January 15, 2009
The terrorist attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008 resulting in the death of over 170 people, including nine terrorists, was perceived to be a gruesome assault of India’s financial capital. The terrorist siege lasted for three days raising question about India’s counter-intelligence apparatus and security preparedness. Investigations revealed that the attackers entered Mumbai through the sea route and split into groups for conducting simultaneous attacks on several targets within the city. India alleges that the terrorists were trained by the ISI and were members of the LeT, the terrorist outfit apparently banned by Pakistan in January 2002, after the attack on the Indian Parliament. In the ensuing days possibility of a military offensive between India and Pakistan gripped the world once again. On December 21, 2008 security forces were attacked in the Mendhar forests of the Poonch District of Jammu. The attack resulted in a nine day encounter between the security forces and terrorists operating from fortified bunkers built 7 Km inside the LOC on the Indian side. According to intelligence sources, a top commander of the Pakistan-based JeM, Abu Dawood, was among the militants present in the hideout. Due to bad weather conditions and difficult terrain the terrorists managed to escape and bodies of terrorists claimed to have been killed by the security forces were not recovered. The Poonch encounter marginally figured in mainstream media and rarely, if ever, in India’s current diplomatic offensive against Pakistan.
What accounted for the difference in India’s response to Poonch and Kaluchak?
There can be no one point answer to this question. A complex mix of political, economic, strategic and diplomatic choices has shaped and dictated India’s response to the Mumbai terror strikes and ensuing developments. Political considerations, domestic and international, have been the most compelling factors in checking a hasty rush to the military option. The Congress led UPA government is mindful of the fact that the country will go to polls in April/May 2009. A war, with related economic and human costs, would prove detrimental for the political fortunes of the incumbent government. The judicious mix of diplomacy and political pressure reflected in the Government’s responses seek to convince the common people of the political maturity and sagacity of the Congress Party. Offensive diplomacy, threat of severing trade ties, multilateral networking and the right to employ force are options being used by the government to address the strategic issue at hand in conformity with national interests and domestic political objectives.
India’s response has taken into cognizance the political transition underway in Washington. With a lame duck administration in office, India rightly decided not to venture into a military showdown with Pakistan. Despite India’s disapproval of third party mediation at the formal level in the affairs of India and Pakistan, the influence of U.S. in the region cannot be wished away. India is working closely with the U.S. in investigating the attacks and reasoning with Pakistan to act against terrorist. A military conflict at this stage would result in an ambiguous response from the U.S. as President-elect Obama is yet to occupy the Oval Office. India rightly anticipated that the political transition in the U.S. could dilute the diplomatic tranquilizer imperative for preventing regional tensions from spiraling out of control.
India did not choose to bear the massive economic costs of a military confrontation in the midst of a global economic crisis. India’s growing economy is susceptible to the shock waves of the current economic meltdown. In the words of P.M. Singh, “International credit has shrunk with adverse effects on our corporates and banks. Global uncertainty is also tending to dampen investor sentiment." The job loss and liquidity crunch has begun impacting India’s economy. According to a joint report prepared by the World Economic forum and Confederation of Indian Industries, India's dependence on capital flows to finance its current account deficit is a macroeconomic risk and the global crisis could generate a sharp increase in capital outflows and a reduction in the availability of finance. Given the national and global economic situation the Government of India did not consider it prudent to invest resources in a demanding military adventure.
Lessons from Operation Parakaram impacted India’s response mechanism in the fall-out to the Mumbai attacks. Operation Parakaram refers to the massive military build-up by India on the LOC just days after the Parliament attack in 2001. The 10 month period of troop mobilization resulted in merely garnering diplomatic assurance from Pakistan to act against terrorists – an objective achieved through a month long diplomatic offensive against Pakistan. The troop mobilization had triggered the knee-jerk response to the Kaluchak incident. Since there was no need for rationalizing any troop movement in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror strikes, the Poonch incident did not precipitate bilateral tensions. The fact that both sides possessed nuclear weapons further reduced the viability of using military force. Fortunately, the limited war concept and the ‘Cold Start Strategy’ devised after Operation Parakaram was not operationalized during the 2008 crisis.
The imposing lesson emerging from the global war against terrorism structured in the politico-strategic calculations of India. The U.S. military operation in Afghanistan and Iraq achieved limited objectives while failing to convincingly address the challenge of terrorism. The U.S. had other wider objectives for initiating military strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq, but India’s singular objective of targeting terrorists in Pakistan was difficult to realize. India realized that the use of military force against another country as a mechanism to combat terrorism is a flawed strategy. Even surgical strikes against terrorist camps would fail to accomplish the strategic objectives as suspected terrorists are spread across the territory of Pakistan. Initiating a military operation destined to fail in realizing its primary objective of checking terrorism would be a major diplomatic disappointment for India.
Finally, India has realized that in achieving her politic-strategic objectives, the socio-political compulsions of her neighboring states have to be realized and respected. President Zardari’s government is fragile in terms of political support and institutional structures. Debate over the constitutional range of Presidential powers is underway in Pakistan in an atmosphere where the military and ulema are contestants in the national struggle for political influence. The Army Chief, Intelligence Agency, President, Prime Minister, National Security Advisory are not constituents of a clearly defined national apparatus, but competitors wresting for power and influence within Pakistan. India realizes that excessive pressure generated in a military conflict could result in the collapse of Pakistan’s fragile political apparatus.
The rational decision making strategy employed by India does not indicate the lack of resolve or intention for realizing the objectives of national security and wellbeing. The Government of India continues to remain mindful of the threats emanating from Pakistan and the need to resolutely address them. The obvious choice after the Mumbai attacks has been an attempt to evaluate national, regional and global compulsions associated with available diplomatic choices. Poonch did not become Kaluchak because India decided not to trivialize the Mumbai terror attacks by clustering it as a routine manifestation of the historical Indo-Pakistan rivalry. The Mumbai attacks have revealed broader dimensions of the threat encountered by country and India’s emerging responses have sought to convincingly address the challenge rather than indulge in the diplomatic strategy of one-upmanship.
Fellow, Global India Foundation
North America Chapter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2009
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, was arrested in late 2005, and has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. She has been repeatedly raped by the military officers and is being used as a sex slave, to induce arrested nationalist activists to sign state-concocted confessions.
One man, who was arrested by a state agency and kept in military torture cell almost for nine months, narrated the story of this young woman to Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, RSF); nowpublic.com; the International Red Cross; and at Woolwich Court in London. The current whereabouts of the young woman are not known. It has been asserted that women who are fighting for the greater autonomy of Balochistan are being arrested by the state agencies and being forced into sex slavery in their custody.
Mr. Munir Mengal, the managing director of a Balochi-language television channel, was arrested on April 4, 2006 from Karachi International airport by the state intelligence agencies and transferred to a military torture cell in Karachi for nine months (http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2006/1666/). He narrated the story of the forced sex slavery of the young teacher Zarina Marri whom he encountered in a military cell. According to the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Mr. Munir Mengal witnessed many human rights violations in this military prison. Mengal says that, “a young Balochi woman, Ms. Zarina Marri, was used as a sexual slave by the officers. They even once threw her naked into my cell. I did not know what had happened to this mother of a family who was arrested by the army in our province.”
Another Balochi nationalist (name omitted by request), who was arrested by the military intelligence agency twice and kept in military cells in different cities, has confirmed to the AHRC that there were young Balochi females seen at those two torture cells, naked and in distress. The prominent Balochi nationalist leaders say that they know fact that young Balochi women are being arrested, either during or after protest demonstrations on the disappearances and are missing. They also know about the women are sexually abused in the military custody but they cannot say so publically because of their sanctity and harassment of their families.
Mr. Munir Mengal was also tortured and his penis was severely injured when he refused to have sex with Zarina Marri. He told RSF, “on 27th January, 2007 at 6 pm Major Iqrar Gul Niazi (Military Intelligence) called me in his office and showed me some nude pictures, and laughingly told me that you have been a director of a TV channel so certainly you have good relations with actresses.”
When he returned to his cell he found porn pictures strewn all over it. Around 12 pm a low-ranking military officer called Subedar brought a female there. She was trembling and weeping. “He threw her on my body and told me, ‘You know what to do with her. You are not a child we have to tell what to do with her.’” Mr. Mengal says after half an hour the officer returned, and seeing them sitting apart, abused them and forcibly took off their clothes. Mengal said he was stunned when the woman began praying in the Balochi language. She told Mengal her name was Zarina Marri and that she belongs to the Kohlu area, headquarters of the rebel Marri tribe, a scene of a bloody insurgency that begun in 2005. She said she was a schoolteacher and that the army personnel had abducted her along with her one-year-old.
“They accuse us for spying for the Baluchistan Liberation Army,” Zarina Marri said. She begged Mengal to kill her. “I have been undressed several times for them.”
Mengal said on the refusal to have sex, the intelligence officials inflicted cuts on his private parts. “I thought I would lose my manhood,” he said. Ms. Zarina told to Mengal that she has seen some females in the torture cell but was not allowed to talk with them.
At the time of this incident Colonel Raza of the Pakistani Army was in charge of that cell. After a few days he was transferred to Rawalpindi, Punjab province and Colonel Abdul Malik Kashmiri came as head of the military torture cell.
Mr. Munir Mengal was released from the military torture cell on 4th August 2007 and was held in a civilian jail on August 5th. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representatives met him in Khuzadar jail, where he provided them with a detailed briefing which they wrote down. The next day their doctor also checked the injured portion of his penis. Mr. Andrew Barterlays, the officer of ICRC who visited Mr. Mengal several times in jail, told Mr. Mengal that until he was out of custody the ICRC could not take up the issue of Zarina Marri, because both their lives would be threatened.
The Asian Human Rights Commission has already reported that 52 torture cells are run by the Pakistan army, please see following link (http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2008statements/1574/), Karachi was stated to have three military torture cells. The testimony by Mr. Munir Mengal has revealed the most heinous methods of army torture, using young women as sex slaves to induce political opponents to sign the government-concocted confessions of terrorist and anti-state activity.
The AHRC severely condemns the use of women as sex slaves by the Pakistan army and for keeping these women incommunicado. Pakistan is the signatory to Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) but women are being used as sex slaves in a gross violation of the Convention by army officers.
The AHRC urges the government of Pakistan to immediately hold a judicial investigation into the women detainees being used as sex slaves by the army officers in their detention centers, and to arrest all the army officers posted in the torture cells; both in Karachi and in the rest of Pakistan. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes must be brought before the law. The government should ascertain the whereabouts of the women arrested from Balochistan province who have disappeared after their arrest, including Zarina Marri. It is the duty of the government to search for the missing persons taken by State intelligence agencies, who have held them in torture cells for many years.
Pakistan proudly calls itself the Islamic Democratic State but its rulers appear to lack the courage to bring its own military into check. It is a military that engages in torture and some of the most heinous methods of breaking the spirit of those that it considers the enemy, it is a military that pays no heed to the norms of civilised behaviour and is one that, if not brought to book will convert Pakistan into a barbaric state.
# # #
About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
Asian Human Rights Commission
19/F, Go-Up Commercial Building,
998 Canton Road, Kowloon, Hongkong S.A.R.
Tel: +(852) - 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) - 2698-6367
Last Updated: Friday, 16 January , 2009, 10:25
(Copyright AFP. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.)
Islamabad: The Inter-Services Intelligence agency in Pakistan appears to have launched a coordinated cy-war (psychological war ) against the country’s former National Security Adviser, Major General (retired) Mahmud Ali Durrani, aimed at proving that he was an American agent in Islamabad working for American and Indian interests.
Journalists and publications who are close to the establishment in Islamabad are being used to project the line that after Major General (retired) Durrani, the “agents” who are pushing Islamabad into publicly accepting the “half-cooked evidence” provided by the United States and India in relation to the November 26, 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, are Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani and Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry Rehman.
According to one report, a powerful group, of which Haqqani and Rehman are prominent members, is working overtime for the past several weeks to convince their superiors for Pakistan to accept “blame without verification and without pursuing other compelling leads” in connection with the Mumbai attacks.
The report further goes on to say that Major General (retired) Durrani’s behaviour over the last few days, “and especially on January 7” has been “particularly desperate”, and that there are rumours in circulation that he could be arrested and interrogated to “determine the interests he was serving”.
There is a view that Durrani has had the backing of both President Asif Ali Zardari and Rehman, and that there was an attempt by Rehman to rescue Durrani from his eventual sacking.
The report further goes on to say that Durrani’s conduct and the recent security-related policy failures of the government “reinforce the need for a purge” both within the government and the political elite. It is being claimed in the corridors of power here that foreign governments have been able to breach both institutions and cultivate assets, who have been “ conducting their own private foreign policies directly with foreign powers, without the approval or knowledge of the Pakistani state.”
