War on Terror
Talking Is The Point
The point is the talk itself. War may not happen, for conditions do not allow it, but talk of war very nearly serves the purpose of those who would like to see it happen. In short, war is best, but talk of war is a close second.
Such talk, from whichever perspective, helps build a siege mentality among an unsuspecting public. Whether you listen to arguments for or against, just the fact that you are listening to serious war talk all around you makes you feel you are, or soon could be, at war. And that opens you up to the idea of supporting the purchase of another aircraft bomber even if you can’t pay your mortgage instalment.
There is nothing new to this. Long before he propounded the clash of civilizations theory, Samuel P. Huntington made a name for himself by arguing that maintaining a large and fully equipped military was imperative for the United States even in times of peace. His book The Soldier and the State came out in 1957, when liberal Americans were wondering why they should spend millions of dollars on the military although the world war was well over and no new war was imminent. -- Saif Shahin
Salvador Dali, master of the surreal, would have felt a twinge of envy had he read the annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2009 released by the US State Department last week. The report, mandated by the US Congress, is supposed to present an authoritative assessment of the threat posed to the US by non-US terrorist groups as well as countries designated as “state sponsors of terrorism”. Instead, the report paints a curious picture that bears only the most tenuous link to reality...
While Pakistan is justifiably identified as a victim of terrorism, its state security apparatus, particularly the untouchable Inter-Services Intelligence, is absolved of any complicity in promoting terrorism through groups such as the Haqqani Network and Hezb-e-Islami. Similarly, Islamabad’s inability to crack down on the Lashkar-e-Taiba—even though it remains “a serious threat to Western interests”—and to keep its promise of sharing intelligence with India on the 2008 Mumbai attacks has been papered over. Instead, Pakistan’s inaction has been linked to the absence of peace talks between New Delhi and Islamabad last year. Even though the peace process has resumed, Pakistan remains intransigent, prompting British Prime Minister David Cameron to say that it cannot be allowed to “promote the export of terror”. In contrast, the response of the US report to Pakistan’s continuing obstinacy is almost a meek request: “It needs to take further action against this group…” -- W Pal Sidhu
In 2002, the Bush administration’s National Security Strategy (NSS) made it clear that America, with Britain’s help, intends to increase terrorism by chasing terrorists around the world instead of capturing them, or, better still, addressing their grievances – this is the real world, after all, which is dominated by financial interests, so there’s no time for rational solutions here. The NSS reads: “The United States and countries cooperating with us must not allow the terrorists to develop new home bases. Together, we will seek to deny them sanctuary at every turn.”
The policy of giving terrorists no “haven”, rather than working to end terrorism, gives the US and Britain the excuse to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars” by chasing terrorists around the globe and, more worryingly, to actually cause terrorism. -- Tim Coles
Bravo. Bangladesh has done it. It has successfully reversed the cynical Islamisation of its local General Zia. Not only is one fortified by their action that a Muslim majority nation state is capable of rolling back the Islamist project but as a Pakistani I am glad that at least some part of the former original Pakistan is now firmly allied with the principles that Jinnah laid down in his famous August 11, 1947 speech. -- Yasser Latif Hamdani
Professor M. Hasan, a retired geographer and an expert member of the Rajiv Gandhi Social Security Mission, told Frontline from Jodhpur that the police, never immune from political interference, always drew hasty conclusions when a blast occurred. For instance, he said, he and a few others were not allowed to organise peace meetings after the Jaipur blasts in May 2008 in which 60 people were killed. He said some senior police officers were “hell bent” on creating rifts, and that sections of the media also played a damning role by declaring a group of Muslim doctors, who had been arrested, guilty. -- T.K. Rajalakshmi
To expect the US to ensure that Pakistan would not resort to terrorist attacks against Indian targets would be unrealistic. It has not happened all these years....The Pakistan government has pre-empted a military takeover by General Kayani by giving him a three-year extension and thereby conceding indirectly that the army and Kayani in particular will guide and direct the government in Pakistan. A former ISI chief who continues to employ people like ex-ISI chief Hameed Gul could not be expected to think in terms of any peaceful settlement with India on pending issues. India should, therefore, be prepared for all eventualities and set its own house in order. The Kashmir issue should be sorted out after purposeful talks with the Kashmiri people, the National Conference, the PDP, the Hurriyat and others. A solution is not difficult to arrive at if sincere efforts are made at all levels. And as for terrorist attacks from across the border, India has to anticipate them and be prepared and alert. -- T.V. Rajeswar
