Where is Mullah Omar?

Apparently in Quetta protected by the ISI according to a captured Taliban soldier.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has made similar allegations in the past.

However, Pakistan’s interior minister, Aftab Khan Sherpao, rejected the claim, saying “this is totally baseless”.

“We have no information on the whereabouts of Mullah Omar. He is not living in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the Afghan intelligence service had “made contradictory statements since the arrest of this so-called spokesman of Taliban”.[Mullah Omar ‘hiding in Pakistan’]

Turns out this information is the same as that found in some secret U.S Military documents found by ABC News.

Lesson from Somalia

When the Islamic Courts Union took control of Somalia it was like a repeat of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan.  They did the usual things, like banning football and enforcing Sharia, but soon it became obvious that Somalia was becoming a terrorist state.

These men have seized power in a country that contains 17 operational terrorist training camps, as described in a confidential report prepared by the nongovernmental group Partners International Foundation in 2002. The claim in this report has been confirmed by a military intelligence source. Today, hundreds of terrorists from Afghan istan, Chechnya, Iraq, Pakistan, and the Arabian peninsula are said to be flocking to Somalia to train in or staff these camps. According to a military intelligence source, the camps provide training in the use of improvised explosive devices to counter Ethiopian vehicles.[A New Terrorist Haven]

Also came reports that al Qaeda was operating in Somalia and unlike 1993 the United States did not run away from fighting. In 1993 the American forces were sent into Mogadishu to capture two lieutenants of a Somali warlord. The raid was successful, but two Black Hawks were downed by the Somali militia and a battle at close range between the Americans and the Somali militia erupted.

Continue reading “Lesson from Somalia”

A disturbing photograph

Saturday’s WSJ had a chilling photo on the front page. It showed a bunch of blindfolded men standing in an open field and facing them were another group of people with rifles in preparation for a mass execution. The command to fire had been given and men had started falling down. The picture shows men at the far end already on the ground, while the man on the far right still standing, waiting for the bullet to pierce his heart.  The photo captures that instant between life and death. It won the Pulitzer prize and the photographer’s name was withheld – till now.

This photo was taken in Iran in Aug. 27, 1979. Islamic radicals had overthrown the Shah and Ayatollah Khomeini had taken control. The Kurds were looking for autonomy and troops were sent to supress it.

At the airport, Mr. Razmi stood ready outside the makeshift courtroom as 10 handcuffed men filled a wooden bench before the judge, a black-bearded Shiite cleric named Sadegh Khalkhali. An injured 11th prisoner lay on a stretcher beside the door.

The judge removed his turban, Mr. Bahrami recalls. He removed his shoes. He put his feet on a chair. Scanning the prisoners through thick eyeglasses, he asked their names. Officers of the court told of the defendants’ alleged crimes — of trafficking arms, inciting riots and murder. The prisoners, some with leftward or nationalist leanings, denied the accusations.

No evidence was presented, Mr. Bahrami says. “It was pure speculation.” After roughly 30 minutes, Mr. Khalkhali declared the 11 men “corrupt on earth” — mofsedin fel arz — the Koranic phrase he cited before issuing a sentence of death. A few of the men cried.

The caravan passed roughly 30 airport workers, both men say. Up front walked Mr. Razmi. In the rear, both men say, was Ali Karimi, one of the judge’s bodyguards, wearing white shoes, white pants, white shirt, sunglasses and twin hip holsters. After about 100 yards, an officer halted the condemned on a plain of dry dirt. All but one of the executioners tied about their own heads Iranian shawls called chafiyehs. Both the faces of the Shiites and the eyes of the Kurds were now concealed.[A Chilling Photograph’s Hidden History]

The Safe Base in Paradise

Frederick Forsyth’s new novel The Afghan is about how Islamic Terrorists hijack a ship, convert it into a floating bomb and plan to explode it in the vicinity of another ship carrying the leaders of the G-8 countries. Like all other Forsyth novels like The Day of the Jackal and The Fist of God, this one captivates you till the end with edge of the seat suspense. In one of the scenes in the novel, two crew mates of a ship docked somewhere in the West Indies are murdered and two terrorists who are Kerala Muslims take their place. Forsyth explains that majority of the Indian Muslims are peaceful, there are some indoctrinated ones in Kerala.

There have been incidents in Kerala showing that trouble is brewing in the paradise. One such incident was the Marad massacre.

