Friday, November 30, 2007




An audio message purported to be of Osama bin Laden on Afghanistan was disseminated through the Internet and the Al Jazeera TV channel of Qatar on November 29,2007.
2. The message, which is addressed to the European people, focuses on Afghanistan. In this message,he says that the decision to carry out the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US was his alone and that the Afghans had no role in it and were not even aware of the planned terrorist strikes in the US homeland. He, therefore, projects the invasion of Afghanistan by the US in retaliation for the 9/11 strikes as unjustified. He says in his message: "The truth, as I said before, is that the Manhattan events were in retaliation for the killing of our kinfolk in Palestine and Lebanon by the US-Israeli alliance and that I am responsible for them.I affirm that the Afghans - government and people - had no knowledge whatsoever of these events and America knows that."
3. Both bin Laden and his No.2 Ayman al-Zawahiri have issued many messages on Afghanistan since 2003 praising the jihad being waged by the Neo Taliban under the leadership of Mulla Mohammad Omar and the heroic role of the Pashtuns on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in this jihad. Hence, there is no significance in the fact that bin Laden's latest message focuses on Afghanistan. What is new and significant is the fact that whereas his earlier messages on Afghanistan were addressed to the Muslims of the world to express solidarity with the Neo Taliban, the latest message is addressed to the European people to exercise pressure on their Governments not to support the US in its war on the Afghan Government and people. It does not read like a message of intimidation or warning, but as a message of subversion to subvert the loyalty of the European people to the NATO alliance, which is supporting the US and the Afghan troops in Afghanistan.
4. The message gives rise to three questions: What is the significance of his addressing this message on Afghanistan to the European people at this time? Does it presage any terrorist strike planned in West Europe similar to the Madrid blasts of March,2004, and the London blasts of July, 2005, which were triggered off by anger over the involvement of the Spanish and British troops in Iraq? What should the US-led coalition do to counter it?
5. The significance of this message arises from the fact that Al Qaeda, the Neo Taliban and other pro-Al Qaeda organisations are concerned over the fact that while the policies of President George Bush on Iraq have come in for considerable criticism all over the Western world,including in the US itself, the people, the politicians and non-governmental opinion-makers in the Western world seem to understand the need for the so-called war under the US leadership against Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban in Afghanistan. Whereas many sections of the political class in the US have been very critical of the continued US involvement in Iraq and have been calling for a time-table for the US withdrawal from there, there has not been similar criticism of the continued US involvement in Afghanistan and a similar demand for a time-table for the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan. So is the case in most other Western countries. Public opinion in Western countries seems to accept by and large the need to defeat Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban in Afghanistan before the Western troops can be withdrawn from there.
6. However, there has been criticism in some sections of Canada and Germany of the continued involvement of their forces in Afghanistan. This has been sought to be exploited by Al Qaeda in its efforts to motivate the Muslims of these countries to wage their jihad in solidarity with the jihad in Afghanistan, in order to increase the pressure on the Governments of these countries to withdraw from Afghanistan. Last year, the Canadian authorities arrested a number of local Muslims not only of Pakistani origin, but also of Indian origin from the Carribean on a charge of conspiring to acquire ammonium nitrate for possible use in acts of terrorism in Canadian territory. Similarly, earlier this year, the German authorities detected a cell of local Muslims, who had allegedly been trained in the tribal belt of Pakistan by the Islamic Jihad Group, which is a splinter group of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Some of them were arrested, while some others absconded. The main motivating factor in both cases in Canada and Germany was anger over the involvement of the local Government troops in Afghanistan.
7. Al Qaeda itself does not seem to be in a position to organise an Afghanistan-related terrorist strike in Western Europe or Canada, but its supporters and sympathisers in the local Muslim communities can be exploited for this purpose. This seems to be the main objective of bin Laden's message on Afghanistan --- to use the local Muslims to step up pressure on the local population to demand a withdrawal from Afghanistan. The message is overtly addressed to the Europeans in general, but is also designed to covertly make ia impact on the Muslims living these countries.
8. There has been a significant increase in the PSYWAR material being disseminated by As-Sahab, the PSYWAR and propaganda wing of Al Qaeda. They are not being countered by the US presently in an effective manner----either proactively or even reactively. It is time to start a well thought-out counter-PSYWAR campaign. In response to the latest audio messge of bin Laden, the US-led coalition should immediately disseminate messages in Pashtun, Urdu and Arabic in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region that the operations in Afghanistan were not just in retaliation to the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US homeland, but in retaliation to the continued hospitality given to leaders of Al Qaeda and its associate organisations in the tribal territory. The counter-messages should project the objective of the operations as to neutralise Al Qaeda and appeal for the co-operation of the tribals in this operation by killing or helping in the capture of bin Laden and his associates so that the "war" could be ended early.
9. The Pashtuns have a strong sense of solidarity with their guests. They are unlikely to kill or deliver bin Laden and his supporters, whom they look upon as their honoured guests, in return for cash rewards, however large the amounts may be. They have to be convinced that these Arabs are damaging their interests and the good name of their tribal community. The issue should not be posed as one between good Muslims and bad Muslims but as one between the local sons of the soil and their foreign guests, who are misusing their hospitality and bringing a bad name to their community.. (1-12-07)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Wednesday, November 28, 2007