The Pakistan Army has become adept at manufacturing ‘victories’ against ‘terrorism’ in theatre after theatre in the country, though each year has seen increasing terrorism-related fatalities in the country. In this bold history of triumph, on June 1, 2010, the Army had declared another victory over ‘terrorism’ in its Operation Khwakh Ba De Sham (I Will See You) in the Orakzai Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), adding that military operations in the area had been ‘completed’ and civilians could expect to return home soon. -- Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
The Sheikh Hasina regime has done extraordinarily well in stabilizing a country which, only a few years ago, had come to be regarded as an economic and political basket case and a centre of Islamist extremism and terrorism. However, radical Islamist groupings in the country, despite the body blows they have received in the recent past, retain a significant cadre base and residual capacities to create havoc in the country. -- Anshuman Behera
THE DEBATE about ‘Hindu terror’ requires, firstly, a serious rectification and amendment. Just as there is nothing called ‘Muslim terror’ or ‘Islamic terror’, there is also nothing that corresponds to ‘Hindu terror’. The individuals — with affiliations to what we know as the sangh parivar — who have been linked to events of Ajmer, Malegaon and Hyderabad are sangh parivar terrorists or Hindutva terrorists. Therefore, the phenomenon that we associate with individuals, who happen to be Hindus, indulging in acts of terror is Hindutva terror or sangh parivar terror. Having stated this, Hindutva terror is a greater threat than any form of terror facing the country. The threat from the al- Qaida or the Lashkar is easily identifiable; it is external and these organisations fashion themselves as jihadi outfits. There is no camouflage or pretence about their goals, aims and methods. In sharp contrast, the legitimacy for Hindutva terror comes not merely from members that are formally part of the sangh parivar, but from a cross- section of Hindus in Indian society, but primarily Hindus from the ever expanding middle class. ...
From the 19th century onwards, Hindu nationalists have argued that retaliatory violence is a legitimate form of dealing with the ‘enemy’. In doing so, they argued that in order to protect dharma, which was conveniently translated as religion, Hindus needed to resort to violence when required. The question of the legitimacy of resorting to violence was always arbitrary.
Reverting to models in the mythological past, where the antagonism between devas and asuras inevitably led to the violent vanquishing of the asuras, Hindu nationalists ‘ democratised’ the right to label their adversaries as asuras and arrogated the right to vanquish these foes to themselves....
Of course, we will continue to mouth easy and corny platitudes like ‘ Hinduism is a way of life’, without asking the logical question as to whose way of life it is. Is it Pragna Bharati’s way of life or Narendra Modi’s way of life? Is it Mohan Bhagwat’s way of life or is it Advani’s way of life? In either case, there is not much to choose from. Each time Lashkar terrorists attack a spot in India, there would be a retaliatory strike in a mosque or a dargah, while we shall continue to look the other way and perfect our two- century long act of self- deception. -- Jyotirmaya Sharma
What role did the ISI’s collusion with the Taliban play in the increasing fatalities suffered by the US troops in Afghanistan? How could the Obama Administration have decided to step up military and economic assistance to Pakistan despite being aware of the “reality” of the ISI’s role in helping the Taliban in its operations against the US and Nato troops. Previously, it used to be believed that the ISI was using terrorist organisations only to kill Indian nationals and to target Indian interests. The leaked documents clearly indicate that the ISI had been knowingly helping the Taliban, another terrorist organisation, against the troops of the US-led Nato forces and the Afghan Security Forces. -- B Raman
FIFTEEN years separate the bomb blasts that shook Mumbai in March 1993 and took more than 250 lives, and the jihadi commando assault of November 2008 where 157 people were gunned down. A lot changed in that period apparently except one thing— the unrelenting hostility of the Pakistani establishment towards India. This has been brought home to us from the remarks on Tuesday of the National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon who confirmed what Home Secretary G. K. Pillai had said earlier: That the Headley interrogation had revealed that there are clear links between the terrorists, official establishments and intelligence agencies in Pakistan. And, in Menon’s bleak words, “the link was getting stronger”...