Durrani has been allegedly accused of contacting a Pakistani journalist working for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in December and leaking the story of a Lashkar activist confessing to making phone calls to the Mumbai terrorists. It is now being said that Durrani was seeking to embarrass Pakistan and quashing the voices calling for evidence and verification – a classic pressure tactic by an insider.
The WSJ is said to have come out with an elaborate story, linking the alleged confession to the ISI’s tense relations with elected governments in Pakistan since the 1990s. Durrani, it seems, wanted to expose the ISI for its role in clandestine attacks on India, a view that has always been projected by the Indian establishment.
As far as Ambassador Haqqani is concerned, the report says that he has been insisting with his superiors in Islamabad that Pakistan accepts the FBI evidence on a tape recording that purportedly shows a Pakistani citizen in Pakistan talking to one of the terrorists involved in the 26/11 mayhem. Critics of this stance are saying that this information needs to be verified by Pakistani experts to determine its accuracy.
Haqqani’s failure to convince Islamabad, according to the report, has made the pro-American lobby desperate enough to send the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, to Islamabad to convince President Zardari to “allow the Indian Air Force to conduct limited surgical strikes” and to “deactivate the state of alert in the Pakistan Air Force” for this purpose. Admiral Mullen failed in his mission.
A four-point charge sheet has reportedly been prepared to showcase foreign policy blunders while Durrani was NSA, and it includes the following:
Immediate admission of guilt on behalf of the ISI, when Gilani was told to accept the sending of ISI Director General to New Delhi on India’s summons.
The weak, apologetic diplomacy in the face Indian war-mongering.
Misleading China in the UN Security Council voting, resulting in incriminating Pakistani individuals and organizations without evidence
ISI plans 'Islamic Republic of Pakistan' by 2020 in India
The Zardari Government is suspected of dragging its feet on issuing orders to the Pakistani military to raise the level of alert even when Indian defence forces were moving to forward positions.
The report particularly focuses on the events of January 7 when Durrani apparently leaked to an Indian TV channel and a couple of Pakistani news channels that Pakistan has accepted the Indian evidence that Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Mumbai terrorist, was a Pakistani citizen.
The report says that Durrani may have wanted this story to be leaked anonymously, but one journalist made the “error” of naming him.
Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir sought to deny Durrani’s leak, but Information Minister Rehman went a step further and text messaged that Durrani was right in naming Kasab a Pakistani citizen.
The report says that Durrani is an active member of the “Balusa Group” created and financed by the US Government to lobby Washington’s interests in the upper echelons of the Pakistani Government, with the stated prime objective of maintaining peace between Pakistan and India through track II diplomacy. However, according to sources within the Pakistani establishment, the group was also involved to promote US energy interests in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and to convince Pakistan to let India have unlimited access to Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics, a concession sans returns.
It concludes by saying that Durrani, as an insider, has facilitated US moves to expand the war in Afghanistan, weaken the Pakistani military and firmly align Pakistan with American interests opposite to China and others, with India’s help, and therefore, there is a need to purge individuals like him on a priority basis.
Priyanka Bhardwaj - 1/12/2009
The run up to India’s general elections in summer 2009 requires a legislative majority within the democratic idiom. Most analysts agree that the ‘pack of three’, Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati and Narendra Modi will play crucial roles in the world’s biggest democracy India.
Rahul Gandhi, Congress scion
In 2008, 37-year-old Rahul Gandhi became the Congress party general secretary, considered a pivotal post. This is believed to be a ‘grooming program’ for the future Prime Ministerial candidate.
Rahul is the fourth generation scion to India’s first political family the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has led the Congress Party for 124 years and dominated the political landscape for 4-decades of independent India.
Rahul’s great grandfather, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, grand mother, Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi, were India’s Prime Ministers, and mother, Sonia Gandhi, heads the governing coalition and ranks among the most powerful global politicians, according to myriad polls.
In the 2004 general elections to the Lok Sabha (popular house of Parliament), Rahul picked up the dynastic gauntlet from the Amethi constituency, in a northern state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
The shy, bespectacled, Cambridge educated, toured the dusty, pot holed heartland of UP that supports a population of 170 millions, more than the combined population of Russia and Australia, when his mother Sonia nursed a weak health.
Desperate to carve a niche, Rahul’s speeches have a characteristic sprinkling of ‘change and development,’ taking on corruption, secularism and employment. His induction has infused the party with a ‘novel, youthful zest’..
Displaying nonchalance, despite security fears, in a spotless white ‘kurta-pyjama’ (loosely fitted traditional Indian attire) he has moved around constituencies, nibbling a snack, washing it down with indigenous drink, ‘lassi, at wayside snack shacks.
Yet, he could be mistaken to be a movie star, given the crowds that follow.
Reportedly, it was when Rahul said ‘enough is enough’ in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist strikes in November that the federal home minister was replaced.
Rahul’s active support to another emerging young politician, Omar Abdullah, who now leads the Jammu and Kashmir government following successful elections, last month, could be a prelude to a nationwide leadership role.
Mayawati, dalit queen
Economically underdeveloped but politically very forward, UP throws up many PM contenders.
After consolidating in UP, the incumbent chief minister, Mayawati, dubbed as the “Dalit (Untouchable) Queen”, has initiated the process of stamping other states by her presence.
Her unique ‘social engineering’ has broad based her vote-bank to upper castes and millions of lower castes ‘have-nots’ who face economic, socio and religious oppression even in matters of using a common well or praying at temples..
Mayawati’s antecedents can be traced to a ‘dalit’ family of nine children, living in a state of ‘absolute nothing’.
Many believe her political momentum could win her appreciable seats in the general elections which would a ‘revolution,’ as per some analysts.
Her popularity could gain her enough leverage in a hung parliament, even catapulting her to the top job.
Appointing technocrats, cracking against crime, inaugurating India’s biggest highway projects, parks and statues celebrating her party, publishing her autobiography, she has been applauded and criticized alike for following a ‘blatant authoritarian stick’.
There are graft allegations against her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for siphoning off development funds.
In December 2008, national attention was drawn to the brutal killing of a government engineer who refused/failed to pay Rs 5 million to a BSP party leader, in the name of Mayawati’s birthday celebrations.
Gaining some notoriety for her whims, personal aggrandizement, expensive homes and total authority, she holds the dubious record as the highest tax payer among politicians (her income supposedly contributions by well wishers) equaling biggest film stars.
Her controversial plans for building a shopping mall next to the Taj Mahal, $100 million Park in Lucknow in honor of her party’s founder could corrode her base.
Yet in UP, where regional caste aspirations, sleaze and scandal have been galore, Mayawati’s ambition could translate into rule from the center.
Narendra Modi, saffron rock star
Chief Minister of Gujarat for the third time, 57 years old, Narendra Modi’s name exudes charisma and controversy.
Absolutely unstoppable on the development front, the man held ‘responsible for the carnage of 2,500 minority Muslims’ in 2002’, is also a right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) veteran and labeled as the “rock star” of saffron politics.
The Supreme Court has compared him to Roman Emperor Nero, a legendary king who played his lyre while Rome burned and Washington has denied him a visa for violation of human rights.
Modi started his political career as a RSS pracharak (pro-Hindutva outfit aligned to the BJP) and joined the BJP in 1987.
Skilled in political maneuvers he was instrumental in the formation of a BJP government in Himachal Pradesh in March 1998.
Modi took over Gujarat when the state was reeling under the 2001 deadly earthquake and stagnant growth. He passionately overhauled the administrative apparatus and adopted cost saving exercises.
Agricultural production increased; it is not fortuitous that today the milk to Singapore, potatoes to Canada and tomatoes to Afghanistan are sourced from Gujarat.
Modi also persuaded Ratan Tata to relocate his small Nano car manufacturing plant to Gujarat from West Bengal in 2008.
Connectivity and industry have been his agenda; in the first year of his tenure the state clocked 10 % GDP growth and sustains its high rank in development and living standards.
Analysts such as Ashis Nandy has commented in Outlook magazine that Modi may be ‘nursing pan-Indian ambitions by retooling himself as a typical, middle-class politician and in five years he may have a fair chance of making it to the top at the national level’.
Aware that he is the BJP trump card after Advani, who is the prime ministerial candidate, Modi minces no words on security and advocates punitive measures against pan-Islamic militants, such as Afzal Guru, whose death conviction in the Indian Parliament attack in 2002, is yet to be carried out.
``If you (pro-Muslim Congress party) don't have the courage, send him to Gujarat. We will hang him here’, he has said.
His oratory skills appeal to Hindu masses who savor his style, humor and temper. They cheer even as he slams the Congress for suggesting there was no proof of Lord Ram's existence during a recent court battle, among other issues.
Priyanka Bhardwaj is a journalist based in New Delhi. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
NY Times on-line:
6. January 14, 2009 3:44 pm Link An important issue that must be dealt with is that military forces around the world often use rape as an instrument to terrorize the population. Sometimes the US is in alliance with military forces using such practices and is reluctant to bring the abuses into the limelight. For example, the Asian Human Rights Commission reports that the Pakistani military–supposedly a US strategic ally–is using rape as an instrument of torture against the Baloch women (Pakistani military is fighting against against a secular independence movement by the Baloch, who are disturbed in part by a Pakistani backed influx of Pushtun Taliban). Based on the testimony of a distinguished journalist and other evidence it has gathered, the Commission recently reported: "Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, was arrested in late 2005, and has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. She has been repeatedly raped by the military officers and is being used as a sex slave, to induce arrested nationalist activists to sign state-concocted confessions."http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1843/
Will the US punish, or even highlight, such human rights abuses, or will it continue to put a premium on its perceived short term interests as it has in the past?— Shikarpuri
The Sacking of Mahmud Durrani from the post of National Security Advisor of Pakistan, on admitting Pakistani nationality of Azmal Kasab; by Prime Minister Gilani is a quite mysterious episode. This episode leads to confusing indications about political equations in Islamabad. However some concrete inferences will have to be drawn as they are vital to future policy decisions.
Mahmuud Ali Durrani was instrumental in arranging the deal between Musharraf and PPP that led to Benazir’s return to Pakistan. In current regime he was considered by many, as someone who had good relations with PPP leadership as well as what may be loosely termed as ‘Musharraf lineage’ in Army and politics. It is unlikely that he made such a statement without backing of President Zardari and/or Musharraf faction. He had the backing of President Zardari is also corroborated by the fact that Pak Information minister Sherry Rahman- who is considered very close to Bhutto Family- sent a SMS to the same effect to Foreign Media , just hours after Mr. Durrani admitted Kasab’s Pak origin before Indian Media. All this was followed by a high voltage political drama resulting in sacking of Mr. Durrani by Prime minister on charges of irresponsible behavior and omission to take Prime minister into confidence before making such a statement that was vital to Pak national security.
Many Pakistani Commentators termed this as ‘coordination problem’ and ‘tussle between President and PM’. But things may not be as simple as they seem to be and this is particularly true about Pak politics. It is not so easy for PM Gilani to stage this sort of a political coup by sacking Durrani, unless and until, he is backed by a more potent power than President Zardari. One should not forget that PM Gilani derives all his political fuel from Zardari. Although there are some factions within the PPP that are against Zardari’s liberal thoughts with regard to Kashmir and his no first use theory , but they are not strong enough to sponsor things like this on their own. This indicates that the powers supporting Gilani is from outside the civilian political spectrum, as only they have the capability to land such a support and carry out this kind of political sabotage. It must also be remembered that statements of PM Gilani and Foreign minister Qureshi in aftermath of Mumbai terror strikes were particularly provocative and fiery and aimed at creating war hysteria.
However, there is a need to look upon the things by the effect they intended to produce. This leads to a second hypothesis: This whole drama is part of a strategy to accept through an element in Government which is portrayed as a ‘rogue one’ by being sacked within hours. This is helpful in quelling domestic uproar as well as to implant desired thoughts in minds of foreign leaders about there being many power centers making the infant democracy quite fragile, forcing the international community to reduce the pressure. This is what Mr. Durrani meant when he said that he was made a scapegoat. It is like accepting and denying in the same breath and such a political stroke is capable of taking care of domestic audience and creating utter confusion internationally. This is aimed to keep people guessing about who wants to act and who do not, thus adding a new dimension to academic debates. It is possible that Mr.Durrani got trapped in this exercise unknowingly.
A careful observer can easily understand that the second theory is accommodative of first one and the first one, in turn, compliments the second. The merged conclusions of both indicate further complications in future dealings with Islamabad. Whole of this ‘admit and got sacked’ episode is part of a well organized shadow boxing. It helps President Zardari’s image of a Gentleman who wants to act but can’t due to domestic compulsions and limitations and at the same time helps PPP to get rid of image of a pro-US soft party. We have seen many such scripted duels over last one year or so in Pak politics and this one is can be loosely called a sequel to Musharraf double games with a new format and orientation. President Zardari needs fuel from Washington and PPP needs that from masses. By this drama they have taken care of both their requirements and in the joints ‘other interests’ had their game. By admitting Azmal Kasab’s nationality they have responded to international pressure and by retreating back to denial’s abode through PM they are refusing to deliver any goods despite the fact.