Certain areas in the suburbs of Paris, with a large immigrant Muslim community from North Africa, have been going through a wave of violence by sections of Muslim youth acting collectively against the Police since November 25,2007. The Muslim youth rioting in the streets are not acting in the name of any organisation. They are acting in the name of and on behalf of their community.
2. The current street violence, which resembles that of October,2005, has been---- as in the case of the violence of 2005-- spontaneous to start with, but orchestrated in its continuation. While the geographical spread has not yet been as wide as in October, 2005, the intensity of the violence has been as high as in 2005. There are two new factors in the current violence, which one did not notice in 2005. The 2005 violence was the work of mainly young Muslims born and brought up in the ill-developed suburbs. There was little involvement of elders, who had migrated from North Africa. This time one has been seeing a mix of home-grown Muslim youth and their elders, who had migrated to France, acting in unison. The second new factor is the readiness of the rioters to use firearms against the police. The fire-arms used so far have not been of a very lethal type and hence have not caused fatalities among the police, but a large number of policemen has reportedly been injured. Whereas the 2005 incidents were largely acts of vandalism focussing on destruction of property,this time the attacks have been on property as well as individuals.
3.The current violence started spontaneously after the death of two Muslim youth in a street of Villiers-le-Bel, a blue-collar town in Paris' northern suburbs. The Police were blamed for their death. The allegation of the local Muslim community was that the Police deliberately caused the death of the two Muslim boys, who were on a motor-bike, by ramming their patrol car against them and going away without stopping as the two Muslim boys lay dying on the road. The October 2005 violence erupted after the death due to electrocution of two Muslim boys, who were running away from a police party, which was checking the identity papers of passers-by.
4. There are increasing pockets of anger in the immigrant Muslim communities of West Europe----particularly in the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Denmark and France. But, the phenomenon of Muslim anger in France differs significantly from the phenomenon in the other countries. France did not support the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. But, as a member of the NATO, it has been involved in a limited way in the NATO's operations in Afghanistan. There is so far no evidence to show that its external policies have in any significant measure contributed to the anger of sections of its Muslim community.
5. The causes for the anger in France are more domestic---- unemployment, poverty, lack of respect for Islamic traditions and practices through measures such as banning the use of a head-cover by Muslim girls in Government-funded schools, alleged excesses of the police against the Muslim migrants etc. The anger in France tends to be collectively expressed through co-ordinated street violence by individual Muslims not known to be belonging to any known jihadi terrorist organisation. What one has been seeing in France is jihadi Intifada and not jihadi terrorism. At least, not yet.
6. In the other countries, the anger has been more due to external causes such as the support of the local Governments for the US in Iraq, involvement of their troops in the operations against Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban in Afghanistan etc. In those countries, the expression of anger has not been collective, but individual through the Jundullah phenomenon. This phenomenon refers to angry and self-motivated individual Muslim youth, who perceive themselves as Jundullah or Soldiers of Allah, taking to sporadic acts of suicide terrorism to give vent to their anger. Examples: the Madrid blasts of March,2004, the London blasts of July,2005, and the attempted blasts in London and Glasgow in June this year. Although conventional causes of anger such as poverty, unemployment, the perceived anti-Muslim attitude of the Police etc are prevalent in those countries too, these have not so far resulted in Intifada-like street violence.
7. While one does not see for now, the conscious influence of any organisation --- despite past suspicions of the involvement of the Hizbut Tehrir, which advocates AGITPROP methods and not terrorism--- the new outbreak of violence in France has come in the wake of Al Qaeda'as decision of last year to adopt a mix of strategies to achive its objective of a global Islamic Caliphate. The mix consists of terrorism and Intifada .
8.Since last year, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 to Osama bin Laden in Al Qaeda, has been appealing to the Muslims of the world to emulate the Intifada in Gaza in giving expression to their anger against their Governments.Zawahiri projects Intifada as a kind of 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 does not result in a collapse of the Intifada. He wants the Intifada to acquire a momentum of its own as a result of the sacrifices of individual Muslims. He said in his message of January 22, 2007: "Every Muslim today is directly responsible for defending Islam, Islam’s homeland and the Islamic Ummah."The importance of a central command and control in keeping the Intifada going is down-played. The motivation of individual Muslims is more important than any centralised command and control. He also projects the Intifada as a mix of military and non-military struggles. He said in his message of December 20, 2006: "We must bear arms. And if we are unable to bear them, then we must support those who carry them. This support comes in many forms and guises, so we must exploit all Da’wah, student and union activities to back the Jihadi resistance....... The Muslim Ummah must exploit all methods of popular protest, like demonstrations, sit-ins, strikes, refusing to pay taxes, preventing cooperation with the security forces, refusing to provide the Crusaders with fuel, hitting traders who supply the Crusader forces, boycotting Crusader and Jewish products, and other ways of popular protest."
9.One has been seeing this mix in operation in West Europe---Intifada in France and jihadi terrorism in other countries. Al Qaeda looks upon Algeria, Morocco, Spain, Portugal and France as constituting the Western garrison of the Ummah and Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as the Southern garrison. Both the garrisons are encouraged to act in unison, with the Muslim communities in each country using methods appropriate to local conditions. (29-11-07)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gen.Pervez Musharraf has at long last become Gen.(retd) Pervez Musharraf , a little more than nine years after Mr.Nawaz Sharif, the then Pakistani Prime Minister, appointed him as the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in October,1998,after sperseding two Lt.Gens who were senior to him. They had reportedly better record as professionals, but had the reputation of not being amenable to political pressure. Nawaz thought that Musharraf would be more submissive as the chief than the two officers senior to him and hence made him the chief.
2. In doing so, he committed the same mistake as the late Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, as the Prime Minister, did in 1976, when he appointed Zia-ul-Haq as the COAS after superseding two Lt.Gens. senior to him, who had the reputation of being independent and assertive. Shortly after Zia took over as the Chief, the Shah of Iran had visited Pakistan. While introducing Zia to the Shah, the flamboyant Bhutto was reported to have remarked: "Meet my new Army Chief. He is totally loyal to me. If I ask him to stand, he will stand. If I ask him to sit, he will sit. If I ask him to salute, he will salute. With him as the chief, the Army is in safe hands." Zia gave Bhutto one of his sheepish grins and saluted him.In 1977, he overthrew Bhutto and sent him to the gallows in 1979 tied to his cot
3. Nawaz too thought that Musharraf would be totally loyal to him and that with him as the chief, he would not have to fear any threat to his position from the Army. He was proved wrong just as Bhutto was . Musharraf had him overthrown in October 1999, and sent on long exile to Saudi Arabia after having got him convicted by a rubber stamp court as a terrorist and a hijacker under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
4. As Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani (his name is spelt as Kiyani as well as Kayani) starts functioning as the COAS, Musharraf must be wondering whether Kiyani could one day do to him what he himself did to Nawaz and what Zia, his mentor, did to Bhutto.
5. In the early 1990s, when Mrs.Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister for a second time, the "Economist" of London had described Pakistan as the land of Aurangazebs. Its children are taught in schools that Aurangazeb was the greatest ruler the Indian sub-continent had ever produced in its history. There is an Aurangazeb lurking inside every Pakistani ruler----political or military. Is there an Aurangazeb lurking inside Kiyani, who may one day stab Musharraf in the back?
6. That fear is for the future. Today, Kiyani has the reputation of being totally loyal to Musharraf. That was why Musharraf selected him to succeed him as the chief. However, it must be said to the credit of Musharraf that he did not supersede any officers senior to Kiyani in order to promote him. He went purely by seniority and merit. Kiyani was on the top of the seniority list and had the reputation of being a professional to his finger tips. Moreover, he enjoyed the total confidence of the US, where had done some training courses, and was a well-known and well-liked figure in the corridors of the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
7. At a time when the so-called war against Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban has not been going well and when Osama bin Laden and his No.2 Ayman al-Zawahiri are proving to be as elusive as ever, Washington DC needs in Islamabad political and military leaders who would not be detrimental to the US agenda of preventing another 9/11 in the US homeland emanating from the tribal lands of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It has high hopes that, acting in tandem with Musharraf, Kiyani would deliver where Musharraf was not able to despite his supposedly best efforts. To give a cloak of political acceptability to the US agenda, it wants Benazir as a "duly elected" Prime Minister, who would provide political backing to the US agenda.
8. Will Kiyani be able to deliver if not bin Laden and Zawahiri at least others such as Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Neo Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, who is the de facto ruler of South Waziristan, and Maulana FM Radio Fazlullah,the de facto ruler of the Swat Valley?
9.Kiyani comes to office as the COAS with impeccable credentials. He has the distinction of being the first Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to be appointed as the COAS since Pakistan became independent in 1947.Ehsanul Haq was also the DG, ISI, before he became the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee. Kiyani is the son of a non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the Army.His humble background as the son of an NCO has endeared him to the junior ranks of the Army. At a time, when there are signs of some demoralisation in the junior ranks fighting against Al Qaeda and other jihadi organisations in the Pashtun belt, high hopes will be placed on him for reversing the process of demoralisation.
10. Kiyani is also a non-controversial officer, who had in the past not come to notice for any dubious association with the Taliban or Al Qaeda or any of Pakistan's fundamentalist organisations. He was liked by the political leaders, who were attracted by his unassuming nature and humble demeanour. A man of few words, he is quite a contrast to Musharraf, a braggart. His reputation as an apolitical officer went up during the recent controversy over Musharraf's suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury of the Pakistan Supreme Court. Knowledgeable sources said that at the meeting held at Musharraf's office in March,2007, at which the decision to suspend him was taken, Kiyani was the only person, who kept quiet and did not utter a word either in support of Musharraf's decision or in criticism of the Chief Justice. It was also reported that he kept the ISI out of this unsavoury controversy and that it was the Directorate-General of Military Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau, which played the leading role in the campaign to denigrate the former Chief Justice, which ultimately boomeranged on Musharraf.
11. Kiyani, who joined the Pakistan Army in 1970, started his career in the Baloch Regiment as an infantryman. He did not come to public notice till Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, during her first tenure as the Prime Minister (1988-90), chose him as her Deputy Military Secretary. The two have since maintained their personal friendship despite the ups and downs in her political career.
12. Kiyani is believed to have a wide network of contacts in the US Armed Forces, but he really attracted the attention of the US' political and military leadership at the time of the Indo-Pakistan military confrontation in 2002 after the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. He was the Director-General, Military Operations (DGMO), at that time and the US was reportedly impressed by the cool manner in which he handled the crisis.
13. In September 2003, he was appointed the Corps Commander of the X Corps at Rawalpindi. It was the X Corps that had launched the coup of October 1999 which brought Musharraf to power. No military coup in Pakistan could be successful without the X Corps being in the forefront of the coup. All military chiefs chose their most trusted officer to head it. The fact that Musharraf chose him for this key post spoke of his confidence in him as a trustworthy officer, who would do his bidding.
14.As Corps Commander, Musharraf made him responsible for co-ordinating the investigation into the two attempts to assassinate him in Rawalpindi in December,2003. Apart from identifying some of the jihadi terrorists responsible for the attempts, Kiyani also managed to establish the involvement of some junior officers of the Army and the Air Force in the attempts and had them arrested.
15. In October next year, he was appointed the DG of the ISI and once again impressed the US by his success in having Abu Faraj al-Libbi, an al Al Qaeda operative allegedly involved in the attempts to assassinate Musharraf, arrested in the tribal belt. He was immediately handed over to the US without properly interrogating him in connection with the attempts to kill Musharraf. Many Pakistani sources, however, have not accepted the claim of the ISI and that of the US that Abu Faraj was the No.3 of Al Qaeda and had masterminded the attempts to kill Musharraf. Subsequent evidence has not proved their claims.
16. Even though Kiyani was projected as a highly successful DG of the ISI, facts speak otherwise. It was during his tenure as the DG of the ISI that the Neo Taliban staged a come-back with a bang, the Pakistan Army practically lost control over the Pashtun belt and Al Qaeda established its sanctuaries in Pakistani territory.
17. The US has strongly backed his elevation as the COAS because of his known loyalty to Musharraf, his friendship with Benazir Bhutto and its hopes that he would improve the morale of the Army and vigorously pursue Al Qaeda & co. Its hopes in him may ultimately be belied just as its hopes in Musharraf were. The US has never been a good judge of Pakistanis and particularly of Pakistani Army officers. Will it be different this time? Let us wait and see.
18. Since he took over as the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff on October 8,2007,Kiyani has been co-ordinating the military operations to re-establish the writ of the Government over the Swat Valley. He has not been very successful so far. The tribals of the Swat Valley, ably led by Maulana Fazlullah and backed by Al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Neo Taliban and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) have been putting up a stiff fight against the Pakistani Army, despite its use of helicopter gunships and heavy artillery. Kiyani's policy of over-relying on helicopter gunships and heavy artillery and avoiding ground confrontations has already come in for criticism in Pakistani military circles. Faced with this criticism, he has only now sent his troops to engage the terrorists in ground confrontations. Kiyani has promised that he would eject the terrorists from the Swat Valley before the elections and re-establish the writ of the state. If he does not succeed, his reputation as the COAS could take a beating.
19. Till the elections in the beginning of January next, Musharraf is expected to handle the political management of the country and Kiyani the operational management and the fight against terrorism. A new Prime Minister would join the Government after the elections constituting a triumvirate. Who will be the Prime Minister? Benazir, who is preferred by the US, but intensely disliked by many Corps Commanders because of her confrontational style? Nawaz or his brother Shahbaz Sharif, who have many friends among the Punjabi Corps Commanders despite Nawaz's confrontation with the Army in October,1999,but are distrusted by Musharraf and the US? Shujjat Hussain or someone else from the rubber-stamp Pakistan Muslim Leaague (Qaide Azam), who were the creations of Musharraf and will remain his poodles as they were during Musharraf's first tenure as the President?
20. Whoever joins the triumvirate after the elections, power will be shared unequally with Musharraf as the President, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the Chairman of the National Security Council (NSC) retaining the bulk of it in his hands. There are elements of potential conflict and instability. Musharraf can assume special powers as he did after imposing the Emergency on November 3,2007, but only Kiyani as the COAS can help him enforce his powers. Otherwise, they will remain only on paper. Till now, Musharraf assumed the special powers as the President and had them enforced as the COAS. With the second hat gone, he will have to depend on Kiyani to keep his teeth biting sharp.
21.Even if they do very well in the elections, neither Benazir nor Nawaz can become the Prime Minister unless Musharraf issues an ordinance removing the present ban imposed by the previous National Assembly on anyone holding office as the Prime Minister for more than two terms. Will he oblige them?
22.Kiyani, as the COAS, will have under him over 30 Lt.Gens., who owed their rise to this position to Musharraf. Will they transfer their total loyalty to Kiyani or will they have divided loyalty? Will Musharraf resist the temptation to encourage them to look up to him for favours and orders thereby reducing Kiyani to a figure-head COAS? Will he give Kiyani a free hand in running the Army by not interfering with his powers of promotion and postings of senior officers?
23.The future course of events in Pakistan in 2008 would depend on the answers to these questions.Even after shedding his uniform, Musharraf will be on paper one of the most powerful Presidents Pakistan has had. He has seen to that by repeatedly fiddling with the Constitution and the laws of the land. But he may find himself reduced to a paper tiger if Kiyani asserts himself and insists on playing his due role as the COAS.
24. As the dramatis personae in Islamabad play out the drama, there is a man up there in the tribal north waiting and watching, hoping that Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal would ultimately fall into his hands. His name is Osama bin Laden. He wears no hats and is not part of the triumvirate, but his threatening shadow will continue to hover Pakistan till Al Qaeda is defeated and neutralised. That is not for tomorrow. (28-11-07)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )


(Talk delivered at a Seminar on “National Security and Armed Forces Command Structure” organized by the Forum For Strategic and Security Studies, New Delhi, at the India International Centre, New Delhi on October 16,2007)

The evolution of the Indian intelligence community since 1947 has been on the basis of periodic reviews of or enquiries into perceived intelligence failures. After the Sino-Indian war of 1962, a review of the performance of the IB led to the creation of the Directorate-General of Security (DGS).

2. After the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 and the Mizo revolt of 1966, a review of the performance of the IB led to the decision to divest the IB of the responsibility for the collection of external intelligence and to create the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) by bifurcating the IB for this purpose. The DGS, which was previously under the charge of the Director, Intelligence Bureau (DIB), was transferred to the charge of Secretary (R ), as the head of the R&AW is known.

3. A review of the performance of the intelligence community before and during the 1999 Kargil conflict by a Special Task Force, headed by Shri G.C.Saxena, former head of the R&AW, led to the creation of the Defence Intelligence Agency as a nodal point for the analysis of all military intelligence, whether collected by the civilian or military intelligence agencies. The idea was that it would work under the supervision of the proposed Chief of the Defence Staff. Since the recommendation by another Task Force for the creation of this post has not yet been implemented, one understands that the DIA now functions under the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff.

4. The review by the Task Force headed by Shri Saxena also led to the creation of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), to focus on the collection of technical intelligence (TECHINT). The Task Force was of the view that the NTRO should handle all future investments in manpower and equipment and future collection efforts and that the existing capabilities of the IB, the R&AW, the DGS and the military intelligence agencies should not be affected, since their existing capabilities played an important role in counter-terrorism. The Task Force was also of the view that the new agency should focus on cyber intelligence and cyber counter-intelligence for which at that time (in 2000), there was no significant capability in the existing intelligence agencies.

5. One understands that this recommendation was modified during implementation. Instead of letting the R&AW and the DGS maintain their existing capabilities, there was a bifurcation of these capabilities in order to transfer some of them to the NTRO. Instead of undertaking a crash programme for the development of a capability for cyber intelligence and cyber counter-intelligence, it started performing some of the tasks, which were already being performed by the R&AW and the DGS. The obvious result: An emaciated DGS and a weakening of our capabilities for the collection of TECHINT regarding China and terrorism. Instead of creating capabilities, which did not exist before 2000, there was a highly disputed partition of the existing intelligence assets.

6. These were crisis-driven reviews undertaken after perceived intelligence failures in order to identify deficiencies and act to remove them. Since 1947, India has never had a need-driven review of our intelligence assets and capabilities. A crisis-driven review is retrospective in nature. It looks into the past--- what went wrong, why and how to prevent its recurrence? A need-driven review is prospective in nature. It looks into the likely needs of the future and creates assets and capabilities to be able to meet those needs as and when they arise.

7. In other countries such as the US, one has crisis-driven reviews as well as need-driven reviews. A need-driven review is undertaken every time a new President or Prime Minister takes office. Unless one has a clear idea of the likely future intelligence needs in the short, medium and long-terms, one cannot build up human and other resources, which would be in a position to meet those needs. It is high time we have a need-based review of our intelligence assets and capabilities and make such reviews a regular feature whenever a new Prime Minister takes over. Reviews of performance and capabilities should not wait for disasters and crises before they are undertaken.

8. Intelligence priorities have undergone considerable changes during the last decade. In the past, the highest priority was to the collection of intelligence about State actors, particularly about State adversaries. Now, enhanced priority is given to the collection of intelligence about non-State adversaries such as terrorist organizations, trans-national crime mafias, narcotics smugglers, money-launderers etc. Intelligence agencies all over the world have been facing difficulty in upgrading their capabilities for the collection of intelligence about non-State adversaries.

9. The ability to collect intelligence----whether about a State or a non-State adversary----depends on one’s ability to penetrate. It is easier to penetrate a State than a non-State actor. The conventional tradecraft and techniques of intelligence collection, which served us well for penetrating a State actor, are not adequate for the penetration of a non-State actor. The state of our intelligence agencies and the way they have evolved over the years have not paid attention to the requirements of this transition. As the non-State actors become more and more unconventional in their reflexes and responses, the intelligence agencies responsible for monitoring and countering them cannot continue to be conventional in their reflexes and responses.

10. The IB has evolved into a hotch-potch agency handling collection of intelligence relating to law and order and internal security, performance of physical security and immigration control tasks, counter-intelligence and networking with the police and intelligence set-ups of different States.

11. The R&AW too has evolved into a hotch-potch agency handling collection of external intelligence relating to State as well as non-State adversaries and networking with foreign intelligence agencies. At a time when terrorism has become global in dimension and reach, the R&AW’s counter-terrorism capabilities are hardly global. At a time when the global terrorists are fast mastering the use of the Internet, mobile telephones and other scientific gadgets, the R&AW is yet to acquire a similar mastery of net-centric counter-terrorism and the use of advances in science and technology in counter-terrorism.

12. The dangers of conventional wars with State adversaries have not disappeared. The Indian State is better prepared and better endowed today than it was in the past to counter State adversaries, but its ability to counter non-State adversaries and their unconventional wars is inadequate as seen from the spread of ideological terrorism across the tribal belt in Central India and the unextinguished prairie fire of jihadi terrorism across India as a whole. Successes we have had in our fight against pan-Islamic jihadi terrorism with trans-national linkages, but the successes have not yet been significant enough to dent their strength and motivation.

13. The threats to our internal security from non-State actors will keep us preoccupied in the short and medium terms. These threats have acquired new dimensions in the form of threats to maritime trade and coastal establishments, energy security and critical infrastructure and terrorism involving the likely use of weapons of mass destruction material. If the intelligence agencies have to play their due role in effectively preventing these threats from materializing, they have to develop new tradecraft and new techniques for the penetration of non-State actors through human and technical moles for the collection of intelligence. This is a specialized and full-time task which neither the IB nor the R&AW, as they are constituted today, would be able to perform adequately. We have to set up a new agency focusing on the collection of intelligence about non-State actors through human and technical penetration. It should have the powers to operate everywhere----inside India or in the neighbouring countries or elsewhere---from where threats to our internal security from non-State actors could arise. It has to have a mix of civilian and military experts, and scientific and technical personnel. Since collection of cyber intelligence to facilitate net-centric counter-terrorism would be one of its essential tasks, it should also tap the private IT sector for assistance and co-operation.

14. So long as our disputes and differences with Pakistan and China remain, we have to maintain a strong intelligence capability ----human as well as technical--- with regard to likely threats from them. How to maintain and further develop the existing capabilities with regard to State adversaries, while creating new capabilities with regard to non-State actors? That should be the question before our national security managers. The R&AW and the military intelligence Directorates-General would continue to be the driving force for this purpose. The time has come to have a second look at the present policy of the R&AW claiming a monopoly in the field of external intelligence and discouraging any enhanced role for the military-intelligence Directorates-General in this regard. The days of the intelligence Empire have to go. The intelligence empire has to be replaced by the intelligence community working jointly in the national interest.

15. Our capability with regard to Pakistan is good, but not good enough as one saw in 1999. Our capability with regard to China is better than it was in 1962, but is not as good as China’s capability with regard to India. In promoting a policy of renewed friendship and d├ętente with India, China has not downsized the India-centric capabilities, which it had built up in the days of its confrontation with India. On the contrary, it has continued to strengthen them. India, on the other hand, has allowed the good vibrations with regard to the improving relations with China to induce once again a feeling of complacency and somnolence. Nothing illustrates this more dramatically than the way we have allowed, since 2000, a gradual attrition of the China-dedicated capabilities of the DGS.

16. Counter-intelligence continues to be a weak point in our intelligence set-up. The regularity with which penetrations take place in sensitive departments and intelligence agencies is a disturbing testimony to this. A review and revamping of our counter-intelligence capabilities is an urgent need of the hour.

