Pakistan's government is losing its war against emboldened insurgent forces, giving al-Qaeda and the Taliban more territory in which to operate and allowing the groups to plot increasingly ambitious attacks, according to Pakistani and Western security officials.David Seaton's News Links
Griff Witte, Washington Post
Pakistan, not Iran, is the "most dangerous" country in the world. Iran may someday have the atomic bomb, but Pakistan already has it. Al Qaida resides in Pakistan, not Iran. If Al Qaida ever get its hands on an an atomic bomb it will be in Pakistan not Iran. The Shiite Iranians are not going to give it to a Sunni terrorist. Pakistan is where the mother of disasters is just around the corner, waiting to happen. The terror attacks on the USA, Spain, Britain and the ones foiled in Germany were inspired by Al Qaida, not Iran.
Al Qaida is also now the official brand of Algerian Salafism. Algeria, with Pakistan is the largest source of potential terrorists with EU passports. Morocco is not far behind. With the children of Pakistani immigrants in Britain and the children of Algerian immigrants in France and the children of Moroccan immigrants in Holland being radicalized, the European Union is in a sense "surrounded". Certainly Americans shouldn't feel smug, the passport holders of Britain, France and Holland can travel to the USA without visas. And as the recently aborted German attack shows some young, "native*" Europeans (*definition: white folks, who don't get constantly pulled over to have their car's papers looked at ) are also feeling the pull of Osama's smoke.
The phenomenon of extremist converts should worry us for it shows that Islam can be decoupled from its native religious and cultural background. Al Qaedism is becoming a universal, radical ideology of protest. Young Westerners in search for the most brutal anti-Western position find Osama bin Laden's ideas seductive because they are ethically hermetic.(...) (bin Laden) has very consciously begun fishing for supporters who share the backward concept of Islamism for non-religious reasons. The secular religions of climate rescue and globalization criticism meet bin Laden's doctrine of divine salvation. Disillusioned of the world, unite! "Wherever the believer happens to be, he is part of a virtual society, with which he shares the same set of norms," writes the French Islam expert Olivier Roy about the attraction of Islamism. "Only two radical protest movements in the West still claim to be internationalist: the anti-globalization movement and radical Islamists.... Al Qaeda has clearly occupied an existing space of anti-imperialism and protest.... Al-Qaeda is a successor to the ultra-left and third-world movements." Die Zeit - Wall Street JournalThe holy month of Ramadan finishes this Friday and it looks like when the Al Qaida and the Taliban have had their fill of food and drink, all hell is set to break loose in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Al-Qaeda has been in the process of a decisive ideological and strategic debate over the past few years. At times it developed fault lines that brought forward extremists in the organization, whom the Sunni and Shi'ite orthodoxy of the Muslim world calls takfiris.(...) The aim of the takfiris now is to extend the current insurgency against the establishment in the North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal areas of Pakistan into a large-scale offensive to bring down the central government or force the government to support their cause. The US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Pakistan's post-September 11, 2001, about-turn into the camp of the United States led to a marriage of convenience among the flag-bearers of Ibn Taymiyyah's ideology, zealots of al-Qaeda and experts in Giap's guerrilla strategy - former officers of the Pakistani armed forces who were upset with Pakistan's policy reversal, which included abandoning the Taliban. These groups joined forces to take control of the state through a popular revolt or by using violent means, or force on the state apparatus to support the battle against the Western coalition in Afghanistan. The alliance has had some success, notably in the Waziristans, where in effect a rigid Islamic state prevails beyond the control of the central authorities in Islamabad. Indeed, the highest level of casualties in the history of the Pakistan Army has forced Pakistani leaders to speak of stopping operations in the Waziristans, saying it is a wrong war. Asia Times - Sep 26, 2007The situation in Pakistan is utterly fluid, while Iran is under a stable, if unattractive, leadership. Obviously if we blovate about Iran and ignore the peril of Pakistan we are being manipulated.
