Pakistan’s hand in the rise of international jihad – Carlotta Gall

Child terrorists training in Pakistan

Carlotta Gall“Pakistan is intervening in a number of foreign conflicts. Its intelligence service has long acted as the manager of international mujahedeen forces, many of them Sunni extremists. … Pakistan was cooperating with Qatar … to move international Sunni jihadists … from Pakistan’s tribal areas … to new battlefields in Syria. It is just another reminder of Pakistan’s central involvement in creating and managing violent jihadist groups. … Perhaps most troubling, there are reports that Pakistan had a role in the rise of the Islamic State.” – Carlotta Gall

Ashraf GhaniPresident Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan has warned in several recent interviews that unless peace talks with Pakistan and the Taliban produce results in the next few months, his country may not survive 2016. Afghanistan is barely standing, he says, after the Taliban onslaught last year, which led to the highest casualties among civilians and security forces since 2001.

“How much worse will it get?” Mr. Ghani asked in a recent television interview. “It depends on how much regional cooperation we can secure, and how much international mediation and pressure can be exerted to create rules of the game between states.”

What he means is it depends on how much international pressure can be brought to bear on Pakistan to cease its aggression.

Critics of the Afghan leadership say it’s not Pakistan’s fault that its neighbor is falling apart. They point to the many internal failings of the Afghan government: political divisions, weak institutions, warlords and corruption.

But experts have found a lot of evidence that Pakistan facilitated the Taliban offensive. The United States and China have been asking Pakistan to persuade the Taliban to make peace, but Afghanistan argues that Islamabad has done nothing to rein in the Taliban, and if anything has encouraged it to raise the stakes in hopes of gaining influence in any power-sharing agreement.

Pakistan flag waver in SrinigarThis behavior is not just an issue for Afghanistan. Pakistan is intervening in a number of foreign conflicts. Its intelligence service has long acted as the manager of international mujahedeen forces, many of them Sunni extremists, and there is even speculation that it may have been involved in the rise of the Islamic State.

The latest Taliban offensive began in 2014. United States and NATO forces were winding down their operations in Afghanistan and preparing to withdraw when Pakistan decided, after years of prevarication, to clear Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters from their sanctuary in Pakistan’s tribal area of North Waziristan.

The operation was certainly a serious endeavor—Taliban bases, torture chambers and ammunition dumps were busted, town bazaars were razed and over one million civilians were displaced.

But the militants were tipped off early, and hundreds escaped, tribesmen and Taliban fighters said. Many fled over the border to Afghanistan, just at the vulnerable moment when Afghanistan was assuming responsibility for its own security. Ninety foreign fighters with their families arrived in Paktika Province that summer, to the alarm of Afghan officials.

Further along the border in Paktika Province, Taliban fighters occupied abandoned C.I.A. bases and outposts. A legislator from the region warned me that they would use the positions to project attacks deeper into Afghanistan and even up to Kabul. Some of the most devastating suicide bomb attacks occurred in that province in the months that followed.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the Haqqani network, the most potent branch of the Taliban, moved from North Waziristan into the adjacent district of Kurram. From there it continues to enjoy safe haven and conduct its insurgency against American, international and Afghan targets.

Pakistan regards Afghanistan as its backyard. Determined not to let its archrival, India, gain influence there, and to ensure that Afghanistan remains in the Sunni Islamist camp, Pakistan has used the Taliban selectively, promoting those who further its agenda and cracking down on those who don’t. The same goes for Al Qaeda and other foreign fighters.

Even knowing this, it might come as a surprise that the region’s triumvirate of violent jihad is living openly in Pakistan.

Sirajuddin HaqqaniFirst, there’s Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network, and second in command of the Taliban. He moves freely around Pakistan, and has even visited the Pakistani intelligence headquarters of the Afghan campaign in Rawalpindi.

Then there is the new leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, who has openly assembled meetings of his military and leadership council near the Pakistani town of Quetta. Since he came to power last year, the Taliban has mounted some of its most ambitious offensives into Afghanistan, overrunning the northern town of Kunduz, and pushing to seize control of the opium-rich province of Helmand.

Akhtar MansourFinally, Al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, enjoys sanctuary in Pakistan—one recent report placed him in the southwestern corner of Baluchistan. He has been working to establish training camps in southern Afghanistan. In October, it took United States Special Operations forces several days of fighting and airstrikes to clear those camps. American commanders say the group they were fighting was Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, a new franchise announced by Mr. Zawahri that has claimed responsibility for the killings of bloggers and activists in Karachi and Bangladesh, among other attacks.

Ayman al-ZawahiriPakistan denies harboring the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and points out that it, too, is a victim of terrorism. But many analysts have detailed how the military has nurtured Islamist militant groups as an instrument to suppress nationalist movements, in particular among the Pashtun minority, at home and abroad.

Perhaps most troubling, there are reports that Pakistan had a role in the rise of the Islamic State.