17. Concepts regarding intelligence management have been changing rapidly across the world just as concepts regarding national security management, defence management, economic management and business management have been changing. These concepts relate to factors such as open vs secret intelligence, operations vs analysis, secrecy in operational matters vs transparency in administrative matters, accountability to the parliament and the public vs safeguarding the needs of operational secrecy.

18. Unfortunately, the winds of change sweeping across the intelligence communities of other countries have left us untouched so far. Indian intelligence agencies continue to lead the life of a frog in the well. Many questions, which should have been posed years ago, still remain to be posed: Should it be made clear to the intelligence agencies and their officers that their performance would be judged by the quantum and value of the secret intelligence provided by them and that they need not report open information? Should the annual audit reports of the accounts of the intelligence agencies by the officers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India with their objections and actions taken thereon be made available to the Estimates and Public Accounts Committees of the Parliament? Should there be a dedicated intelligence oversight committee of the parliament to look into aspects such as the quality of the human resources in our intelligence community, the methods of their recruitment and training, promotion policies, the value of the produce from the consumers’ point of view and its cost effectiveness? How to meet the need for a constant weeding-out of unsuitable officers ? We should show the courage and readiness to pose these questions and find answers suited to our needs instead of aping the rest of the world.

19. In India, there is hardly any understanding outside the intelligence community of the way the intelligence agencies ought to function and the way they actually function. The intelligence agencies prefer it that way. The agencies try to create an impression as if intelligence is a highly esoteric profession, which non-professionals would not be able to understand. They should, therefore, keep out of it. This attitude has to change.

20. What our policy-makers have been doing till now is not revamping our intelligence capabilities, but fiddling with them. The fiddling has to stop and genuine revamping has to start. (16-10-07)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )


Bio-data of B.Raman
Born on 14-8-1936; Graduated in Chemistry from the Loyola College, University of Madras in 1955. Studied journalism in the Department of Journalism of the University of Madras in 1956-57. Joined the southern editions of the “Indian Express” as Sub-Editor in 1957.
Appeared for the All-India and Central Services competitive examinations of the Govt. of India in 1960 and got through. Joined the Indian Police Service in 1961 and allotted to Madhya Pradesh.
Joined the Government of India in New Delhi on deputation in 1967. Served in the Ministry of Home Affairs as an internal intelligence analyst in 1967-68. Moved over to the Cabinet Secretariat as an external intelligence analyst in September 1968; resigned from the Indian Police Service in 1984 after being permanently absorbed in the Cabinet Secretariat; and retired as Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, on August 31,1994. Was the head of the Counter-terrorism division of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s external intelligence agency, from 1988 to 1994.
Have since settled down in Chennai (Madras).Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai, since October,1994.
Was Convenor, Chennai Chapter, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) from December,2002 to November 14,2005 and Distinguished Fellow in charge of the International Terrorism Watch Programme of the ORF between December 12,2003, and November 14,2005. Was a Member of the Central Advisory Committee, ORF, New Delhi.
Was a member of the Special Task Force on the revamping of the intelligence apparatus of the Govt. of India in 2000 and served as a member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) of the Govt. of India from July,2000 to December,2002.
Write regularly on subjects of topical interest having a bearing on national security and terrorism in many Indian newspapers and journals and current affairs web sites as well as for Asia Times, Hong Kong. Regular columnist to the “Indian Defence Review” of New Delhi and serve on its board of honorary editorial consultants. Associated with the South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG),New Delhi, since October,1998. All my articles appear at the web site of the SAAG at and the “Outlook” online edition at . Write occasionally for Often interviewed on terrorism on English (24 * 7 , Sahara TV, AAj Tak and Door Darshan) and Tamil (Sun TV and Jaya TV) TV channels and on the Hindi programme of BBC radio.
Attended in November,1997, the Manila Forum jointly organised by the ASEAN and the European Union and was a member of its working group on Cultural Diversity and Regional Peace.
Have attended a number of seminars on terrorism in India and abroad. Represented India on the Working Group on Terrorism and Transnational Crime of the Council on Security Co-operation Asia-Pacific (CSCAP). Attended meetings of the Working Group at Kuala Lumpur (Feb,2002), Shanghai (May,2002),and Bangkok (November,2002). Attended a Workshop on Terrorism of the ASEAN Regional Forum at Vientiane in March,2003.
Invited by the Panel on Terrorism of the US House Armed Services Committee to testify in June,2002. Invited to speak on terrorism at the University of California, LA, (Feb,2002), Rice University, Houston (Feb.2002), Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore (March, 2002), Atlanta University, Athens, USA, (November,2002), and Boston University, USA, (November,2002).Was invited on a lecture tour of the USA again from July 10 to 28,2003. Attended a seminar on terrorism organised by the Regional Centre For Strategic Studies, Colombo, in July,2003.
Was invited to attend the Jerusalem “summit” on “Building Peace On Truth” from October 12 to 14, 2003, organised by the Michael Cherney Foundation, the National Unity Coalition for Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism and the Jerusalem Municipality.
Was invited by the House International Relations Committee of the US Congress to testify on cross-border terrorist challenges facing India and their implications for US counter-terrorism policy at a joint hearing of its sub-committees on Asia and the Pacific and on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Human Rights held at Washington DC on October 29,2003.
Attended the third India-China-Russia Non-Governmental Trialogue on Security-related issues at New Delhi on November 6 and 7,2003, at the invitation of the Indian Institute For Chinese Studies, New Delhi, and spoke on co-operation in counter-terrorism. Attended its fourth trialogue at Moscow on September 1 and 2,2004, and spoke on terrorism.
Was invited to speak on “Non-Military Approaches to Terrorism—the Indian Model” at the General Conference of the Council on Security Co-operation Asia & Pacific (CSCAP) held at Jakarta from December 7 to 9, 2003.
Attended an ORF—Rand Corporation strategic dialogue at New Delhi on December 10 and 11,2003, and led the discussion on terrorism.
Participated in a round table on “Iraq and the War on Terrorism” organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi, at New Delhi on December 16,2003.
Attended the Indo-US Workshop on the Use of Science & Technology in dealing with Terrorism held at Goa from January 12 to 15,2004 under the joint auspices of the National Institute for Advance Studies (NIAS), Bangalore, India, and the US Academy of Sciences and acted as one of the discussants.
Participated in a joint symposium organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi, and the American and the Australian Jewish Committees(AJC) at New Delhi on February 3,2004, and presented a paper on Global Counter-Terrorism and the Role of Democracies.
Was invited to speak on co-operation against international terrorism at an Indo-Israeli-US conference on Strategic Co-operation held at Herzliya, Israel, on February 16 and 17,2004, under the joint auspices of the Jewish Institute For National Security Affairs (JINSA) of Washington DC and the Institute For Counter-terrorism Policy of Herzliya.
Participated in a round table on “Changing Trends in S.E.Asia” organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi, at New Delhi, on March 10,2004.
Spoke on Indo-US Co-operation in Counter-Terrorism at the conference on Indo-US Strategic Co-operation held on April 1 and 2,2004, at the Sigur Centre For Asian Studies of the George Washington University, Washington DC, USA.
Organised an International Workshop on International Terrorism in S.E.Asia and its Implications For South Asia on behalf of the ORF at New Delhi on April 28 and 29,2004.
Spoke on “Terrorism in S.E.Asia” at a seminar on S.E.Asia organised by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study at New Delhi on May 3,2004.
Spoke on May 30,1994, on the War On Narcotics at the annual dinner of the Rainbow Foundation, Colombo, a prestigious non-governmental organisation of Sri Lanka which holds a contributory dinner on May 30 of every year and contributes the proceeds to organisations which are active in the field of anti-narcotics.
Participated in a regional conference organised by the UN Foundation and the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies of New Delhi at New Delhi from July 1 to 3,2004, and spoke on Effective Action Against Terrorism. The conference was meant to make recommendations to the High Power UN Panel on ‘New Threats to Security’ set up by Mr.Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General.
Presented a paper on “Muslim Separatism in India” at a conference on “Ethnic Minorities And Great Power Strategies in Asia” organised by the Asia-Pacific Centre For Security Studies, Honolulu, from October 12 to 14,2004.
Presented a paper on “Maritime Terrorism---An Indian Perspective” at a conference on National Security in a Changing Region organised by the Asia Pacific Conferences & Event Management of Singapore at Singapore on October 28 and 29,2004.
Organised three Workshops in October-November,2004, under the International Terrorism Watch Project of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF)--- on “the Recent Intelligence Failures in the USA, the UK and Russia and Their Lessons for India” in October,2004; “The North-East: the Problems & the Options” in November,2004; and “Maritime Counter-Terrorism” in ovember,2004.The first two were national Workshops attended by experts from India and the third was an international Workshop attended by experts from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, the USA and the International Maritime Bureau, London.
Organised a Workshop on Naxalite (Maoist) Violence in India at Chennai on January 28 and 29,2005.
Represented India at the International Summit on Terrorism, Democracy and Security held at Madrid from March 8 to 10, 2005. The summit had been jointly organised by the Club of Madrid, the Governments of Spain and Norway and the Municipality of Madrid.
Attended a seminar on terrorism organised by the Directorate of Net Assessment of the office of the Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff at New Delhi on March 22 and 23,2005, and spoke on Future Terrorism.
Attended a conference on Indo-US Security Co-operation organised by the Indiana University Bloomington,US, from April 21 to 23,2005, and spoke on Indo-US Co-operation in Counter-Terrorism.
A member of the Study Group on the Root Causes of International Terrorism set up by the Council on Security Co-operation Asia Pacific (CSCAP) and attended its first meeting at Bangkok on April 26 and 27,2005, and its second and final meeting at Kuala Lumpur on August 9 and 10,2005..
Was invited to address the plenary session of the Fifth International Conference on the Global Impact of Terrorism organised by the Institute of Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Herzliya, Israel, from Sept. 11 to 14,2005, on “International Terrorism: An Indian Perspective”. Was also a member of its Panels on Aviation Terrorism, State Involvement in Terrorism and the Implications of the London Explosions.
Attended a conference on terrorism jointly organised by the Islamic State University of Jakarta and the Institute of Defence Analysis (IDA) of Washington DC, which was held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 19 to 21,2005, and presented a paper on “From Internet to Islamnet: Net-centric Counter-terrorism”
Attended a conference on “Asia and Global Security” organised by the Orient Institute of the Lisbon University from November 14 to 16,2005, and presented a paper on “International Jihadi Terrorism And Europe: An Indian Perspective”.
Attended a Round Table on International Terrorism organised by the Globe Research of Rome at Rome on February 4 and 5,2006, and spoke on International Jihadi Terrorism in Central Asia.
Attended a conference on Terrorism organised by the Intelligence Summit of Washington DC at Washington DC from February 18 to 20,2006, and delivered a keynote address on ‘Progress in the War Against Terrorism: An Indian Perspective.”

Attended a conference on “Globalisation And Security” organized by the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies of Singapore at Singapore from March 14 to 16,2006, and spoke on “Impact of Globalisation on Threat Perceptions in South Asia.”
Attended a conference on International Homeland Security organized by the Royal United Services Institute, London, on May 10,2006, and spoke on the “Evolution of India’s Counter-Terrorism Capabilities”.
Spoke on “Al Qaeda in South Asia---Emerging Trends” at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, on May11,2006.
Attended a conference on South Asian Security organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, at Muscat, in collaboration with the Sultanate of Muscat from April 20 to 22,2007.
Participated in the 21st Asia-Pacific Round Table at Kuala Lumpur from June 4 to 7, 2007, and spoke on “The Campaign Against Terrorism”.
Visited the University of Sichuan, Chengdu, China, from August 26 to 31,2007, at the invitation of the Centre for West China-South Asia Studies for discussions on security for the Beijing Olympics of August,2008.
Participated in discussions on “Terrorism & Media” at a seminar in Kuala Lumpur from November 5 to 7,2007, organized under the auspices of the Institute For Defence Analysis of Washington DC.
Regularly deliver talks on terrorism, Pakistan, internal security etc at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, National Defence College, New Delhi, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Tamil Nadu, and the Army War College , Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.
Author of three books: “Intelligence---Past, Present And Future” and “ A Terrorist State As A Frontline Ally”, both published in 2001 by the Lancer Publications, New Delhi and “The Kaoboys of R&AW---Down Memory Lane” published by the same publishers on July 30,2007. Listed No.5 in the List of Best-sellers of Non-Fiction by “India Today”. Summary of reviews given below.Have written over 1000 articles since 1994. Presently writing my fourth book “Terrorism: Old & New, Today and Tomorrow”. Expect to complete it by December 31,2007. Likely publishers: Lancer Publications.
Founding member of the Chennai Centre For China Studies, which was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Madras on March 14,2007. Its web site is at

The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane Rs.795/-

"What is most interesting about this book, especially from the viewpoint of people who have an instinctive suspicion of intelligence agencies, is the openness with which the author discusses certain issues and the positions he takes on them." •- The Hindu

"It has an extremely good flow and is non-put-downable." •- U.S.I. Journal

“The book is replete with material that should force a re-assessment of the operations of intelligence services by our policy-makers and political leaders. Whether that will happen is difficult to tell. While many would like to see the deficiencies noted in the book disappear, still others would merely like to see them disappear from the public discourse. Raman's anguish, so evident in the book, appears partly the despair of one who holds very little hope that things will change, even while arguing that much is needed. ?" •- India Together

“It is a pity that we are yet to imbibe the culture of recording intelligence operations for posterity.” •-

“While the CIA was assisting R&AW against China, it was aiding Pakistan against India to ensure that where was no further division of Pakistan; R&AW was getting some cooperation from the French SDECE but it did not prevent the French from running a mole in India’s PMO; R&AW was working with the Soviet KGB and the Afghan KHAD and at the same time it had links with the Israeli Mossad. R&AW had a liaison with the Chinese MSS (Ministry of State Security) too.” •- Freedom First

"The book can appropriately be described as an insider's account of the functioning of the R & AW during 1968-1994...Raman’s book is a timely and valuable contribution which deserves the attention of decision makers at the high levels of the government ." •- Deccan Chronicle

"Three things make this book remarkable, candour and honesty, fair judgement, and moral courage...The book is a tribute to RN Kao, ...But it is much more than that. It is a mirror of how we excelled and faltered as a nation and the role played by the R&AW in it. And it is worth reading for this single reason." •- South Asia Analysis Group

“The book underlines the fact that an emerging power aspiring to take its place by 2020 among the leading powers of the world has to have an external intelligence agency with the ability "to see, hear, smell and feel far and near". Such an agency has to have the ability to operate imaginatively and daringly, analyse lucidly, anticipate unfailingly and manage unanticipated crises effectively.Above all the agency should have the courage to tell the truth as it needs to be told without worrying about the consequences.” •- The New Strait Times

"Flushed with a discretionary fund of some Rs 1,500 crore, RAW has been conferred spectacular operational freedom. But as former RAW operative B Raman has revealed in The Kaoboys of R&AW, most of these privileges have been flagrantly , sometimes criminally, misused." •-
Times of India

“Raman's book could not have come at a better time…Raman's book is candid in many respects. He says the R and AW has only partly fulfilled the purposes for which it was set up by Indira Gandhi and Kao.” •-

"...they have also printed it - gadzooks - on art paper! Ever heard of such a thing?" •- Business Standard

" A very honest book!" •-

" A stinging critique of India's most exclusive private club by an ex-high priest...Once you are able to look beyond the masala stuff that is de rigueur for any book by a spymaster, there is a very dark and daunting message. And its in black and white." •- Hindustan Times

Touching a raw nerve. •- The Tribune

The book conveys a sense of the Intelligence world as it really is mostly shades of gray, instead of black and white. •- Deccan Herald

B. Raman, a former R&AW spy, ... points out that one of R&AW’s major drawbacks has been “a lack of man management…especially in the later years, where R&AW should have been blended into a team, there’s a clear absence of an esprit de corps.’’ •- The Telegraph

There are two ways to look at this book. One is to pick up a few ‘scoopy’ details and highlight them, the other is to look at it as a textbook and learn from “memory lane” about intelligence collection and analysis and even covert operations. •-

"...insider account of the rot within are always a good read." •- Outlook

"Raman is fair to the legacy — he was himself a Kaoboy — and chronicles both the achievements and failures of RAW in a reasonably objective manner." •- DNA

In a new offering from India's premier publishing house on strategic affairs, B Raman, …pries open the black box with hard-hitting scrutiny… A treasure trove of unknown information and incidents that mark a much misunderstood and maligned agency, this book is a frank account… •- Asia Times Online

"Raman’s work is exceptional because for the first time we get an insider’s analysis of the success and failures of the secretive Indian external intelligence agency…Raman’s book, apart from being full of juicy stories will remain a textbook for those interested to study and understand the first years of India’s external intelligence agency." •-

"A startling glimpse into the working of India’s External Intelligence Agency." •- India Today

"B. Raman’s book on RAW is peppered with stunning, and sometimes amusing, anecdotes." •- The Indian Express

