Jihad: A deadly old game – Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar Etteth“Politics abides no principles. To counter the Raj, Lenin mixed religion and ideology, dreaming of a Communist India. He chose pro-Islamic M. N. Roy, an intense Bengali Communist, to found an army to fight the British empire, much before Subhash  Chandra Bose’s INA was formed. In September 1920, Comintern boss Grigory Zinoviev urged 1,800 Muslim delegates from the Middle East and Central Asia to start a jihad against imperialism.” – Ravi Shankar

ISIS tank on parade in RaqqaSometime around the turn of the 19th century, an agitated young Indian gentleman named Abdurrahman Peshawari decided to sail for Turkey. The British were fighting the last caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, and Indian Muslims were sending men and money to help the sultan. Jihad had a certain je ne sais quoi for Peshawari. He decided to bunk classes in Aligarh University, hawk all his belongings and took the steamer from Bombay to Istanbul. Peshawari was probably the first outsourced educated Indian jihadi. The tribe is growing. Eighteen homegrown fighters—mostly educated youth from South India— have given up filter coffee and Chettinad chicken to wage bloody war in Syria. They are among the hundreds of global holy warriors who believe in faith decaf—this depraved world has to get its just deserts of Wahab’s Arabia. Indian intelligence confirms that Indians have been fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in hundreds. Middle East’s fractious politics now has infected the Indian psyche.

History shows that in spite of all the rabid romance of faith, jihad is about seizing power and creating new rules—in other words, politics by other means. Peshawari, after being wounded in Gallipoli, realised that the Ottoman cheque had bounced and became a politician and an acolyte of Kemal Ataturk, the Big Daddy of modern Turkey. Ataturk gave him much Turkish delight by appointing him ambassador to Afghanistan—the first Indian to represent a foreign power. Today, Ankara is playing politics in Syria, reportedly supplying arms to opposing factions. The result is that the jihadi story in Syria is not all ittar and virgins: there are over a hundred groups, killing one another for apostasy.

Napoleon  BonaparteBut then the politics of jihad is as old as the lust for power. Babur was a heavy-drinking and wenching, murdering bandit until he discovered the power of religion as a political weapon to motivate against Hindu armies. The spoils of war for his uneducated, bloodthirsty hordes were the usual—riches and women. Napoleon’s political move to appease Egyptian Muslims was to promise the great Imam of Cairo that he, along with the entire French army, was converting to Islam. It boomeranged, because his soldiers refused to be circumcised. In British India, the English, who were fighting the Sikhs supported Wahabi leader Syed Ahmad Barelvi who established a jihadi camp in Peshawar—now the capital of Taliban terror—recruiting fighters from Bengal, Bihar, Awadh and Agra against Maharaja Ranjit Singh. By the time the 1857 Mutiny happened, Raj politics had come full circle—historians like Sheshrao More claim that jihadis threatened to kill Nana Sahib if he didn’t lead the anti-British forces.

Politics abides no principles. To counter the Raj, Lenin mixed religion and ideology, dreaming of a Communist India. He chose pro-Islamic M. N. Roy, an intense Bengali Communist, to found an army to fight the British empire, much before Subhash  Chandra Bose’s INA was formed. In September 1920, Comintern boss Grigory Zinoviev urged 1,800 Muslim delegates from the Middle East and Central Asia to start a jihad against imperialism.

Jihad in the KoranThe principles of religion—whether it be the imams or the Church—have been exploited for centuries for political power. Invaders like Ghori, Ghazni and Aurangzeb conquered and ruled by fanatical faith. In Arabic, jihad means ‘struggle’—the believer’s spiritual effort to keep the faith to his best ability. Prophet Muhammed, after winning the war against his enemies, had said, “We are finished with the lesser jihad; now we are starting the greater jihad,” meaning the war against the enemy outside is less important than the spiritual struggle. It will take many decades and millions of lives lost for jihadis to realise the sublime truth behind the Prophet’s words. Meanwhile, the atavistic bestiality of belief is being baptised in blood daily, both of innocents and warriors fighting one another. – The New Indian Express, 3 August 2014

» Ravi Shankar Etteth or just Ravi Shankar is an Indian author, columnist and cartoonist. Contact him at ravi@newindianexpress.com

 

In wake of James Foley’s beheading, can we finally say the I-word? – Rex Murphy

ISIS senior commander Abu Waheeb in Iraq

Rex Murphy“When will the world take the jihadists at their word? Is there any doubt whatsoever that ISIS — which is currently slaughtering Christians, beheading its opponents, purging ‘non-believers’ and storming about Iraq and Syria with the cry ‘Convert or Die’ — is not fanatically, ruthlessly and irredeemably rooted in religious extremism? What, in any god’s name, does the first ‘I’ in ISIS stand for?” – Rex Murphy

James Foley being decapitated by ISIS“What’s in a name?” That famous question came from the mouth of Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet while under her rhapsodic infatuation with Romeo Montague. What Juliet means is that she doesn’t care about Romeo’s last name — nor the feud between Capulet and Montague. The name is meaningless. Love is all.