Ahead of Pakistan’s 2014 operation in North Waziristan, scores, even hundreds, of foreign fighters left the tribal areas to fight against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Tribesmen and Taliban members from the area say fighters traveled to Quetta, and then flew to Qatar. There they received new passports and passage to Turkey, from where they could cross into Syria. Others traveled overland along well-worn smuggling routes from Pakistan through Iran and Iraq.

The fighters arrived just in time to boost the sweeping offensive by ISIS into Iraq and the creation of the Islamic State in the summer of 2014.

If these accounts are correct, Pakistan was cooperating with Qatar, and perhaps others, to move international Sunni jihadists (including 300 Pakistanis) from Pakistan’s tribal areas, where they were no longer needed, to new battlefields in Syria. It is just another reminder of Pakistan’s central involvement in creating and managing violent jihadist groups, one Pakistani politician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity when talking about intelligence affairs, told me.

This has been going on for more than 30 years. In 1990, I shared a bus ride with young Chinese Uighurs, Muslims from China’s restive northwest, who had spent months training in Pakistani madrasas, including a brief foray into Afghanistan to get a taste of battle. They were returning home, furnished with brand-new Pakistani passports, a gift of citizenship often offered to those who join the jihad.

Years later, just after Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan, I interviewed a guerrilla commander from the disputed region of Kashmir who had spent 15 years on the Pakistani military payroll, traveling to train and assist insurgents in Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir and Afghanistan.

In 2012 I came across several cases where young clerics, fresh graduates from the Haqqania madrasa in Pakistan, returned to their home villages in Afghanistan, flush with cash, and set about running mosques and recruiting and organizing a band of Taliban followers.

I visited that madrasa in 2013. It is the alma mater of the Afghan Taliban, where many of the leaders of the movement were trained. The clerics there remained adamant in their support for the Taliban. “It is a political fact that one day the Taliban will take power,” Syed Yousuf Shah, the madrasa spokesman, told me. “We are experts on the Taliban,” he said, and a majority of the Afghan people “still support them.”

Nawaz Sharif & Rizwan AkhtarThe madrasa, a longtime instrument of Pakistani intelligence, has been training people from the ethnic minorities of northern Afghanistan alongside its standard clientele of Pashtuns. The aim is still to win control of northern Afghanistan through these young graduates. From there they have their eyes on Central Asia and western China. Pakistani clerics are educating and radicalizing Chinese Uighurs as well, along with Central Asians from the former Soviet republics.

No one has held Pakistan to account for this behavior. Why would Pakistan give it up now? – The New York Times, 6 February 2016

» Carlotta Gall is the author of “The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan 2001-2014” and currently the North Africa correspondent for The New York Times.

Map of secret terrorist training camps in Pakistan

Headley asserts Pakistan’s ISI, Army’s hand in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks – Manoj Gupta & Shawan Sen

David Coleman Headley

CNN-IBN“Headley is the first one to depose before Indian court from foreign soil. Sources said Headley had initially refused to confess and after which Doval met US officials four months ago. According to the sources Doval put pressure on US to make Headley turn approver. The sources said that Headley’s confession will help India isolate Pakistan completely.” – Manoj Gupta & Shawan Sen day before 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks convict David Coleman Headley will depose in court, his confession has nailed Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence and Army‘s role in the attacks.

On the basis of National Investigation Agency‘s interrogation report accessed by CNN-IBN, Headley said 26/11 attacks were launched with Lashkar-e-Toiba Hafiz Saeed‘s approval. He said attacks were executed with the help of ISI and the money was given for recce.

Headley added that apart from Mumbai, he had recced residence of the Vice President, India Gate and CBI office in the national capital.

Headley further said that ISI’s major Iqbal and Sameer Ali were my handlers. He also said that LeT’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi‘s handler was ISI brigadier Rivaz and added that ISI chief Shuja Pasha visited Lakhvi after his arrest, post-26/11 terror attacks.

It was a major success for India in 26/11 case after Headley turned approver through efforts of NSA Ajit Doval.

Headley is the first one to depose before Indian court from foreign soil. Sources said Headley had initially refused to confess and after which Doval met US officials four months ago.

Ajit DovalAccording to the sources Doval put pressure on US to make Headley turn approver. The sources said that Headley’s confession will help India isolate Pakistan completely.