On May 2, 2003, armed men hacked eight fishermen to death in Marad, Kerala. The judicial commission report which probed this incident found all arms of the “secular” Congress Govt., which was ruling till now, guilty . According to the commission, atleast one senior politician belonging to the Muslim League, a coalition buddy of Congress, had advance knowledge of this conspiracy. The other findings of the commission are explosive and “vote bank” politics was explcitly blamed for this.[Courting the fundamentalists]

Recently it was revealed that Mohammad Fahad, one of the two Pakistani militants arrested in Mysore was based in Kozhikode.

Fahad, hailing from north Nizamabad in Karachi, was issued an Indian visa on November 30, 2005 for 45 days. The Karnataka police had confirmed that he overstayed his time. His stepbrother Abdul Khader, it is learnt, has been taken into custody by the Karnataka police. Abdul Khader is running a fancy shop in Mysore and both his kids are studying in Bangalore, while his wife is residing at Kappad.

Police sources said that the raids at the industrial unit had been carried out for two reasons. The police suspect that the company owner has some relationship with Abdulla Koya. Apart from that a blast had occurred at the site five years ago, the police said.[Massive search operation in Kozhikode district]

So far we have not seen any international terrorists from Kerala, but with political parties actively courting terrorists for staying in power, Kerala could serve a base for such folks.
Cross-posted to the INI Signal.

Lebanon can learn from Nepal

The ceasefire mandated by the United Nations resolution 1701 has bought the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah. The ceasefire also calls also upon the government of Lebanon and UNIFIL to deploy their troops to South Lebanon and make sure that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon. The Lebanese interpretation of this rule is that the Hezbollah can keep the arms so long as it does not display it in public. A Hezbollah leader said that they would just hide the weapons and melt into the local population which is a bad idea for the people of Israel as we know from the whole Soviet Union-Afghanistan-Pakistan episode.

After the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the weapons supplied to the Mujahideen stayed with them. Many weapons were left unaccounted for. Later any terrorist groups wishing to inflict damage to the world could find the weapons in the open markets of Pakistan and these terrorists have been creating trouble for India and Afghanistan. Even now graduates from the center of the Jihadi universe are involved in every terrorist plot from 9/11 to the trans-Atlantic terror plot. Instead of waiting for the next Hezbollah attack on Israel, the United Nations should have worked towards disarming them like what they did in Nepal.

On June 16th, in Nepal, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist leader Prachanda reached an agreement in which the Maoists would join an interim government. The question then was if the Maoists would disarm before it. Though some Indian columnists (you know the more Catholic than the Pope types) wanted the world to accept the reality that the Maoists would not disarm, the Maoists agreed to have their arms counted and deposited under the supervision of the United Nations.

Now that the Israel-Hezbollah is over, Hezbollah has declared victory and the celebrations are going on. At the same time the Lebanese are roasting them for all the damage they caused. The leaders of the March 14th movement have demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the war. Prominent Hezbollah supporters like Michel Aoun has called for the Shiite militia to disband.

Hezbollah is also criticized from within the Lebanese Shiite community, which accounts for some 40% of the population. Sayyed Ali al-Amin, the grand old man of Lebanese Shiism, has broken years of silence to criticize Hezbollah for provoking the war, and called for its disarmament. In an interview granted to the Beirut An-Nahar, he rejected the claim that Hezbollah represented the whole of the Shiite community. “I don’t believe Hezbollah asked the Shiite community what they thought about [starting the] war,” Mr. al-Amin said. “The fact that the masses [of Shiites] fled from the south is proof that they rejected the war. The Shiite community never gave anyone the right to wage war in its name.”


There were even sharper attacks. Mona Fayed, a prominent Shiite academic in Beirut, wrote an article also published by An-Nahar last week. She asks: Who is a Shiite in Lebanon today? She provides a sarcastic answer: A Shiite is he who takes his instructions from Iran, terrorizes fellow believers into silence, and leads the nation into catastrophe without consulting anyone. Another academic, Zubair Abboud, writing in Elaph, a popular Arabic-language online newspaper, attacks Hezbollah as “one of the worst things to happen to Arabs in a long time.” He accuses Mr. Nasrallah of risking Lebanon’s existence in the service of Iran’s regional ambitions.[Hezbollah Didn’t Win (WSJ: subscription reqd)]

The problem  is that Nasrallah doesn’t care much about Lebanese opinion. Known for his dictatorial style of working, the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers was ordered by him without informing the two Hezbollah ministers in the Siniora cabinet or the 12 Hezbollah members of the Lebanese parliament. He is accountable only to the Mullahs in Iran.