(P)lans for a mass uprising on the back of renewed insurgency activity are far from shelved, and could be implemented with vigor at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan next week, with tens of thousands of freshly trained men pouring into Afghanistan. The key lies in Pakistan's tribal areas, from where the Taliban draw recruits, have training camps and run their logistics. The Pakistani Taliban and Islamabad signed peace agreements in February 2005 and September 2006, under the terms of which the Pakistani Army cut back its troop levels in the tribal areas in return for militants stopping their attacks on the Pakistani Army and forces in Afghanistan. In July the Taliban abandoned the treaties following the storming of the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad by government troops. The mosque was an outspoken supporter of the Taliban movement and many militants used it as a sanctuary. Since then, the Pakistani military has re-engaged militants in the tribal areas, severely choking their supply arteries. In the past 10 days, however, militants have launched at least nine carefully planned operations against security positions in both North Waziristan and South Waziristan, and in towns in North-West Frontier Province(...). As a result, all security operations against the Taliban and their al-Qaeda colleagues in the tribal areas have stopped, and by all accounts the army is running scared. It is estimated that Pakistan has 100,000 troops and 1,000 military posts along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. From the military's perspective, the situation is exacerbated by a political hiatus in Islamabad. President General Pervez Musharraf stands for re-election in Saturday's presidential polls, after which he is expected to step down as military head and prepare over the next few months for a civilian consensus government, most likely with former premier Benazir Bhutto. No new plans to tackle the problems in the tribal areas can be expected until this situation is settled. The Taliban and their supporters now have the breathing space to replenish stocks and prepare for their new push into Afghanistan. It is envisaged that at least 20,000 fully trained fresh men from at least 16 entry points along the Durand Line that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan will be sent into Afghanistan.(...) From the daring attacks on Frontier Constabulary forts in Bannu in NWFP, where fresh hostages were taken, to suicide attacks on military and paramilitary convoys in the Swat Valley, the militants' intelligence network is doing its job. In all cases, the targets have been accurately pinpointed, and the operations carried out according to plan. The attacks have swiftly reached into the Swat Valley and send a clear message to the commanders in their barracks in Peshawar to pull back their troops or face the music. Indeed, the latest offensive against the army has sent shockwaves through military headquarters in Rawalpindi, and it is even feared that they could spread to big cities such as Karachi, Lahore and the capital Islamabad. Asia Times - Oct 5, 2007
Hearing that bombing was now a 50/50 possibility before President Bush leaves the White House, Riaz Mohammad Khan, the Pakistani foreign secretary, covered his face with both hands in mock horror. It was too horrendous a prospect to contemplate. Pakistan enjoys close relations with Iran, and its status as a major non-NATO ally would then evaporate in nationwide recriminations. Pervez Musharraf would join history’s oubliette. Yet there is a growing realization that for Israel, a nuclear Iran is an existential crisis. Arnaud de Borchgrave - UPIThe article below from the New York Sun about "Cyber-Qaida" turning on a dime when they found their security compromised comes from Pakistan not Iran. We are looking at a well oiled organization swinging into action. Iran, even Iraq and certainly Israel are mere sideshows compared to what is happening in Pakistan. DS
Qaeda Goes Dark After a U.S. Slip - New York Sun
Abstract: Al Qaeda's Internet communications system has suddenly gone dark to American intelligence after the leak of Osama bin Laden's September 11 speech inadvertently disclosed the fact that we had penetrated the enemy's system. The intelligence blunder started with what appeared at the time as an American intelligence victory, namely that the federal government had intercepted, a full four days before it was to be aired, a video of Osama bin Laden's first appearance in three years in a video address marking the sixth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. On the morning of September 7, the Web site of ABC News posted excerpts from the speech. But the disclosure from ABC and later other news organizations tipped off Qaeda's internal security division that the organization's Internet communications system, known among American intelligence analysts as Obelisk, was compromised. This network of Web sites serves not only as the distribution system for the videos produced by Al Qaeda's production company, As-Sahab, but also as the equivalent of a corporate intranet, dealing with such mundane matters as expense reporting and clerical memos to mid- and lower-level Qaeda operatives throughout the world.(...) One intelligence officer who requested anonymity said in an interview last week that the intelligence community watched in real time the shutdown of the Obelisk system. America's Obelisk watchers even saw the order to shut down the system delivered from Qaeda's internal security to a team of technical workers in Malaysia. That was the last internal message America's intelligence community saw. "We saw the whole thing shut down because of this leak," the official said. "We lost an important keyhole into the enemy."(...) The founder of a Web site known as clandestineradio.com, Nick Grace, tracked the shutdown of Qaeda's Obelisk system in real time. "It was both unprecedented and chilling from the perspective of a Web techie. The discipline and coordination to take the entire system down involving multiple Web servers, hundreds of user names and passwords, is an astounding feat, especially that it was done within minutes," Mr. Grace said yesterday. READ IT ALL