But as adults, we know that there is much in a name. Name is identity in some cases. A person’s name is his or her calling card to the world. Our names speak of honour: We speak of “the family name” (or once did) in such a sense.

Under the clotted doctrine of political correctness, we pay backhanded homage to the importance attached to the real names of things … by avoiding those real names: by dipping deeds and practices into the sludge of euphemism.

Case in point: A lot of people had a problem with naming things this week — particularly in response to the latest Islamist beheading of an “infidel,” American journalist James Foley.

With all due apologies to the dark ages, it was a medieval barbarity. The poor captive was dressed in orange for the slaughter, put on camera, forced to speak before having his head sawed off with a knife, and the whole grisly, sadistic atrocity quickly posted to the world’s bulletin board — Youtube. This was courtesy of ISIS, the Iraq/Syria terror army, the latest and most ferocious of militant Islam’s murderous brigades — a version of Al-Qaeda that even Al-Qaeda has renounced as too indiscriminately murderous.

There really can be no more patience with the waffling and doublespeak and evasiveness that has characterized much of the public comment on Islamist terrorism since 9/11.

It is simply not enough anymore (if ever it was in the first place) to offer the banal rhetorical static that follows each murderous event: that these horrors — the homicides, beheadings, crucifixions, acid-splashings, mass killings — “have nothing to do with true religious faith.”

Religion, even in a form that civilized people may regard as violently debased, is still a religion to those who embrace it. I stress, and do not apologize for, my use of the word “civilized” there. If hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, subscribe to a violent theological creed, it simply will not do to pretend — as some Western leaders, clergymen, journalists and professors insist on doing — that these are merely misguided souls who don’t properly know how to interpret a holy book.

The BBC’s Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner, said the barbaric ritual beheading “was not about religion.” Well how many “allahu akbars” have to be ululated before Mr. Gardner would accept it and kindred butcheries as religious? Have he and we so soon forgotten the psychiatrist at the military base in Fort Hood, Texas, who stood up and shouted “allahu akbar” before killing 13 people? That was not supposed to be “about religion” either. Military officials and law-enforcement investigators turned collectively blue in the face before acknowledging what the killer himself proudly proclaimed that it was, in his brutal mind at least: a “religious” act.

When will the world take the jihadists at their word? Is there any doubt whatsoever that ISIS — which is currently slaughtering Christians, beheading its opponents, purging “non-believers” and storming about Iraq and Syria with the cry “Convert or Die” — is not fanatically, ruthlessly and irredeemably rooted in religious extremism? What, in any god’s name, does the first “I” is ISIS stand for?

The President of the United States offered his, by now too familiar, affectless mush on the killing. He declared that “no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.” But that’s not how ISIS reads the Koran.

Who is Obama not to take ISIS at its word? Like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, it is their declared goal of restoring the “Caliphate” that stirs their demented souls. If they name their religion, let us name it, too.

“It’s a sign there is an utter ruthlessness and depravity about this movement which is hideous and sickening and deplorable,” is how Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described ISIS this week. He said the killing was “as close to pure evil as we are likely to see.”

Pure evil — there’s a terminology adequate to the deed. In this contest with radical Islam, the answer to Juliet’s question — What’s in a name? — is … everything. – National Post, 23 August 2014

» Rex Murphy is an award-winning Canadian commentator and author, primarily on Canadian political and social matters.

Syrian soldier's heads by ISIS

“We will take Spain back,” says Islamic State – Soeren Kern

ISIS Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Top ISIS Leaders

Soeren Kern“‘Clearly Spain forms part of the strategic objectives of global jihad,’ Spanish Interior Minister Fernández Díaz said on the eve of the anniversary. ‘We are not the only ones but we are in their sights.'” – Soeren Kern

Calls to reconquer al-Andalus are becoming more frequent and more strident.

“Clearly Spain forms part of the strategic objectives of global jihad. We are not the only ones but we are in their sights.” — Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz.

Radical Muslims in Spain have launched a social media campaign aimed at generating support for the jihadist group Islamic State [IS].

Flag of the Islamic StateThe campaign involves posters that include images of famous Spanish landmarks and monuments emblazoned with Arabic slogans such as, “We are all the Islamic State” and “Long Live the Islamic State.”