January 13, 2009
This essay begins with quotations from essentially non-Indian sources to buttress the arguments that follow and assert that these arguments do not reflect a preconceived notion about Pakistan but depict a stark reality that many perceptive Pakistanis also see today. And they worry about the future of their country. We too should be concerned about the fate of a neighbour who has been consistently hostile to India, has been internationally delinquent and in the process has become economically weak, with a weak middle class a polity in disarray and now has a highly Islamised Army in control not only of the country but also the nuclear button. The mosaic of quotations from Pakistani, American and British authors will indicate the problems that confront Pakistan and its neighbours.
"If the British Commonwealth and the USA are to be in a position to defend their vital interests in the Middle East, then the best and most stable area from which to conduct this defence is from Pakistan territory. Pakistan is the keystone of the strategic arch of the wide and vulnerable waters of the Indian Ocean." Cited by Narendra Singh Sarila in his book 'The Untold Story of India's Partition' from an unsigned British memorandum dated May 19 1948 – 'The Strategic and Political Importance of Pakistan in the Event of a War with the USSR'. (These were from Mountbatten Papers, Hartley Library, Southampton).
Commenting on Pakistan's early days, Owen Bennett Jones in his book "Pakistan-Eye of the Storm " (2002) said "Even if the vast majority of Pakistan's first generation of politicians were firmly in the modernist camp it is significant that they tried to avoid a direct confrontation with the Islamic radicals. Faced with growing challenges from Baloch, Sindhi, Pukhtoon and Bengali nationalists, even the most secular leaders found it was expedient to appeal to Islam so as to foster a sense of Pakistani unity. In doing so, the politicians established a trend which has been a feature of Pakistani politics ever since." "The fate of Pakistan will affect the entire world. Will Pakistan's military continue to use the mullahs to achieve its short term political and military goals? Will the sectarian killers – created by the ISI – get involved in sectarian crimes in other countries, for example in Iraq, further destabilising the country? Will terrorists continue to see Pakistan as a hospitable place of refuge? If Pakistan is to be saved from a Taliban-like future, and the rest of the world saved from future Dr Khans, it will have to make accommodations with India on Kashmir and stop flirting with the mullahs. It will have to spend less of its national income on defence and more on educating its youth. It will require that a true democracy take hold. But none of this will happen, Abbas warns, without the assistance of the United States. After all, the U. S. government helped to design and fund the strategy of employing violent Islamist cadres to serve as "volunteer" fighters in a war that seemed critically important at that time, but left those cadres to their own devices once they were no longer important for achieving U. S. strategic goals. The idea of international jihad – which was promoted by the United States and Pakistan when it was expedient, took hold and spread, ultimately resulting in deadly terrorist crimes throughout Asia as well as the September 11 strikes.....Mr Abbas warns of a frightening future – one in which extremists gain more military support and more military might; and tensions between India and Pakistan continue to rise...." Jessica Stern, in her foreword to Hassan Abbas's book 'Pakistan Drift into Extremism – Allah, the Army and America's War on Terror' 2005.
Abbas himself sounds rather concerned when he says in the concluding chapter of this book, "The Pakistan Army dare not confront them, [Islamists] knowing their strength and suspecting that they have many sympathisers, if not supporters, within its own ranks. It was therefore considered more feasible for the Army to continue to direct its energies in the battle zone of Kashmir rather than to face the jihadis.......No one knows has a clear idea about the exact numbers, but their potential capability resides in the subconscious of those in authority, and this stays there because the reality of it is too hard to confront. Their funding will not dry up because thousands of Pakistanis and Arabs believe in them and contribute to them."
Former adviser to Benazir Bhutto and the present Pak Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani had made some very perceptive comments in his book 'Pakistan-Between the Mosque and Military' (2005). Haqqani observed "Pakistan's military historically has been willing to adjust its priorities to fit within the parameters of immediate U. S. global concerns. It has done this to ensure the flow of military and economic aid from the United States, which Pakistan considers necessary for its struggle for survival and its competition with India. Pakistan's relations with the United States have been part of the Pakistani military's policy tripod that emphasises Islam as a national unifier, rivalry with India as the principal objective of the state's foreign policy and an alliance with the United States as a means to defray the costs of Pakistan's massive military expenditures. These policy precepts have served to encourage extremist Islamism, which in the past few years have been a source of threat to both U.S. interests and global security."
Haqqani adds "America's alliance with Pakistan, or rather with the Pakistani military, has had three significant consequences for Pakistan. First, because the U.S. military sees Pakistan in the context of its Middle East strategy, Pakistan has become more oriented toward the Middle East even though it is geographically and historically a part of South Asia. Second, the intermittent flow of U.S. military and economic assistance has encouraged Pakistan's military leaders to overestimate their power potential. This in turn has contributed to their reluctance to accept normal relations with India even after learning through repeated misadventures that Pakistan can, at best hold India to a draw in military conflict and cannot defeat it. Third, the ability to secure military and economic aid by fitting into the current paradigm of American policy has made Pakistan into a rentier state, albeit one that lives off the rents for its strategic location."
Two other observations by Haqqani are important. He says, "Contrary to the U.S. assumption that aid translates into leverage, Pakistan's military has always managed to take the aid without ever fully giving the United States what it desires." Further, "Unless Islamabad's objectives are redefined to focus on economic prosperity and popular participation in governance – which the military as an institution remains reluctant to do – the state will continue to turn to Islam as a national unifier."
Amir Mir, in his book 'The True Face of the Jihadis', (2004) writes "The Pakistani Army became a politicised army in the very first decade of the creation of Pakistan.....The politicisation of the Pakistan Army has led to a further spread of Islamic fundamentalism --- a phenomenon that has found fertile ground in Pakistan primarily due to socio-economic reasons. Large masses of the urban and rural poor, with no avenues for economic advancement, are being drawn to fundamentalism. As the soldiery of the army is largely drawn from the rural and urban masses, it would be well nigh impossible for it not to be infected with the virus of Islamic fundamentalism being propagated thousands of deeni madrassas across Pakistan. During the Zia ul Haq regime, the composition of the Pakistan Army was changed at the expense of the urbanised, Westernised looking middle class and upper class elite and preference in officers' commissions was given to the rural educated generation with strong leanings towards conservative Islam. This large body of Islamist officers, commissioned during the Zia ul Haq regime, forms the backbone of the present day Pakistan Army, and its members have since moved up the ranks....The resentment within the Army is believed to be two levels: among junior officers who view with contempt General Musharraf's attempts at getting the army to combat rather than abet Islamic militancy, and among the upper echelons where Musharraf finds himself pitted against a few of his senior generals."
Later in the book, Mir says, "While the US may feel that it has achieved a great success in convincing Musharraf to make a U-turn on the Taliban, and on stopping the inexorable tide of hate-filled messages put out by the Deobandhi and Ahle Hadith seminaries, the real question is whether the Pakistan government will change its long term policy and stop supporting jihad. The Pakistan defence for its slow progress is that madrassa reform is difficult and dangerous, so it may take a while. The problem with that argument is that the longer the madrassas operate as they do, the fewer people there will be in Pakistan who would support such a change."
Shuja Nawaz, author of the book "Crossed Swords: Pakistan Army and the Wars Within" while on a visit to the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi in May 2008 said "The young officer cadre in Pakistan army today is conservative and ritualistic, not necessarily radical. But the influences of Zia's Islamisation continue to bedevil the armed forces."
In his book 'Gateway to Terrorism' (2003), Mohammed Amir Rana describes the jihadi culture "During the course of the last two decades, thirty thousand Pakistani youth have died in Afghanistan and Kashmir, two thousand sectarian clashes have taken place and twelve lakh youth have taken part in the activities of jihadi and religious organisations.....In consequence, Pakistan got neither Kabul nor Srinagar, but was itself saddled with terrorism." Rana adds, "During the first phase of her rule, when Benazir Bhutto had visited Muzaffarabad, ISI briefed her about the Hurriyat movement in Occupied Kashmir and recommended status quo in the Kashmir policy. Benazir Bhutto approved of the policy and the future plan. No one ever thought of changing the character and style of ISI before 11 September 2001. ISI and the governments working under its influence gave a fillip to the jihadi culture. The raw material(s) for jihad were collected from two sources: religious madrassas (and) students of government colleges and schools."
"Lashkar-e-Tayyaba will ultimately plant the flag of Islam on Delhi, Tell Aviv and Washington,' according to Lashkar leader Hafiz Saeed speaking in 1998. Ten years later in October 2008 the same Hafiz Saeed said "India understands only the language of jihad."
In a subsequent book 'The Seeds of Terrorism' published in 2005, Rana says "In an interview in Newsweek in March 2000, the President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf, said: "I cannot pressurise the Taliban to arrest Osama bin Laden. The Taliban lead a free country." The jihadi weekly, Zarb-e-Momin (Karachi) published an extract from that interview. It quoted the president as saying "No jihadi organisation in Pakistan is involved in terrorism. They are now working against India in occupied Kashmir after completing their jihad against Russia in Afghanistan."
The Daily Times in its edition of March 6 2004 quotes former ISI Chief Javed Ashraf Qazi as saying "We must not be afraid of admitting that Jaish (-e-Mohammed) was involved in the deaths of thousands of innocent Kashmiris, bombing the Indian Parliament, Daniel Pearl's murder and attempts on President Musharraf's life." And the talkative General Musharraf's pronouncement that "If we find a solution on Kashmir with India, all jehadi organisations have to pack up" (The News August 10, 2004) was in effect an admission of Pakistani involvement in the violence in Kashmir.
The concluding sentences of Owen Bennett Jones book are even more telling "If General Musharraf is to transform his vision of Pakistani society into a reality he will need great reserves of political will and a more effective bureaucracy. He has neither. And while he still believes that the Pakistan army is the solution to the country's problems, he shows no signs of accepting that, in fact, it is part of the problem."
Dr Ayesha Siddiqa in her book "Military Inc-Inside Pakistan's Military Economy" (2007) describes the Pak Army's hold the best. "The fragility of Pakistan's political system, however, cannot be understood without probing into the military's political stakes. The fundamental question here is whether the Army will ever withdraw from power. Why would Pakistan's armed forces, or for that matter any military that has developed deep economic stakes, transfer real power to the political class? The country is representative of states where politically powerful militaries exercise control of the state and society through establishing their hegemony. This is done through penetrating the state, the society and the economy. The penetration into the society and economy establishes the defence establishment's hegemonic control of the state. Financial autonomy, economic penetration and political power ae interrelated and are part of a vicious cycle.
She goes on, "Today the Pakistan military's internal economy is extensive, and has turned the armed forces into one of the dominant economic players. The most noticeable and popular component of Milbus relates to the business of the four welfare foundations: the Fauji Foundation, the Army Welfare Trust, Shaheen Foundation, and Bahria Foundation. These foundations are subsidiaries of the defence establishment, employing both military and civilian personnel. The businesses are very diverse in nature, ranging from smaller scale ventures such as bakeries, farms, schools and private security firms to corporate enterprises such as commercial banks, insurance companies, radio and television channels, fertiliser, cement and cereal manufacturing plants and insurance businesses. Operations vary from toll collecting on highways to gas stations, shopping malls and to other similar ventures." Further, .... "there are a variety of benefits provided to retired personnel in the form of urban and rural land or employment and business openings. The grant of state land is a case of diverting the country's resources to individuals for profit."..... "Over the past 59 years of the state's history, the army has experienced direct power four times, and learnt to negotiate authority when not directly in control of the government.... As a result the political and civil society institutions remain weak."
Dr Siddiqa also says, "Stephen P Cohen also mentions an elite partnership in his latest 'The Idea of Pakistan.' He is of the view that the country is basically controlled by a small but 'culturally and socially intertwined elite', comprising about 500 people who form part of the establishment. Belonging to different subgroups, these people are known for their loyalty to the 'core principles' of a central state. These key principles include safeguarding the interests of the dominant classes."
This is the most telling commentary "Today no other country on earth is arguably more dangerous than Pakistan. It has everything Osama bin Laden could ask for: political instability, a crusted network of radical Islamists, an abundance of angry young anti-western recruits, secluded training areas, access to state of the art electronic technology regular air service to the west and security services that don't always do what they are supposed to do." Newsweek, January 2008.
This is the mosaic as seen by Pakistani, British and US commentators. Now the narrative of what has happened and what might happen next.