All this comes just a few days after US President Barack Obama sent a strong message out to Pakistan on terrorist groups operating from its soil and lauded India’s efforts to reach out to its neighbour. He had said, “Pakistan should de-legitimise, disrupt and dismantle terrorist networks on its soil. Both Modi and Sharif are advancing a dialogue on how to confront violent extremism and terrorism across the region. India can be an anchor of stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Headley is currently serving 35 years in an American prison after being convicted of being involved in the planning and execution of the Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008 in which 166 persons were killed. – IBNLive, 7 February 2016

Barack Obama & Nawaz Sharif

The Paris Mastermind: Abdelhamid Abaaoud or Ibn Taymiyyah? – S. Gurumurthy

Ibn Taymiyyah

S. Gurumurthy

“IS is the latest manifestation of Wahhabi Islam. It attracts Jihadists from all over the world on the theology of Al-Wahhab—read Ibn Taymiyyah. … Russian President Putin has said that 40 nations, including some G20 constituents, fund the IS. … Ibn Taymiyyah’s theology is at the root of the problem of Islamist terror. Is Abaaoud then the mastermind of Paris Jihad? Not at all. He is at best the master-hand. The mastermind is Ibn Taymiyyah who re-weaponised the Jihad and that impelled Abaaoud. It is Taymiyyah’s Jihadi exposition which blew up Paris. In the last several decades, his concept of Jihad has snuffed out hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.” – S. Gurumurthy

Abdelhamid AbaaoudFrench intelligence has named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian national, as the mastermind behind the Paris carnage. He was killed later. Four of the seven attackers who perished in the process are French. Fifth, the first woman bomber of Europe, later killed herself. Sixth, possibly a Syrian, had landed in Greece in the guise of a refugee and weeks later he bombed Paris. An Egyptian too was perhaps involved. The configuration of unrelated persons raises some fundamental questions that touch the basics. Syrians may target France which had bombed their nation. But why should a Belgian, when France has done no harm to his nation. What have the four Frenchmen to do with Syria or Iraq by birth, language or culture? Why should they target their own nation? Mow down their own people? How they blew themselves to smithereens to harm their own motherland brings out the intensity of their hate. Why such hate for one’s own nation, culture and people? Belgian, Syrian and French, including a woman—the group cannot be more disparate. No one can seriously deny that the common idea that bound and motivated the disparate group is Islam. What strand of Islam it was may be debated, but that their motivation is some strand of Islam is indisputable. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) has proudly claimed that it did the Jihad in Paris. But the IS is only the hand that hits. Ideology is that what really motivates the hand. What, and not who, made this disparate group converge is the real issue.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (2004)IS Emerges

The IS, led by its supremo Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, aims to re-install the Caliphate—the Islamic State to rule the Muslim world—under a Caliph believed to be descendent of Prophet Muhammad. Tracing the lineage of Al-Baghdadi to the Prophet, the IS appointed Al-Baghdadi as the Caliph, in June 2014. Relying on the Islamic law which mandates all Muslims to owe allegiance to the Caliph, Al-Baghdadi called upon Muslims through a radio message in July 2014 to immigrate to the Islamic State to perform their highest duty of Jihad. Responding to his call, within nine months, by March 2015, some 22,000 Jihadists from 100 nations landed, on their own, in Syria and Iraq. By May, their number rose to 25,000. Take France, the latest victim of Jihad, for instance. Some 520 French (116 of them women) are currently engaged in Jihad in Syria and Iraq with some 137 already martyred.

Islamic terrorist outfits and mobile terrorists are multiplying exponentially. In November 2014, the UAE named 83 Islamist terrorist groups. A study says that, by November 2014, some 60 Jihadist groups in 30 countries had announced support to the IS. The “Caliph” Al-Baghdadi now controls vast parts of Iraq and Syria—in terms of area, population and revenues. Media reported in September that Russian intelligence had offered to the Central Intelligence Agency (US) and the Interpol a massive list of 87,000 Jihadists roaming around in US and Europe, but they refused to receive it because it was “not politically viable in the present atmosphere”. The Paris assault happened exactly 60 days later. Is it a surprise then that on just a radio call of Al-Baghdadi, thousands of ready-made Jihadists roaming all over the world rushed to join IS-led Jihad? Al-Baghdadi just opened the tap of readily available Jihadists. What, then, motivated the huge army of Jihadists ready on the tap? It calls for a throw back to 14th century when, after long lull, militant Jihad again became part of Islamic tradition—an interesting insight into the history of Jihad that has huge contemporary relevance.

MohammadIbn Taymiyyah

In his book God’s Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad, Charles Allen, a renowned historian of the British Raj in India, traces the history of Wahhabism, the guiding ideology of Islamist modern terrorism. Wahhabism was founded in the 18th century but its seeds were sown centuries before. The 14th century Islamic scholar who re-invented and re-weaponised the concept of Jihad was Ibn Taymiyyah.