One poster includes an image of the medieval Islamic Aljafería Palace in the Spanish city of Zaragoza and the black flag associated with the IS. Another uses an image of the famous La Concha beach in the Basque city of San Sebastián. Yet another includes an image of the statue of Jesus Christ on Monte Urgull in San Sebastián, with the Arabic words “Al-Andalus Country” instead of “Basque Country.”

Al-Andalus is the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France that were occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492. As the Basque Country is surrounded by mountains, however, the Moors never succeeded in occupying it.

The poster campaign comes after IS jihadists produced a video in which they vow to liberate al-Andalus from non-Muslims and make it part of their new Islamic Caliphate.

The video shows a jihadist speaking in Spanish with a heavy North African accent. He says:

“I say to the entire world as a warning: We are living under the Islamic flag, the Islamic caliphate. We will die for it until we liberate those occupied lands, from Jakarta to Andalusia. And I declare: Spain is the land of our forefathers and we are going to take it back with the power of Allah.”

Radical Muslims (and many moderate Muslims) believe that all territories Muslims lost during the Christian Reconquista of Spain still belong to the realm of Islam. They claim that Islamic law gives them the right to return there and re-establish Muslim rule.

In recent years, the return of “occupied” al-Andalus to the fold of Islam has become an obsession for Muslims of all stripes, and calls to reconquer al-Andalus have become more frequent and more strident.

Commenting on the latest video, Spain’s Secretary of State for Security, Francisco Martínez, said Spanish police were remaining “vigilant” in the face of a “grave” jihadist threat.

Meanwhile, Moroccan authorities have warned Spanish police that some of the more than 3,000 Moroccan jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq are beginning to return home, and that many of them are likely to attempt to infiltrate the Spanish mainland via the North African Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

The Moroccan Interior Minister, Mohamed Hassad, recently identified 1,221 Moroccan citizens who have joined jihadists groups in Syria and Iraq, as well as another 2,000 ethnic Moroccans who are citizens of other countries, including Spain.

Spanish and Moroccan counter-terrorism forces have stepped-up efforts to break up jihadist cells that have been proliferating in both countries.

On August 14, nine members of a recruitment cell for the IS were arrested in northern Morocco, not far from the North African Spanish exclave of Ceuta.

The arrests were made in the Moroccan cities of Fez, Tétouan and Fnideq, in what the Spanish Interior Ministry said was a joint intelligence operation between Moroccan and Spanish counter-terrorism police.

All the detainees are Moroccan citizens, several of whom made repeated trips to Ceuta to recruit jihadists and raise financial support for the IS.

“The jihadists recruited by the cell received instruction in weapons handling, assembly and placement of explosive devices and car theft, in order to participate in suicide terrorist attacks or to fight in conflict zones,” a statement by the Spanish Interior Ministry reported.

Some of those recruited by the cell are believed to have participated in beheadings in Syria and Iraq. Police say they are also examining computers and data storage devices to determine if there were plans to carry out a terror attack on Moroccan soil.

On August 4, a 19-year-old Spanish woman and a 14-year-old Spanish girl were arrested in Melilla just days before they were due to join the jihad in Syria. They are first Spanish females to be prevented from becoming jihadists.

“Both were trying to cross the border to Morocco with the aim of contacting the network that would move them immediately to a conflict zone between Syria and Iraq,” the Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The 19-year-old was released after surrendering her passport. The 14-year-old—who police say appeared “completely convinced” that she was doing the right thing by becoming a jihadist—is currently being held in a juvenile detention center where she has no access to the Internet. The girl’s parents said she had recently become radicalized after spending time perusing jihadist websites.

In June, Spanish police in Madrid arrested ten individuals (eight Moroccans, one Argentine and one Bulgarian) on allegations that they were members of an international network that recruited jihadists for the IS.

The ringleader was a 47-year-old Moroccan national named Lahcen Ikassrien, who was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001, and released after three-and-a-half years in Guantánamo. In July 2005, the U.S. government handed him over to Spain, where he faced charges of cooperating with al-Qaeda. In October 2006, the Spanish High Court acquitted him on the grounds that no firm evidence existed of his ties to the terrorist group.

Ikassrien, who lives in Madrid, was part of a cell led by Abu Dahdah, a Syrian-born Spaniard sentenced to a 27-year prison term in Spain for his part in the September 11, 2001 attacks, and for being one of the founders of al-Qaeda in Spain. In February 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court reduced the Abu Dahdah’s penalty to 12 years because it said that his participation in the 9/11 conspiracy was not proven. He was released in May 2013.