The failure of the recent talks between the External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi has been attributed in part to GK Pillai’s statement that the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate was involved in the 2008 Mumbai operation from the beginning to the end.
Mr Pillai does tend to misspeak, and you can question the timing of his statement.
But surely there is something bizarre about taking umbrage to his timing but not what he said. And what he said is indeed sensational. If an agency of the Pakistan government was involved in the Mumbai attack, why is India bothering to talk peace with that government? The Indian government’s policy works on the belief that there is a tussle between the civilian and military wings of the Pakistan establishment, and that it is in India’s strategic interest to back the civilians so as to forever marginalise the self appointed guardians of the Islamic Republic— the Pakistan Army.
All this is possibly true, but not on a practical timeline. Policy is usually made for a two to five year time horizon, with a perspective of, say, ten years. The civilians may triumph in Pakistan, but given present trends, they will do so at an indeterminate time in the future which has no practical benefit for India. - Manoj Joshi
TIMES NOW acquires transcripts of a conversation between hard-line separatists and mobs, exposing how they are trying to instigate violence in the Kashmir valley.
The role of the hard-line faction of the Hurriyat has been exposed. TIMES NOW has acquired transcripts of a conversation between Hurriyat Geelani faction leader and his paid activist.
The conversation very clearly exposes how the hard-line separatists are trying their best to instigate violence during the protests. The Hurriyat Geelani faction leader is heard instigating his activist to ensure that at least 10-15 people are martyred.
8 Jul 2010: Following is the transcript of the conversation between the Hurriyat leader and the paid protester:
Hurriyat (G) leader Ghulam Mohd Dar: I heard there is a protest march in Budgam.
Local Hurriyat activist, Shabir Ahmed: Where?
Ghulam Mohd Dar: Budgam
Shabir Ahmed: I believe one small one had. Where will they go right now?
Ghulam Mohd Dar: No, I have heard that it's a massive one - nearly 30,000
Shabir Ahmed: 30,000?
Ghulam Mohd Dar: I swear, 30,000 of them. Protest near the Magam Forest check post. You enjoy your salaries without doing anything for it.
Shabir Ahmed: You have to understand the reason for it
Ghulam Mohd Dar: Tell me
Shabir Ahmed: The crowds get too big to handle at times. Lots of people join in and it's difficult to manage them
Ghulam Mohd Dar: We want 10-15 more martyred. Did you hear that?
(loud noise apparently of rally)
Ghulam Mohd Dar: Did you hear that? That's the rally in Budgam
Local Hurriyat activist, Shabir Ahmed: Ok
U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan appear to be having a similar effect. Before being relieved as Afghanistan commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal admitted: "We've shot an amazing number of people [at checkpoints] and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."
Faisal Shahzad, the naturalized American citizen who recently pled guilty after attempting to set off a car bomb in Times Square, was a troubled fellow, but there is no evidence that he disliked the liberties of the society which he chose to join. Instead, he grew to hate the policies carried out by the U.S. government.
During his court hearing Shahzad said: "until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan, and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims, and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S."
When the judge objected that people walking in Times Square had not attacked Muslims, Shahzad responded: "the people select the government; we consider them the same." As for children, he said: "the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don't see children, they don't see anybody. They kill women, children. They kill everybody." Thus his resort to terrorism: "I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people, and on behalf of that, I'm avenging the attacks."…
As Glenn Greenwald put it, "if we continue to bring violence to that part of the world, then that part of the world--and those who sympathize with it--will continue to want to bring violence to the U.S." That's why many people in other nations not only hate us, but are trying to kill us. -- Doug Bandow
Pulling militancy out by its roots not only requires making hard administrative decisions, such as those Hasina has already begun, but also building consensus among politicians and civil society to free the country from the militant menace. To do this, she should have discussions with concerned citizens and groups who are affected by militancy and are working on the issue, while also using the media effectively to make people aware of the negative societal impact.
In addition, it is necessary for the ruling Awami League to create an environment in which the general public is not swayed by militant ideologies. Hardliners have gained ground among the impoverished population in rural areas, where government infrastructure and basic services are not adequate, by supporting mosques, hospitals and religious educational institutions. -- Chinmoy Mutsuddi
What about the Taliban? What is their thinking? President Karzai is banking heavily on the possibility that the Taliban, accepting him as a genuine interlocutor, will respond to his overtures. These are early stages, with everything up in the air, different possibilities being floated but nothing definite on the table as a genuine starting point.
