Monday, July 18, 2005

Telegraph -UK | Our safety is in the hands of Pakistan

jul 18th

forwarded by someone.

rather straight talk from this british guy.

isn't this exactly what indians have been saying for some time? pakistan is the center of all muslim terrorism? and the pakistani army is indistinguishable from the terrorists?

these are the pakistani army guys, we should remember, who were let go by the americans at the siege of kunduz in afghanistan (they allowed pakistanis to ship out planeloads of 'taliban fighters' who were really pakistani army brass in mufti), when the northern alliance were on the point of rounding them up and massacring them.

so much for the clever americans at the state department. too clever by half.

Telegraph -UK | Our safety is in the hands of Pakistan
By Con Coughlin, Sunday, July 17, 2005

Irrespective of whether you are dealing with the disaffected youth of Leeds or a brainwashed Jihadi at a madrassa on the North West Frontier, the inescapable conclusion is that Pakistan forms the epicentre of Osama bin Laden's unremitting campaign of terror against the West.

This unpalatable, yet irrefutable, truth will no doubt come as a shock to Tony Blair and the other coalition leaders who have placed such faith in President Pervez Musharraf's ability to rein in al-Qaeda's murderous activities. It was, after all, Mr Blair who helped to persuade the Pakistani general to decide whose side he was on after President George W Bush issued his "you are either with us, or you are with the terrorists" dictum in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

When Mr Blair flew to Islamabad in October 2001 he was under no illusions about the role that Pakistan's infamous ISI intelligence service had played in creating the Taliban, and had been briefed by Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) chiefs about the activities of A Q Khan, the "father" of the Pakistani bomb, in clandestinely proliferating nuclear technology to such unsavoury regimes as Libya and Iran.

Even so the dictates of realpolitik required Messrs Blair and Bush to get the Pakistanis on side so that they could focus their energies on tackling the more pressing issue of overthrowing the Taliban in Afghanistan and destroying bin Laden's terror infrastructure.

In return for helping to round up al-Qaeda operatives and generally assisting with the coalition's war effort, General Musharraf was promised, and has received, hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid. Four years on, it is looking increasingly as though Mr Blair, in particular, has got the raw end of the bargain.

Let us gloss over the complicity of renegade sections of Pakistan's ISI in facilitating the escape of bin Laden and Mullah Omar, the Taliban's spiritual leader, at the end of the Afghan war, and ignore the fact that we still do not know the full extent of A Q Khan's nuclear criminality (because Musharraf insists on preserving his national hero status). It is now clear that the West's courtship of General Musharraf is in deep trouble.

Last week's revelation that two of the London bombers had spent time in Pakistan is depressingly familiar. Virtually every British subject known to be involved with al-Qaeda, from Richard Reid, the shoe-bomber, to the two British suicide bombers responsible for blowing up a Tel Aviv bar in May 2003, had visited Pakistan in the months leading up to their terror attacks. And in each case it appears that individuals who, in the main, left these shores nurturing nothing more sinister than a youthful sense of ennui returned with a burning desire to commit murder and create mayhem.

As the shocked relatives of the 22-year-old bomber Shehzad Tanweer explained last week, the young athletics enthusiast underwent a radical transformation after he spent a few months last year in Pakistan studying the Koran and Arabic. Tanweer, it now transpires, had spent his time studying at a madrassa, a religious establishment where the students are required to devote their entire energy to studying the Koran.

There are thought to be an estimated 20,000 such places in the country - the Pakistani authorities are unable to provide an accurate number. Many provide an important and valuable education for the children of poor families who would otherwise have no schooling.

But a significant number have a far more sinister agenda: inculcating the cult of martyrdom and sacrifice into their pupils in the hope that the blood of these naive young Muslims will one day enable the Islamic creed to conquer the entire world.

Even more alarming for our security forces is the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of the young British Muslim men and women who are sent to study at Pakistan's madrassas return to these shores filled with the conviction that it is their Islamic duty to sacrifice their lives as suicide bombers.

As one senior British security official commented last week, sending a British Muslim to a Pakistani madrassa "is the equivalent of sending them to a bin Laden boot camp".

Both Washington and London have in the past urged President Musharraf to curtail the Islamic brainwashing taking place in the madrassas, but Pakistan's response has been at best half-hearted, mainly because the country's military and intelligence community fully support the Islamic agenda that the madrassas represent.

All this must now change if Pakistan wants to remain a key coalition ally in the war on terror. Many of the intelligence failings that enabled the London bomb attacks to take place were caused by the inability of the security forces to track the activities of British nationals visiting Pakistan.

Lulled into a false sense of security by Pakistani assurances that they had the extremists under control, British intelligence seems to have missed the fact that a new, better organised al-Qaeda network has developed since bin Laden's eviction from Afghanistan.

One of the more remarkable aspects of the London bombers was that, even though they had been radicalised to the point where they were prepared to carry out suicide bomb attacks, they took great care not to give any indication to their friends or family of their fanatical outlook. As one of Tanweer's relatives lamented last week, "there was nothing in his behaviour to show us that anything had changed".

This is just one of the many new tactics al-Qaeda has developed as it seeks to maintain its campaign of terror. And despite the fact that many operational aspects of the cell that carried out the London bombings were home grown - the DIY explosive, for example - British intelligence remains convinced they received guidance from al-Qaeda veterans.

"The degree of sophistication demonstrated by the London bombers is not something you pick up off the internet," says a senior British intelligence officer. "The timing of the attack, the coordination of the bombings; this all indicates they had outside help."

Not surprisingly, much of the British effort to prevent further attacks will now focus on Pakistan and the ability of al-Qaeda to recruit naive British Muslims to their cause. And if we are to have any chance of success, then President Musharraf must decide whether he is really with us in the war against Islamic fanaticism.


Anonymous said...

Hi Rajeev,

Please consider posting the following on your blog:

The India Imperative
By Robert D. Blackwill

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
san said...

It seems that most major American media are heralding the new strides made in Indo-US relations, except for die-hard Atlanticists like the New York Times. Check out the latest New York Times article warning that concessions to India could damage non-proliferation. Trust the hardline Atlanticist mouthpiece NYT to try and rain on the parade. Why don't they bring back that shrill Barbara Crossette while they're at it?

Kaunteya said...

There's a mention though of India's record being impeccable as far as knowledge transfer of nuclear arms is concerned.
I feel San, whatever may be the critics arguments on this issue, there's a growing awareness in the two establishments that they have a common enemy to fight. Call it a marriage of convinience if you will. As the world politics matures further, fortunately or unfortunately US & India find themselves on the same side of the fence.
Both countries have held mutual suspicion for long. There's an undercurrent , i feel, of getting closer amongst these two giants.
US may be looking at India to counter balance China. So what? We need US to keep Pak at bay.
FOX news chatter box Bill O'Reily directly named Pakistan as the hub of terrorism on his show more than once after the London Blasts. This is a paradigm shift in American mainstream media's views. In past they have stopped short of name calling specially when it concerns Pakistan. But now a hard core right wing channel like FOX is making no bones about this fact.

It would be ideal scenario when the dots are connected between the conservatives of all the nations. Sadly as of now only the left wingers, of all hues & cry, have managed to connect the dots cutting across nations. For example Arundati Roy may share the the platform and views with those of ACLU or any blue state senator. On the other hand the conservatives of two different nations have historically been opposed to each other. Hopefully things will change.
If the pseudo-liberals of the world can unite in one voice, why can't the conservatives?
It was not a coincidence that the US-Indo relations warmed during the NDA rule. Two conservative regimes and off course 9/11 helped.

Bottom line is, we will have Prakash Karats & Arundatis on both sides. Always opposing. But realpolitik,common sense shall always prevails.