Now with an armed militia still around, what is to prevent him from conducting another attack against Israel?

Waiting for the next terrorist attack

Thanks to some brilliant intelligence work by the British, a mass murder by about 20 British Nationals and the masterminds in Pakistan has been averted. A plot in an advance stage to bomb planes bound for United States was almost weeks away from execution.

President Bush usually tells in his speeches that there are no Indians in Al-Qaeda since India has an excellent system of democracy to address grievances. If this were true, then there should absolutely be no terrorist activity in Britain which has a mature democracy than India. Sadly Britian fell into the trap of political correctness resulting in tolerance for radical preachers like Omar Bakri Mohammed. According to experts, London hosts more radical Islamic groups, cells and leaders than any other European capital and hence it is easy to influence youngsters to become suicide bombers.

Britain  learned the hard way that political correctness can result in death. Omar Bakri Mohammed moved to Lebanon and was banned from coming back to London so that he could not spread his hatred. (When the Israeli bombs started falling around him, instead of joining the suicide bombers he cheered, he asked the British Government to airlift him to safety). British authorities also tracked phone calls and wire transfers of these Islamic terrorists and had an undercover operative on the inside.

It has been shown again and again radical preachers can convert ordinary people to terrorists and it is important to take firm action against such activities.  On February 14th, 1998, before L K Advani was to arrive in Coimbatore, there were serial blasts and 58 innocent people lost their lives. The mastermind behind the attacks, Abdul Nasser Madani, was arrested and jailed. Kerala Assembly, at a special session on Holi, passed a unanimous resolution calling for freeing Madani on parole on humanitarian grounds. Aren’t there other sick prisoners in various jails? Why is the assembly only concerned with Madani?

When the Home Ministry concluded recently that SIMI provided logical support for the Mumbai blasts, Mulayam Singh Yadav stated that it would be improper to call SIMI a terrorist organization. The DMK Government, two weeks after it was sworn in ordered that cases against twelve Muslim fundamentalists be dropped.

“Obviously, the accused committed the offence with the grave intention to create law and order problems and disrupt peace in Tirunelveli district, known to be communally sensitive. Also, all of them have links with Muslim fundamentalist outfits. The government should have allowed the law to take its natural course. For a new government to resort to such a move is rather demoralising for the police force,” said a senior police officer in Tirunelveli. [DMK govt ordered six cases dropped against Muslim hardliners in TN]

When the US Embassy issued warnings of possible Al-Qaeda plots to carry attacks in New Delhi and Mumbai, we could dismiss them as innocuous because with all that political correctness who is going to bomb us. Even if there are terrorist attacks by some “misguided youth”, we have our world famous resilience to see us through. Even though the political class is busy with secularism, thank god we have professionals in Police and Intelligence.

Propaganda from Reuters

Lebanese photographer Adnan Hajj was covering the war between Israel and Hezbollah and took a photograph of an Israeli air strike on a Beiruit neighborhood. Somehow Adnan felt that the image was not good enough and he embellished it to make more darker smokes arising from it. He also added some extra buildings for more impact. Unfortunately for Adnan, his little trick was discovered by Charles Johnson of the blog  Little Green Footballs and now Reuters has admitted to the crime and has withdrawn all 920 images taken by him.

Another photograph by Adnan Hajj has also been found to be doctored. The photo shows an Israeli F-16 firing three missiles (according to the Reuters caption), which in fact turned out to be an F-16 firing one flare. The two other flares in the image are copies of the first one.
Soon after the draft of the Franco-American draft for a UN Security Council resolution was released, Reuters came out with an alert saying that the Lebanese had rejected the draft. Turns out the article was based on the comment of a single pro-Syrian, Hezbollah ally by the name of Nabih Berri.

All these incidents makes you wonder why Reuters is so bent on fanning this war and where their priorities lie.

And the answer is..

Normally when terrorists want to trigger communal violence they attack places of worship, usually Hindu temples or holy cities. On September 2002, terrorists attacked the Akshardham temple in Gujarat, killing 31. On July 2005 there was a two-hour gun fight between LeT terrorists and Indian police on the site of the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya in which six terrorists were killed. On March 7, 2006, a series of blasts occurred in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi. On April 14, 2006 two blasts occured in the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi killing five people and injuring thirteen.

When terrorists attack Mumbai trains in which people of all religions travel how do you find a communal angle to it? You can if you want to and if you are the editor of a major newspaper. This is exactly what Shekhar Gupta did in his opinion piece in Newsweek. Shekhar Gupta wants to believe that the Mumbai terrorist attacks were an attack on secularism and is connected to the 2001 Gujarat riots in which both Hindus and Muslims were killed. His reasoning is that people who travel in first class compartments are rich upper-caste Gujarati Hindus.

This explains why one of my friends survived the bombing. He was traveling in one of the trains in which the bomb exploded. Fortunately he was in a different first class compartment. Probably the terrorists after realizing that he was a upper-caste Malayali Hindu moved the bomb to another compartment. And if the aim of terrorists was to murder upper-caste Gujarati Hindus why did they come to Mumbai when Gujarat is right next door, as Sandeep asks.
But finally we have an answer to The Acorn’s question: who is the bigger fool?

If you don't learn from history..

In 1999, yet another peace process was started by India. This time Prime Minister Vajyapee decided to take a bus to Lahore and sing a few poems for peace. The idea it seems was to attack the Jihadi heart, not with bullets, but with words. The Indian Prime Minister or the genius who came up with the idea hoped that under the impact of the bus trip, Pakistan would give up claims on Kashmir and maybe even donate Karachi to India.

While Indians were planning the bus trip, the Pakistanis were also into  planning the Kargil War, under the leadership of the current dictator Musharraff. The Indian Prime Minister was received by Nawaz Sharif, who was the alleged Prime Minister of Pakistan at that time. They sang songs, lighted candles and danced around the trees, while Pakistani soldiers and terrorists crossed the border into India.

We called Nawaz Sharif, the alleged Prime Minister because he came to know of this whole incident of incursion from Prime Minister Vajpayee. You cannot blame him also since no one bothered to tell him about the the planned Army operation since he was just, you know, the Prime Minister. Now in a new book, Ghaddar Kaun? Nawaz Sharif ki Kahani unki Zubani, which sounds like the title of a Sunny Deol-Anil Sharma movie, Nawaz Sharif has revealed all.

Giving his account of the 1999 conflict in the book Ghaddar Kaun? Nawaz Sharif ki Kahani unki Zubani, Sharif has reiterated his contention that Musharraf, the then Army chief, did not take him into confidence on the situation in Kargil and that he learnt the details from his Indian counterpart, Atal Behari Vajpayee.

World to India: Trust a terrorist nation

Immediately after condemning the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Pakistani Foreign Minister, Khurshid Kasuri suggested that the best way to deal with terrorism was to tackle the real issue of Jammu and Kashmir. What has a bomb blast in Mumbai got to do with Kashmir, you may wonder, but that seems to be the association in the Western World as well. When Michael Krasny made this association in Forum the Consul General of India, B.S. Prakash, asked him the same question.

Note that all this association was already made, very prematurely, even before the Police had clues connecting SIMI and LeT and before the congratulatory phone calls were traced. Even before this, suggestions came from various experts that the peace process should not suffer due to such terrorist activities and even thinking about reviewing the process would be falling into the terrorist trap.

Echoing the insensitive line by Khurshid KasuriXenia Dormandy suggested that Kashmir is the problem and India needs to step up in offering something in Kashmir. To give her credit, and she said the right things  on her interview with Neil Conan on Talk of the Nation, that the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is a big problem. Now the Economist too has suggested that India and Pakistan should solve the Kashmir issue.

All this faith in the peace process is built on the assumption that once the Kashmir resolved, with major “compromises” (code word for land donation), there will be ever lasting peace process in the sub-continent. Israel has learned the hard way this week that making such compromises do not guarantee anything, other than an escalation in violence.

Last September Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip and Gaza became the first completely independent Palestinian territory. The Palestinians fired rockets from Gaza, and then later dug a tunnel from there and kidnapped an Israeli soldier. Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. United Nations verified the withdrawal and was satisfied with it. Now from Lebanon, Hezbollah entered Israel and kidnapped two soldiers. Now Israel is fighting a war on two fronts.

What is the guarantee that Gaza and Lebanon will not happen to India. How can you trust a nation which does not want to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and  which was planning Kargil, while yet another peace process was going on?<