In Prophet Mohammed’s times, Jihad was an obligation on Muslims to strive for their faith until the entire world had converted or submitted to Islamic authority. But as Islam transformed into a multi-ethnic world religion, the literalist view of Jihad gave way to pragmatism. The pragmatists cited the famous declaration of the Prophet in Hadith on his return from the battle of Bard, that marked the end of his military campaign against the polytheists, that the Lesser Jihad (Jihad Kabeer) was over; the Greater Jihad (Jihad Akbar) had started. This statement was interpreted in Islam as meaning that the outer and less important physical struggle for Islam was over and had given way to a more important inner, moral struggle. But, after Mongols devastated the Islamic heartland, Ibn Taymiyyah found that the Greater Jihad idea had weakened Islam. He stood for a literal, and against a liberal, idea of Jihad. He defied the Prophet Himself on the pragmatic Greater Jihad. Citing two verses in the Quran (Chapter 2, Verse 193; Chapter 8, Verse 39) Taymiyya argued that the Prophet’s division of Jihad in Hadith was not authentic because it contradicted the words of God in Koran. He declared that the (indivisible) Jihad against Islam’s adversaries was the finest act a Muslim could perform. Taymiyyah also classified the infidels of Islam in four categories: the Christian; the Muslims with infidel habits unless brought back to Islam; the Muslims not carrying out Islam’s rituals; and those who rejected Islam while still claiming to be Muslims. He declared that no peace was possible with the first two and the next two must be mercilessly killed.

Muhammad ibn Abd al-WahhabAl-Wahhab

Taymiyya’s theology was rejected in his times. He was branded as a heretic. Even imprisoned. But, says Charles Allen, Taymiyyah’s theology continued to attract adherents. A most famous adherent of his was Muhammad Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, who founded, in early 18th century, what is now known as the Wahhabi strand of Islam. This most virulent strand of Islam, rejected in the 14th century, was reincarnated four centuries later. Allen says that Al-Wahhab was schooled in Medina under Mohammad Hayya Al-Sindhi and his father from Sind in India, both followers of Ibn Taymiyya. They encouraged their students to “view the militant jihad as a religious duty”. When Al-Wahhab was studying in Medina, Shah Waliullah Dehlawi from Delhi too was in Medina studying Hadith under a Taymiyyah disciple who was the master of Al-Wahhab’s teacher. Al-Wahhab and Shah Waliullah, both young, went back to their respective countries to implement the radical teachings. In Delhi, Waliullah called for “a return to the first principles of Islam”. He attempted to restore “Muslim rule in Hindustan” by even inviting the Afghan ruler Ahmed Shah Abdalli to invade India and destroy the Hindu Marathas in battle to bring back the golden days of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. But Ahmed Shah was defeated and the Maratha gained dominance in northern India.

But Waliullah’s Medina-mate Al-Wahhab went beyond. Allen says he “was able to construct and apply almost unchallenged a brand of confrontational and heartless Islam, the like of which had not been seen since the days of Mahmud Ghazni, the butcher, who led twelve loot-and-destroy raids on India in the eleventh century, justifying his actions in the name of Islam.” Al-Wahhab’s book Call to Unity, which later became a four-volume affair, expounded the Wahhabi theology. It declared that there should be but one interpretation of the Quran and Hadith—Al-Wahhab’s—and none else. Pointing out that Islam rose only by Jihad against idolaters and polytheists, it concluded that loving the true Muslims and hating the infidels was the only way—the Wahhabi way.

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al SaudRe-weaponised Jihad

A historic turn came in Islamic history in 1744 when Al-Wahhab allied with Muhammed Ibn Saud, a reputed warrior and leader of a sub-branch of the powerful Aneiza tribe. They mutually recognised each other—Saud as the secular leader (Emir) and Al-Wahhab as the religious head (Imam). The rulers of Saudi Arabia are the descendants of Muhammed Ibn Saud. Thanks to Saudi Arabia owning up Al-Wahhab’s theology, Ibn Taymiyya, outlawed long ago, now occupies a place of honour next only to Al-Wahhab’s.

IS is the latest manifestation of Wahhabi Islam. It attracts Jihadists from all over the world on the theology of Al-Wahhab—read Ibn Taymiyyah. It gets funded and supported. Russian President Putin has said that he has shared with G20 leaders the details of how individuals from 40 nations, including some G20 constituents, fund the IS. Many liberals still think that terrorists are just a handful of misguided persons. Thousands are not a few. They are a mobile army conscripted by Wahhabi Islam. The Taymiyyah-Wabhabi theology guides millions and millions of Muslims who are the catchment constituency from which thousands of Jihadists emerge on the tap. The other strands of Islam, moderate or immoderate, are struggling—in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan and elsewhere—for survival. Ibn Taymiyyah’s theology is at the root of the problem of Islamist terror. Is Abaaoud then the mastermind of Paris Jihad? Not at all. He is at best the master-hand. The mastermind is Ibn Taymiyyah who re-weaponised the Jihad and that impelled Abaaoud. It is Taymiyyah’s Jihadi exposition which blew up Paris on Friday last. In the last several decades, his concept of Jihad has snuffed out hundreds of thousands of innocent lives.

Any battle to recover and save moderate Islam should start with disowning Ibn Taymiyyah and Al-Wahhab—the very definitions of today’s hate and terror. There is every reason for moderate Muslims to discard them. For, Ibn Taymiyyah defied the Prophet and Al-Wahhab endorsed Taymiyyah. Will the Islamic world—Saudis in particular—declare them in one voice as apostates of Islam? This will hopefully cause a healthy debate within Islam. Moderate Muslims should ponder.

PS: So long as the world looks at which Islamic outfit organises the Jihad and not look into what so powerfully motivates the Jihadi to kill himself to kill others, it will be missing the cause and treating the symptoms. So long as the root cause remains unaddressed, even if the world weakens one outfit another will promptly emerge—like the IS emerged after the Al Qaeda weakened. – The New Indian Express, 22 November 2015

» S. Gurumurthy is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues.  Email:


No-go zones and the struggle facing Europe – Douglas Murray


Douglas Murray“In 2011 a report commissioned by the Institut Montaigne, and directed by the noted Islamic scholar Gilles Kepel, found that Seine-Saint-Denis and a clutch of other suburbs of Paris were becoming “separate Islamic societies,” holding themselves out as separate from the French state and instituting the rule of Sharia over that of French law. It found that French Muslims were increasingly aligning themselves with Islamist values rather than those of the French state.” – Douglas Murray

François HollandeIn the wake of the massacre in Paris, President François Hollande said that France was “at war”—and that it must be fought both inside his country and outside in the Middle East. As the French air force began dropping bombs on Raqqa in Syria, another operation was under way in towns and cities across France: 168 raids in two days. A battle on two fronts has begun.

Chartres cathedral is one of the great monuments of western civilisation, but Chartres was also home to one of the Bataclan theatre suicide bombers. A man from the same area died last summer in Syria, fighting for ISIS. In Lyon, the raids turned up a rocket launcher. On Tuesday night, a large-scale counter-terror assault was launched in St Denis in Paris. After heavy gunfire, a woman blew herself up by detonating a suicide belt, according to the police.

That the French police know where to look is heartening. That there are so many places to look is not. Long before this week’s slaughter, the French have known that large parts of France are effectively not French.

Ten years ago, when the banlieues lit up and more than 9,000 cars were burnt, the world paid some attention. But it soon sank back into denial. Statesman talk of the danger of “ungoverned spaces” in the Middle East and Africa. But the ungoverned spaces in France and in other parts of Europe were largely ignored.

Earlier this year an American counter-terrorism expert appeared on Fox News and claimed that major cities in European countries, including Britain and France, had “no-go” zones where non-Muslims and the police simply did not go. He was widely ridiculed and even disparaged by the Prime Minister himself. The Socialist party’s mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, went further and said she would sue Steven Emerson and Fox News for harming the ‘image’ of her city. Coming, as this did, only days after the Kouachi brothers gunned down 12 people in Charlie Hebdo’s offices and another gunman slaughtered four Jews in a kosher food market, one might have thought that Paris had other “image” problems going on. But the backlash was striking. Mainly because it looked like what psychiatrists call displacement activity.

Perhaps the murder of cartoonists and Jews just wasn’t enough, and it was always going to take the simultaneous mass murder of concert-goers, football fans and people eating in Peace posters in Molenbeekrestaurants to help the world wake up. In any case, it’s now undeniable that there are no-go zones both in France and Europe. 

This week’s jihadi hunt has focused on the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek. It is thought that two of the terrorists who carried out the attacks last Friday had been living there. Molenbeek is a heavily Muslim suburb—an area over which Belgian authorities admit they long ago lost control.

It undoubtedly shares characteristics with many other poor European suburbs: ugly social housing and high levels of unemployment. But that could be said of many cities. What makes these no-go areas notable is the size and density of their Muslim populations.

It is a problem which no country in Europe experiences so catastrophically as France. In 2011 a report commissioned by the Institut Montaigne, and directed by the noted Islamic scholar Gilles Kepel, found that Seine-Saint-Denis and a clutch of other suburbs of Paris were becoming “separate Islamic societies”, holding themselves out as separate from the French state and instituting the rule of Sharia over that of French law. It found that French Muslims were increasingly aligning themselves with Islamist values rather than those of the French state. It is no coincidence that France has the largest percentage of Muslims in its population (around 10 per cent) of anywhere in western Europe. Wherever the concentration gets above a certain level (perhaps 20 per cent), consequences follow. French social planning put all their Muslim immigrants in one place (and usually a place of mass unemployment). And unsurprisingly, it is in the areas with the greatest density of Muslim population that the greatest problems emerge.

By 2012, the problem of semi-autonomy had got so bad that the French government was forced to unveil plans to reassert the state’s control over 15 areas, including parts of Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Strasbourg, Amiens and Aubervilliers, where the population is more than 70 per cent Muslim and the police rarely went. Two years later, a leaked French intelligence document warned that Sharia law was being implemented in schools in Muslim ghettoes. The report gave 70 examples of Muslims turning secular French schools into places of religious indoctrination governed by Islamic law.

Sharia in EuropeThe question now for France is whether Hollande’s efforts to reimpose French law are any more successful than the efforts of Sarkozy, and whether they are a spasm or a mission. You could argue that Hollande now at least has events behind him. But in the past there have been quite a number of occasions, although not as bloody as this one, when individual cases have broken the surface and temporarily shocked France from its sleep-walk into dissolution and civil war: the stoning to death of a young Muslim woman in Marseilles in 2004; the torture and murder of a young Jewish man by a Muslim gang in the Parisian suburb of Bagneux in 2006; the murders of pupils at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012. Each time the Republic rallies, but the country’s pulling apart continues.

It is easy for outsiders to point to holes in France’s post-war immigration strategy or the failure of its model of integration. And it is true that France has done immigration and integration badly. But who has not? Yes, travelling on public transport in France you notice lines and routes on which everyone is black and others where nobody is. But there are similar phenomena now across Scandinavia, central and southern Europe.

Nor can we be complacent in Britain. It was appropriate for the Prime Minister to leap to Birmingham’s defence when Fox broadcast their piece in January. But Birmingham is in fact a striking example of our own problem. The city remains one of the biggest producers of domestic terrorists and ISIS fighters in Britain. Perhaps most striking is the fact that nine tenths of Birmingham’s convicted terrorists come from areas where the Muslim Shariah Zone Londonpopulation is between 25 and 50 per cent (the latter figure being more than ten times the national average). Likewise, before anyone notices the centrality of Sharia4Belgium to the continent’s jihad, it is worth noting that the group’s launch was enabled by Muslim extremists from Britain.

Nor is it at all certain that Britain will continue to avoid another mass casualty attack. The Prime Minister recently said the security services had thwarted seven major attacks in the UK in the past six months alone.

Of course, it is important to remember how many Muslims in France and Britain came here precisely to avoid the fundamentalists in their faith. And there were problems long before the current migration wave. But as countries like Germany and Sweden decide to take in an additional 1 per cent of their population each year from majority Muslim countries, it is not scaremongering but a simple statement of fact to say that the Muslim population in Europe will increase. And at some point other European countries will go on to experience the kind of problems France has. Perhaps this will bring a popular backlash similar to that now under way in France.

But in some ways that would be the lesser of two evils. For if the trend of the no-go zone is not at some point halted or reversed, we must realise that for France, and perhaps for Europe, this will not be decline. This will be fall. – The Spectator, 21 November 2015

French Police

VIDEO: Terrorism has no religion? – MrRepzion

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106-43 BC

Terrorism has no religion

With Open Gates: The forced collective suicide of European nations

Reporter buys Syrian papers being sold to ISIS fighters sneaking into Europe – Nick Fagge

Reporter with black market Syrian identity papers.

• Reporter bought $2,000 Syrian passport, ID card and driving licence in Turkey under the name of a real man who was killed in the conflict

• Forger boasted that ISIS fighters are using documents to travel to Europe to start terror sleeper cells or live under false name free of past crimes

• Also being used by economic migrants from other countries exploiting generosity of Europe to Syrian refugees

• Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee told MailOnline the scam was ‘deeply disturbing’ and should be ‘addressed immediately’

• The blank documents are genuine, having been stolen from government offices by militias fighting regime of Bashar Al-Assad

• EU border official admits fraud is rising and bigger than first thought

EU-Islam FlagISIS fighters and economic migrants are able to buy Syrian identity documents that allow them to hide among refugees travelling to Europe with frightening ease, an investigation by MailOnline can reveal.

Our reporter [Nick Fagge] was able to buy a Syrian passport, identity card and driving licence from a fraudster in a Turkish border town this week.

The genuine documents were stolen from Syria when they were blank. The forger added our reporter’s picture and gave him the identity of a Syrian man from Aleppo killed last year.

The documents, on sale for around $2,000, would help an asylum claim in Europe.

The forger who sold us the papers, said that they are being used by ISIS fanatics to travel undetected across borders into Europe hidden among tens of thousands of genuine refugees fleeing the terror and destruction.

Once in Europe they can set up sleeper cells or live freely under a new identity without facing the consequences of their brutal past actions.

As the forger chillingly put it: “ISIS fighters are among the people going to Europe in this way. They are going to wait for the right time to become a fighter for ISIS again.”

The revelation comes as Lebanon warned two in every 100 Syrian migrants smuggled into Europe are ISIS-trained fanatics, with most travelling overland through Turkey to Greece.

The extremist group is sending trained jihadists ‘under cover’ to attack targets in the west, Lebanese Education Minister Elias Bousaab told British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to the country on [14 Sept. 2015].

“ISIS will not stop at the border with Lebanon, before you know it ISIS will be in Europe,” Mr Bousaab claimed.

The bogus papers are also being used by economic migrants from other Middle Eastern states who know that a Syrian asylum claim will be met with more sympathy following the civil war which has so far forced an estimated four million people to flee.

The recent death of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy pictured after he was washed up on a Turkish shore, has heightened demands for countries to take in Syrian refugees and propelled their plight to the top of the international agenda.

Germany alone is expected to take in a million Syrians this year and is putting other European nations under pressure to sign up to a quota system. 

The forger told MailOnline: “Everyone wants to be Syrian now—because now everyone welcomes Syrians.”

The passport book MailOnline acquired is genuine, made from a batch seized from one of the many Syrian government offices captured by advancing opposition forces.

The forger explained that the militias fighting the forces of Assad make a beeline for government offices when they over-run a town. They know the value of the documents there and steal the passports, papers and even the printers that are used to create identity cards and driving licences.

“I don’t know which town this passport came from because it has happened many times,” he said.

“Fighters—from the Free Syrian Army, Al Nusra, ISIS or whatever—they know the value of these documents. They take them and they give them to us. They ask us to make new identities for them and their families so they can travel outside Syria.

“We do this for them and they leave us some of the books so we can sell them. There are many people—Syrian people—who have lost their passports and identity cards because of the chaos of the war. They want new documents to help them in Europe.”

He went on: “Everyone wants to be Syrian now—because now everyone welcomes Syrians. There are Palestinians, Egyptians, Iraqis, people from all over the Arab world who are pretending to be Syrian so they can have a new life in Europe.

“ISIS fighters are among the people going to Europe in this way. They are going to wait for the right time to become a fighter for ISIS again.”

Alarm bells began to ring as to the scale of the problem earlier this month when German customs officers seized packages containing a large number of blank Syrian passports. The ISISpackages contained both genuine and fake passport books.

Frontex, the EU border agency, has reported an increase in the seizure of Syrian passports for sale although they admit they as yet have no idea of the size of the problem.

“The latest figures confirm that document fraud is on the rise,” a spokesman told MailOnline. “Imposters use another person’s documents taking advantage of their physical resemblance to the original holders, as often difficult to identify.

“Research studies show that the extent of the problem is much wider than can be assessed from the number of revealed cases.

“[Syrian passports] are found in the hands of Iraqis and Palestinians. There is also a rising phenomenon of migrants from Algeria, Egypt or Morocco claiming falsely to be of Syrian nationality.”

The blue passport book is printed with the words Syrian Arab Republic in Arabic, English and French on the cover. It bears a Syrian coat of arms—an eagle holding a shield of the national flag and a scroll with an inscription in Arabic.

The 48-page booklet has a bar code and serial number.

The passport states in Arabic, English and French that the photograph is the image of a 48-year-old Christian man called Jak Abdullah Fraam who was born in 1967 in Aleppo. It states that his father is called Mishail and his mother Lena.

The document gives the holder permission, from the Syrian government, to travel to countries in the Middle East, Europe, North America, African and South America. However Syrians need visas to enter almost every country apart from Sudan and Lebanon. Other Syrian passports have restrictions on which country the bearer can travel to.

The identity card bears the official government seal and is printed using machinery captured by opposition forces and handed over to master forgers.

The Syrian coast of arms is embossed into the card. An image of the Syrian coat of arms sits underneath the photograph. There is a watermark-style image on the right-hand corner and on the back of the ID card.

The international driving licence was issued by the Traffic Police Department of the Syrian Ministry of Interior. It bears the official stamp of the Chief of Governorate Police.

These three documents together provide almost irrefutable evidence of a life in Syria before the war and would support a claim for asylum in Europe.

The manufacture of passports and identity documents by forgers began innocently following the collapse of Assad’s Syrian regime, when many citizens lost their official papers in the chaos and society broke down.

But this ‘public service’ has been hijacked by unscrupulous criminals who will sell anyone the documents to claim they are Syrian.

“At first it was a way to keep normal life going,” a Syrian with knowledge of the practice of creating new passports told MailOnline.

“When someone got married they needed a certificate. When a baby was born they needed a certificate. When someone wanted to go abroad they needed a passport. But in much of the country there was no government.

“However, the people who had worked for the government, local people in each town or city liberated from the regime, were still there.

“They understood that people needed documents, so they helped them and got a bit of money for themselves. But now there are people who are only interested in the money. They don’t care who they sell a passport to—even if they are terrorists.”

Former Scotland Yard detective, and passport and identity fraud expert, Tom Craig, told MailOnline that the passport and other documents would be enough to get someone into the EU.

“While there are some discrepancies the passport is good enough to get someone into Greece or Italy.

“It appears to be an old style passport rather than a modern one. The booklet appears genuine and so does the paper.”

It took just four days for MailOnline investigators to buy the haul in Turkey.

Publishing precise details of the operation would put the lives of Syrian and Turkish investigators in danger, but in essence it was surprisingly easy.

The reporter sent a photograph via social media to the forger in Syria, who made the documents and then smuggled the documents over the porous border and dropped off for collection.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs committee told MailOnline the revelations were ‘deeply disturbing’.