Author: B Raman
ISBN: 0-9796174-3-X
Pages: 304
Features: Size 6x9in

“O Allah, Pervez, his ministers, his 'Ulama and his soldiers have been hostile to your friends in Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially inWaziristan, Swat, Bajaur and Lal Masjid: O Allah, break their backs, split them up and destroy their unity; O Allah, afflict them with the loss oftheir dear ones as they have afflicted us with the loss of our dear ones; O Allah, we seek refuge in You from their evilness and we place Youat their throats; O Allah, make their plotting their destruction; O Allah, suffice for us against them with whatever You wish; O Allah, destroythem, for they cannot escape You; O Allah, count them, kill them, and leave not even one of them." -----From a recent prayer of Osama binLaden.
Osama bin Laden and his No.2, Ayman al-Zawahiri use periodic video and audio messages (pre-recorded) for motivating their followers, forgiving their perception of the state of the world and the global jihad and for carrying on PSYWAR against their perceived adversaries. Thesemessages are recorded in the tribal areas of Pakistan and then got disseminated through Al Jazeera TV channel of Qatar and through theInternet. Al Qaeda has established a separate propaganda wing called As-Sahab, under the supervision of an American convert to Islam, forhaving these messages recorded and disseminated. In addition to recording and disseminating the messages of Al Qaeda leaders, As Sahabhas also started recording and disseminating the messages of the commanders of the Neo Taliban since the beginning of 2007. During 2007,As Sahab disseminated about 90 video messages.
Zawahiri appears more frequently in these messages than bin Laden, who appears infrequently apparently for security reasons. He prefersaudio to video messages for the same security reasons. He observes long spells of silence.
Throughout the year 2005, bin Laden maintained a strange silence, giving rise to strong rumours of incapacity or death. Zawahiri was the most frequently heard and seen voice of Al Qaeda during this period. bin Laden broke his long silence on January 19,2006,with an audio message addressed to the American people in which he offered them a truce if the American troops were withdrawn from Iraqand Afghanistan and warned of another terrorist strike in the US homeland if his truce offer was rejected.
He subsequently came out with another audio message on April 23,2006, in which, for the first time since the formation of the IIF in 1998,he made direct references to India and the Kashmir issue and spoke of an alleged Crusader-Zionist-Hindu conspiracy against the Muslims.He made the first reference to " a Crusader-Zionist-Hindu war against the Muslims" while talking of the alleged Western conspiracy todeprive Indonesia of East Timor. It was not clear why he referred to India in connection with the separation of East Timor from Indonesia.He then said: “Meanwhile, a UN resolution passed more than half a century ago gave Muslim Kashmir the liberty of choosing independencefrom India. George Bush, the leader of the Crusaders' campaign, announced a few days ago that he will order his converted agent [Pakistan President Pervez] Musharraf to shut down the Kashmir mujahidin camps, thus affirming that it is a Zionist-Hindu war againstMuslims."
His reference was apparently to the remarks made by President Bush during his visit to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan from March 1 to4,2006. Mr. Bush had stated at Delhi that he would be taking up with Musharraf India's complaints that the jihadi terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory directed against India remained intact. bin Laden further added:"It is the duty for theUmma with all its categories, men, women and youths, to give away themselves, their money, experiences and all types of material support,enough to establish jihad particularly in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kashmir and Chechnya. Jihad today is an imperative for everyMuslim. The Umma will commit a sin if it did not provide adequate material support for jihad."
He also referred to the fighting in the Waziristan area of Pakistan between the Pakistani Army and the local inhabitants in the followingwords: " With respect to Pakistan, some Muslims have done a good job by assisting their fellow Muslims, God bless them, but the Pashtuntribes must be aided after the Pakistan army devastated their homes in Waziristan in order to satisfy the US."
This message was addressed to the Islamic world and not to the US and other Western countries. It did not repeat his earlier warning ofplans for another terrorist strike in the US. The message of April 23, 2006, seemed to have been triggered off by a concern over the lack ofany significant anger in the Islamic world over the suspension of Western assistance to the Hamas-led Government in the area under thecontrol of the Palestinian Authority and over the developments in the Darfur region of the Sudan and the plans to send an internationalpeace-keeping force there. He projected these developments as evidence of the continuing conspiracy by the Crusaders and the Zionistsagainst the Muslims.
His reference to the American opposition to the Hamas was a casual rhetoric, without any indication of any action to be taken by theMuslims in this connection. However, his references to the alleged American designs in the Sudan and to the need to counter the Crusaders'in southern and Western Sudan were more detailed and called for specific action such as storage of weapons for waging a jihad before therains started hindering transport in the interior. He said: " I am inviting the mujahidin and their supporters in the Sudan and other countriesaround, including the Arabian peninsula in particular, to prepare all that is needed for a long-term war against the Crusaders and thieves inwestern Sudan. Our objective is obvious, that is defending Islam, the people and the land but not Khartoum government since ourdifferences with them are so enormous, mostly when it backtracked in implementing the Sharia law and abandoned south Sudan. I urge themujahidin to get acquainted with Darfur state tribes and land and its surroundings, keeping in mind that the region is about to face the rainyseason that hampers means of transport. This is one of the reasons why the occupation was adjourned for six months. So it is imperative tospeed up action and benefit from the time factor by stocking a large amount of landmines and anti-armour grenades such as RPGs [rocketpropelled grenades]."
This message, which lacked focus, referred to the so-called conspiracies against the Muslims all over the world, but interestingly did notrefer to the opposition of the West to Iran's nuclear programme as another indicator of the Crusaders' conspiracy against Islam. It was silenton this subject.
Despite the re-emergence of the voice of bin Laden in the air waves, Zawahiri continues to dominate the propaganda war of Al Qaedadirected at the Ummah and the rest of the world. He does not miss a single important occasion for the Muslims to give expression to hisviews and to make tall claims regarding the successes being scored by the jihadis all over the world in general and in Iraq in particular.Security considerations do not inhibit him from using video recordings for propaganda purposes
Zawahiri has almost become the chatter-box of al Qaeda. The frequency of his messages and the rapidity of his responses to situationssuch as the failed US attempt to kill him through a Predator missile strike on January 13,2006, in the Bajaur agency area of Pakistan and hisuse of the Internet as well as al Jazeera for dissemination indicate his presence in an area with modern facilities for recording anddissemination and the availability of expert assistance to him. Where bin Laden is located does not seem to enjoy such advantages.
The chatter-box syndrome has started affecting Zawahiri. The more he speaks and the more virulent he is, the less the attention he gets inthe Islamic world. In fact, some commentators and analysts in the Islamic world have started referring to his messages with some sarcasmand taunting him for sitting in some well-protected area of Pakistan and claiming credit for the sacrifices made by the Iraqi resistance-fighters.
The messages of both bin Laden and Zawahiri have been increasingly critical of Musharraf for his perceived co-operation with the US.However, till July,2007, bin Laden was guarded in his criticism and avoided remarks which could have been interpreted as instigation of acoup against him or an attempt to have him assassinated. He has given up this caution after the Lal Masjid raid of July,2007, by thePakistani Army commandoes.Zawahiri's attacks on Musharraf have always been virulent and his appeals to the Pakistan Army and peopleto act against Musharraf instigatory.
This would indicate that till July,2007, bin Laden was probably still dependent on Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for his safety,but not Zawahiri. In fact, Zawahiri's instigatrory attacks on Musharraf started in 2003 after the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Thesehave since grown in virulence.
Zawahiri's references to India and the Hindus have been more virulent than those of bin Laden. Why so? One possible reason is he livesunder the protection of Pakistani jihadi organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), theHarkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad and his messages are increasingly influenced by their views on India and theHindus.
In a message of April 29,2006, Zawahiri said: "Musharraf is fighting Islam in Pakistan...threatens national security in Pakistan...has placed Pakistan's nuclear programme under American, therefore Jewish and Indian, control....He (Mr.Bush) gives a strongimpetus to the Indian nuclear programme, while doling out orders to Pakistan.Every soldier and officer in the Pakistani military should knowthat Musharraf is throwing them into the burner of civil war in return for the bribes he is getting from the United States."
Zawahiri urged the Pakistanis "to remove this traitor from power" and told soldiers to disobey the orders of their commanders "to killMuslims in Pakistan or Afghanistan"....."The West which claims to support democracy ... is encouraging Musharraf to stay in power by anymeans after he demonstrated his aptitude at killing Muslims," he said
The apparent aims of the renewed propaganda offensive of Al Qaeda since the beginning of 2006 were: • To project bin Laden as still in charge of Al Qaeda's jihad world-wide. • To project the jihadis as on their way to victory in Iraq. • To call for foreign volunteers to strengthen the operations of the Taliban in Afghanistan. • To project India and the Hindus as the third component of the alleged conspiracy against the Muslims.
However, this renewed PSYWAR offensive continued to be surprisingly muted on the US-led attempt to denuclearise Iran, which is notprojected as part of the conspiracy against Islam. Is Al Qaeda as concerned as the US and Israel over the prospects of a Shia atomic bomb?Possibly.
Al Jazeera TV channel disseminated on December 20,2006, extracts from a video recorded message of Zawahiri titled "The Realities of theConflict Between Islam and Unbelief." Though the unedited message did not say so, it read like a year-end review of the state of globaljihad by Zawahiri. Its special focus was on the situation in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, but it also touched upon other areassuch as Somalia, Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Algeria etc. It touched upon a number of events such as the raid on a madrasa inthe Bajaur agency of Pakistan on October 30, 2006, the US Congressional elections of November 5, 2006, and the talk of a fresh election inthe Palestinian territory.
From the point of view of India, a significant aspect was the absence of any critical reference to the Hindus and Hinduism and to India'srelations with the US. Previous comments in Al Qaeda propaganda that the global jihad was directed against the joint anti-Islam conspiracyof Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism did not find repetition. When it talked of the on-going global jihad against what it described as theCrusaders and the Jewish people, it referred to only Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chechnya and Somalia. It did not seem toproject the on-going jihadi terrorism in India, Southern Philippines, Indonesia and Southern Thailand as part of the global jihad against the Crusaders and the Jewish people. It seemed to look upon them as purely local jihadi phenomena unconnected with what it projected as theglobal crusade against Islam and the Ummah.