Pakistan's problems began in the beginning. The country was created by a group of elitists on behalf of Muslims who eventually did not leave India for the new homeland and was formed for a people that did not really ask for a new homeland. From its early days, Pakistani rulers denied their new country's Indo-Gangetic past and promised its people a glorious Islamic future with its moorings away from 'Hindu' India. Fearful of being dominated or of being overpowered by a larger India seen as irreconciled to the partition, Pakistan's leaders relied on Islam and an image of non-India to try and establish an identity. Pakistan's population had to be cleansed of everything Indian and hatred and fear of the Hindu was the common idiom. Being non-Indian was being a Pakistani and soon being Islamic was being a good Pakistani.
Governance was first taken away from the educated migrants from UP and Bihar by the Punjabi feudals who came with a particular Islamic mindset from eastern Punjab and their feelings of insecurity. Eventually this was taken over by the Punjabi army with a special vehemence and tenacity. Over time, Pakistan's USP became its ability to be a nuisance in the neighbourhood while being a client-state of distant powers. It was this military and economic sustenance from friends that gave Pakistani rulers a false sense of power and invincibility backed by their religion.
While the Indian leadership of the day set about giving its people a written Constitution, in Pakistan the twin pillars of governance were the Army and Islam. Punjabi feudalism to the exclusion of almost everyone else did not help either. Over the years this problem has only accentuated with the mullah, intolerant of any deviation today, interprets the Islamic tenets in a narrow sectarian sense that excludes women – half the country's population -- from equal treatment. He also seeks to exclude other sects from similar benefits, earthly or otherworldly. The Army by training treats any adherence to alternative opinion as disobedience at best and treason most of the time. Equality and dissent are the essential ingredients of democracy but Pakistan's twin pillars discouraged both. Protection and military assistance was sought from the US by being rendering assistance for its strategic goals.
With all its institutions of legitimate governance trampled beyond recognition, Pakistan today is a country with a murky past and uncertain future. There are many in India who still believe that Pakistan has changed and that there is a genuine desire for peace and that India should now sit down and solve all problems with Pakistan. The truth is that the change in Pakistan has been towards more and not less, Islamisation. Pakistan is not a moderate Islamic state. It is ruled by the mullah-military alliance neither of who understand secularism or democracy. From early days Islam was a higher ideal than nationalism. Created in the name of Islam, Pakistani leaders took recourse to Islam in danger almost from the very beginning. Even the Bengali language riots of 1952 were countered with Islamic slogans and stress on their Islamic identity. From then it was an incremental move which after 1971 became a common goal for the Army and the mullahs. The former wanted to balkanise in India as revenge and the latter wanted to establish caliphates in Hindu India.
However, Pakistan today is facing a bigger crisis than it did in 1971. At that time, Pakistan could blame its predicament on enemy India and this acted as a unifying factor. There was a fall back in West Pakistan and Z. A. Bhutto was able to consolidate the fragmented country. In 1971, the Pak Army had not been Islamised; it was only Punjabised. Today's Pakistan Army is Islamised and its motto Iman (faith), taqwa (piety), Jehad fis'billah (Jehad in the Name of Allah) is intact. Today, Pakistan cannot blame India for its multiple sclerosis and it has no fall back. And that is the danger.
The blow back then, is in Pakistan. The concentration on jehad and military rule has cost that country enormously in economic terms. The pursuit of jihad has damaged its already weak civil society, irreparably hurt generations of bright young men and women who have had to go without a reasonable education or hope for a respectable employment opportunity in a country where science and humanities have been subverted to Islamic teachings. The country now lives perpetually on the dole and handouts from the IMF; there is no industry worth the name.
In today's Pakistan there are other fault lines too. The Baloch struggle continues. It is not about preserving the Sardari system of the Bugtis, Marris and the Mengals. The struggle is about basic rights — economic and political — because the revolt is all over Balochistan and not restricted to these three tribal areas. The second reality is that FATA , which was the launching pad for many of the campaigns in the jehad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, is today prime Taliban country — and continuing to grow in depth and area. This would be of considerable concern to persons like Gen Mahmud Ali Durrani, the Pak NSA who is credited to have remarked "I hope the Taliban and Pushtun nationalism don't merge. If that happens, we've had it and we're on the verge of it." Third, Pakistan is now 'jehadised'.
There was a time when the jehadis and the fundamentalists were the fringe elements and the civil society of Lahore and Karachi was the mainstream. The fear is that this may not be so any more. It is the civil society that has increasingly become the fringe and jehadi mindset now the mainstream. Gen Zia is considered the father of Pakistani Islamisation but it must be remembered that Islamisation was possible because there was receptivity to the idea. Every setback that the Pakistan Army had at the hands of the Indians was interpreted to mean that Islamic tenets were not being properly followed. Every defeat for the Army also meant that it was strengthened further. Thus both Islam and the Army grew stronger together. Jihad became a favourite weapon of the Pak Army who did not have to fight the Indian enemy themselves and let the jihadis do this fighting at much lower rates. The only problem now is that, as Sushant Sareen says, "The bottom line is that instead of the Pakistan Army exercising control over its jihadist assets, the army itself has become an asset of the jihadis." The Pakistani Army can hardly say it is fighting for the defence of Islam against those every Islamists who are also defending Islam.
Pakistan is a country that has been run by a self-seeking warrior class that has always felt that it has been ordained as Protectors of the Realm and Defenders of the Faith. They have been helped by a pliable and self-serving elite consisting of the bureaucracy and judiciary, the feudals of the Punjab, and most of the politicians. The corporate interests of the Pakistan Army cover almost every activity of the country's economy. The Pak Army, for instance, runs the Fauji Foundation, established as a charity for retired military personnel. Over time it has become a mammoth organisation with multiple interests and worth about Rs (Pak) 9000 crores a few years ago and growing. In addition, the Army Welfare Trust deals dabbles and controls varied economic and financial interests including the Askari Commercial Bank, which has been run by a very understanding kind of management many of whom had earlier served in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. The Trust's assets are estimated to be about Rs 18000 crores. Apart from this, the National Logistics Cell and the Frontier Works Organisation which monopolise government contracts in the transport and construction sectors. Accounting rules are flexible and transfer of funds from the defence budget quite routine. It is the collective corporate interest of the Armed Forces that is at stake in any arrangement that appears to diminish the role of the Army. A peace deal with India threatens to do precisely that.
There are many in India, Pakistan and the West who remain in a state of denial about the march of Islamic forces in Pakistan. The manner in which various issues involving the Islamists have been handled in Pakistan by Pakistanis -- with hesitation and extreme circumspection and under compulsion are some of the symptoms of the disease and of what is happening in Pakistan. Islamic radicalism is today backed by the gun of both the radicals and the Army. There are believed to be 18 million unlicensed weapons in the country and the estimates of possible extremists trained in extremist universities vary from 225,000 to 650,000. It is apparent that the Army cannot take action against the very fundamentalists and extremists and also rely on them for survival. Yet unless the Pakistan Army moves beyond looking for patchwork solutions to ensure its own primacy and decides to eradicate this menace, a spectre of total radicalism haunts Pakistan.
The Taliban takeover in the FATA is now being replicated in the rest of the NWFP. Large tracts the valley of Swat, Pakistan's idyllic tourist spot, are today under Taliban control. There are reports of other districts of NWFP like Dir coming increasingly under Taliban dominance. The Army's attempts to oust them have failed. It is obvious that in the eyes of many especially the Pushtuns, the Pakistan army has been fighting an unpopular war in FATA against the Taliban. It was far easier for the Pakistan establishment to switch the mood and generate an anti-India fever following the Mumbai massacres. The manner in which the hunted Baitullah Mehsud became a patriot was alarmingly easy. This only underscores the fact that it is easier in Pakistan to be anti-Indian than being anti-Taliban.
Tribal loyalties, which are quite often trans-border, the Pushtun code of conduct and religious sentiments have become intertwined in the province. Recruitment among the devoutly religious locals is easy for the Taliban. The morale of the government forces is low and they are unwilling to fight fellow Muslims. There have been desertions. The Pakistani army brought up on a single threat perception, is ill-equipped to play a counter-insurgency role. Besides, it would need local intelligence which will not be available to Punjabi troops operating in the absence of Pushtun troops. It will take years for the Pakistan army to cover this gap and, meanwhile, a Punjabi-Pushtun animus could set in.
The manner in which Pakistan was allowed to go nuclear, acquire warheads and trade in nuclear technologies by successive regimes is a tragic testimony to failure of policy or mindless pursuit of self-interest. And almost simultaneously, Pakistan was allowed or even encouraged to become jehadi. Pakistan's hopelessly misconstrued policies have only converted the unemployed young of Pakistan into terrorists who have now returned as unemployable jehadis to haunt their former masters.
This now leaves the world petrified about Islamist terrorists armed with nuclear weapons. Statements from Washington and Islamabad have tried to assuage this fear. This evades the larger issue that the Pakistani state has systematically proliferated for decades which constitutes by far the bigger danger. Pakistan has continued to harbour criminals like Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Akhtar, Omar Sheikh and has denied their presence is indicative of a criminal and irresponsible mindset.
There is more to follow with an impatient Washington unable to control Afghanistan now contemplates active intervention in Pakistan, something that will further inflame passion in the country. Yet the Taliban advance eastward into the NWFP and beyond must be rolled back but how does Islamabad organise retreat from a mindset that is far more pervasive than is imagined.
The entire episode of the Mumbai massacres and the manner in which the Pakistani leadership has behaved only indicates the extent to which that state can act without any responsibility. The extent of state involvement in this terror attack is obvious. This means that the state of Pakistan, despite being a basket economic case and dependent on doles, is either consciously willing to be the delinquent or is unable to control elements within its own apparatus. This leads to the conclusion that if this is so then the state, which in Pakistan is the Army, has lost control. Therefore, it follows that if the state has lost control over parts of its territory and has also begun to lose control of its instruments, then the state is spinning out of control. It is a failing state.
This is not going to happen in isolation. The US and China have huge real estate interests in Pakistan. The US has its energy security interests as well as strategic interests of keeping the Russians and Iran in check. Supplies to Afghanistan in the current war have been through Pakistan and should that need to change then the alternative routes lie through the Caspian Sea running overland via Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. This would naturally bring in greater American presence into Central Asia and add to Russian discomfiture. China remains interested in Pakistan as a means of access to the Arabian Sea through Gwadar, to outflank India and ultimately to be able to take on the Americans in the region.
It increasingly appears that the Pakistan Army that is not going to be able to solve the problem and, paradoxically, the longer it lasts the more it hurts that country. The core issue in Pakistan today is not India or Kashmir. The core issue is the collective corporate interest of the Pakistani Army derived as a war dividend. The arrival of Zardari as a civilian president on the scene has not changed the basic reality.
Unfortunately, if neither the Army nor the Taliban retreat, we are staring at an abyss as Pakistan is consumed by its own creations – jehad and Taliban.
January 12, 2009
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin) - Mr. Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of the Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, must be Giuseppe Verdi's most ardent admirer in today's cold Europe.
The name of his company comes from Nabucodonosor, or Nabucco for short, a Verdi opera of an Italian libretto based on the biblical story. It follows the plight of the Jews as they are released from Babylonian captivity and portrays Nabucodonosor's temporary insight into the gist of the events.
This could be taken as a clue hinting at Europe's desire to rid itself of Russia's gas captivity. From the 21st floor of a skyscraper near the Danube River in Vienna, Mr. Mitschek can already see Europe's bright gas future, free of Russian gas dependence and Russian-Ukrainian gas squabbles.
He is convinced that now everyone in Europe is aware of the urgent need to build the Nabucco gas pipeline, which is supposed to bring Caspian gas right to the heart of Central Europe.
Most European politicians are optimistic about the Nabucco pipeline, but gas experts do not share this attitude. They believe the Nabucco project exemplifies politicization of the gas market rather than a realistic analysis of its potentialities. Nabucco seems to exist only in political minds.
Its construction was supposed to be launched last year, then this year, and now in 2010. In recent estimates, its construction costs have reached eight billion Euros. The main problem is that few believe it will pay for itself. The Nabucco pipeline has to transport no less than 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year to find a profit. But there simply may not be such volumes of available gas in the near future.
Azerbaijan intends to launch the extraction of its Shakh Deniz-2 gas deposit only in 2013, estimated to produce a mere eight billion cubic meters of gas annually. Experts are warning that Russia is already fighting for these cubic meters, and it is still unclear to whom Azerbaijan will sell its gas.
Nabucco's main transit country, Turkey, insists on getting 15% of its gas at a discount. Ankara is very unhappy about Brussels' refusal to admit it to the European Union (EU), and is not likely to make any concessions. This Turkish demand makes Nabucco unprofitable before it has even been launched.
Few European experts have been too excited over the recent reports by the respectable British energy company, Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA), which reaffirmed that gas reserves in Turkmenistan are many times bigger than was previously believed: from the low estimate (proven deposits) of four trillion cubic meters to the high estimate (potential reserves) of 14 trillion tons.
