View Full Version : A Disconnect in the Information War: Who Flies Under the Radar?

06 Feb 08,, 21:26
From a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) article on one theater of the war with Islamist terrorists:

Source of Quotes: BBC NEWS | South Asia | Changing ways of Pakistan's militants (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7228864.stm)

"Experts believe that there has been a fragmentation of the jihadi organizations," an intelligence official told the BBC.

"What has actually happened can better be described as decentralisation and amalgamation," the official said.

While the fragmentation effect has been repeated in detail, the post-fragmentation state of the "old brands" is prominently missing. (NOTE: I put it in quotes, because some of the "old brands" are as newly minted as 2002). Further the long-sympathetic guerrilla and militia factions have joined their most dedicated cadres to the terrorist outfits, after being forced underground after diplo-military pressures put on Government of Pakistan. Here is how the post-fragmentation state - amalgamation, per the official - is shaping up:

"When they [the militants] attack Shia targets we say they are Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, when they carry out assassination attempts on senior government leaders it is Jaish-e-Mohammad or Harkatul Mujahideen.

"If it is near the tribal regions or targeted against security forces, it is the Taleban," the official said.

"In fact, all these have proven to be obsolete stereotypes in the light of subsequent investigations."

The effects of obsolete stereotypes - largely formed under two major, now apparently wrong, assumptions (a) effective state control of essentially loose guerrilla and militia organizations (b) nationalist/ethnicist characterization of otherwise Islamist-brand organizations - have been playing out thus:

"There are as many Punjabis and Muhajirs, as there were prior to 9/11... Kashmiris and ethnic Baloch are also present," the second intelligence officer says.

In a recent plot by Sunni Muslims to attack Shias in Karachi, the alleged ringleader was a Kashmiri.

"Now prior to 9/11, the involvement of Kashmiris in sectarian attacks was almost unheard of... and now here is one actually leading the way."

It makes for an uphill task for the security forces.

It is compounded by what most security officials call the government's "see no evil, hear no evil" approach to militants.

"The jihadis recruitment is at an all-time high, and it is principally due to lack of will on the part of the government," the investigator says.

He is referring to the lack of enforcement of a section of Pakistan's anti-terrorism laws.

When a person under suspicion is released from custody, he is required to provide police with a detailed daily account of his movements, saying where he went, whom he met and when he returned, the official says.

But it hardly ever happens.

"The released men bribe the local police station so they don't have to call in everyday," the official explains.

"After the payment, they are free to travel as they wish."

The investigator says the ex-militants use this time to travel around the country giving lectures and sermons at certain mosques and madrassas.

"Everybody knows this has gone on since 2005," the official says.

"In Punjab province alone, over 300 militants have been released during this time. They know they are being watched so they do not carry out any act of violence themselves."

But what these men are doing, the official argues, is more dangerous.

"They are producing an army of militants like none before. Previously, at least, they had handlers in the state machinery. Now, they say, we only answer to Allah."