For Pakistan the danger is obvious. We are caught in a bind. The more our American friends flounder, the greater will be their frustration, and the greater their readiness to take out their anger on us by accusing us of a double-faced policy: hunting with them but also in touch with the Taliban. Every failure begets the need for scapegoats and we shouldn't be surprised if we are blamed for the US's own failures of judgment and resolve. -- Ayaz Amir
The time has come for the silent majority to break its silence and speak out loud against the blatant atrocities of the Taliban. “Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible and demanding it at gunpoint” —Christopher Hitchens.
The aforementioned rationale is not shared by many here who are staunch advocates of making peace with the demons. Every now and then a violent act claims several cherished lives. As we mourn the lost ones and seek refuge in the burial rituals, a sense of vulnerability and frustration keeps on mounting and most start losing hope in the political system, in the faith and, more importantly, in civilisation. It is absolutely deceitful of the apologists and supporters of the Taliban to now suggest that the Taliban should not be given a taste of their own medicine. Why were these torchbearers of people’s rights tight-lipped when innocent men, women and children were being slaughtered, beheaded and flogged? These sympathisers shed no tears when self-righteous zealots torched down thousands of schools for those institutions were a symbol of modernity and free will.
The Taliban apologists continue to claim that the Taliban are not terrible creatures and that we should try to ‘understand’ them and address their ‘demands’. They, however, forget to address the inconvenient truth that we did so in Swat and it backfired. Operation Rah-e-Rast demonstrated that if all the Taliban within Swat are not dealt with with an iron hand, we would be sowing the seeds for their return in even greater numbers. The tactic of holding peace talks/negotiations have failed on numerous occasions and such strategies only serve as short-term appeasement exercises for the militants. The Laal Masjid saga is a perfect example in this regard. The state did not react persuasively when they illegally occupied a children’s library and then assumed the role of morality police by detaining foreign nationals. This appeasement led to an unavoidable showdown for which many would rightly blame the state. -- Ammar Zafarullah
Finally, in 1966, the Miranda decision established a universal standard, requiring people in police custody to be read their rights before being questioned. Under most circumstances, failure to comply with this rule would lead to a suppression of the confession. However, contrary to common belief, the Miranda warning doesn’t confer rights; it simply reminds arrestees of the rights already granted to them by the Constitution....
But resolving immediate emergencies is about as far as we should go in delaying the Miranda reading or creating exceptions to it. To open non-emergency exceptions, like the one proposed by the Obama administration, would be to go down a road toward the eventual nullification of the constitutional protection against self-incrimination. The Miranda rule enables us to protect a fundamental right without forcing the courts to allow the legitimacy of every confession to be proven before it is allowed into evidence. To compromise the rule would be counterproductive to the freedom we enjoy — a freedom that terrorists would like nothing better than to destroy. -- Sol Wachtler
Islamabad reacted with anger to media accounts of Headley's claims about the ISI. But the case of the Kanpur spy suggests that a great part of the truth about Mumbai is either unknown to, or is being hidden from, Pakistan's civilian government...
Last week, the former Indian diplomat, Chinmaya Gharekhan, called on the government to test Pakistan's commitment to act against anti-India terrorists by using “quantifiable criteria which can be spelt out.” Pakistan's willingness to fill the gaping holes in its investigation will clearly be key to these criteria. Early this year, Mumbai authorities quietly buried the bodies of the nine Lashkar jihadists, who were killed during the attacks, after months of waiting for Pakistan to reclaim them. Eighteen months after the carnage, the FIA has identified just three of those men: Mohammad Altaf, Imran Babar, and Nasir Ahmad. Nothing could better illustrate Pakistan's disinclination to discover the truth about Mumbai. -- Praveen Swami
Yes, a country to which the United States is giving full support and billions of dollars in aid is doing little or nothing against those responsible for the September 11 attacks and for the killing of about 3,000 Americans. But the Obama Administration doesn’t believe in getting tough or putting pressure on those countries actually giving America trouble. Ah, maybe it does understand. After all, if it really regarded Pakistan as an ally, instead of a hostile state, it wouldn’t be treating it so well! -- Barry Rubin
The public trial and provision of legal defence for Qassab enhanced the reputation and credibility of the Indian judicial system and further disclosed to our eternal pride that there were victims and bereaved who were prepared to forgive him. But the overwhelming popular indignation and feeling of revenge is quite understandable, and is to be expected. It is also an unacknow-ledged tribute to the Indian system that Pakistanis want Indian judicial officials to give evidence in the in-camera Pakistani trial of the LeT handlers for the Mumbai attack. The contrast between the mature Indian democracy and the incipient Pakistani system could not have been better brought out, with the open trial in India and the closed trial in Pakistan…..