It cautioned against any tendency on the part of the Muslims to regard what was going on in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chechnya and Somalia as separate conflicts unconnected with each other. It projected them as intrinsic parts of the global Crusade againstIslam and, therefore, stresseed the need for the Muslims all over the world to join hands to defeat this Crusade. It stressed the importanceof the armed as well as the unarmed components of the jihad against the so-called Crusaders and Zionists.
While talking of the unarmed components of the jihad, it said: “The Muslim Ummah must exploit all methods of popular protest, likedemonstrations, sit-ins, strikes, refusing to pay taxes, preventing cooperation with the security forces, refusing to provide the Crusaderswith fuel, hitting traders who supply the Crusader forces, boycotting Crusader and Jewish products, and other ways of popular protest. Thestudents must take their anger to the streets, and they must make the mosques, universities, colleges and high schools centers of supportfor Jihad and resistance." It was strongly critical of not only the US, but also the UN, which it projected as anti-Islam for giving membership to Israel and for legitimising through its Charter what it described as the occupation of historic Muslim lands by non-Muslims. In its criticism of the UNCharter, it said: " It (the Charter) also obligates them to recognize Russia’s occupation of Chechnya and the Muslim Caucasus, China’soccupation of East Turkistan, Spain’s occupation of Ceuta and Melilla and the occupation of other Muslim lands by non-Muslim governmentswhich are part of the UN."
There was no specific reference to J & K in this context. J&K, however, figured in another part of the message, which appealed to thePalestinians to support the cause of the Kashmiri Muslims. It appealed to the Palestinians in the following words: " My Muslim brothers in Palestine: all Muslims stand with you, and wish to offer their lives in exchange for the liberation of al-Aqsa, so stand withyour Muslim brothers in Islam in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Iraq, and let the world hear your support of them."
It praised the poor Muslims of Afghanistan for relentlessly waging a jihad for three decades---- initially against one super power (the USSR)and now against the other (US) and called upon the Muslims of the world to emulate them. It said:" The Afghan people, in a quarter of acentury, have defeated – by the grace of Allah – the two superpowers in this world, so may Allah grant long life to this poor, steadfast,Mujahid people. It is the duty of the Muslim Ummah to back them, and this is the least it can do to fulfill the duty it owes to them. Thereligious, military and political history of mankind shall bear witness that the strongest power in history was defeated by a power much stronger, greater and purer than it: the power of Mujahid Islam."
It projected the jihad in Afghanistan as being jointly waged by the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan and said: "The Pashtun tribes onboth sides of the border declared their allegiance to the Taliban, joined the Jihad against the Crusade and stood firm in the face of thecombined bombing of the Americans and Crusaders…And the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and Pakistan wrote an honorable chapter in thehistory of Islam. And in this regard, I hail our Muslim brothers in Pakistan on their demonstrations against the traitorous Musharrafgovernment after the treacherous aggression against the religious school in Bajaur, and I hail the Mujahideen of Pakistan on their heroic, martyrdom-seeking confrontation of the Crusaders’ agents in Pakistan. And I remind them that the way to deliverance is in supporting theforces of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan with their persons and wealth, and not through parliamentary ruses or elections polluted withbribery, cheating and manipulation…"
It sought to counter the impression that Al Qaeda was anti-Shia and pro-Arab in an intriguing reference, which read as follows: "And I tellthem that the secularist traitors are striving to sow discord between you and your brothers the Mujahideen, who sympathized with you whenyou were hit by the crimes of the criminal, pagan Ba’athists. And you know that your Mujahid brothers, especially in Qaida al-Jihad, are – bythe grace of Allah – the farthest people from ethnic fanaticism. They have pledged allegiance to the Commander of the Believers, MullaMuhammad Umar (the Amir of the Taliban), as their commander, and he isn’t an Arab." Whom was Zawahiri referring to when he talked ofthe victims of the crimes of the Baathists---the Shias or the Kurds or both?
It projected the objectives of the on-going global jihad as the recovery of all historic Muslim lands now under the occupation of non-Muslimpowers and the formation of an Islamic Caliphate ruled in accordance with the Sharia. It debunked the idea of Western style democracywith elections for empowering the people and warned the people of Palestine against falling into the trap of elections. It questioned theright of Israel to existence in Palestrinian territory and cautioned the Palestinians against being satisfied with the restoration of thepre-1967 position.
It claimed that the results of the US Congressional elections in November,2006,represented the victory of not the Democrats, but of theMujahideen of Afghanistan and Iraq. It said that the fate of Islam was being decided in the battle-fields of Iraq and Afghanistan and appealedto the Ummah to continue waging their jihad till the Crusaders were defeated and the non-Muslims in occupation of Muslim lands weredriven out.
It projected the jihadi acts of terrorism in non-Muslim territory as justified acts of reprisals in retaliation for the attacks on the Muslims andwarned the Americans: “The formula for your safety is “You shall never dream of security until we truly experience it in Palestine and alllands of Islam,” and not the fallacious formula with which Bush deceives you when he says, “We strike the terrorists in their countries sothat they don’t strike us in ours.” On the contrary: if we are struck in our countries, we shall never stop striking you in your countries, withAllah’s power and permission.And as our commander, Shaykh Usama bin Ladin told you, “As you bomb, you will be bombed, and as you kill,you will be killed.”
It described the Mujahideen leaders as the real leaders of the Ummah and told the US that if it wanted peace it had to negotiate with them.It told the pro-US leaders of the Ummah that their days were gone and that the present era was that of the Mujahideen heroes. It said: "Youmust realize that a new period of world history has begun. The period of the offspring of Abd al-Aziz Al-Sa’ud, the grandsons of the SharifHusayn and Sadat, Mubarak and Arafat has passed, and the period of Khalid Islambouli, Abdullah Azzam, Abu Hafs the Commander, Khattab,Muhammad Atta, Muhammad Siddique Khan, and Shehzad Tanwir has begun. And if you are unable to comprehend this transformation, thenblame no one but yourselves."
Significantly, the message kept up Al Qaeda's past policy of not criticising the US campaign against a nuclear Iran and not projecting it aspart of the Crusaders' and the Zionists' conspiracy against Islam. Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the International Islamic Front continued toshow signs of not being comfortable with the idea of a Shia bomb.
Taking advantage of the wave of Pashtun anger against Musharraf and the Pakistani Army in the wake of the commando action in the LalMasjid of Islamabad from July 10 to 13, 2007, and the killing of Abdullah Mehsud, a pro-Taliban tribal leader of South Waziristan and a formerdetenu at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, at Zhob in Balochistan on July 23, 2007, Al Qaeda stepped up its jihadi PSYWARnot only against Musharraf personally, but also against the Pakistani Army as an institution. The stepped-up PSYWAR was also timed toexploit the weakening of Musharraf's image and political position in the wake of his confrontation with the judiciary and his manipulation ofthe laws relating to elections in order to have himself re-elected as the President for a second term.
In the latest PSYWAR offensive, which started in September, 2007, the language used was more virulent, the arguments used were drawnfrom the history of Islam as well as that of Pakistan, the examples drawn were from the recent history of Pakistan and the distinction sought to be made in the past between Musharraf and the Army started disappearing. This reflected the exasperation of Al Qaeda over thecontinued solidarity of the senior officers of the Pakistan Army with Musharraf despite the decline in his popularity and the publiccontroversy over some of his questionable actions.
There were reasons for Al Qaeda's restraint in its criticism of the Pakistan Army as an institution in the past. Firstly, it was dependent on thecontinued inaction of the Army for maintaining its sanctuaries in the Pakistani territory. Secondly, the success of the Neo Taliban'soperations against the US-led coalition and the Afghan army in Afghan territory depended on the continued collusion of the Pakistan Armyand its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) with the Neo Taliban.
The importance of such inaction and collusion for Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban has not disappeared. Despite this, Al Qaeda has chosen toattack the Army as an institution. This reflected its confidence that it has established itself so firmly in South and North Waziristan throughits own efforts and with the support of the local tribals and the police and para-military forces that the Pakistan Army would not be able todo much damage to it. Moreover, in the perception of Al Qaeda, the anger of the Pashtun and other tribal elements at the lower levels of the army against Musharraf would ensure that the Army as an institution cannot pose a major threat to the presence of Al Qaeda and the NeoTaliban in Pakistani territory.
It is not yet clear whether the stepped-up PSYWAR offensive presaged a stepped-up ground offensive in Pakistan, to make it a third front inAl Qaeda's global jihad against the US and Israel and for the supremacy of Islam--- to add to the Afghanistan and Iraq fronts.Al Qaeda'spresent ground support in Pakistan is confined to sections of the tribals in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and in theNorth-West Frontier Province (NWFP). It has very little ground support in other areas of Pakistan and among non-Pashtun ethnic groups.Even the Pakistani jihadi organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), which support Al Qaeda's pan-Islamic ideology and have joined its International Islamic Front (IIF),would not like to help it spread its influence to the non-tribal areas of Pakistan. Moreover, these organisations, which do not have much lovefor Musharraf, would nevertheless be averse to any Al Qaeda attempts to weaken the Pakistan Army as an institution. So too, the NeoTaliban whose criticism of Musharraf and the Army has been proforma without any undue virulence. The Neo Taliban and the Pakistani jihadi organisations know they would continue to need the covert support of the Army and the ISI--- the Neo Taliban in Afghanistan and thePakistani jihadi organisations in India. They may not like to bite the hand that feeds them.
Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It has a fairly liberal civil society outside the tribal areas. It has a vigorous political class. It has abureaucracy, which is much more efficient than those of Iraq and Afghanistan. It has a well-trained, well-armed and well-motivated Army.The people of Pakistan are patriotic and would not like their country to become the battle ground of foreign forces----whether the Americansor the jihadis of Al Qaeda brand. If Al Qaeda tries to extend its influence and activities beyond the tribal areas, it is likely to get a strongriposte from the Pakistan Army.
The key question is how to rid the tribal areas of the presence and stranglehold of Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban. The Pakistan Army hasshown a disinclination to do so. Any overt US intervention will be provocative and counter-productive. The weakening of the US' covertaction capability over the years has partly contributed to the present dilemma. Over-reliance on overt highly-militarised counter-terrorismoperations has contributed to the resurgence of the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda. It is time to work out an appropriate covert action strategy,which would enable the US to act effectively without seeming to act. There is also an urgent need to totally revamp the US' PSYWAR and Counter-PSYWAR strategy, which hardly exists now. As a result, Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations have managed to create animpression of their being everywhere----on the ground, in the world wide web and elsewhere. It is amazing and disquieting that even sixyears after the start of the so-called war against global jihadi terrorism, the international community in general and the US in particular arenot able to counter effectively the PSYWAR of Al Qaeda. The war will be ultimately won or lost not only by the force of arms, but also by the force of words, images and imagination.
