Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Highlights 26th April 2006

Puppet masters

From 2001, pressure mounted on Pakistan to cut back its support for jehadi organisations. HuJI began to step in to fill the void on the western front. In January 2002, for example, a HuJI cadre led by one-time mafioso Aftab Ansari organised a terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Kolkata. Pakistani interrogators who later questioned Syed Omar Sheikh, one of the terrorists released in the Indian Airlines flight 184 hostages-for-prisoners swap, later learned he had ordered the Kolkata attack. Bangladesh proved reluctant to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem: The Khaleda Zia regime was, after all, in power thanks to the support of Islamist organisations that sympathised with HuJI. In February 2005, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia admitted for the first time that jehadi groups were operating from Pakistani soil and denounced the Jamiat ul-Mujahideen and the Jagrata Muslim Janata. However, she insisted that HuJI did not have a presence in Bangladesh and refused to act against it. What followed was predictable - and, indeed, predicted. Last year, Pakistan's Daily Times observed that Khaleda Zia's regime was "most reluctant to take action against the Islamists as long as they continue to attack Awami League cadres and communists." However, the newspaper argued, this opportunistic alliance would prove self-defeating. "A day will come soon enough," it prophesied, "when the state of Bangladesh will come under threat from the Islamic warriors it is now empowering through denial." Last August, terrorists from the two organisations the Khaleda Zia regime had spoken against - but failed to act against by dismantling their infrastructure or arresting their leadership - carried out 450 simultaneous explosions across Bangladesh. Awaking to the threat to Bangladesh, the government arrested key Jamiat ul-Mujahideen and Jagrata Muslim Janata leaders and unleashed the police against their operatives. HuJI was finally recognised as a problem - but barring Hannan, not one of its terrorists has been arrested................More

M&C Intelligence Roundup - April 25

Global Intelligence Analysis and News from Global Intell Net - April 26

US Already Operating in Iran?

The story first appeared on Raw Story , a (very) liberal blog/news outlet. Now it appears that Asia Times Online has been able to "confirm" that US Combat troops are already operating inside of Iran, and the US has "outsourced" certain aspects of its overall operation to terrorist groups to incite tensions among ethnic minorities against the mullahs of Iran. You can read the whole story here ....More

Sorry, Nepal

The king appeared solid, the Royal Nepalese Army was with him, the constabulary backed him, but there was a felt need to open the pressure cooker a touch, let the steam escape, and then settle down things. Gyanendra is a loathsome monarch, he has not only played the political parties and the Maoists against one another, while trying private compacts with them, he has also gone variously against the people of Nepal, and against India, counterpoising China and Pakistan, using their munitions against the Maoists....More

Dangerous neighbourhood

The old order in South Asia can no longer be sustained. India must lead
It is about the disturbing reality that India does not seem to have its regional security act together. At a time when the world is looking at New Delhi to take charge of the region, India is dropping the ball. After nearly two years in office, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has had no time to visit Sri Lanka or Nepal. He managed to get just once to Bangladesh. Conservatives in his office want to delay his long overdue visit to Pakistan as much as possible. The neighbourhood record of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was at helm for nearly six years, was no better. If there is no sustained high-level engagement with our neighbours, the situation is much worse when it comes to developing a strategy towards the neighbourhood. Collectively we are so obsessed with the US and so intensely focused on grand principles and slogans of international relations that there is no real effort to understand our own region and our responsibilities towards it........More

Drug Smugglers Use Bangladesh as Transit Point

Some 140 kilograms of heroin worth nearly £10 million - once sold on to Britain's 260,000 heroin addicts - had entered the UK from Bangladesh. Several seizures of the drug at different ports from shipments sent by Bangladesh-based companies last year has concerned UK customs officials; previously, they had not considered Bangladesh to be a major conduit for heroin. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDC) acknowledged that the total amount of heroin found in just a handful of seizures over a period of three months from shipments, which had passed between the port of Chittagong and the UK, was double the amount seized in the whole of last year, and suggested the smugglers were changing tactics. The UNDC said it was clear that the Bangladeshi heroin trade was now an urgent threat, one that has caught the UK authorities off guard. Ethnic and linguistically affiliated groups are now moving the product within South Asia by making several small runs, rather than moving large quantities of the drug at any one time.It is also alarming that the traffickers are using more sophisticated operations for drug smuggling. The export companies that have had shipments seized, such as Ocean Line Foods, and M/S Bengal, appeared to have legitimate licenses and tax identification numbers which had been issued by Bangladeshi authorities. The companies also had recognized postal addresses within the UK...............More

Bin Laden's Call to Kashmir's Militants

In his latest audio broadcast, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden made specific mention of India and a grand Zionist-Hindu conspiracy against Islam. Bin Laden's call to arms in India is directed at existing militant outfits with stakes in the Kashmir dispute who have become increasingly displeased with Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's handling of the situation. This provocation of the decades-long dispute could put India at greater risk of becoming a target for local militants tied to the jihadist movement....More

Taxman wants to learn RAW's intelligence gathering tricks

Income Tax sleuths are looking forward to be trained in the ways of intelligence gathering, just like those used by personnel in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Intelligence Bureau (IB), as they feel the present techniques employed by them are 'ad hoc'. In a report to the Union Finance Ministry, the Income Tax Department's Pune Division (Investigation) has said, 'The manifest actions of the search, seizure and surveys are based on intelligence gathered about tax evaders and their modus operandi. The present methods of intelligence gathering are ad hoc and are largely driven by individual initiatives and capabilities'.....More

