indications of a radicalisation of some sections of the Somali community. This radicalisation was seen more as an echo of the civil strife in Somalia and not as an echo of what was happening in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The arrests made by the Melbourne Police indicate that the radicalisation in the Somali community in Australia is acquiring a pan-Islamic momentum instead of remaining a purely Somalian sectarian phenomenon as it was till now. Another point of concern to the Australian security agencies since September last has been any contacts between members of the Somali community in Australia and the Somali pirates. These concerns were the result of the spurt in acts of piracy by Somalis and unrelated to the activities of Al Qaeda. With the arrest of these persons allegedly planning an act of suicide terrorism in Australia, there will be new concerns about the likelihood of a nexus between Somali radicals and Somali pirates, each helping and keeping the other sustained.
11. The following articles of mine may be of interest:
(a).My article of 15-91999 titled "DAGESTAN: FOCUS ON PAKISTAN'S TABLIGHI JAMAAT" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers%5Cpaper80.html .
(b). My article of 13.11.2003 titled "JIHADI ANGER: After Italy, Australia?" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers9/paper838.html .
(c).My article of 28-12-2006 titled "SOMALIA: JIHADIS EMULATING TALIBAN'S TACTICS" athttp://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers21%5Cpaper2075.html .
(d). My article of 4-8-09 titled "Pro-Al Qaeda Elements Regrouping For Fresh Strikes" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers34/paper3329.html .
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi,and presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )