Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category
After reading and writing gloomy analysis on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the official apathy towards it, I came across something different this morning. For a change the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has acted sensibly and C.M. Omar Abdullah has adopted a progressive stand. No, this is not about AFSPA. It’s about a common Kashmiri, Basharat Bashir Baba’s dream. The only difference is that Bashir Baba’s father was involved in militant activities. Omar Abdullah’s gesture has prevented one more Kashmiri youth from joining the gang of militants.
In a report carried by The Statesman, Bashir Baba’s ordeal and this rare respite was narrated. The teenaged footballer was one of three selected from a group of 300 for professional exposure and training in Spain and Brazil (where the game is played at a very high level) under a programme run by an Argentine coach, Juan Marcos Troia. He had waited for over a year for a passport to be issued to him, even moved the High Court against his being denied travel documents because his father had been involved in militant activity, but no redress came his way. But when Omar’s attention was drawn to a media report on Basharat’s being blocked, he dribbled with the craft of a Ronaldo and hit the net with the power of a Rooney. Taking the bold line that a son could not be made to suffer for what his father had done, he directed the red-tape be cut and the passport delivered pronto.
Though Bashir Baba is on his way to pursue his dreams the common practice of denying passports to relatives of suspects and militants in J&K needs to be re-considered. The Government can’t remain can active stimulus in swelling the militant ranks through supporting practices.
Pakistan’s recent military offensive against the Taliban has earned the country some international support for its counter-terrorism efforts. There is hope that the democratic government will be willing and committed to fighting terrorism. However the events of the past week have raised a disturbing concern in my mind. Pakistan has, beyond doubt begun combating terrorist elements operating on its soil; but at the same time Pakistan’s counter-terrorism strategy is selective and self-serving. In a matter of few days the Government of Pakistan has re-arrested Sufi Muhammad and released Hafiz Saeed. To me this is not a simple case of supporting terrorism against India but has deeper implications. It’s about Pakistan’s reluctance and not inability to combat terrorism. The Sufi-Saeed case points to three trends in Pakistan’s ‘counter-terrorism efforts’: no person-specific operations, inconsequential arrests on mild charges and treating terrorism as legal problem. Click to continue…
In a previous post published on March 12, 2009 I had discussed the mounting conerns over the recruitment of American youth of Somali origin in terrorist training programs. This morning The FOXNews.com reported on a rare press conference by two such individuals. These youth have expressed their desire to be killed “for the sake of God”. The apparent return of some of these American Somali youth after terrorist training to the U.S. makes them a potent threat for national security. According to the Deputy Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center Andrew Liepman there is no credible reporting that these youth pose a direct threat to the U.S. To counter Liepman’s view there is enough empirical evidence to prove that planning of terrorist activities has and can evade intelligence scrunity. Apart from security concerns the entire episode raises some other vital questions:
Why have these youth choosen to speak openly about their involvement in terrorist activities? Did we not expect terrorist to be “hidden elements”? Does this represent a trend towards glorification of terrorism by an increasing majority? Is involvement in terrorist activities now considered ‘cool’?
Why did these youth abandon the quest for the much aspired ‘American Dream’ and adopt a challenging lifestyle in Somalia?
How will the U.S. assert its moral authority in criticizing Pakistan as a breeding ground of terrorism when American citizens can be lured into such extremist activities?
[Photo Courtesy: FOXNews.com, April 6, 2009]
The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a Hearing on March 11, 2009 on the evidence and implications that al Shabaab, an extremist Islamic group, was recruiting U.S. citizens for terrorist activities.
Al-Shabaab is a group of Somali Islamists operating in parts of Mogadishu and southern Somalia. Though the terror groups is not a direct threat to the U.S. its ability to recruit U.S. citizens for terror missions in Somalia emphasizes the dangers of homegrown terrorism in the U.S. Moreover, Al-Shabaab’s potential affiliation to the Al-Qaeda makes it a potent threat for the U.S. Young members of the Somali immigrant families living in Minneapolis have been exposed to the dangers of radicalization and many have left their homes to receive training in terror tactics. The threat is more immediate than what many would anticipate. There are confirmed reports that Shirwa Ahmed, U.S. citizen of Somali origin, was involved in a suicide bombing mission in Somalia in October 2008 killing 30 people. Senator Susan M. Collins succinctly points to the challenges confronting the U.S. in the wake of the recent al Shabaab recruitment drive: “Radicalized individuals trained in terror tactics and in possession of American passports can pose a threat to the security of the U.S.”
The F.B.I and National Counter-Terrorism Centre are devising strategies for dealing with the ensuing threat from al-shabaab. Nonetheless, the roots of the problem cannot be addressed through the official strategy of counter-terrorism. Abdirahman Mukhtar in his testimony before the Senate Committee elaborated on the issues of identity crisis, cultural conflict, economic challenges and language barrier faced by the Somali youth as possible factors preventing their assimilation with the mainstream American population. Complimenting the above views, Osman Ahmed, U.S. citizen of Somali descent, refers to the socio-psychological problems confronting his community in the U.S. The U.S. Government needs to evolve a holistic strategy moving beyond a purely politico-legal approach for countering spread of extremist within the national frontiers.
Matryoshka Doll commonly referred to as Russian nested doll is a set of dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. Matryoshka is derived from the Latin root ‘mater’ meaning mother. As a breeding ground for terrorists and exhibiting different forms of terrorism, Pakistan can undoubtedly be likened to a matryoshka doll of terrorism.
The 11/26 terror strikes in Mumbai, India is a reminder of the vulnerability of ’soft targets’ across the globe. 170 people, including 30 foreign nationals, lost their lives in the incident. The terror attacks had raised several questions on the efficiency of the country’s intelligence apparatus and political structure to prevent and manage such brutal attacks on the population. The country is seething with public anger with the political establishment. In the midst of this hysteria and fears of a military confrontation between India and Pakistan, a positive development can be discerned. The democratic process, in principle and practice, has withstood the critical test of unforeseen and aggressive exigencies. It is inspiring and interesting to analyse the performance of democracy in India during this critical crisis. Click to continue…
The terrorist attacks on India’s financial capital, Mumbai, on November 26, 2008 raised concerns over Pakistan’s commitment and ability to fight terrorism. India has launched a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan by claiming to provide credible evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks. The international community while emphasizing on the utility of handling the on-going crisis through diplomatic avenues maintains that Pakistan needs to act pro-actively in ensuring that terrorists do not receive official support or safe haven in its territory. Demands and suggestions relating to Pakistan’s counter-terrorism policy have multiplied manifold following the Mumbai attacks. However there is little realization that the Mumbai attacks occurred only a month after Pakistan had reviewed its National Security Strategy and the Parliament had passed a 14-point Anti-Terrorism Resolution on October 22, 2008. The Resolution had sought to exemplify Zardari Government’s stand on counter-terrorism, in principle and policy. In the wake of the mounting pressures on Pakistan to crack down on terrorists it is important to ascertain the extent to which the Resolution has, or is capable of, altering Pakistan strategy to deal with terrorism. Click to continue…