However, Turkmenistan does not have the potential to quickly enhance its gas production. It is barely coping with its gas commitments to Russia and other countries. Today, it is producing about 80 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and will have to double the production to at least 150 billion-155 billion cubic meters to fulfill its contractual commitments.
European experts believe that Turkmenistan will not be able to increase its gas production to meet European needs for at least another 20 years. The same is true of Iraq and Iran. In the near future, there will be no alternative to Russia as a gas supplier.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
A scatttering of dots spilled in two seemingly unconnected stories over the weekend adds up to a dispiriting conclusion about one of the most important programs in the our post-9/11 national security arsenal: tracking the movement of money through banks and charities to terrorist groups may be way out of whack.
The first dots fell out of an interesting piece by Anna Louise Bardach in the Sunday Washngton Post's "Outlook" section, about prospects for changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba in the Obama administration.
One of the "losers" under the new regime, Bardach speculates, will be the Cuban program in the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
"OFAC's chief mandate is to enforce sanctions against countries harboring terrorists," writes Bardach, author of "Cuba Confidential" and the forthcoming "Without Fidel: A Death Foretold in Miami, Washington and Havana."
"But a 2007 government study found that 61 percent of the office's investigations since 2000 had been aimed at just one target: Cuba," Bardach reports. "Between 2000 and 2005, OFAC penalties for violations of the Cuban embargo represented more than 70 percent of all the penalties the office imposed."
Hello? Can anyone here spell I-r-a-n?
Bardach notes that a 2004 congressional hearing revealed that tax dollars earmarked for the war on terrorism were spent on tracking unauthorized travelers to Cuba.
"At the hearing, OFAC acknowledged that it had just four employees searching for the funds of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, as opposed to more than 20 full-time investigators charged with hunting down suspected violators of the embargo."
Among the uses of your taxpayer dollars: "OFAC's prosecution of a 75-year-old grandmother from San Diego who took a bicycling trip to Cuba, an Indiana teacher who delivered Bibles and the son of missionaries who traveled to the island to spread his parents' ashes at the site of the church they'd founded 50 years before."
Now turn to a story in yesterday's New York Times, in which reporters Vikas Bajaj and John Eligion report that:
"Iranian banks illegally shifted billions of dollars through American financial institutions in recent years, and authorities suspect some of the money may have been used to finance Iran's nuclear and missile programs."
Oh, really? Maybe the feds were too busy tracing Grandma's purchase of a Cuban postcard to notice.
The main culprit, the Lloyds TSB Group, in Britain, was so darn tricky, prosecutors told the the reporters.
"It 'stripped' information that would have identified the transfers in order to deceive American financial institutions, which are barred from doing business with Iranian banks ..."
According to Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, "money in one transaction was used to buy a large amount of tungsten, an ingredient for making long-range missiles. He said he suspected that other funds might have been used to finance Iran's nuclear program."
Our friend Doug Farah says that the ongoing investigation suggests that the Iranians have learned much from the nuclear smuggling ring organized by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan.
"This is the pipeline at its best. One simply has to shift addresses, at least on paper, the companies go again, and the pipeline is unclogged and continues to carry its vital products. The flexibility of the pipeline and its ability to adapt and reroute itself in a very short period of time is one of its greatest strengths."
As for terrorist finance investigations, Farah concludes: "Iran, with years of experience in the game, is unlikely to be knocked much off its stride in the acquisitions game."
Especially when OFAC is spending time so much time and effort looking at Cuba, methinks.
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik) - The U.S. Navy is finally joining international forces in the fight against the Somali piracy. The U.S. Fifth Fleet is going to deploy its forces specifically for this purpose, teaming up with the Combined Task Force 151.
Supposedly, it will be composed of U.S. allies' ships and units, hence its name, the Combined Task Force. Thus, the world's most powerful fleet will embark on ensuring navigation security off the Somali coast, where the ships of the European Union's Naval Task Force, as well as the Russian, Indian and Chinese navies, have been carrying out this mission.
Navigation security is ensured by caravans of two to five ships, which convoy civil vessels through the dangerous area and patrol the coast to detect and search waterborne vehicles suspected of being piratical. The patrolling is performed also by shipborne helicopters and patrol jets, which aim battleships at detected targets.
Apart from crews, there are also marine units which land on escorted ships periodically to protect them in case of a pirate attack. Marines also examine vessels detained under suspicion of piracy.
Unfortunately, excesses occur sometimes: For example, on November 19 the Indian frigate Tabar sank a Thai trawler which it mistook for a pirate vessel.
One cannot say yet that the counter-piracy efforts have had any effect; at any rate, pirates have not hijacked any new ships recently. At the same time, they have released several ships seized earlier, including the Iranian vessel Delight, which was hijacked on November 20, and the Turkish ship M/V Yasa Neslihan, captured in late December.
The Saudi supertanker Sirius Star, ransomed recently, has also been released, according to pirates. However, other data suggest that it is still near the Somali coast: Pirates cannot leave the ship because of the rough sea. The five pirates who tried to reach the coast by boat died after the boat turned over hit by a huge wave. Local residents found one of the bodies on the shore, with $153,000 in his pockets.
The Ukrainian dry-cargo ship Faina remains in captivity; negotiations for ransoming its crew and cargo have been unsuccessful so far. Unfortunately, given the present economic situation in Ukraine, one can hardly expect the vessel to be ransomed soon, or any other method to be used to release the hostages.
In any case, through high costs, the world's leading military powers will most likely manage to keep the trouble at bay - it will simply become too dangerous to attack the ships going past the Somali coast, and pirates will become less active. Only best-prepared and well organized groups capable of hijacking a ship several hundred miles off the coast, taking its crew hostage and bringing the booty to a port will continue operating, as was in the case of the Sirius Star tanker. International forces cannot guarantee that such a capture is impossible.
Experts have repeatedly pointed out that in order to eradicate the Somali piracy it is necessary to normalize the situation in Somalia, including a ground operation to destroy pirates' bases; but it is an absolutely different task, with absolutely different forces required for its implementation.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
DARPA has announced its Phase I awards to six competing companies for the design and creation of the National Cyber Range:
BAE Systems$3.3 million
General Dynamics $1.9 million
Johns Hopkins University $7.3 million
Lockheed Martin $5.3 million
Northrop Grumman $344,097
Science Applications International Corp. $2.8 million
Sparta $8.6 million
Aviation Week explains DARPA’s intentions for project:
The range is intended to become the premier U.S. cyber test facility, according to DARPA officials. The products will be unbiased and quantitative assessments of information assurance and survivability tools. The laboratory is to replicate complex, large-scale, heterogeneous networks for current and future Defense Department weapons and operations.
The capabilities to be tested are
host-security systems, local-area-network security tools and suites, wide-area
network systems operating on unusual bandwidths, tactical networks including the
problematic mobile ad hoc networks, and new protocol stacks. Innovations are
expected to include development of advanced automated test ranges and the
testing of revolutionary cyber-research programs.
The competing companies will eventually be asked to build working prototypes of the range that can perform the following tasks:
- demonstration of packet capture, event log collection, malware event collection and automated attacks
- Responsive traffic generators will have to drive office software products, browsers, media players and e-mail clients
- Traffic generation systems will involve incoming/outgoing e-mail, port scanning and automated attacks
By phase 3, the candidate system will have to reconstitute test nodes within 15 minutes, reconfigure the range within one hour, create a 10,000-node test from DARPA-provided requirement within two hours and perform time synchronization across all machines to within 1 millisecond, and demonstrate human-level behavior on 80 percent of traffic-generated events.
Unfortunately India and Pakistan had adversarial relations since sixty years. After the Mumbai carnage Pakistan is under threat of pre-emptive strikes. Fourth Indo-Pakistan war could be triggered by another terrorist attack anywhere in India. This is a dangerous scenario. India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and war drums for the fourth war are getting louder. It is in order therefore to comprehend Indian military capabilities, and Pakistan's ability to defend itself. Defense capability is an interplay of economic and military potential. Indian economy is booming, and its GDP growth is in double digits. The global recession has impacted Indian economy, but its defense capability remains intact. Military power and capabilities are sustained by economic and industrial potential. Geography, demography, population, oil resources and reserves, industrial capability including defense production, dollar reserves, self reliance, education, quality of manpower and leadership have a bearing on military power. Seven lakh Indian troops are tied down in Jammu and Kashmir. India has over one hundred billion dollar reserves. The West, Israel and Russia are India's weapon suppliers.
Indian Army has eighteen Corps with 34 Divisions including four Rapid Action Divisions, which would spear head ground offensives. Pakistan Army has ten Corps and twenty five divisions. Indian Army has eighteen Infantry, ten Mountain, three Armored, and two Artillery Divisions. Besides it has five Infantry, one parachute, thirteen Air Defense, and four Engineering Brigades, designated as independent formations. In addition there are two Air Defense Groups, and fourteen Army Aviation Helicopter units. This is a sizeable force, capable of launching major offensives from several fronts. The decentralized command structure will be an advantage, as compared to Pakistan's centralized Army command organization. Pakistan Army has an active force of 620,000 well trained personnel, with 528000 reservists, and 150000 para-military troops. Pakistan armed forces are seventh largest in the world. Pakistan Army's doctrine of "Offensive Defense", evolved by General Mirza Aslam Beg was put to test in 1989 in Exercise Zarb-e Momin. The doctrine is to launch a sizeable offensive into enemy territory, rather than wait for enemy strikes or attacks. In case of Indian land offensive Pakistan Army and Air Force will respond with land and air offensives to gain and hold enemy territory. Before embarking on further offensive, gains shall be consolidated. In 1990 the Central Corps of Reserves was created to fight in the desert sectors , where enemy land offensives are expected. These dual capable formations trained for offensive and holding actions are fully mechanized.
Pakistan Army has ten Corps including the newly formed Strategic Corps. The Army has twenty six divisions (eight less than India). Two more divisions were raised as Corps reserves for V and XXXI Corps. Pakistan Army has two armored divisions, and ten independent armored brigades. Presently one hundred thousand troops are stationed on the Pak Afghan border to fight terror. Special Service Group-SSG comprises two airborne Brigades i.e. six battalions. Pakistan Army has 360 helicopters, over two thousand heavy guns, and 3000 APC's. Its main anti-tank weapons are Tow, Tow Mk II, Bakter Shiken and FGM 148 ATGM. The Army Air Defence Command has S.A- 7 Grail, General Dynamics FIM-92 Stinger, GD FIM Red Eye, and ANZA Mk-I, Mk-II, Mk-III and HQ 2 B surface ti air missiles. Radar controlled Oerlikon is the standard Ack Ack weapon system. The ballistic missile inventory of the Army is substantial. It comprises Ghauri III and Shaheen III IRB'S; medium range Ghauri I and II and Shaheen II, and short range Hatf I- B, Abdali, Ghaznavi, Shaheen I and M -11 missiles. All the ballistic missiles can carry nuclear war heads. Nuclear and conventional weapon capable Babur Cruise missile is the new addition to Pakistan's strategic weapon inventory. Number of ballistic missiles and war heads are almost the same as India has. So there is a parity in nuclear weapons, which is a deterrent.
Indian armor is of Russian origin. Out of 2295 Indian Army's Main Battle tanks, 2235 are of Russian origin. The main battle tanks are; 310 T-90-S Bishsma's (300 are on order), 1925 T-72M Ajeya's.. The T-90 and the T-72 have 125 mm smooth barrel guns. T-72 though old is the backbone of Indian Armor Corp's. 268 Ajeya's have been upgraded with Israeli Elbit thermal imaging systems. 1000 T-72 MBT's are awaiting up-gradation. There have been several instances of T-72's gun barrel bursting. 124 Indian made Arjun (heavy 56 ton) MBT are on order. Sixty Arjun's are in operational service. Arjun's engine overheating problem has not been solved. Arjun has a 120 mm gun, but is unfit or desert operations.
Pakistan Army is equally strong in armor, capable of giving a fitting response to any Indian military adventure. Main Battle tanks Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar are the backbone of Pakistan's armor Corp's. Both are Pakistan made. Pakistan's tank armory comprises :five hundred Al-Khalid MBT's; 320 Al-Zarrar type 85 II MBT's, 500 Al-Zarrar MBT's; 450 79II AP (Chinese type 81 upgrade, and 570 T-80 UD MBT of Ukranian make. In addition Pakistan has 880 Type 59, which were procured from China in 1970.This makes a total of three thousand six hundred and twenty tanks. All Pakistani MBT's except T-59's have 125 mm smooth barrel guns. Indian armor offensives in Kashmir, Punjab, and Sind would be effectively challenged by Pakistani armor and mechanized formations, depending on PAF's ability to keep the skies over the battle areas clear of Indian Air Force. India's modern air defense system has Israeli Arrow anti-missile missiles, and 90,000 surface to air missiles-SAM's. India has one hundred nuclear armed ballistic missiles (Agni-1 and Agni II), and Brahmos the new supersonic cruise missile. Indian Army is well trained, equipped and highly professional, and so is Pakistan Army.
Air power is likely to play a key, if not a decisive role in any future major or minor India-Pakistan armed conflict. The aim of Indian pre-emptive strikes will be maximum destruction by surprise air attacks, combined with shock commando action. A possibe scenario is; intensive bombing of the target to be followed by attacks by armed helicopters and ground assault by heliborne Commandoes. An overview of Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force will help comprehension of IAF's offensive capabilities, and defensive capabilities of Pakistan Air Force. Indian Air Force has 3000 aircraft including training, transport, helicopters and 800-1000 combat air craft, which operate from sixty air bases, including Farkhor airbase in Tajikistan.. Six hundred IAF's strike and air defense fighters are expected to be operational. Pakistan Air Force has 630 aircraft, which include 530 combat aircraft, with 400 operational at any time. In 1996 India signed an agreement with Russia for the purchase of 90 Su 30 Mk-1 multi-role fighter-bombers. In 2004 a multi-billion licence was signed for building additional 140. 240 Su30-Mk-1's were ordered, 120 are already in service. With a maximum speed of Mach 2.3 and range of 8000 Km with refueling and ability to carry tons of conventional munitions and nuclear weapons, it is a lethal and menacing weapon system for the strike and interception role. Other IAF's advanced strike and combat aircraft are: 51 Mirage-2000 (of Kargil fame), 60 Mig-29's (for air defense), 250 old Mig-21's (110 have been refurbished with Israeli help), 47 Jaguars and 70 Mig-27's for ground attack. 220 LCA Teja's under manufacture at HAL Bangalore will start entering service in 2010... IAF's fighter pilots are well trained and have out shone American pilots during joint exercises.
Pakistan Air Force has 200 rebuilt Mirage- 3's ( for night air defense) and Mirage-5's for the strike role. They can carry nuclear weapons. They have been upgraded with new weapon systems, radars, and avionics. Additionally the PAF has 42 F-16's, 150 F-7's including 55 latest F-7 PG's. Manufacture of 150 JF 17 Thunder fighters (jointly designed) is underway at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra. The JF -17 Thunder is a 4th generation fly by wire multi-role fighter aircraft. Eight are already in PAF service. An order has been placed with China for the purchase of 36 JF-10, a Mach 2.3 -5th generation multi-role fighter, comparable in performance to the Su-30 Mk-1 with the Indian Air Force. PAF is on Red Alert, and is maintaining full vigil to intercept and destroy IAF intruders. During the recent air space violation, the IAF intruders were in the sights of PAF's F-16's, but were allowed to escape unscathed to avoid a major diplomatic crisis. PAF pilots and technicians are well trained, high professionals, who will be able to prove their mettle in the future battle with India. A comparison of Indian Navy and Pakistan Navy reveals that Pakistan Navy could inflict substantial damage to the Indian Navy. Indian Navy has 16 submarines; Pakistan Navy has ten, some are brand new. Indian Navy has 27 war ships, Pakistan Navy has ten. Indian Aircraft Carrier Veerat, will be a menace, and must be sunk by submarine or air attacks, if it attempts to block Pakistan's sea lanes or ports. It is hoped that better sense prevails and India desists from invading and attacking Pakistan. If it does, the consequences will be horrible for both the countries.
Observer Research Foundation
New Delhi INDIA
Phone Number : 011 - 43520020
Fax Number : 011 - 43520003
(A paper submitted by me to the annual Regional Outlook Forum , 2009, organized by the Institute For South-East Asian Studies of Singapore on January 7, 2009. An article based on my extempore remarks in continuation of the paper will follow)
Al Qaeda is organizationally intact, but operationally weakened because of the losses suffered by it in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and because of the strong anti-Al Qaeda measures taken by many countries.
It has not been able to organize any major terrorist strike outside Pakistani territory. Two of the 2008 terrorist strikes in Pakistan----the attacks on the Danish Embassy (June 3, 2008) and the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad (September 20, 2008)--- had definite Al Qaeda signatures. However, while claims of responsibility in respect of the attack on the Danish Embassy were made on behalf of Al Qaeda, no such claims have been made in respect of the Marriott Hotel attack.
The attack in Mumbai from November 26 to 29, 2008, was by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), which has emerged as an international terrorist organization on par with Al Qaeda.Its planning to the minutest details, faultless execution and the barbaric methods used against the Israelis and other Jewish persons speak of a possible Al Qaeda hand in the planning and orchestration. The targets chosen by the LET were also the favoured targets of Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.
Al Qaeda operates where it thinks there are physical security deficiencies and where it thinks it can successfully attack American and Israeli nationals and interests. The physical security deficiencies exposed in Mumbai could tempt Al Qaeda----directly or through intermediaries--- to mount another terrorist strike against American and Israeli nationals and interests in Indian territory.
Indian and Western pressure on Pakistan to act against the JUD/LET combine might affect the chances of its being able to repeat Mumbai—November 26. But there are four other Pakistani organizations, who would be happy to do the bidding of Al Qaeda----namely, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), a rabid anti-Shia organization. All of them except the LEJ have been operating in India off and on. The HUM is a founding member of bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People formed by him in 1998. The LET and the other organizations joined it subsequently.
Of these, the most successful in the Indian territory, after the LET, has been the Bangladesh branch of the HUJI known as HUJI (B). It profits from the presence of a large number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh not only in Assam and West Bengal, but also in other urban centres of India. Successive Governments in Bangladesh have avoided taking action against the HUJI (B) just as successive Governments in Pakistan have avoided acting against the LET. There cannot be effective counter-terrorism in Indian territory without effective action against both the Pakistan and Bangladesh branches of the HUJI and without equally effective action to stop illegal immigration from Bangladesh and to identify and expel those who have already settled down in India.
One of the lessons of 9/11 was the importance of effective immigration control in counter-terrorism. India has the weakest anti-immigration infrastructure among the democracies of the world. There is a lack of political will to act against illegal immigration due to partisan considerations and unwise electoral calculations. The proposed National Investigation Agency and additional powers for the police alone will not be able to prevent another November 26 unless accompanied by strong measures against illegal immigration from Bangladesh.
Whatever be the extent of Western pressure on it to act against the LET, Pakistan is unlikely to give up the use of the LET, the HUJI, the JEM and the HUM against India. In its strategic calculation, that is the only way of changing the status quo in J&K and countering the increasing Indian presence in Afghanistan.
The West is unlikely to increase the pressure on Pakistan to an extent that might hurt it. It needs Pakistan’s co-operation to prevent another 9/11, another Madrid---March, 2004 or another London, July, 2005. It has sympathies for Pakistan because its co-operation with the US and the rest of the West have made it a victim of jihadi terrorism. During 2008, there were about 90 acts of terrorism in Pakistani territory----- 60 acts of suicide terrorism and 30 of other kinds. The West’s continued dependence on Pakistan and its sympathy for it would put a limit to its support for India.
The ground situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan is likely to get worse during 2009 despite the US proposal to induct an additional 30,000 troops and the more robust policy towards Al Qaeda sanctuaries in the FATA promised by President-elect Barack Obama. His options are going to be limited. He could step up the Predator strikes, but these are unlikely to be effective unless driven by precise intelligence. Without a significant inflow of human intelligence, Predator strikes alone will cause more collateral damage and add to anti-US feelings.
There is no convergence of views between the political and military leaderships in Pakistan as to how to deal with terrorism. There is no convergence either among different political formations. Strong sections of its political class such as the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif and the religious parties believe that Pakistan’s co-operation with the US against Al Qaeda is the root cause of its problems. They would want Pakistan to opt out of the war against international terrorism. Sections of the Pakistan Army too ask themselves why the Pakistan Army should fight against groups which pose a threat to the US and not to Pakistan.
The Soviet Union failed in Afghanistan in the 1980s because of the failure of the Soviet leadership to attack on the ground the sanctuaries of the Afghan Mujahideen in Pakistani territory. The US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan are failing because of their reluctance to attack on the ground the sanctuaries of the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. Indian counter-terrorism is facing serious difficulties---- which are likely to increase in future--- because of the reluctance of the policy-makers to authorize clandestine actions against the sanctuaries of anti-India jihadi organisations in Pakistani territory.
If the Western pressure on Pakistan to dismantle the LET’s terrorism infrastructure in its territory fails to produce results, India should have an alternate plan ready for appropriate operational options short of a direct military strike.
It is in India’s interest that the US succeeds in its operations against the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda. This would not put an end to Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism in Indian territory, but could make it more manageable. It is not in India’s interest to unwittingly create difficulties for the US war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by engaging in a military confrontation with Pakistan. Obama should be given time to try out his more robust strategy.
In its preoccupation with the external dimensions of the problem arising from Pakistan’s continued use of terrorism, India should not neglect the internal dimensions arising from the grievances in sections of its Muslim youth and the weaknesses in its counter-terrorism community.
There is a need for a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy with strategic and tactical dimensions. The decision to set up a National Investigation Agency and give additional powers to the Police are the building blocks of the strategic dimension. A revamping of the intelligence agencies to improve the flow of terrorism-related intelligence and of the physical security agencies to prevent physical security failures of the kind witnessed in Mumbai by promoting the culture of joint action should also be part of the strategic dimension. The tactical dimension would involve the identification of vulnerable cities and targets and immediate action to protect them.
Preventing another 26/11 should be the immediate priority. Making jihadi terrorism---home-grown or externally sponsored---- wither away through a mix of political, diplomatic and operational measures should be the strategic priority.
The Text Of The Paper
India faced six major acts of terrorism in 2008. Of these, four in Jaipur (May), Bangalore (July), Ahmedabad (July) and Delhi (September) were committed by some members of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), which has had contacts with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) of Pakistan. In messages sent before and after the attacks, they described themselves as the Indian Mujahideen (IM). The IM came to notice for the first time in November 2007 when it organized three explosions in three towns of Uttar Pradesh. In a message sent to sections of the media that day, it accused the Indian criminal justice system of being unfair to Muslims. All these four were acts of reprisal terrorism with no strategic objective.
2. During these strikes, the IM did not attack foreigners either in Jaipur, which has the second largest foreign tourist traffic after Goa or in Bangalore which is one of the favourite destinations for foreign business companies.
3. India has been facing terrorist attacks by home-grown jihadi groups since 1993. The defining characteristics of these attacks have been:
No suicide or suicidal (fedayeen) terrorism. No Indian Muslim has so far indulged in suicide terrorism in Indian territory. The only instance of suicidal terrorism by an Indian Muslim was in Glasgow in the UK in June, 2006.
No barbaric methods such as slitting the throats of the victims. Such barbaric methods are the signature modus operandi of jihadis from Pakistan. Well-known examples---slitting the throat of an Indian passenger on board a hijacked plane of the Indian Airlines in December 1999 by the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) of Pakistan and of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, in Karachi by the HUM and Al Qaeda in January-February,2002. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM), a Pakistani member of Al Qaeda, who allegedly co-ordinated the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, has reportedly confessed before a US military tribunal in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre that he slit the throat of Pearl.
Reliance more on improvised explosive devices (IEDs) than on hand-held weapons.
No attacks on foreign nationals except once in 1991 when the J&K Liberation Front (JKLF) killed one Israeli tourist in Srinagar.
4. Of the remaining two terrorist strikes in 2008, one in Assam in October was committed by a local ethnic group with the help of elements from Bangladesh and the other in Mumbai from November 26 to 29, 2008, by 10 Pakistani members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). The LET is the militant wing of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), a Pakistani jihadi organization based in Muridke, near Lahore. The US designated the LET as a foreign terrorist organization in December 2001 and the JUD in April 2006. Pakistan, under US pressure, banned the LET on January 15, 2002, but it started functioning under the name JUD. Pakistan denied that the JUD is the same as the LET and refused to ban it. After the Mumbai terrorist strike, the Anti-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council designated the JUD as a terrorist organization. Thereafter, Pakistan has placed some of its leaders, including Prof-Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed, its Amir, under house arrest, but has not yet formally banned it on the ground that there has been no evidence, which would justify a formal ban.
5. The defining characteristics of the Mumbai attack were:
This was the first attack of suicidal (fedayeen) terrorism in the Indian territory outside J&K. All previous fedayeen attacks were in J&K.
This was the second attack in the Indian territory outside J&K in which all the principal perpetrators were Pakistani nationals. The first one was the attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. Some Indian Muslims played peripheral roles in the attack on the Indian Parliament. One cannot rule out the possibility of similar peripheral roles by Indian Muslims in Mumbai too, but there has been no evidence in support of this so far. All other attacks of jihadi terrorism in Indian territory outside J&K since 1993 were committed by either Indian Muslims or mixed groups of Indian Muslims belonging to the SIMI, Pakistani Muslims belonging to the LET and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and/or the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) of Bangladesh.
This was the second attack of jihadi terrorists on India’s economic infrastructure. The first was in March, 1993, when a group of Indian Muslims, raised by Dawood Ibrahim, the Indian mafia leader now living in Karachi, and trained and equipped by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), attacked economic targets in Mumbai killing 257 civilians.
The LET terrorists attacked a mix of targets------ human beings as well as economic capabilities, the man in the street as well as the elite and Indians as well as foreigners.
This was the first attack by jihadi terrorists on foreigners in Indian territory outside J&K. Since 9/11, there have been 13 targeted attacks on foreigners in the Indian sub-continent---- 12 in Pakistani territory and the Mumbai one in Indian territory. Of the 12 attacks in Pakistani territory, five were on Chinese nationals, four on American nationals and one each on French, German and Danish nationals or interests.
The LET terrorists in Mumbai killed 160 Indian nationals ---- civilians as well as security forces personnel--- and 30 foreigners. Four of the foreigners were from South-East Asian countries. The remaining 26 were either from Israel or were Jewish persons of other nationalities or nationals of countries which are participating in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Israelis and other Jewish persons were subjected to barbaric torture and then killed. There was no evidence of such barbaric acts against other foreigners.
This was the first terrorist attack on Israelis and the Jewish people in the Indian territory outside J&K. It came in the wake of intelligence warnings that the LET and the SIMI were planning to attack Israeli tourists in Goa. KSM had reportedly told his American interrogators that Al Qaeda had wanted to attack the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi. Mumbai has two establishments associated with Israel and the Jewish people---the Israeli Consulate and a Jewish religious-cum-cultural centre located in a building called the Narriman House. The terrorists came by sea and attacked at night. They chose the Narriman House and not the Consulate because it is near the sea and had Jewish people living there whereas the Consulate has no Jewish people at night.
There was a mix of modus operandi (MO)--- urban warfare of the kind waged by the Hezbollah in Beirut in the 1970s and the 1980s and orchestrated acts of mass casualty terrorism of the kind waged by Al Qaeda; and old terrorism involving the use of hand-held weapons, hand-grenades and explosives and new terrorism involving the use of the latest communications and navigation gadgetry. The TV visuals from Mumbai during the 60 hours that the attack lasted brought back to the minds of professionals visuals, which used to come out of Beirut.
There was a mix of strategies---- a strategy for disrupting the till recently on-going Indo-Pakistan peace process was combined with a strategy for acts of reprisal against India’s close relations with Israel and the West. A strategy for discrediting the Indian counter-terrorism community and policy-makers in the eyes of the Indian public was combined with a strategy for discrediting them in the eyes of the international community and business class.
There was a mix of attacks on the man in the street in public places such as a railway station, a public square, a hospital etc and on the business and social elite in the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi/Trident Hotels. These are not ordinary hotels patronized by tourists who travel on a shoe-string budget. These are very expensive hotels patronized by the cream of the international business class, who visit Mumbai not for pleasure, but for business. Apparently in respect to the sensitivities of the elite, the Governments of Maharashtra and India have wisely chosen not to identify the cream of the business world who were staying in these hotels at the time of the attack.
The terrorists did not indulge in classical hostage-taking tactics, where one takes hostages in order to put forward a demand. They took hostages and locked themselves in buildings in order to force an armed confrontation with the security forces.
The grievances of the Indian Muslims was not the cause of the terrorist attack. Pakistan’s strategic objectives against India such as forcing a change in the status quo in J&K and disrupting India’s economic progress and strategic relations with the West and Israel were the motive. Reprisal against the US-led coalition in Afghanistan for its war against
6. There has been considerable criticism of the Indian counter-terrorism community---some justified and some unfair. In September, there were reports from the Indian and US intelligence that LET terrorists in Pakistan were planning to carry out a sea-borne terrorist strike against sea-front hotels in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal hotel. A high-alert was issued. Security was tightened up by the Police, the Navy, the Coast Guard and the security set-ups of the hotels. The terrorists, who had planned to strike on September 26, postponed their attack. There was no fresh information in October. No terrorist strike came. The alert was downgraded in November. The attack came on November 26. It is always a dilemma for the counter-terrorism community as to for how long a high alert should be continued.
7. There has also been criticism of what has been described as the slow response of India’s special intervention forces such as the National Security Guards (NSG). While some Western analysts have criticized their response as too slow taking about 60 hours, some Israeli analysts have criticized it as too hasty, without trying to tire the terrorists out by indulging in talks with them. The NSG did not have the luxury of many options since it was not a classical hostage situation. Their objective was to save as many lives as possible from three different places which were under the control of the terrorists.
8. There are two ways of assessing the performance of the NSG and the Police. The first is from the number of people killed by the terrorists in these three places--- about 100. The second is from the number of people, whom they rescued alive--- nearly 1000. Let us applaud them for saving so many people despite the difficulties faced by them.
9. The most objective assessment of the performance of the NSG and the Police has come from Ami Pedazhur, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and the author of the forthcoming book "The Israeli Secret Services and the Struggle Against Terrorism," in an article contributed by him to the “New York Times “ ( December 19,2008). I am annexing a copy of this article to this paper.
10. Mr.Pedazhur wrote: “It is clear that the Indian security forces made some mistakes. However, mistakes are inherent in such crises. At the same time, given the complex nature of the attacks, it seems likely the death toll could have been much higher. After the initial confusion, the Indians seem to have done a thorough job of gathering intelligence and carefully planning their counterattacks. The execution itself was careful and thorough.”
11. He added: “The Mumbai attacks showed just how difficult it is for large, multiethnic states to protect themselves from terrorism, something Americans have known well since 9/11. There is certainly much for New Delhi and Washington to learn from the Israeli experience, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While Israel has much to be proud of in how it has handled terrorism, it also has much to be humble about.”
12. Counter-terrorism is much more difficult in India than in any other country because of its large size, federal constitution which gives greater powers to the State governments in respect of crime control and law and order, multi-party system and coalition governments at New Delhi and in many States. Moreover, India is located right in the centre of the Islamic world with Islamic countries to the East, West and North-West of it. It has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. Actions against jihadi terrorists----whether home-grown or externally sponsored--- have to be attentive to the sensitivities of the Muslim community while acting against the terrorist elements from them. This often creates a Hamlet-like situation for the counter-terrorism community. Political consensus on counter-terrorism related issues is more difficult to achieve than in other democracies.
13. India has had a successful record against insurgencies and terrorist groups, whose activities were confined to a single State or region. The difficulties faced by it since November, 2007, are due to the fact that the post-November, 2007, terrorism is pan-Indian in nature with a presence in a number of States. To meet this phenomenon, the Government has decided to create a National Investigation Agency to facilitate co-ordinated investigation, which has not been possible till now. It has also added to the powers of the police after the Mumbai strike.
14. Indian counter-terrorism agencies managed to catch alive Mohammad Ajmal Amir Imam, one of the 10 perpetrators trained in Pakistan---initially in a camp in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and subsequently in Karachi--- and sent to Mumbai for launching the attacks. In his interrogation, he has reportedly stated that he and the other nine terrorists, who were killed, were Pakistani nationals, who were recruited by the LET, trained, armed and sent by boat to Mumbai. His Pakistani nationality has been confirmed by independent enquiries made by the Pakistani correspondent of the “Observer” of the UK and sections of the Pakistani media such as the highly-respected “Dawn” of Karachi and the GeoTV. Even his father has admitted in a media interview that the captured perpetrator is his son.
15. In order to disown any responsibility for the terrorist attack, the Pakistan Government has adopted various tactics. Initially, it tried to create an alibi by making a Pakistani lawyer claim that Ajmal Amir Imam was his client, who had been arrested by the Nepalese authorities two years ago and handed over to the Indian intelligence. When the Nepalese authorities denied this, the Pakistani authorities, including President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani, have started denying that he is a Pakistani.
16. Because of the death of many foreign nationals, many foreign intelligence agencies----including those of the US, the UK and Israel--- are making their own independent investigation. The Government of India has given them free access to the captured terrorist and allowed them to interrogate him independently. All the agencies have independently of each other come to the conclusion that the arrested perpetrators were Pakistani nationals belonging to the LET, which had trained them in Pakistani territory and infiltrated them into Mumbai by sea.
17. While there has been a consensus among the various intelligence agencies of India and other countries that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been using the JUD/LET as a clandestine arm for acts of terrorism in Indian territory, there is as yet no consensus as to whether the ISI sponsored the attack in Mumbai. Indian investigators believe so, but the Government of India has refrained from articulating their belief. It has restricted itself to saying that the perpetrators were Pakistani nationals from the LET who were trained for this attack in camps in Pakistani territory.
18. India has made two specific demands to Pakistan. The first is for the arrest and handing over of the Pakistani LET operatives who had orchestrated the Mumbai attack as well as of all Pakistan-based terrorists, who had carried out terrorist attacks in the past. The second is for closing down the terrorist infrastructure of the LET in Pakistani territory. There has been considerable pressure on Pakistan from the US, the UK and other Western countries to meet the Indian demands.
19. The Zardari Government has vehemently refused to do so. It continues to claim that there is no evidence so far to show that the attack was mounted from the Pakistani territory and that Pakistani nationals were involved. It has also stuck to the traditional Pakistani position that no Pakistani national---whatever be his crime--- will be handed over to India for interrogation and prosecution and that the Indian Police will not be allowed to interrogate them in Pakistani territory either. Its so-called actions against the leaders and other operatives of the JUD/LET and other organizations such as the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) have been a farce. It has not yet formally banned the JUD despite the action of the Anti-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council in designating the JUD as a terrorist organization and four of its leaders, including its Amir Prof-Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed, as international terrorists.
20. The strategic significance of the Mumbai strike arises from the fact that the Pakistan-based LET has emerged as an international terrorism organization on par with Al Qaeda. In fact, some US experts view the attack as probably jointly mounted by the LET and Al Qaeda. The LET poses a threat not only to India’s national security, but also to international peace and security. That is the point India has been highlighting in its diplomatic campaign.
Ground Situation In Afghanistan & Pakistan
21. The ground situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region shows no signs of improvement. The Afghan Taliban headed by Mulla Mohammad Omar, which has been fighting against the NATO forces in Afghanistan from sanctuaries in the Balochistan area of Pakistan, has maintained a high level of activity in southern and eastern Afghanistan as well as in the Kabul area. It has shown a capability for conventional fighting in sizable formations of up to 200 as well as a capability for suicide attacks. There have already been over 100 acts of suicide terrorism in Afghan territory till November 30,2008, mounted from sanctuaries in Pakistani territory.
22. The difficulties faced by the NATO forces are partly due to the unwillingness of the Pakistani army to act against the Afghan Taliban, which it looks upon as its strategic ally to regain its influence in Afghanistan. These difficulties have been aggravated by the increase in the activities of the Pakistani Taliban called the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) founded by Baitullah Mehsud of South Waziristan after the raid by the commandoes of the Pakistan Army into the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) of Islamabad in July 2007 in order to free it from the control of pro-Taliban and pro-Al Qaeda elements.
23. The large number of fatalities of young tribal students---many of them girls--- during the raid caused a wave of anger in the tribal belt, which has not subsided. This anger led to 56 acts of suicide terrorism in Pakistani territory during 2007. There have already been 60 acts of suicide terrorism this year. Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister, who supported the commando raid, was killed by one of the suicide terrorists on December 27, 2007. There has been no progress in the investigation and prosecution of the terrorists responsible for her assassination. In recent months, terrorists of the Pakistani Taliban have also succeeded in disrupting the movement of supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan from the Karachi port.
24. The activities of the Pakistani Taliban started initially in the South Waziristan and Bajaur areas of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) adjoining Afghanistan. From there, they spread to the Swat Valley of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and they are now threatening Peshawar itself, the capital of the NWFP. There have been repeated acts of suicide terrorism in the Peshawar area giving rise to fears that it could eventually become Pakistan’s Beirut.
25. Suicide terrorists operating from the tribal belt fall into two groups---- those of the Pakistani Taliban and the so-called Jundullas (soldiers of Allah), who are self-motivated individuals without any organizational affiliation. These suicide terrorists have been able to operate not only in the tribal areas from where they often originate, but also in cantonments in the non-tribal areas and even in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, Rawalpindi, where the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Army are located, and Lahore. There have also been reports of clandestine cells of the Pakistani Taliban being set up in Karachi, where there is a sizable migrant Pashtun population.
26. The Pakistan Army, which is greatly concerned over the increase in the activities of the Pakistani Taliban, had mounted special operations against them through the Frontier Corps, a para-military force consisting largely of Pashtuns, in the Swat Valley and the Bajaur Agency. It had also trained and armed tribal militias called Lashkars to counter the Taliban. These Lashkars consist largely of Shias specially trained and motivated to counter the Taliban, which is mainly a Sunni force. This has led to the Taliban indulging in large-scale reprisal attacks against the Shias.
27. Thus, one finds three waves of anger in the FATA, the Swat Valley and in the Peshawar area ---- an anti-Army anger because of the commando raid into the Lal Masjid and the perceived co-operation of the Army with the US in its operations against Al Qaeda, an anti-US anger because of its operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban and an anti-Shia anger because of the Shias’ co-operation with the Army as members of the anti-Taliban Lashkars.
28. There have been nearly 30 air strikes by the unmanned Predator planes of the US intelligence agencies against Al Qaeda hide-outs and suspects in the North and South Waziristan areas this year. Some middle and lower level operatives of Al Qaeda were killed in these air strikes. Among others killed by these strikes was Rashid Rauf, a UK citizen of POK (Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir) origin, who was suspected to have played an active role in the conspiracy to blow up a number of US-bound planes, which was unearthed by the British Police in August, 2006. Senior leaders of Al Qaeda such as Osama bin Laden and his No.2 Ayman Al Zawahiri have managed to avoid capture or death. They continue to guide the activities of Al Qaeda from its sanctuaries in North Waziristan.
29. Apart from Al Qaeda, two other organizations associated with it have their sanctuaries in the Waziristan area----the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG), another Uzbeck organization. While the IMU has a limited agenda relating to capture of power in Uzbekistan, the IJG, which is sometimes also referred to as the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), has a much larger agenda. It refrains from projecting itself as a purely Uzbeck organization. Instead, it projects itself as a global jihadi organization and has been recruiting members from the Pakistani diaspora in Europe---- particularly in the UK and Germany.
Looking To 2009
30. Al Qaeda is organizationally intact, but operationally weakened because of the losses suffered by it in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and because of the strong anti-Al Qaeda measures taken by many countries.
31. It has not been able to organize any major terrorist strike outside Pakistani territory. Two of the 2008 terrorist strikes in Pakistan----the attacks on the Danish Embassy (June 3, 2008) and the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad (September 20, 2008)--- had definite Al Qaeda signatures. However, while claims of responsibility in respect of the attack on the Danish Embassy were made on behalf of Al Qaeda, no such claims have been made in respect of the Marriott Hotel attack.
32. The attack in Mumbai from November 26 to 29, 2008, was by the LET, but its planning to the minutest details, faultless execution and the barbaric methods used against the Israelis and other Jewish persons speak of a possible Al Qaeda hand in the planning and orchestration. The targets chosen by the LET were also the favoured targets of Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.
33. Al Qaeda operates where it thinks there are physical security deficiencies and where it thinks it can successfully attack American and Israeli nationals and interests. The physical security deficiencies exposed in Mumbai could tempt Al Qaeda----directly or through intermediaries--- to mount another terrorist strike against American and Israeli nationals and interests in Indian territory.
34. Indian and Western pressure on Pakistan to act against the JUD/LET combine might affect the chances of its being able to repeat Mumbai—November 26. But there are four other Pakistani organizations, who would be happy to do the bidding of Al Qaeda----namely, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), a rabid anti-Shia organization. All of them except the LEJ have been operating in India off and on. The HUM is a founding member of bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People formed by him in 1998. The LET and the other organizations joined it subsequently.
35. Of these, the most successful in the Indian territory, after the LET, has been the Bangladesh branch of the HUJI known as HUJI (B). It profits from the presence of a large number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh not only in Assam and West Bengal, but also in other urban centres of India. Successive Governments in Bangladesh have avoided taking action against the HUJI (B) just as successive Governments in Pakistan have avoided acting against the LET. There cannot be effective counter-terrorism in Indian territory without effective action against both the Pakistan and Bangladesh branches of the HUJI and without equally effective action to stop illegal immigration from Bangladesh and to identify and expel those who have already settled down in India.
36. One of the lessons of 9/11 was the importance of effective immigration control in counter-terrorism. India has the weakest anti-immigration infrastructure among the democracies of the world. There is a lack of political will to act against illegal immigration due to partisan considerations and unwise electoral calculations. The proposed National Investigation Agency and additional powers for the police alone will not be able to prevent another November 26 unless accompanied by strong measures against illegal immigration from Bangladesh.
37. Whatever be the extent of Western pressure on it to act against the LET, Pakistan is unlikely to give up the use of the LET, the HUJI, the JEM and the HUM against India. In its strategic calculation, that is the only way of changing the status quo in J&K and countering the increasing Indian presence in Afghanistan.
38. The West is unlikely to increase the pressure on Pakistan to an extent that might hurt it. It needs Pakistan’s co-operation to prevent another 9/11, another Madrid---March, 2004 or another London, July, 2005. It has sympathies for Pakistan because its co-operation with the US and the rest of the West have made it a victim of jihadi terrorism. During 2008, there were about 90 acts of terrorism in Pakistani territory----- 60 acts of suicide terrorism and 30 of other kinds. The West’s continued dependence on Pakistan and its sympathy for it would put a limit to its support for India.
39. The ground situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan is likely to get worse during 2009 despite the US proposal to induct an additional 30,000 troops and the more robust policy towards Al Qaeda sanctuaries in the FATA promised by President-elect Barack Obama. His options are going to be limited. He could step up the Predator strikes, but these are unlikely to be effective unless driven by precise intelligence. Without a significant inflow of human intelligence, Predator strikes alone will cause more collateral damage and add to anti-US feelings.
40. There is no convergence of views between the political and military leaderships in Pakistan as to how to deal with terrorism. There is no convergence either among different political formations. Strong sections of its political class such as the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif and the religious parties believe that Pakistan’s co-operation with the US against Al Qaeda is the root cause of its problems. They would want Pakistan to opt out of the war against international terrorism. Sections of the Pakistan Army too ask themselves why the Pakistan Army should fight against groups which pose a threat to the US and not to Pakistan.
41. The Soviet Union failed in Afghanistan in the 1980s because of the failure of the Soviet leadership to attack on the ground the sanctuaries of the Afghan Mujahideen in Pakistani territory. The US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan are failing because of their reluctance to attack on the ground the sanctuaries of the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. Indian counter-terrorism is facing serious difficulties---- which are likely to increase in future--- because of the reluctance of the policy-makers to authorize clandestine actions against the sanctuaries of anti-India jihadi organisations in Pakistani territory.
42. If the Western pressure on Pakistan to dismantle the LET’s terrorism infrastructure in its territory fails to produce results, India should have an alternate plan ready for appropriate operational options short of a direct military strike.
43. It is in India’s interest that the US succeeds in its operations against the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda. This would not put an end to Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism in Indian territory, but could make it more manageable. It is not in India’s interest to unwittingly create difficulties for the US war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by engaging in a military confrontation with Pakistan. Obama should be given time to try out his more robust strategy.
44. In its preoccupation with the external dimensions of the problem arising from Pakistan’s continued use of terrorism, India should not neglect the internal dimensions arising from the grievances in sections of its Muslim youth and the weaknesses in its counter-terrorism community.
45. There is a need for a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy with strategic and tactical dimensions. The decision to set up a National Investigation Agency and give additional powers to the Police are the building blocks of the strategic dimension. A revamping of the intelligence agencies to improve the flow of terrorism-related intelligence and of the physical security agencies to prevent physical security failures of the kind witnessed in Mumbai by promoting the culture of joint action should also be part of the strategic dimension. The tactical dimension would involve the identification of vulnerable cities and targets and immediate action to protect them.
46. Preventing another 26/11 should be the immediate priority. Making jihadi terrorism---home-grown or externally sponsored---- wither away through a mix of political, diplomatic and operational measures should be the strategic priority.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com)
From Munich to Mumbai
Author: Ami Pedazhur
Publication: The New York Times
Date: December 19, 2008
NOW that India and the world are over the initial shock of the terrorist attacks last month in Mumbai, efforts to understand what happened and prevent future calamities are being hampered in ways familiar to Israelis like myself, who have lived through far too many such events: pointless efforts to place blame, and a failure to put the attacks in the proper historical context.
First, contrary to much punditry in India and the West, these attacks did not indicate the emergence of a new form of terrorism. Actually, after decades in which terrorism had evolved mostly in the direction of suicide bombings, Mumbai was a painful reminder of the past.
The multiple hostage-takings and shootings, carefully planned and executed, were a throwback to the wave of hijackings and hostage situations that were the trademark of terrorists in the Middle East from the 1960s until the 1980s. The most famous of these events, of course, was the attack on the Israeli delegation at the 1972 Olympic Games.
In Munich, the Black September terrorists succeeded in capturing the attention of TV viewers around the world for a whole day. They knew most TV networks had sent crews to cover the Games and thus would broadcast the hostage situation as it unfolded.
The terrorists in Mumbai were even more successful, in that they created a drama that lasted much longer. They did so by aiming at high-profile targets like the hotels that are hubs for Western tourists and businessmen. They knew that viewers around the world would be glued for days to the constant stream of images on their TV and computer screens.
In addition, that the majority of the Mumbai terrorists landed from the sea was another ugly flashback. For years, terrorists favored arriving at Israel's beaches on speed boats to take hostages in residential neighborhoods.
One of the most notorious perpetrators was Samir Kuntar, who in 1979 led a group of terrorists to the beach of Nahariya and shot a police officer and a civilian, Danny Haran, before smashing the skull of Haran's 4-year-old daughter, Einat. Mr. Kuntar was released this year from Israel in a prisoner exchange, and in Damascus was awarded the Syrian Order of Merit.
Yet, despite the horrific nature of the attacks in the past, from a counterterrorism perspective the events in Mumbai were even more worrisome. Though they did not detonate explosive belts, the attackers were truly suicide terrorists. They did not take their hostages for the purpose of negotiations and it is quite clear that they did not hope to leave the scene alive.
They also created chaos by attacking several locations at once. When the terrorists have the advantage of surprise, it really does not matter how well trained the counterterrorism forces are. It takes a long time to figure out what is going on, to gather tactical intelligence and to launch a counterattack.
No one should be aware of these facts more than the Israelis who in the 1970s endured a series of similar albeit less sophisticated attacks.
Hence, I have been very surprised to hear Israeli security experts criticizing the Indian response. These experts probably forgot the devastating civilian death tolls of the attacks in Maalot in 1974 (22 Israeli high school students killed), at the Coastal Road in 1978 (37 murdered, including 13 children) and at Misgav Am in 1980 (two kibbutz members killed, one an infant). These incidents all illustrated the extreme difficulty of rescuing hostages even when the attacked state has highly trained forces and a lot of experience.
Yes, Israel enjoyed a few successes that have been glorified around the world. The most famous were the raids on hijacked planes in Lod, Israel, in 1972 and in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976. But these two airport rescues cannot be compared with the events in Mumbai.
The Israeli success was due mainly to the fact that the terrorists involved were interested in negotiating, giving security forces the opportunity to gather intelligence, devise a rescue plan and take the hijackers by surprise. Hostages and rescuers were killed in both cases. Yet no security experts argued at the time that the Israeli forces were inadequately prepared or failed in their execution.
It is clear that the Indian security forces made some mistakes. However, mistakes are inherent in such crises. At the same time, given the complex nature of the attacks, it seems likely the death toll could have been much higher. After the initial confusion, the Indians seem to have done a thorough job of gathering intelligence and carefully planning their counterattacks. The execution itself was careful and thorough.
Israel and India both face a lasting terrorism challenge. Yet, if I was asked to give India policy recommendations, I would be extremely cautious about advocating the Israeli approach. Protecting a huge multiethnic, multireligious country like India is far more challenging than securing a rather homogeneous, tiny state like Israel.
Just to illustrate, Israel's airport security is rightly considered to be a model. However, the Israeli security establishment took years and experienced a number of direct attacks on travel hubs before it slowly introduced its impressive security measures. That Israel has only one major international airport - Ben-Gurion, near Tel Aviv - made the process much easier. And so far, Israel has not been able to tightly secure more challenging targets like train and bus systems.
The Israeli experience teaches that countering terrorism is a long and frustrating process of trial and error. Terrorists are fast to respond to new obstacles.
For example, the security barrier erected after the start of the second intifada in 2000 has brought a sharp decline in the number of suicide attacks. But Hamas adapted quickly. Suicide bombers were replaced by rockets. While the number of casualties caused by the rockets is significantly lower, I am not convinced that residents of the towns near Gaza feel any safer.
The Mumbai attacks showed just how difficult it is for large, multiethnic states to protect themselves from terrorism, something Americans have known well since 9/11. There is certainly much for New Delhi and Washington to learn from the Israeli experience, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While Israel has much to be proud of in how it has handled terrorism, it also has much to be humble about.
- Ami Pedazhur, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas at Austin, is the author of the forthcoming book "The Israeli Secret Services and the Struggle Against Terrorism."