Between September 7 and 20, As-Sahab disseminated three messages of bin Laden.Of these, the first, a video message probably recordedin the second fortnight of August, 2007, was addressed to the American people on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terroriststrikes in the US. The second, an audio message of recent recording with old visuals, was addressed to the Muslims in general and wasmeant to glorify the Islamic concept of martyrdom. The third was in the form of a fatwa against Musharraf and his Army and was addressedto the people of Pakistan. It was titled: "Come to Jihad: A Speech to the People of Pakistan".
The sudden increase in the frequency of his messages reflected his confidence that he was now in a safe position where the American intelligence agencies and security forces would not be able to reach him and where there would be little likelihood of his beingbetrayed by those tempted by the American offer of huge cash rewards for anyone helping in having him killed or captured.
The fatwa against Musharraf and his Army was very bluntly worded. It said in its concluding paragraphs: "It is obligatory on the Muslims inPakistan to carry out Jihad and fighting to remove Pervez, his government, his army and those who help him." It carried the following pledgeon behalf of Al Qaeda: "We in al-Qaida Organization call on Allah to witness that we will retaliate for the blood of Maulana Abd al-Rashid Ghaziand those with him against Musharraf and those who help him, and for all the pure and innocent blood, foremost of which is the blood of thechampions of Islam in Waziristan - both North and South - among them the two noble leaders, Nek Muhammad and Abdullah Mahsud." (Mycomment: Maulana Ghazi died in the Pakistan Army commando raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad between July 10 and 13, 2007)
Bin Laden encourageed suicide missions by underlining that jihad was an individual obligation of every true Muslim. He gave the followingreasons for his fatwa: "Pervez's invasion of the Lal Masjid in the City of Islam, Islamabad, is a sad event, like the crime of the Hindus in theirinvasion and destruction of the Babari Masjid. This event demonstrated Musharraf's insistence on continuing his loyalty, submissivenessand aid to America against the Muslims."
He quoted from a fatwa issued by the late Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Binori madrasa of Karachi after the 9/11 terrorist strikes asfollows: 'If any ruler of an Islamic state provides aid to an infidel state in its aggression against the Islamic states, it is the legal obligation of the Muslims to remove him from power and consider him to be legally a traitor to Islam and Muslims.'
Bin Laden blamed the rulers of Pakistan and the US for the subsequent murder of Shamzai in Karachi. "The government's showing ofMaulana Abd al-Aziz Ghazi in women's clothing in the media is clear evidence of the extent of the great hostility, hatred and contempt held by Pervez and his government towards Islam and its sincere 'Ulama. " (My comment: The reference is tothe brother of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who tried to escape from the Lal Masjid covering himself up as a woman. He was detected and arrestedby the Commandoes. The Pakistan TV subsequently interviewed him dressed as a woman. This created an outcry as an attempt to discreditthe clerics. Musharraf ordered the immediate withdrawal of the TV programme).
Bin Laden further said:"The purpose of the army - or so they say - is to protect the Muslims against the Kuffaar (kafirs), but now we see thearmies becoming tools and weapons in the hands of the Kuffaar against the Muslims. Pervez threw away the cause of Kashmir andrestrained those fighting to liberate it, in accordance with the wishes of the Hindus. Then he opened his bases and airports to America forinvading the Muslims in Afghanistan, and as you've seen before, the army attacked the people of Swat who also demanded the rule ofShari'ah, and attacked the people of Waziristan, in addition to betraying and extraditing hundreds of Arab Mujahideen from the grandsons ofthe Sahabah (Companions), with whom Allah was pleased, to the head of Kufr, America. So Pervez, his ministers, his soldiers and those whohelp him are all accomplices in the spilling of the blood of those of the Muslims who have been killed. I tell the soldiers who perform theSalaat (prayer) in the military organs: you must resign from your jobs and enter anew into Islam and dissociate yourself from Pervez and hisShirk (polytheism)."
"I tell Pervez and his army: your betrayal of your nation and people has been exposed, and the people are no longer fooled by your showingoff militarily by launching some missiles after every disaster and massacre you commit against the populace, as has occurred repeatedly inthe border regions, or after the biggest massacre in Lal Masjid most recently. How is the nation benefited by these weapons and tests ofyours? The same goes for the nuclear bomb itself. When the American foreign minister Powell came to you, you cowered, bowed andsubmitted to him like a lowly slave, and you permitted the American Crusader forces to use the air, soil and water of Pakistan, the country ofIslam, to kill the people of Islam in Afghanistan, then in Waziristan. So woe to you and away with you."(My comment: This was an interestingattempt by bin Laden to project that Musharraf is in the habit of frequently carrying out missile tests in order to divert the attention of thePakistani people away from his collusion with the US in its war against Islam and the Ummah.)
"When the capability is there, it is obligatory to rebel against the apostate ruler, as is the case now. And the one who believes that thestrength required to rebel has not yet been completed must complete it and take up arms against Pervez and his army withoutprocrastination. Pervez and most of the Muslims' rulers jumped to power and usurped it and ruled us by other than what Allah sent down byforce of arms, and the situation will not return to normal through elections, demonstrations and shouting. So beware of the polytheisticelections and futile actions, for iron is only dented by iron, and it is through fighting in Allah's path and exhorting of the believers that themight of the Kuffar is restrained."
Bin Laden ended the message with the following prayer to God: “O Allah, Pervez, his ministers, his 'Ulama and his soldiers have been hostileto your friends in Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially in Waziristan, Swat, Bajaur and Lal Masjid: O Allah, break their backs, split them upand destroy their unity; O Allah, afflict them with the loss of their dear ones as they have afflicted us with the loss of our dear ones; O Allah,we seek refuge in You from their evilness and we place You at their throats; O Allah, make their plotting their destruction; O Allah, suffice forus against them with whatever You wish; O Allah, destroy them, for they cannot escape You; O Allah, count them, kill them, and leave not even one of them." (My comment: He called also for reprisals against the clerics who do not accept Al Qaeda's ideology andmethods)
Thirteen persons were killed in seven well-synchronised explosions near court premises in three cities of Uttar Pradesh---Lucknow,Varanasi and Faizabad---on the afternoon of November 23,2007.
2. The explosions took place within about five minutes of each other. The improvised explosive devices (IEDs), attached to bicycles, do notappear to have been of a sophisticated kind. Initial reports indicated the possible use of ammonium nitrate, which has been increasinglyused in different terrorist incidents in many parts of the world since the explosion in the New York World Trade Centre in February 1993. Butthe synchronisation of the blasts in three different cities around the same time indicate a certain sophistication in planning and execution.We have had well-synchronised multiple explosions in Mumbai in March 1993 by the mafia gang of Dawood Ibrahim and in July, 2006,allegedly by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), and in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu in February,1998 by Al Ummah. We have not had well-synchronisedmultiple blasts in different cities since 1993, when the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) carried out synchronised explosions indifferent trains. But its synchronisation was not of a high order. The Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM) of Bangladesh carried out nearly 400synchronised blasts all over Bangladesh in August,2005.
3. Though 13 persons, mostly lawyers, were killed, causing mass casualties does not apear to have been the objective. As in the case of the400 blasts of Bangladesh, which caused not more than 10 fatalities, the purpose seems to have been to intimidate and demonstrate thereach and capability of the perpetrators.The explosions were synchronised to take place after the Friday prayers. Jihadi terroristorganisations prefer to organised their terrorist strikes on Fridays.
4. The explosions have come in the wake of the judgements delivered recently in respect of the Mumbai serial blasts of March 1993 and theCoimbatore serial blasts of February,1998. In both the cases, a number of jihadi terrorists have been found guilty and sentenced to variousterms of imprisonment. They have also come after the arrest of three suspected members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) in UP, who werealleged to have planned to kidnap a dignitary in order to secure the release of Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death for his role inthe attack on the Indian Parliament in December,2001. His mercy petition is under examination by the Government of India.The arrestedJEM terrorists were alleged to have been beaten up by some lawyers when they were brought to court. The local lawyers have alsoreportedly refused to defend terrorists in future.From these circumstances, it is likely that the explosions were meant to intimidate thecriminal justice community, particularly the lawyers.
5. It has been reported that an E-mail message purported to be from "indian Mujahideen" received by some TV channels before theexplosions indicated that these explosions were about to take place. However, it referred to explosions in two and not three cities. "IndianMujahideen" does not refer to any organisation, but it refers to Indian Muslims in general and says that the Indian Muslims have decided totake the offensive and wage a jihad. In justification of this decision, it refers to the severe penalties awarded to the accused in the Mumbaiblasts of March,1993, and the lack of action against Hindu police officers, who committed atrocities on Muslims. It also refers to the Gujratriots of 2002 and the recent assault on arrested JEM suspects by some lawyers. The message is not only a warning of their intention to act,but also an explanation of why Indian Muslims have decided to act. The main point, which the sender of the message has sought to convey,is that the criminal justice system treats the Muslims severely, but is lenient to the Hindus. The language used is typically Indian, thecontext and arguments used are typically of Indian Muslims and the issues raised are those which have been agitating the minds ofsections of Indian Muslims such as the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December,1992, lack of action against the Hindu police officers ofMumbai who were found guilty of excesses by the Sri Krishna Enquiry Commission, the severe penalties awarded to Muslims who hadretaliated in March,1993, and the Gujrat riots.
6.It admits that the Muslims were responsible for the explosions in Varanasi, Delhi, Mumbai and in a restaurant and park in Hyderabad, butsays they were not responsible for the blasts in Malegaon in September,2006, in the Samjauta Express and the Mecca Masjid of Hyderabadthis year. It is silent on the recent blast in the Ajmer Sharif, a Muslim holy place famous for its tolerant Sufi tradition..
7. It says that the Indian Muslims have decided to wage a jihad for Islamic rule and talks of a "war for civilisation." It warns that their nexttargets will be police officers. Keeping in view that the 15th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid is just a fortnight away, weshould be alert to the possibility of more explosions in the days to come, possibly directed against the police.(23-11-07)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai. E-mail: )