In May, Spanish police broke up a cell in Melilla that allegedly recruited 26 jihadists (24 Moroccans and 2 Spaniards) for al-Qaeda groups fighting in Libya and Mali. All six members of the cell are Spanish citizens. One of them, Benaissa Laghmouchi Baghdadi, is the first Spanish jihadist known to have returned from the fighting in Mali. Police say the cell used social media platforms such as “Sharia4Spain” to recruit jihadists.

In March, police in Spain and Morocco arrested seven suspected jihadists who belonged to cell operating in the southern Spanish city of Málaga. Four of the suspects were arrested in Spain and the other three in Morocco. Spanish officials said the cell was one of the largest of its kind in Europe and responsible for recruiting more jihadists than any other network discovered in Spain so far.

The suspected ringleader of the cell is a wheelchair-bound Spanish convert to Islam named Mustafa Maya Amaya. Maya, 51, was born in Brussels after his Spanish parents moved to Belgium in the 1960s to look for work there. After converting to Islam, he changed his given name from Rafael to Mustafa.

Police say Maya—who maintained close ties to jihadist cells in Belgium, France, Indonesia, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Syria—is suspected of recruiting dozens of volunteer jihadists on the Internet and, after a careful selection process, sending them to join terrorist organizations in the Middle East and North Africa.

The sting operation was conducted on March 14, just three days after Spain marked the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people and wounded nearly 2,000. Since then, more than 470 suspected Islamic extremists have been arrested in Spain, according to Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz.

“Clearly Spain forms part of the strategic objectives of global jihad,” Fernández Díaz said on the eve of the anniversary. “We are not the only ones but we are in their sights.” – Right Side News, 17 August 2014

» Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.

Aljafería Palace in Zaragoza, SpainLa Concha Beach, San Sebastián

Yazidis: The last Pagans of Iraq – Sanjeev Sanyal

Melek Taus or Peacock Angel

Sanjeev Sanyal“While the origins of the Yazidi are uncertain, cultural and genetic evidence suggests that they may be remnants of Indian tribes that migrated west in the second millennium BC. There is considerable evidence of Indian links with the Middle East during the Bronze Age. For example, Zoroastrianism, the religion of ancient Iran — to which Yazidi religious beliefs have been linked — is closely related to early Hinduism.” – Sanjeev Sanyal

Yazidi holy man blessing a devotee at LalishWith US President Barack Obama belatedly ordering air strikes and humanitarian airdrops of food and relief supplies to refugees in northern Iraq, the world is finally taking action against the Islamic State. Within a few months, the extremist group, which until recently called itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS], has taken control of large parts of both countries, where it has proclaimed a new “Caliphate.” But the real reason to fear the Islamic State is not its lust for power; it is the systematic, cold-blooded way in which its members are erasing the region’s social, cultural, and demographic past.

Within a few weeks, the Islamic State has virtually eliminated an entire section of Muslim and Christian populations from the areas it controls. The city of Mosul, home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, no longer has any Christians left. Priceless Assyrian artefacts have been publicly destroyed in a campaign against idolatry.

Indeed, the Islamic State has not even spared the co-religionists who do not adhere to their extreme interpretation of Islam. A number of revered shrines have been demolished, including one said to be the Tomb of Jonah.

As terrible as all of this is, the worst of the persecution has been aimed at the Yazidi, an ancient religious group that lives among the Kurds. They number less than a half-million, and two-thirds of them live around Mosul in northern Iraq. The rest are scattered across neighbouring countries like Syria, Armenia, and Turkey. More recent immigrant communities are to be found in Germany and the United States.

Although influenced over the centuries by Christianity and Islam, the Yazidi religion has ancient pagan roots that go back at least to the late Bronze Age. Interestingly, their beliefs have many similarities with Hinduism — for example, Tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir at Lalishthey believe in reincarnation, say their prayers facing the sun at sunrise and sunset, and even have a system of castes.

They also worship Tawûsê-Melek, the peacock angel — a bird that is found in the Indian sub-continent but not in Yazidi lands.

While the origins of the Yazidi are uncertain, cultural and genetic evidence suggests that they may be remnants of Indian tribes that migrated west in the second millennium BC. There is considerable evidence of Indian links with the Middle East during the Bronze Age. For example, Zoroastrianism, the religion of ancient Iran — to which Yazidi religious beliefs have been linked — is closely related to early Hinduism.

Over the centuries, the Yazidi have been dubbed as “devil worshippers,” and have suffered relentless persecution, which was especially extreme under the Ottoman Turks in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A series of massacres killed hundreds of thousands and almost led to their extinction.

Under Saddam Hussein, the Yazidi were not subjected to overt religious persecution, though they remained under pressure to Arabize their culture. Matters have since taken a turn for the worse. In April 2007, gunmen dragged 23 Yezidi men from a bus and shot them dead. Four months later, a series of coordinated car-bomb attacks killed at least 300 more, including women and children.

The Yazidis now face their greatest crisis ever. The Islamic State gave the Christians of Mosul the choice to convert, pay the jizya or leave. The Yazidi have been given no such choice and are killed on sight as “devil worshippers.”

The Yazidi heartland around Mosul is now largely under the Islamic State’s control. The small town of Sinjar, the only place in the world with a Yezidi majority, fell in the first few days of August as Kurdish fighters were forced to withdraw. Reports of large-scale massacres are trickling in.

Many refugees escaped into the mountains, where they are trapped in shrinking enclaves. Hundreds are said to have died already of thirst and starvation.

ISIS jihadi beheading in SyriaThe most sacred Yazidi pilgrimage site at Lalish runs the risk of being demolished.

Sadly, there has been little media outrage at the predicament faced by the Yazidi. Perhaps the US airdrops and promised strategic interventions, together with a possible coordinated operation by Kurdish forces (rearmed by the US), may rescue the survivors, but it appears unlikely that they will be able to return to their homes soon.

Centuries ago, the last Zoroastrians fled to India to avoid persecution. Their descendants, the tiny Parsi community, still live there.

Today, who will give refuge to the last pagans of Iraq? – Times of Oman, 9 August 2014

Yazidi Flag

Yazidi holy spring at Lalish Temple

Yazidi Religious Ceremony at Lalish

Yazidi Men

Ghazwa-e-Hind: The final battle for India – Abhishek Bhalla

Pakistan tribals for jihad in India

Abhishek Bhalla“The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan has already fuelled concerns in the Indian security establishment about its implications on Jammu and Kashmir. The volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan border is expected to explode into further chaos with jihadists expanding their reach to conflict spots such as J&K. The intelligence agencies have assessed that around 800 militants, mostly foreigners, are ready to cross over the Line of Control (LoC) to spread terror in J&K.” – Abhishek Bhalla

JihadiGhazwa-e-Hind refers to an indoctrinated view of a final apocalyptic war in which India will be conquered by a jihadi army. All soldiers of this army are guaranteed a place in heaven.

This term is freely used in jihadi circles and on the web, but is considered bizarre by others.

Sources say the security establishment has been on the trail of launch-pads being set up within the country, and is also in touch with its counterparts in West Asia in order to crack the growing network.

An intelligence report on India being used a hunting ground for global jihad reveals al-Qaeda‘s diabolic roadmap.

To begin with, the terror group that was created and led by Arab fighters now has recruits from Kashmir-centric groups.

“Not only Kashmiri groups but Taliban and al-Qaeda affiliates have stakes in the larger scheme of Ghazwa-e-Hind where India is regarded as next battleground in the ‘End of Times’ battle. This ideology is likely to be used to drive Taliban and al-Qaeda affiliates into Kashmir,” says an intelligence report.

The al-Qaeda nexus with Kashmir-centric groups indicates it has a ready-made jihadi framework in India.

There is other proof too of al-Qaeda using its nexus with Indian groups to spread its ideology.

An online English publication of al-Qaeda called Azan which is not available to the general public but is circulated through changing e-mails and encryption tools is being downloaded by Kashmiri groups.

Sources say this only underlines the trend of terror groups within India getting attracted to the al-Qaeda and global jihad ideology.

Agencies fear that the Azan tactic of spreading the terror group’s ideology could spawn anonymous and isolated modules that will be difficult to detect but potent enough to carry out big attacks.

Intelligence reports also state that groups like Tehreek-e-Taliban have declared they will open ‘offices’ in Kashmir.

It has been revealed that a Taliban flag was hoisted at a point overlooking Srinagar last year, and the walls of Hari Parbat fort were painted with slogans like ‘Welcome Taliban.’

Sources say there is an urgent need for the home ministry and intelligence agencies to understand the threat.

“Indicators need to be monitored to prevent the situation from worsening,” said one official.

Al-Qaeda’s propaganda arm, Al Sahab, released a video recently, titled ‘Why is there no storm in your ocean?‘ The report states that the video and transcripts were posted on several jihadi forums.

The videos have speeches asking youths from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and South India to join the global jihad. Incidentally, these are the areas where young men were recruited by the Indian Mujahideen (IM), India’s homegrown terror group that has become synonymous with bomb blasts in public places.

With the IM facing a major setback because of a series of arrests, including that of its top leader Yasin Bhatkal, sources say Indians fighting in Iraq for terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are part of larger scheme.

Many more recruits are getting attracted to the global jihad that can later be used to wage war against India.

There are also distinct inputs on al-Qaeda running a separate terror module in India as the homegrown terror outfit IM is making efforts to go global and establish strong links with groups like al-Qaeda, Taliban and Hizbut Tahrir.

There is also evidence of al-Qaeda keeping a close watch on activities in India. The charge-sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against Bhatkal says that organisations al-Qaeda and the Taliban are helping IM.

It also mentioned that the investigation revealed that some IM members are fighting on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border.

NIA has said in the charge-sheet that Riyaz Bhatkal, a top IM commander based in Pakistan, travelled to tribal belts on the Af-Pak border to establish contact with al-Qaeda.

“After the meeting, which was very fruitful, Al Qaeda gave specific tasks to the IM for execution and agreed to train their cadres in terrorist activities,” the charge-sheet says.

Ghazwa-e-Hind: The final battle for India.

Pakistan Taliban have a keen interest in J&K

The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan has already fuelled concerns in the Indian security establishment about its implications on Jammu and Kashmir.

The volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan border is expected to explode into further chaos with jihadists expanding their reach to conflict spots such as J&K.

The intelligence agencies have assessed that around 800 militants, mostly foreigners, are ready to cross over the Line of Control (LoC) to spread terror in J&K.

The Army says infiltration attempts have become bolder

With the coming Assembly election in the state, the militant activity is likely to increase. The LoC itself had remained volatile during much of last year, when frequent ceasefire violations were reported.

Even this year, the situation has not improved, though the two countries have initiated steps to normalise the ties.

Sources said the Pakistan Taliban have a keen interest in J&K.

Further, the Pakistan army has not subsided its efforts to push through militants across the LoC.

All the ceasefire violations are linked to the infiltration bids, said officials.

More than two dozen militant camps are still said to be active in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The army has noticed that infiltration attempts have become bolder and the terrorists showed high level of training and carry sophisticated communication equipment to stay in touch with their handlers.

The recent encounters with militants have indicated that their combat techniques have improved drastically.

Most of the camps are located around Muzaffarabad in Kashmir. Another cluster is located in Kotli facing Poonch and Rajouri. – Daily Mail, 16 July 2014 

» Abhishek Bhalla lives in New Delhi and writes for the Daily Mail in London. 

Tamil Muslim youths in ISIS t-shirts: Is this the future for India?

Israel: Victimhood and moral blindness – Taki

Gueto de Gaza 2014

Taki Theodoracopulos“Let’s … look at the moral blindness that has afflicted Israelis in their denial of Palestinian rights. Roger Waters, the courageous musician whose father died fighting the Nazis, has been called a Nazi for pointing out that the Israeli Army subjugates an indigenous population by using lethal force, including the murder of women and children. The Messianic claim of religious nationalists who believe Jews have a God-given right to all the land between the Med and the Jordan river has a lot to do with that blindness.” – Taki

Joshua destroys the royal city of Ai: So begins the wholesale destruction of Canaan by the Hebrews, the worlds first recorded holocaust.One event I regretted missing on my last visit to London was a party at the Polish Club, which has been refurbished and has a new Polish prince as its president and has good Poles and active members such as Ladies Belhaven and Hamilton, both friends of mine, keeping the home fires burning. I have often written about my love for Poland, a heroic country that has been betrayed by everyone throughout its history, but has always remained proud, refusing to play the victim, with 90 per cent of Poles belonging to the Catholic church in today’s greedy secular world. A Polish Pope was the first to challenge the Soviets, and Lech Walesa led the charge. But what really gets me about the Poles is their refusal to evoke the betrayals they’ve endured each time they go on a public forum. Just look at their foreign minister, Radke Sikorski. Have any of you heard him begin his speeches by reminding the world that seven million Poles perished during the second world war?

Hint, hint. Yes, I mean Israel, and when was the last time an Israeli politician did not remind us of the Holocaust even when debating fruit prices from the Holy Land versus Spanish oranges. Now we all know because of such practices victimhood has been debased, except for real victims, like the Palestinians, for example.

Victimhood in America is a badge of honour. Women, gays, transsexuals, criminals, blacks, Indians, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, even billionaires claim it. (The chief executive of Blackstone, a man worth $10 billion, recently did, comparing his taxes to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.) Victimhood, however coveted a status it is in America, I find terribly humiliating. Victimhood was the reason Israel became a state in 1948 at the expense of the local Arab population. And it would have taken a heart of stone to say no back then. There were some damn good people among them, starting with David Ben Gurion, who admitted had he been an Arab he would have fought Jewish settlers to the death, and the worldly Abba Eban, whose harshest criticism of the Palestinians was that they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Compare these good men with the present thugs of today’s Israeli government, and weep.

The trouble with an all-powerful Israel today is how to remain a victim 69 years after the last Jew died in a German concentration camp. Ah, but that’s easy: bring in the American brigade of Podhoretz, Kristol, Decter, and others of their ilk who see anti-Semitism behind the slightest criticism of Israel, even when it comes from Israelis themselves. (Self-loathing Jews, they’re called.) Two American Benjamin Netanyahuwriter friends of mine, Joe Sobran and Pat Buchanan, had their careers more or less ruined by baseless charges of anti-Semitism (by people like Norman Podhoretz and Abe Rosenthal of the Times) for writing such pearls as, “Terrorism sounds more and more like a surrogate word for enemies of Israel” and “The chief polemical project of modern Zionism has been to forge an ideological high redefinition of anti-Semitism that puts criticism of Israel on the same plane with Nazism.” The response to such pearls was immediate and rather over the top. Rosenthal asserted that such words “could lead to Auschwitz”. Bill Buckley simply fired Joe Sobran. Buchanan lost most of the 400 newspapers that syndicated his column. William Scranton, an ex-governor of Pennsylvania who reported to President Richard Nixon on the West Asia that the US should be more even-handed, was never heard of again.

Such are the joys of feeling compassion towards the Palestinian plight. But let’s put aside the Israeli lobby — it’s much too busy discovering new anti-Semites under the beds — and look at the moral blindness that has afflicted Israelis in their denial of Palestinian rights. Roger Waters, the courageous musician whose father died fighting the Nazis, has been called a Nazi for pointing out that the Israeli Army subjugates an indigenous population by using lethal force, including the murder of women and children. The Messianic claim of religious nationalists who believe Jews have a God-given right to all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river has a lot to do with that blindness. Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of 29 Muslims at prayer in 1994, ditto.

I write this as Gaza’s women and children are being killed by the Israeli invasion. No one who is sane and fair-minded denies the fact that Israelis have the right to live their lives without missiles raining down on them. But why are the missiles raining down? (And they are Stone Age missiles which have yet to hit a target after two weeks of being fired.) Because Gaza is a refugee camp without the basic human needs of electricity and medical supplies, a hellhole that in reality is a siege that has turned Gaza into a prison the past eight years. The Nazis lasted 12 years. Israel has been oppressing the Palestinians since 1967. The Jewish people are a great people who have won more Nobel prizes than there are name-droppers in Hollywood. But Israel’s brutal policies towards a helpless people will one day overshadow the Holocaust, take it from Taki. No matter how hard the Podhoretzes of this world try to smear those who demand fairness for Palestinians, they will not be able to shut out the cries of the innocent who are suffering under the settlers’ boot. Long after the likes of me are gone, Israel’s brutal occupation of an innocent people will help anti-Semitism in a way Mein Kampf never imagined.Deccan Chronicle, 27 July 2014

» Taki Theodoracopulos is a Greek-born journalist and writer who lives variously in New York City, London and Switzerland. He is a social columnist and publishes his own magazine here.

Israel & Gaza: Not an equal fight!

The wall between Israel and the West Bank

Palestine land loss from 1946 to 2005

See also

Maldives exporting jihadis to India – Tufail Ahmad

Tufail Ahmad“The recent arrest of Sri Lankan national Shakir aka Zakir Hussain in Chennai revealed that he made 20 reconnaissance trips to India to facilitate terrorists from the Maldives to attack Israeli and US consulates in Bangalore and Chennai. His arrest revealed terror cells in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India operated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). That the threats are real became clear when bombs exploded on a train in Chennai in May.” – Tufail Ahmad

Islam will dominate the world!Societies provide oxygen for Islamists to grow in their midst. The liberal atmosphere of Britain, notably in institutions like the London School of Economics, over past decades offered sanctuaries for Islamists, considering their arguments as legitimate politics against imperialism. Saudi Arabia is bankrolling Wahhabism across the world. Pakistani society has been transformed into a 24×7 seminary for nurturing arguments favourable to jihadists and fatal to Muslim reformists. Under Saudi-Pakistani influence, now the Maldivian society is being transformed on a jihadist path.

Jihadists are armed Islamists; their methods differ but goals are the same: establishing sharia rule. In May, Maldivian national Abu Turab was among militants who carried out a suicide bombing in Syria. In tributes, jihadists noted that Turab was a loving husband and a grandfather. Another Maldivian was killed in Syria a few days later. They were not the first Maldivian suicide bombers. The first was Ali Jaleel who attacked a Pakistani intelligence office in Lahore in 2009. Last October, two Syria-bound Maldivian nationals were arrested from Malé as they were to board a plane. Currently, 20 Maldivians are fighting in Syria. The Maldives is at a turning point which favours jihadists.

Also, the latest developments connect India’s southern shore to jihadist threats emerging via Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In January 2010, Air India planes were alerted that hijacking could be attempted from airports at Colombo, Dhaka or Yangon. The recent arrest of Sri Lankan national Shakir aka Zakir Hussain in Chennai revealed that he made 20 reconnaissance trips to India to facilitate terrorists from the Maldives to attack Israeli and US consulates in Bangalore and Chennai. His arrest revealed terror cells in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India operated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). That the threats are real became clear when bombs exploded on a train in Chennai in May. Sri Lanka has stopped its visa-on-arrival facility for Pakistanis, fearing it is becoming a transit point for terrorists.

A vital point: terror attacks in India—those in Kashmir or by the Indian Mujahideen elsewhere—have so far been connected to Pakistan, but in the near future threats will emerge from terrorists who are ideologically committed by jihad, and are not necessarily controlled by the ISI. For example, Muslim youth from Tamil Nadu working in Singapore were recruited into jihad and went to Syria. There are also reports that one Indian went to Iraq to fight as part of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, now called the Islamic State. There are also Indian Muslims training as part of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan-Afghanistan. From Syria to the Maldives there’s a Pakistan connection but the Singaporean link points to the rise of ideological jihadists in India.

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al SaudIn February, tourists were furious when hotels in the Maldives abruptly cancelled their bookings. The cancellations were triggered by Saudi Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud who booked three entire islands. The Saudis are exerting religious influence on Maldivian society. Journalist Charles Haviland reported: Prince Salman promised to build 10 world-class mosques in the Maldives; Saudi scholars gave $100,000 for Islamic education and announced scholarships for Maldivians to study in Saudi Arabia; a five-year soft loan of $300 million was given last year. Maldivians are visiting the Middle East and Pakistan in large numbers to study, and return. In April, Pakistan’s Roznama Ummat reported that Saudis are “thinking of building a base consisting of three islands” as well as mosques and madrassas with Pakistani manpower.

The Maldives was a Buddhist society till mid-12th century when Islam arrived. Now, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are transforming it into a jihadist hub, aided by local leaders. In a recent article, bloggers Azra Naseem and Mushfique Mohamed warned that the 100 per cent Muslim nation of Maldives has become “an attractive prospect” for those advancing Osama bin Laden’s agenda of an Islamic caliphate. In 2009, nine Maldivian militants were arrested in Pakistan; then Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed confirmed Maldivians were visiting Pakistan to wage jihad. Nasheed is a secular leader, but as president he aided the Islamist takeover of Maldivian society, like all secular leaders across South Asia (apologies to Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh whose counter-extremism is superb).

According to Naseem and Mohamed, the worldview of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who ruled the country from 1978 to 2008 was coloured by the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran and his education at Cairo’s Al-Azhar seminary. In 1997, he enacted a constitution which granted him “the ultimate authority to impart the tenets of Islam” but his religious power was questioned by Islamic groups. Gayoom began a crackdown, giving birth to the Adhaalath Party, an Islamist force. Ahead of the 2013 elections, secular president Nasheed forged a coalition with Adhaalath Party, giving Islamists official patronage. Adhaalath Party, which later quit the coalition, advocates converting the Maldives into a sharia state. Nasheed was unseated in a coup-like situation in 2012. Fatwas dictating dress code for women, banning music and dancing, and jihadist videos in Dhivehi language proliferating on YouTube are becoming a norm.

Sharia: Man being flogged in MaldivesThe Islamists are winning: in 2008, non-Muslims were barred from becoming citizens of the Maldives. In 2011, hotels were ordered to close spas to please Islamists, though the order was revoked later; an Indian teacher was deported for having a Bible; then Maldivian foreign minister Ahmed Naseem rejected a call by UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay to debate the practice of flogging women in extra-marital cases. In 2012, a court declared gifts given at the SAARC summit as offensive to Islam. In January, president Abdulla Yameen vetoed a bill on marital rape as un-Islamic after a cleric’s ruling; in April, the government began enforcing sharia law that imposes death penalty on 10-year-olds; police hunt atheists on Facebook to bring charges of blasphemy. New Delhi is shy of interventionism and lacks moral courage to state publicly that it will assist countries to curb Islamist forces. Before India wakes up, the Maldives will be transformed into another Pakistan in its backyard. – The New Indian Express, 17 July 2014

» Tufail Ahmad is director of South Asia Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington DC. Email: tufailelif@yahoo.co.uk

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