Time to Streamline RAW's Operations

In recent years, the RAW had enlarged its foreign liaison network so much that there is hardly any foreign intelligence outfit with which it has not entered into bilateral intelligence sharing arrangements. This has, no doubt, vastly increased the scope for foreign travel by RAW officers and their spouses, but it has inevitably confined the operational initiative of the designated liaison officer at foreign stations to interact with their host-country counterparts only. Meetings between RAW headquarters experts and their opposite numbers in 'friendly' services has exposed roughly three-fourths of the middle and senior level R&AW officers to foreign intelligence operatives and their suborning overtures..............More

India Rebuilding Air Base in Tajikistan: Diplomat

India is helping rebuild an air base in Tajikistan, an Indian diplomat to the Central Asian state said April 25, amid unconfirmed reports that the country is planning to base fighter jets here. ”There are several Indian specialists who are carrying out reconstruction work at the Aini aerodrome,” an Indian diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. ”First there has to be rebuilding, then we can talk about whether there will be Indian planes here or not,” the diplomat added. The Indo-Asian News Service reported last week that the Indian Air Force was planning to deploy MiG-29 fighter jets at the Aini base, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of the Tajik capital Dushanbe and 250 kilometers from the country’s border with Afghanistan.Authorities in Tajikistan and India have denied the reports.....More

India looks to Burma to slake growing thirst for gas

A number of countries, including the US, have imposed sanctions on Burma (Myanmar) to signal their disapproval of its autocratic rulers, who continue to detain the iconic democracy advocate and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. But India's very different approach highlights the debate between those who say engagement with Burma could edge it toward change, and critics who decry any collaboration with the oppressive military junta. "India's engagement is purely self- interested," says David Steinberg, professor of Asian studies at Georgetown University. "But, along with the engagement of the rest of the world, it could help to change things in Burma, though it will take a long time. Sanctions and isolationism just mean that the military backs into itself and gets xenophobic." India signed a long-term deal to draw supplies from Burma's Shwe gas field during the visit of Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam to the troubled country last month. State-controlled Indian utilities had previously acquired a share in the giant gas field, though South Korean firm Daewoo is the biggest stakeholder. A $1 billion to $1.5 billion pipeline is set to be constructed to send to the gas to India, with another slated to link the field to China.The cheapest and shortest, 530 to 590-mile routes for the Burma-to-India pipeline, for instance, run through adjoining but impoverished Bangladesh, which is bargaining hard for multimillion-dollar transit fees and trade concessions. Muslim-majority Bangladesh has a prickly relationship with India over the latter's concerns about illegal immigration and cross- border militancy, but analysts say relations would improve if the pipeline is to run through Bangladeshi territory. The two countries have yet to agree to a deal. Experts say an alternative route skirts Bangladesh but could benefit India's insurgent, lawless, and underdeveloped northeastern states, which border Burma and Bangladesh. "A lot of disaffection in India's northeast is [caused by] a relative lack of economic opportunity," says Sudha Mahalingam, a New Delhi-based senior fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. "So if you do bring that pipeline, and a focused development policy, then there could be increased stability."......More

Trafficked from Pakistan, raped and jailed in Saudi Arabia

Sixteen-year-old Isma Mahmood was deported to Pakistan last month after serving six months in shackles and handcuffs in a prison in Saudi Arabia. Her crime: being raped by a Saudi man. "It's difficult for me to talk about what happened to me, from rape to prison and from prison to deportation," Isma said in the office of a rescue trust in Karachi where she sat with her sister Muna, 18, who was also deported. Isma's parents, originally from the central Pakistani city of Multan, were trafficked to Saudi Arabia around 20 years ago. "Though both of us were born there, we are Pakistanis," Isma said. Human rights groups say that hundreds of people, particularly young women, are still trafficked from South Asia every year, with many going on to face a life blighted by physical and often sexual abuse. In Isma's case, being born in Saudi Arabia was no help when she was raped last year in the holy city of Medina. "I was the victim, I was raped and molested but I was named as the accused, and the man who committed the crime was not touched," she said, hiding her face with both hands in shame.....More

Forget the Middle East: The U.S. Harbors the World's Most Dangerous Terrorists

With over 500 land-based ICBMs, the United States can incinerate any region of a 4.5-billion-year-old planet within a mere 35 minutes. The Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles are only one leg of America’s triad of doom. Submarine-based Trident nuclear missiles have the capacity to unleash Armageddon from the depths of the Earth’s tranquil oceans. Maintaining a fleet of B-1, B-2, and B-52 long-range bombers, the USAF can also rain nuclear hell upon millions of unsuspecting “units of collateral damage."......More

Global Jihad: The Lesser Jihad and the Greater Jihad

Who, outside of India, paid any attention to the steady persecution of Hindus in West Pakistan or East Pakistan, or after 1971, in the renamed Bangladesh or what was now called Pakistan? Who paid attention to what Col. Ojukwu forthrightly called a "jihad" against the Christians in Nigeria during the Biafra War? Who saw the Muslim dimension to the war against the Christians in East Timor? In the Southern Sudan? In the southern Philippines? In the statements by Izetbegovic about reinstituting a Muslim state, and the full Shari'a -- statements which terrified the Serbs but which no one else paid any attention to?........More


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