He said: “The ease with which a fake Syrian identity card has been obtained so easily is deeply disturbing. It is essential that all countries need to obtain the necessary equipment to check the validity of these documents. This represents a huge problem that needs to be addressed immediately.”

Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, said the MailOnline investigation had brought a serious security to light.

He said: “I would like to congratulate MailOnline for your work in exposing this very serious security issue.

“There is little doubt that evil jihadists will be keen to exploit the present refugee crisis to infiltrate their way into Europe and the UK. In the present chaos fake passports provide almost perfect cover.

“The UK Border Force will need to be extra vigilant to separate genuine refugees from ISIS operatives.”

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said: “This is a very worrying development and highlights why we need to properly control our borders and not get so get so overwhelmed by a compassionate desire to help people that we let down our guard.

“There are many people who want to exploit our generosity and the Government must not let it happen.”

MailOnline has contacted the Turkish authorities to inform them of the scam. – MailOnline, 17 September 2015

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar miffed with Pope’s one-upmanship – Shantanu Guha Ray

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Shantanu Guha Ray“In March 2015, Juan Manuel Santos agreed to halt aerial bombing in recognition of a unilateral ceasefire called by FARC on Christmas of 2014. The move by Sri Sri was called ‘Colombia’s biggest breakthrough’ by the Spanish media. ‘The Western nations were nowhere when members of Art of Living worked closely with the rebels, initiating them into daily peace talks and yoga,’ said Gautam Vig, spokesperson for AOL.” – Shantanu Guha Ray

Pope FrancisIndia’s foreign office is keeping itself updated on an interesting, if trifle peculiar, slugfest that’s currently on between the Vatican and Indian spiritual guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. 

The Art of Living Foundation (AOL) founder is miffed at recent attempts by the Norwegian government to hijack his peace initiatives in strife-ridden Colombia. In a year-long effort, Sri Sri managed to broker a peace deal between the Colombian government and left guerrilla outfit FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), mediating on behalf of the latter during peace talks held this July in Cuba. In what was seen as the first breakthrough in three years, FARC commander Iván Márquez agreed to adopt the Gandhian principle of ahimsa while continuing to chase political goals in a new unilateral ceasefire. In June, Sri Sri had conducted a meeting in Bogotá with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.

Juan Manuel SantosSources in Delhi say the guru’s annoyance with the Vatican has reached the top echelons of the government.

Pushed by the Vatican, Norway, which was also part of a four nation pack (including Cuba, Chile and Venezuela) acting as guarantors in the talks, released press notes that claim the peace talks came to fruition because of “painstaking efforts undertaken by a league of Western nations”. Last week, on a 10-day trip to US and Cuba, Pope Francis, the Argentine-born pontiff held a mass in Havana, saying in his address, “May the blood shed by thousands of innocent people during long decades of armed conflict … sustain all the efforts being made, including those on this beautiful island, to achieve definitive reconciliation.”

Sri Sri sees Oslo as deliberately sidetracking his efforts, his supporters tell the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We are monitoring the developments,” a ministry official said in a telephonic conversation, explaining that protocol doesn’t allow him to be quoted. The official clarified, however, that the Colombian government does not ascribe to the views of the four nations. “It [Colombian government] is fully versed with the situation and is highly appreciative of the efforts of the spiritual leader. Ivan Marquez held all his conversations with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and not with emissaries of the Western nations.”

But a recent joint statement released by the four nations requesting FARC not to escalate violence had no mention of the Bangalore-based guru, who was responsible for bringing Colombian government’s top negotiator to the table after he threatened to walk away from peace talks in Havana and rejected rebel calls for a bilateral ceasefire on the ground that the FARC had previously used truces to rearm and return to violence.

Flag of ColombiaIn recent times, FARC’s main target has been the country’s oil and electricity infrastructure, crippling life for thousands. The militant group has been active in the Colombian armed conflict since 1964, and deemed a terrorist organisation by the UN and America. Latin America’s longest war has killed 2,20,000 people and displaced as many as six million since 1964. The Havana talks are seen as bearing the best results toward conflict resolution.

Peace talks between the parties have been ongoing since 2012. A ceasefire was announced by both but lifted last May after which sporadic incidents of violence were reported.

In March 2015, Juan Manuel Santos agreed to halt aerial bombing in recognition of a unilateral ceasefire called by FARC on Christmas of 2014. The move by Sri Sri was called “Colombia’s biggest breakthrough” by the Spanish media.

“The Western nations were nowhere when members of Art of Living worked closely with the rebels, initiating them into daily peace talks and yoga,” said Gautam Vig, spokesperson for AOL.

According to the Colombia government, FARC had 16,000 fighters in 2001, but the number dropped to 8,000 due to desertions. – Midday,  30 September 2015

Ivan Marquez & Jesus Santrich


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