The image of Qassab with his AK-47 at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus will haunt for a long time to come. 26/11 in the longer run may have a more significant impact on our security thinking than the 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars with Pakistan. -- K. Subrahmanyam
Back in 2008 Boyle made an astute joke on BBC’s Radio 4 programme Political Animal. "I've been studying Israeli army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. People think that the Middle East is very complex but I have an analogy that sums it up quite well. If you imagine that Palestine is a big cake, well … that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew."
In fact, no one can describe the barbarism and collective sadism performed by the Jewish State more accurately. –- Gilad Atzmon
The victims' relatives' feelings are understandable, but Hemant Karkare's wife Kavita also said that Qassab should be hanged in public. How can you condemn the savagery of Kasab and his nine associates by recommending medieval practice of hanging of Qassab in public? By giving fair trial to Kasab, India is arguing that it is not a banana republic. Slain police officer Tukaram Omble's relative said on television that Qassab's limbs should be cut into pieces in public and then salt should be applied on. This view is just not Indian….
"Pakistan should get the message clear unlike the 1993 serial Mumbai blasts that divided the Indian society; the 2008 terror attack has united India. Hopefully, the times are changing. Hindus and Muslims -- urban and rural India, rich and poor and middle class -- all felt strongly for those 166 families whose relatives were killed by the attack by 10 Pakistani terrorists. Irrespective of the legal weaknesses or strengths of Judge Madan Tahilyani's verdict, generally, Indians would be happy that the trial took place with a speed that is not common in India and he has delivered a sound judgment. -- Sheela Bhatt
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, terrorism and guerrilla warfare started occupying global centre stage. And while this was a game changer, the Western world relegated it to a Third World or West Asia problem.
The 9/11 attacks changed that dramatically. The much vaunted two-ocean defence assurance (the idea of being guarded by the existence of two oceans on its two sides) that the US had historically banked upon evaporated overnight. Al Qaeda showed that it was possible to strike the world’s sole remaining superpower, just like 10 years earlier the Taliban had shown that they could take on the mighty Soviet Union. And while the US responded with its own and allied military might, it was hobbled by a doctrine that was woefully out of date. Several hundred thousand troops and kilotonnes of bombs later, its enemy was very much alive and kicking. Around seven years after George W. Bush pronounced “Mission Accomplished” in 2003, the world has discovered that when it comes to terrorism, the mission itself has to be redefined. Killing insurgents does not equate to killing insurgency. -- Raghu Raman
The scholars of today seem to have realised, though belatedly, that Ibn Taimiya’s fatwa had been a source of inspiration for the extremist, radical and sectarian schools of thought in the Muslim world and had given birth to Al Qaeda,Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al Shahab and other terrorist organisations all over the world causing death, destruction and slaughter of innocent people in the name of Jihad. The acts of violence have not only killed non-combatants among the Muslims and non-Muslims but have also damaged the image of Islam as a religion of peace because even during a war, Islam is against assaulting or harming non-combatants, women, children, the elderly and unarmed persons. The so-called jihad had its political consequences as well. It did the Islamic world more harm than good.-- Sohail Arshad
Photo: Islamic scholar Habib Ali of Egypt
One important political development in the subcontinent went largely unnoticed by the political analysts in January. Just two days before Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India, an important minister in her cabinet Syed Ashraful Islam shocked India by disclosing the fact that the former BNP-Jamaat Regime had arranged a clandestine meeting between the former Pakistan president Perwez Musharrarf and the top leader and founder of ULFA, Anup Chetia while he was languishing in a Dhaka jail. Bangladesh’s external intelligence agency, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) had played an active role in arranging the meeting as a section of the DGFI officials was hand in glove with the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. -- Sohail Arshad
Photo: PM of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina