LS polls provide opportunity to terrorists: US thinktank

26 03 2009

26 Mar 2009, 0146 hrs IST, PTI

WASHINGTON: The Lok Sabha elections in India provide Pakistani-based and indigenous Indian militants a “good occasion” to carry out another
26/11-style attack, a prominent US thinktank said on Wednesday.

The Islamic militants, who had targeted to strike during the popular IPL cricket matches next month, would now find out another target to carry out another Mumbai-type terrorist attack.

“The ongoing election campaign could very well be one, said Stratfor,” an Austin, Texas-based private intelligence company, well known worldwide for its intelligence analysis.

“Shifting the IPL tournament to South Africa gives the Indians more forces to secure the country for the national elections, but this does not necessarily mean that the threat level during this time period has subsided,” said Stratfor.

“The elections still provide Pakistani-based and indigenous Indian militants a good occasion to target politicians, government buildings, and voting booths — to say nothing of the usual soft targets like crowded marketplaces, movie theaters, hotels or religious sites,” Stratfor said in its latest intelligence analysis on India.

“Given the jihadist insurgency also intensifying along India’s western frontier and Pakistan seemingly losing control of its militant proxies, another major Islamist attack in India is inevitable,” Stratfor warned.

“The Mumbai attack exposed Indian security forces’ lack of preparedness and coordination, causing a major uproar in the South Asian country,” it said.

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Bangladesh Rifles Uprising : A Jihadi Warning

28 02 2009

Source: DIKGAJ’s Blog

I began to write this post on the 26th of December last year, but held it as I thought it might appear too paranoid. Now the drama of the BDR uprising made me rethink that my earlier worry about the real strengths of the Jihadis within the Bangladesh state machinery and armed forces were justified. I have already written at some length about the general long term societal balance of forces within Bangladesh society. Here I have maintained that the forces of Bengali nationalism is slightly weaker than the forces of Islamic retrogression – and it has been so right from the post-47 start of the journey as part of Pakistan.

The immediate background of the BDR uprising could turn out to be a damp squib officially – it will be blamed on long-standing grievances, and “wayward” soldiers. But it takes a greater significance in the light of the recent urging by the emissary of Pakistan to the BD government to drop the proceedings towards war-crimes trials of the Rajakaras and the AlBadrs, Al shams for their atrocities during ‘71. On top of that the AL led government moves ahead with transit and trade agreements with India, a reasonable and pragmatic move on the part of Bangladesh as the country is even now crucially dependent on Indian imports of essential commodities. This draws immediate vehement protests by the nearly decimated BNP, as expected. Just like many political parties in Pakistan, a lot of political careers are made in Bangladesh by inflating up the “demonic” “Hindu” India. However, it is Pakistan’s palpable fear at possible re-exposure of Pakistan’s role in the ‘71 war of liberation that is significant.

Why does Pakistan have to be so paranoid about it ? It is already almost 40 years old – and could be passed off as a historical event, and not redounding on the current regime! There could be question of compensation and fear by a bankrupt Pakistan government. But financial compensation is a lesser worry, given the Pakistan government’s traditional expertise in moving money around meant for one purpose to fuel another pet agenda, and the fact that it can still milk the USA for some time into the near future. With the increasing acceleration of the Pakistani Army and the Taleban coalescing into a neo-Caliphate on the gray borderland between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the now overtly Jihadi Pakistani state can be worried that the war-crimes trials could damage and expose the true character of Jihadi Islam, to a population which has so far proved a safe haven for Jihadi terror to be launched on India. It is the ideological delegitimization that worries the Jihadis of the subcontinent, and the transit agreements could actually cover eventual move towards military agreements between India and Bangladesh to destroy the Jihadis themselves in the eastern part of the subcontinent.

I will primarily characterize this election as a four-cornered struggle for state power in which the forces in order of “strength” are (1) the military establishment (2) the Jamaat (3) the Awami League and associates (the so called “great alliance”) (4) the BNP +non Jamaat associates. The military as per my earlier analysis is in favour of Islamic consolidation of the state regime – in tune with the power base of the military command among the elite of Bangladeshi muslim society, whose prime feudal motivations of gaining and controlling “land” and dominance over society is best served under strengthened Sunni Wahabi authoritarian framework. The military has consistently reasserted its dominance over the state machinery whenever it had felt that its long term strategy of bringing Bangladesh closer to the Islamic axis centred in Saudi Arabia is being threatened – this was why it eliminated Mujibur and even its own – like Jia, or leftist “heretics” like Col. Taher. At present, the prime tool is the Jamaat. As I have mentioned before, the Jamaat will be the key political force which can be used by the military to serve its agenda. The Jamaat was allowed to suffer the least in the anti-corruption drive against the political establishment. To be fair, the military’s weakness for the Jamaat could be coming out of reasons very similar to those that kept the two major political groups also “strangely” weak towards the Jamaat – that all the political elite including the Jamaat share core social networks at the same level and that all the non-Jamaat political elite share political secrets as to activities during the 71 struggle as well as post-Independence that could be used by the Jamaat to manipulate them.

The Jamaat is the direct descendant of the philosophy of Moududi – the ideologue and founder of a strict Wahabi/Sunni interpretation of Islam whose core message therefore almost always inevitably landed up into the domain of cataclysmic confrontation with everything deemed “unIslamic and therefore anti-Islamic”. The top leadership has been accused persistently of war-crimes but they take pride in claiming that apparently none of these accusations could be proved – they can do so, as the Bangladesh military post-Independence ensured (with the help of factions within the “liberators”) that cases/investigations/charges were withdrawn and that the Jamaat were politically rehabilitated. The Jamaat has minuscule vote share, but displays an impact and influence on Bangladesh state power hugely out of proprtion to its apparent electoral strength. The Jamaat will be the most likely stable political Islamic group to receive Saudi and extended Islamic expansionist network support, and this Islamic axis will see Bangladesh and Jamaat’s role as crucial to its overall expansionist agenda of takeover of the subcontinent in the name of Islam. The Jamaat of course has now turned ultra-nationalist and pretends to fight “colonial aggression” which of course as conveniently for Islamic agenda is seen only in India which is portrayed as “Hindu/Kaffir”. Hiding under the ultra-nationalist slogans is of course the mother of all colonialism – the ultimate Jihadi Islamic takeover of not only Bangladesh but the entire subcontinent – an experiment already started by the Taleban in the west of the subcontinent. The recent Mumbai attacks is a signal that Islamic agenda for the subcontinent is intensifying and Indian “war posturing” will be used as a rallying cry and panic button to push further for Islamic consolidation in Bangladesh. (Mumbai Islamic message)

The Jamaat’s strength does not lie in numbers, but the social networks among the elite, the theologians and the international Jihadi and Sunni Wahabi fundamentalism – (1) the military has ensured that it suffered almost nothing in the anti-corruption drives and so will claim themselves as “pure” and untainted compared to the others – and is likely to be rewarded for this by the electorate (2) the various military regimes as well as political ones, by failing to try the culprits of war-crimes and infighting among the “liberators” has ensured that newer generations have far less concerns about what happened almost 40 years ago than other “more pressing” concerns (3) the Islamic propaganda machinery allowed to flourish under the pro-Islam military regimes as well as political forces have been able to increase the rate of Jihadi Islamization of the rural as well as a section of urban Bangladeshi youth – Islam holds several attractions for males especially – it promises all that they biologically desire, consumption, women and power – without having to make the hard effort of intellectual skills development required to compete in a modern knowledge based economy, or having to tolerate modern rights given to women over their sexuality or their bodies. (4) sections of the younger generations are likely to be relatively free of qualms about experimenting with an authoritarian Islamic system which of course at first they would like to believe would be along the lines of Malaysia or Iran- especially since the military has succeeded in discrediting the pre-existing political establishments. All these factors could have been instrumental in repeating the general pattern observable all over the subcontinent – of increasing radicalization of younger recruits who gravitate to the armed forces in Islam dominated countries.

The Awami League represents strongest electoral combine as of date but will have to reckon with the Jamaat. The BNP has taken a bad knock but will not lag far behind the Awami League, as the military would have strong connections with the setup and would like to keep it afloat as a second line of defence and the major political face of the Islamic agenda which will be led from behind by the Jamaat – this is simply a tactic to allow the Jamaat to grow and takeover.

The uprising was most likely to have been carefully planned, with sleepers trained by Pakistan and Jihadi organizations acting in careful coordination to use genuine grievances and liquidate the older generation of commanding officers – a group less likely to be submissive completely to the charms of the Jihadis. The core group has most probably now vanished, and been taken to safe havens maintained by the Jihadis in West Bengal under a tolerant Leftist regime. This was simply a warning, in showing that the force which is on the border of Bangladesh is out of control, and that the Jihadis still hold the keys of state power. It could not have happened unless key elements of the security apparatus allowed it to happen.





THE TERRORIST

31 12 2008

Source: India today

At first glance, there is nothing that makes him distinctive in the bustling anonymity of a metropolitan street.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the bin-Ladenesque chief of LeT and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the bin-Ladenesque chief of LeT and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Nothing except that gun of disproportionate size—an AK-47—he carries in his right hand. Everything else—grey cargos, faux Versace, overstuffed rucksack and floppy hair— adds to the generic drabness of a backpacker, though his movement is not dictated by a well-travelled Lonely Planet but the Book of Higher Directions.

He is not a grainy image confined to the front pages or the small screens any longer; he has migrated to the consciousness of a nation savaged.

Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, operations commander of LeT, directly coordinated the Mumbai attack

Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, operations commander of LeT, directly coordinated the Mumbai attack

He is the lone survivor of the gang of 10 that, in the span of 60 hours that may have seemed longer than eternity to those who are condemned to mourn, turned the emblematic city of corporate aspiration and cosmopolitan attitude into the scalded soul of India.

He is the living residue of the Evil that spreads from streets to railway station, from hotel rooms to Jewish quarters, from the frozen gaze of the dead to the seared sighs of the living, leaving behind a wreckage of fear and anger, grief and dread. Ajmal Amir Kasab is his name. We have seen him; we seem to know him. He is one of them. The most recognisable one. The terrorist we are getting familiar with.

Safdar Nagori, chief of Students Islamic Movement of India, now under arrest

Safdar Nagori, chief of Students Islamic Movement of India, now under arrest

The word is almost worn-out, and its banality is accentuated by its recurrence. Terror, terrorism, terrorist—the dictionary tells us that the words are rooted in fear. Extreme fear evoked by rage, violence, fantasy and hate.

The professional with terror as his calling card pictures himself as freedom’s last warrior, guided by gods and ideology, and accessorised by wares of death, preferably death in a spectacular backdrop.

His definition of freedom, though, excludes the essential dignity of what he calls the enemy and what the rest of us see as humanity.

Tauqeer, wanted for his role in the Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur terror blasts

Tauqeer, wanted for his role in the Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur terror blasts

The recesses of our cruellest yesterdays are filled with the legends of his madness; and in the iconography of history, his synonyms are many: revolutionary, crusader, assassin… Terrorist is a rebel with a nihilistic fury, and whose vision of liberation is hell for the other.

In the last century, terror at its sanguineous worst was ideological, and it was a necessary condition for the creation of the empires of the working class.

The Great Terror of Stalin, institutionalisation of the gulag, Cultural Revolution of Mao, the killing fields of Pol Pot, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, the Baathist horror chamber that was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (aptly described as the Republic of Fear by an exiled dissident writer)— they were all extreme manifestations of revolutionary instinct.

And remember: every revolutionary begins as a romantic, triumphs as a liberator and rules as a terrorist.

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based JeM, he is on India’s most wanted individuals’list

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based JeM, he is on India’s most wanted individuals’list

Around the time the god of ideology began to fail in the Soviet block, the god of the Book joined the freedom struggle in Persia.

The Great Islamic Revolution of Iran was the 20th century’s first introduction to faith-in-power.

It was a war against modernity and it signalled the restoration of the absolutism of religion.

Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest terrorist outfit operating in Kashmir

Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest terrorist outfit operating in Kashmir

It inspired the street fighters of Islam, whose ascent in the post-communist world spawned a new age of fear, for the ambition of radical Islamism too was extra territorial.

The Sword of Islam would become more than a metaphor.

On September 11 in 2001, the rage of religion would reach its zenith, literally, and the flames that melted down the twin towers of the World Trade Center would magnify the new mascot of terror.

Mufti Abu Bashar, terror ideologue, motivated IM before Jaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts

Mufti Abu Bashar, terror ideologue, motivated IM before Jaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts

Osama bin Laden, the Saudi billionaire-turned-Islamic “liberator”, looked like a bearded mountain god with a Kalashnikov in that videotape, and his commandments, delivered from Mount Jihad, were a declaration of war against infidels: “America is struck by Almighty God in one of its vital organs, so that its greatest buildings are destroyed… America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God. What America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted. Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more than 80 years, of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated… God has blessed a group of vanguard Muslims, the forefront of Islam, to destroy America. May God bless them and allot them a supreme place in heaven…”

Those words by Islam’s Che-in-the-cave hardly hide the enormity of hate or the imaginary history of suffering.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai attack by a 10-member fidayeen squad

Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai attack by a 10-member fidayeen squad

They celebrate the cult of martyrdom and promise paradise to the killer. Replace America with another country and the words won’t lose its resonance.

Al Qaeda may not be the operational base of terror any longer and Osama may be withering away somewhere in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, though the idea continues to kill and the dateline of death keeps changing and the killer never stops updating the technology to make every strike as spectacular as 9/11.

Atif Ameen, leader of the IM module that planted bombs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi

Atif Ameen, leader of the IM module that planted bombs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi

The terrorist has become the fastest traveller in the socalled flat world. He has already caused the first two wars of this century.

The war in Iraq has cost one of the world’s most ruthless dictators his country as well as his life, and made the warrior-in-chief the least popular president of America in recent history.

It has also set the stage for the first African-American occupant of the White House. If Iraq is the just war that has gone wrong, the war in Afghanistan is about to get added priority under the new dispensation in Washington.

Delhi

September 13: Delhi

The war on terror unites nations and divides the mind. When the terrorist kills and, invariably gets killed, he achieves more than martyrdom; he becomes a force that can change the course of national histories. He becomes the arbiter of our everyday life.

India should know. The horror of 9/11 may have introduced America to the reality of a brand new Evil Empire. India’s experience with Islamist terrorism is older than 9/11. We have been living through it with our unmatched sense of sangfroid. Then, the tragedy of Kashmir has never been spectacular. Even the attack on the Indian Parliament in the afterglow of 9/11 has failed to make us one of the most vulnerable victims in the eyes of the rest. We were alone in our suffering and we excelled in our stoicism—in our pathological passivity.

The terrorist could not have chosen an easier battlefield, for in the wake of every attack on India, we saw the grotesquerie of politics feasting on the dead. Lives were getting cheaper here, dispensable and disposable; it was as if we were swarming marketplaces and railway compartments to make jihad a story told in the blackened blood of India. And the face that reflects in the blood that India shed in the year 2008, our annus horribilis, is the face of the terrorist, a pronoun of fear we are still struggling to comprehend.

Jaipur

May 13: Jaipur

Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai and many more with lesser impact and death toll have become topographical sketches in the narrative of a nation terrorised. Each of these places is a story in itself. The retelling only makes us aware of our own weakness as a nation, the twisted morality of our politics, and, most frighteningly, our refusal to violate the freedom of the terrorist.

Still, to remember is to calm the dead. In Jaipur (May, 80 killed), the picture postcard city, Ahmedabad (July, 53 killed), a power house economic development with glaring communal fault lines, and Delhi (September, 26 killed), the national capital, the killers chose the method of serial blasts—jihad as cowardice. In Mumbai on October 30, it was a frontal attack on the financial citadel, prolonged and spectacular, and the killers were ready to be killed for the cause. A textbook case of fidayeen (suicide) attack: make hell, gain houris in paradise. Excluding Kashmir and the North-east, over 400 Indians and foreigners were killed in the struggle for a unipolar caliphate.

For, only the naïve and the politically dishonest would argue that the terrorist has no religion. Say it once more and you would be further insulting his god and his mission. The ideology of jihad is as old as Islam, and it has become so elastic a term that it can suit the bloodlust of the revolutionary as well as the pacifism of the preacher. The cult of permanent struggle runs through the liberation text of almost every guru of “pristine” Islam, whether it is Syed Qutb, considered to be the patron saint of modern jihad, or Hasan al-Banna, who established the Muslim Brotherhood, or Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-i-Islami, or Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the apostle of “absolute monotheism”.

Modern jihad, as the Egyptian Qutb, himself a martyr, laid out in his influential Milestones, radical Islam’s mandatory samizdat reading, is an active rejoinder to the godless ways of the West and the culture of jahiliyyah (ignorance): “There is only one place on earth which can be called the home of Islam, and it is the place where the Islamic state is established and the Shariah is the authority and God’s limits are observed and where all Muslims administer the affairs of the state with mutual consultation.”

The terrorist is the god’s volunteer who gives his life and takes others’ for a future built on a perfumed past. He returns to the purity of the Book when the world around him becomes too profane, worthy of annihilation. In his hallucinatory vision, the India of 2008 was such a place. His grievance is not just Kashmir; the very concept of India is incompatible with his idea of justice. Every revolution needs an enemy; if there is none, the revolutionary will invent one.

With the exception of Malegaon, which points to the possibility of “saffron terror”, every attack on India bore the imprint of the jihadi. He doesn’t always cross the sea to reach the target, and his nationality is not necessarily Pakistani. As the encounter at Batla House near the Jamia Millia campus in Delhi revealed, the terrorist could very well be the boy in the next classroom who had come to the big city from his home town of Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh. (Azamgarh, a favourite destination in terror tourism, has earned its notoriety as the common back story of almost every terrorist attack in the country.) That is the thing about the modern jihadi.

He could be the product and the beneficiary of a liberal democracy like India. He would use every aspect of freedom it has to offer for the perpetuation of hate, for making the war against civilisation fool-proof. He would employ every technological trick of the satanic enemy for the success of his mission. His allegiance is not to the flag of his country; his identity is not defined by his nationality. He is the citizen of a scriptural make believe; he is here on a sacred assignment.

Still, the India after November 26 is a different country. For once, there is a confluence of grief and anger and patriotism. This time, there is no dispute about the nationality of the terrorist; there is little doubt about the identity of his benefactor either. The nation has ceased to be a dirty word across the ideological divide, though the communists refuse to change. The politician has not been allowed hawk terror for the preservation of the vote bank, and someone called A.R. Antulay looks convincingly repulsive as he scavenges the debris for postponing his political redundancy.

The rage of the terrorist has sharpened our perception about the enemy: Pakistan is not just an Indian obsession, or a diversionary bogeyman; the Islamic Republic is the original Jihadistan, our unrepentant tormentor. The terrorist has also forced us to look within.

Our failure in national security is huge, and we are beginning to accept the reality that the war on terror is not always someone else’s war. It’s our war too. The world has survived the ideology that built some of the biggest graveyards in history, and the world will overcome the theology that terrorises us with its medieval fury. The Newsmaker of the year won’t be the maker of our destiny, Inshallah.





THE TERRORIST

31 12 2008

Source: India today

At first glance, there is nothing that makes him distinctive in the bustling anonymity of a metropolitan street.

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the bin-Ladenesque chief of LeT and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the bin-Ladenesque chief of LeT and its charitable front, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa

Nothing except that gun of disproportionate size—an AK-47—he carries in his right hand. Everything else—grey cargos, faux Versace, overstuffed rucksack and floppy hair— adds to the generic drabness of a backpacker, though his movement is not dictated by a well-travelled Lonely Planet but the Book of Higher Directions.

He is not a grainy image confined to the front pages or the small screens any longer; he has migrated to the consciousness of a nation savaged.

Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, operations commander of LeT, directly coordinated the Mumbai attack

Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, operations commander of LeT, directly coordinated the Mumbai attack

He is the lone survivor of the gang of 10 that, in the span of 60 hours that may have seemed longer than eternity to those who are condemned to mourn, turned the emblematic city of corporate aspiration and cosmopolitan attitude into the scalded soul of India.

He is the living residue of the Evil that spreads from streets to railway station, from hotel rooms to Jewish quarters, from the frozen gaze of the dead to the seared sighs of the living, leaving behind a wreckage of fear and anger, grief and dread. Ajmal Amir Kasab is his name. We have seen him; we seem to know him. He is one of them. The most recognisable one. The terrorist we are getting familiar with.

Safdar Nagori, chief of Students Islamic Movement of India, now under arrest

Safdar Nagori, chief of Students Islamic Movement of India, now under arrest

The word is almost worn-out, and its banality is accentuated by its recurrence. Terror, terrorism, terrorist—the dictionary tells us that the words are rooted in fear. Extreme fear evoked by rage, violence, fantasy and hate.

The professional with terror as his calling card pictures himself as freedom’s last warrior, guided by gods and ideology, and accessorised by wares of death, preferably death in a spectacular backdrop.

His definition of freedom, though, excludes the essential dignity of what he calls the enemy and what the rest of us see as humanity.

Tauqeer, wanted for his role in the Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur terror blasts

Tauqeer, wanted for his role in the Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur terror blasts

The recesses of our cruellest yesterdays are filled with the legends of his madness; and in the iconography of history, his synonyms are many: revolutionary, crusader, assassin… Terrorist is a rebel with a nihilistic fury, and whose vision of liberation is hell for the other.

In the last century, terror at its sanguineous worst was ideological, and it was a necessary condition for the creation of the empires of the working class.

The Great Terror of Stalin, institutionalisation of the gulag, Cultural Revolution of Mao, the killing fields of Pol Pot, ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, the Baathist horror chamber that was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (aptly described as the Republic of Fear by an exiled dissident writer)— they were all extreme manifestations of revolutionary instinct.

And remember: every revolutionary begins as a romantic, triumphs as a liberator and rules as a terrorist.

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based JeM, he is on India’s most wanted individuals’list

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based JeM, he is on India’s most wanted individuals’list

Around the time the god of ideology began to fail in the Soviet block, the god of the Book joined the freedom struggle in Persia.

The Great Islamic Revolution of Iran was the 20th century’s first introduction to faith-in-power.

It was a war against modernity and it signalled the restoration of the absolutism of religion.

Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest terrorist outfit operating in Kashmir

Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest terrorist outfit operating in Kashmir

It inspired the street fighters of Islam, whose ascent in the post-communist world spawned a new age of fear, for the ambition of radical Islamism too was extra territorial.

The Sword of Islam would become more than a metaphor.

On September 11 in 2001, the rage of religion would reach its zenith, literally, and the flames that melted down the twin towers of the World Trade Center would magnify the new mascot of terror.

Mufti Abu Bashar, terror ideologue, motivated IM before Jaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts

Mufti Abu Bashar, terror ideologue, motivated IM before Jaipur, Delhi and Ahmedabad blasts

Osama bin Laden, the Saudi billionaire-turned-Islamic “liberator”, looked like a bearded mountain god with a Kalashnikov in that videotape, and his commandments, delivered from Mount Jihad, were a declaration of war against infidels: “America is struck by Almighty God in one of its vital organs, so that its greatest buildings are destroyed… America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God. What America is tasting now is only a copy of what we have tasted. Our Islamic nation has been tasting the same for more than 80 years, of humiliation and disgrace, its sons killed and their blood spilled, its sanctities desecrated… God has blessed a group of vanguard Muslims, the forefront of Islam, to destroy America. May God bless them and allot them a supreme place in heaven…”

Those words by Islam’s Che-in-the-cave hardly hide the enormity of hate or the imaginary history of suffering.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai attack by a 10-member fidayeen squad

Ajmal Amir Kasab, lone survivor of the 26/11 Mumbai attack by a 10-member fidayeen squad

They celebrate the cult of martyrdom and promise paradise to the killer. Replace America with another country and the words won’t lose its resonance.

Al Qaeda may not be the operational base of terror any longer and Osama may be withering away somewhere in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, though the idea continues to kill and the dateline of death keeps changing and the killer never stops updating the technology to make every strike as spectacular as 9/11.

Atif Ameen, leader of the IM module that planted bombs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi

Atif Ameen, leader of the IM module that planted bombs in Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Delhi

The terrorist has become the fastest traveller in the socalled flat world. He has already caused the first two wars of this century.

The war in Iraq has cost one of the world’s most ruthless dictators his country as well as his life, and made the warrior-in-chief the least popular president of America in recent history.

It has also set the stage for the first African-American occupant of the White House. If Iraq is the just war that has gone wrong, the war in Afghanistan is about to get added priority under the new dispensation in Washington.

September 13: Delhi

September 13: Delhi

The war on terror unites nations and divides the mind. When the terrorist kills and, invariably gets killed, he achieves more than martyrdom; he becomes a force that can change the course of national histories. He becomes the arbiter of our everyday life.

India should know. The horror of 9/11 may have introduced America to the reality of a brand new Evil Empire. India’s experience with Islamist terrorism is older than 9/11. We have been living through it with our unmatched sense of sangfroid. Then, the tragedy of Kashmir has never been spectacular. Even the attack on the Indian Parliament in the afterglow of 9/11 has failed to make us one of the most vulnerable victims in the eyes of the rest. We were alone in our suffering and we excelled in our stoicism—in our pathological passivity.

The terrorist could not have chosen an easier battlefield, for in the wake of every attack on India, we saw the grotesquerie of politics feasting on the dead. Lives were getting cheaper here, dispensable and disposable; it was as if we were swarming marketplaces and railway compartments to make jihad a story told in the blackened blood of India. And the face that reflects in the blood that India shed in the year 2008, our annus horribilis, is the face of the terrorist, a pronoun of fear we are still struggling to comprehend.

May 13: Jaipur

May 13: Jaipur

Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai and many more with lesser impact and death toll have become topographical sketches in the narrative of a nation terrorised. Each of these places is a story in itself. The retelling only makes us aware of our own weakness as a nation, the twisted morality of our politics, and, most frighteningly, our refusal to violate the freedom of the terrorist.

Still, to remember is to calm the dead. In Jaipur (May, 80 killed), the picture postcard city, Ahmedabad (July, 53 killed), a power house economic development with glaring communal fault lines, and Delhi (September, 26 killed), the national capital, the killers chose the method of serial blasts—jihad as cowardice. In Mumbai on October 30, it was a frontal attack on the financial citadel, prolonged and spectacular, and the killers were ready to be killed for the cause. A textbook case of fidayeen (suicide) attack: make hell, gain houris in paradise. Excluding Kashmir and the North-east, over 400 Indians and foreigners were killed in the struggle for a unipolar caliphate.

For, only the naïve and the politically dishonest would argue that the terrorist has no religion. Say it once more and you would be further insulting his god and his mission. The ideology of jihad is as old as Islam, and it has become so elastic a term that it can suit the bloodlust of the revolutionary as well as the pacifism of the preacher. The cult of permanent struggle runs through the liberation text of almost every guru of “pristine” Islam, whether it is Syed Qutb, considered to be the patron saint of modern jihad, or Hasan al-Banna, who established the Muslim Brotherhood, or Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-i-Islami, or Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the apostle of “absolute monotheism”.

Modern jihad, as the Egyptian Qutb, himself a martyr, laid out in his influential Milestones, radical Islam’s mandatory samizdat reading, is an active rejoinder to the godless ways of the West and the culture of jahiliyyah (ignorance): “There is only one place on earth which can be called the home of Islam, and it is the place where the Islamic state is established and the Shariah is the authority and God’s limits are observed and where all Muslims administer the affairs of the state with mutual consultation.”

The terrorist is the god’s volunteer who gives his life and takes others’ for a future built on a perfumed past. He returns to the purity of the Book when the world around him becomes too profane, worthy of annihilation. In his hallucinatory vision, the India of 2008 was such a place. His grievance is not just Kashmir; the very concept of India is incompatible with his idea of justice. Every revolution needs an enemy; if there is none, the revolutionary will invent one.

With the exception of Malegaon, which points to the possibility of “saffron terror”, every attack on India bore the imprint of the jihadi. He doesn’t always cross the sea to reach the target, and his nationality is not necessarily Pakistani. As the encounter at Batla House near the Jamia Millia campus in Delhi revealed, the terrorist could very well be the boy in the next classroom who had come to the big city from his home town of Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh. (Azamgarh, a favourite destination in terror tourism, has earned its notoriety as the common back story of almost every terrorist attack in the country.) That is the thing about the modern jihadi.

He could be the product and the beneficiary of a liberal democracy like India. He would use every aspect of freedom it has to offer for the perpetuation of hate, for making the war against civilisation fool-proof. He would employ every technological trick of the satanic enemy for the success of his mission. His allegiance is not to the flag of his country; his identity is not defined by his nationality. He is the citizen of a scriptural make believe; he is here on a sacred assignment.

Still, the India after November 26 is a different country. For once, there is a confluence of grief and anger and patriotism. This time, there is no dispute about the nationality of the terrorist; there is little doubt about the identity of his benefactor either. The nation has ceased to be a dirty word across the ideological divide, though the communists refuse to change. The politician has not been allowed hawk terror for the preservation of the vote bank, and someone called A.R. Antulay looks convincingly repulsive as he scavenges the debris for postponing his political redundancy.

The rage of the terrorist has sharpened our perception about the enemy: Pakistan is not just an Indian obsession, or a diversionary bogeyman; the Islamic Republic is the original Jihadistan, our unrepentant tormentor. The terrorist has also forced us to look within.

Our failure in national security is huge, and we are beginning to accept the reality that the war on terror is not always someone else’s war. It’s our war too. The world has survived the ideology that built some of the biggest graveyards in history, and the world will overcome the theology that terrorises us with its medieval fury. The Newsmaker of the year won’t be the maker of our destiny, Inshallah.





LeT is looking at India through the global lens

29 12 2008

Source: TOI
Were the masterminds and perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage influenced by al- Qaida, the chief proponent of global jihad? In future, will sub-continental terrorists prefer to attack the ‘crusader and Jewish’ target set identified by the global jihadists as opposed to ‘Indian government and Hindu’ targets? The Mumbai attack was unprecedented in target selection; of the five pre-designated targets. Was the target selection influenced by India’s alliance with the US and Israel? The method of operation was classic al-Qaida style – a coordinated, near simultaneous attack against high profile and symbolic targets aimed at inflicting mass casualties. The only difference was that it was a fidayeen attack, a classic LeT modus operandi.

With the US deepening its political, economic and military ties with India, will Muslim extremist groups in the subcontinent come under the operational and ideological influence of al-Qaida? The Mumbai attack was a watershed. It demonstrated the stark departure by the LeT from being an anti-Indian to both an anti-Indian and an anti-western group. LeT’s direct and operational role in Mumbai attack surprised the security and intelligence services of Pakistan, India and other governments. Very much a group founded to fight the Indian presence in Kashmir, LeT has evolved into operating against targets throughout India. Today, it has moved further from a national to a regional and a global group.

Although its rhetoric has been anti-Indian, its anti-western rhetoric has grown significantly since 9/11. The mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi directed LeT military operations even outside the Indian theatre. He dispatched LeT trained Pakistani and foreign operatives to Chechnya, Bosnia and Southeast Asia. And since 2003, they have been sent to assess the situation in Iraq, and later to attack US forces in Iraq. Although LeT operatives have been arrested in the US, Europe, and in Australia, LeT was not a priority group for the international community. It is because LeT did not align itself with al-Qaida and refrained from operating in Afghanistan. But it maintained relations with al-Qaida at an operational level.

Until Mumbai, LeT has been in the category of Islamist nationalist groups. Some groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizbul Mujahideen remained Muslim nationalist groups. In contrast, groups in Egypt, Algeria and Indonesia that began with local agendas transformed into groups with regional and international agendas.

After the US intervention in Afghanistan, the epicentre of international terrorism has shifted from Afghanistan to tribal Pakistan. The influence of al-Qaida is profound on groups in tribal Pakistan such as Tehrik-e-Taliban and on mainland Pakistani groups. The insurgency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas is spilling to NWFP and beyond. To contain their influence, the Pakistan government proscribed a number of militant groups. By 2008, exploiting the political instability, a number of these banned groups, that adopted new names, began to operate openly.

Over time, both New Delhi and Islamabad are likely to realise the need to fight a common threat, both ideologically and operationally. Mumbai has demonstrated that the pre-eminent national security challenge facing both India and Pakistan is terrorism and not each other.

The writer teaches at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, one of the world’s largest counter-terrorism centre. He is the author of the bestselling Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror





New insights into Indian Mujahideen network

2 10 2008

fPraveen Swami
Source: The Hindu
Also look at the List of faces of terror from NDTV


SIMI leaders provided the foundations for Ahmedabad operation

Most contentious part of network was a group of U.P. men centred around Atif Amin


NEW DELHI: India’s intelligence and police services now believe that the Indian Mujahideen is not a terror group, but a loose network of Islamist groups tied together by a common cause and ideological affiliation.

Based on a careful study of the mechanics of the July 26 serial bombings of Ahmedabad, investigators believe that the Indian Mujahideen is made up of three distinct elements: Students Islamic Movement of India volunteers, a group of Uttar Pradesh men with links to the Harkat ul-Jihad-e-Islami and the jihadist-linked crime cartel of jailed mafioso Aftab Ansari.

SIMI foundations

Students Islamic Movement of India leaders — many of whom knew Ghauri and Husaini — provided the foundations for the Ahmedabad operation.

Key SIMI organiser Qayamuddin Kapadia, who has evaded arrest, led a team of Gujarat-based volunteers who provided the local knowledge critical for the success of the operation.

Many members of this ring, whose key members included Usman Agarbattiwala and Sajid Mansuri, were drawn to the jihad by personal experiences of the Gujarat communal pogrom of 2002. For example, Imran Ibrahim Sheikh was forced to drop out of school when his mother — the family’s sole earning member — was injured in the violence.

SIMI had begun preparing itself for participation in the Indian Mujahideen offensive in December 2007, when an estimated 50 cadre participated in a jihad training camp held near Aluva, Kerala. In January 2008, another camp was held on the Pavagadh hills near Halol.

Several follow-up meetings were held, involving Kapadia, Islamist ideologue Mufti Abdul Bashar Qasmi, and Mumbai-based bomb-maker Mohammad Subhan Qureshi — the man who helped to knit the diverse elements of the Indian Mujahideen network together.

Assault team

But the most contentious part of the social network was a group of Uttar Pradesh men centred around Atif Amin — a Jamia Millia Islamia University student, who, the Delhi police say, commanded the most critical cell of the Indian Mujahideen.

Much of the police account emerged from the questioning of Mohammad Shakeel, who was pursuing a Master’s degree in economics, along with Jamia undergraduate Zia-ur-Rahman and New Delhi-based Sikkim Manipal University distance-learning student Saqib Nisar.

While the families and supporters of the three men insist they are innocent, the police claim they were key members of the Indian Mujahideen network.

According to the police, independent witnesses have confirmed that on August 11 the three men were aboard the Ashram Express from Delhi to Ahmedabad, where they and other members of Atif Amin’s team carried out a reconnaissance in preparation for the serial bombings.

Delhi police investigators say Amin at first told his group that the bombings were to be executed on July 19. However, three days before that day, he announced that the plan had been deferred, because the disassembled improvised explosive devices needed for the attacks were yet to arrive.

In fact, the police in Gujarat and Maharashtra now believe, the delay was most likely the outcome of problems faced by the Indian Mujahideen’s organised-crime affiliates in Mumbai.

Car bombs

Aftab Ansari’s key lieutenant Riaz Bhatkal, who is thought to have routed much of the finance for the Indian Mujahideen from Islamists in the Indian diaspora in West Asia, promised to provide three cars to be fitted with bombs. But Bhatkal-lined gangster Afzal Usmani was able to arrange for the theft of the three vehicles used as car bombs in Ahmedabad only on July 15. Usmani and his associates then drove the cars to Ahmedabad, where they were delivered to Amin early on July 17.

Later, Amin’s group assembled the bombs — manufactured at a still-unknown Indian Mujahideen factory that is believed to have been run near Mangalore in Karnataka — at a safe house in Ahmedabad’s Dani Limda area.

By this time, however, Shakeel had returned to Delhi, where he was scheduled to sit for an examination for his Master’s degree. He was, however, ordered to prepare a flat in New Delhi’s Jasola Vihar area, used by the Indian Mujahideen as a safe house, for the arrival of the 13-member assault team led by Amin which returned to the Capital on July 27.

With much of the Indian Mujahideen’s top leadership still at large, it is still unclear just who thought up its name — but investigators say it is likely that its inspiration lay in earlier efforts to build up an indigenous, pan-India jihadist network.

In the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the Mujahideen Islam e-Hind — or the Indian Mujahideen of Islam — led by Mohammad Tufail Husaini bombed a series of trains. Andhra Pradesh-based Mohammad Azam Ghauri, one of the co-founders of the Lashkar’s pan-India operations, later set up the Indian Muslim Mohammadi Mujahideen, which carried out several bombings in 1999.





Editorial: Defiance of Terror (arab news)

18 05 2008

Editorial: Defiance of Terror
17 May 2008
Source: arabnews

It is still unclear who was behind the horrific series of bomb attacks in the Indian city of Jaipur on Tuesday which killed 63 people and left some 200 injured. Suspicions, however, are being pointed at a Jihadist group, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) which is thought to be based in Bangladesh. Its leader in India, Mohammed Jalaluddin, who claimed to have been behind the 2006 Mumbai train bombings which killed 187 people, was arrested in Lucknow last year and reportedly told police at the time that Jaipur was one of his organization’s top targets.

If this is true, then sadly once again deviants have been responsible for what is a crime against humanity. Given that possibility, we state again the most important fact here: What twisted minds did in Jaipur is at variance with everything Islam stands for. They and their actions stand utterly condemned by the overwhelming majority of Muslims here, in India, in Bangladesh, everywhere.

If the intention was to divide Jaipur, the majority of whose inhabitants are Hindus, although there is a substantial Muslim community, it has gratifyingly done the exact opposite. The shock has resulted in both communities getting together and talking together. That is no surprise. The inhabitants of Jaipur, whatever their faith, have a strong sense of identity as Jaipuris. In the aftermath, they did not ask if a victim was Muslim or Hindu or Christian, they mourned them all regardless. In fact, at least 12 who died in the blasts were Muslim and 30 Muslims were injured — another indication that Muslims are as much in danger from the fanatics as anyone else. Already, Jaipur is shaking off the dust and getting back to work now that the curfew is lifted. There is a resilience there, a determination not to be intimidated. It is not a particularly Jaipuri thing. It is the same resilience that has been seen after in New York, London, Madrid, Sri Lanka, Bali and anywhere else where terrorists have struck in the belief that they can effect political change. It is a human refusal not to bow to terror — which is why the terrorists have never succeeded in changing anything and never will.

That refusal to be cowed is linked to another factor that the terrorist fails to comprehend. India has faced violence from a various sources — Jihadists, Maoists and Naxalites, Sikh militants, militants in the northeast wanting independence. Two of its prime ministers were assassinated; intercommunal violence is a beast that remains unvanquished. But, horrific though they are, bombs in Jaipur are of no long-term significance, other than to the victims and their families. That is because the overwhelming majority of Indians have confidence in their political system — just as the overwhelming majority of Spaniards, Britons or Americans have confidence in theirs. That is the reason why terrorism and violence in India will not succeed. Indian democracy will not be undermined; the drive to Indian prosperity will not be halted. Nor even will the Rajasthan tourist industry will be destroyed — because the world has confidence in India.