The religion of peace 1

In our margin we reproduce, as a fixed feature, an ever mounting tally of vi0lent attacks carried out by Muslim terrorists since 9/11 in the name of their faith. It comes from The Religion of Peace, a website that has proved itself an indispensable source of information in this era of unremitting war waged by Islam against the rest of the world.

Every day it publishes a list, of which today’s is typical:

010.02.04 (Kandahar, Afghanistan) – Three people are dismembered by a Shahid suicide bomber.

2010.02.03 (Narathiwat, Thailand) – A rubber tapper working with his wife is shot in the back by Muslim militants with a shotgun

2010.02.03 (Swat, Pakistan) – Four children are among nine people killed when the Tehrik-e-Taliban bomb an opening ceremony at a girl’s school.

2010.02.03 (Karbalah, Iraq) – A Fedayeen bomber passes out fruit to children before detonating, killing nearly two dozen.

2010.02.03 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Sunni bombers send a Shia pilgrim straight to Allah.

2010.02.02 (Karbalah, Iraq) – Three Shia pilgrims are murdered by Sunni bombers.

The total at the time of this writing: 14,784

Wait for it 3

If the US does not soon find a way to confiscate or neutralize Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal – and is there the least glimmer of a chance that Obama and Hillary (‘smart-power’) Clinton will even try? –  the Taliban will almost certainly take control of it.

Can we doubt that they will use it?   

Walid Phares writes (read the whole article here): 

Over the past few months, Pakistan’s government authorized governors in the Northwest part of the country to sign agreements with the leaders of the “Sharia Movement” in the Swat valley, a Jihadi front, to apply their interpretation of religious laws. The founder of the movement, Sufi Mohammad accepted the terms of the settlement with Islamabad. But his son in law Maulana Qazi Fazlullah the chief of the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi organization (TNSM), who since 2007 has deployed his 5,000 militiamen in 60 villages forming a “parallel emirate,” is now on the march to expand Taliban influence beyond the “authorized” district. In short, the cohort of jihadists is not stopping, not reconciling, not de-radicalizing but seeking to eventually reach the capital.

First in Waziristan, then as of last year in Swat, and now seizing the district of Buner, the Taliban are conquering Pakistani land. Their technique is simple: Give us Sharia implementation or endure terror. Authorities have been choosing the morphine option: let them apply Sharia if they cease fire. But as soon as an area is “granted” to the jihadists, a new “jihad” begins towards the adjacent district. The “forced Sharia” gives the Taliban more than just catechism: full control, broadcast, courts, training facilities, and money. It just cedes territory and people to a highly ideological force. Their Sharia-based “Talibanization” grants them harsh show of severity and intimidation: girls and women punished, opponents eliminated, civil society repressed, a copycat of pre-2001 Afghanistan.

But the strategic consequences of the last “offensives” inside Pakistan are boundless. By reaching a distance of 70 miles or so of the capital the Taliban are putting the government under their direct menace. Pushes elsewhere are expected southbound and northeast bound. The army is deploying around public buildings; that is a bad sign. I’d also project a Jihadi push along the Kashmir borders with India. The hydra is expanding gradually, preparing for a massive squeeze.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 27, 2009

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Valley of death 1

 From Spiegel Online International:

In effect, Pakistan, a nuclear power, has relinquished its sovereignty over an important part of the country.

The once-idyllic Swat Valley has been in a state of war since 2007. The military sent a total of 12,000 troops to the region in an attempt to curb the influence of the extremists, who have beheaded 70 policemen, banned girls’ education and destroyed hundred of schools in the valley.

The clashes resulted in a great deal of bloodshed, including the deaths of at least 1,200 civilians and 180 Pakistani soldiers. But the outcome of these military operations was fatal for the government. Today, the Taliban control more than 80 percent of the Malakand region, compared with only a handful of villages a year ago.

Civilians found themselves caught between the combatants. "The army ordered us to leave the village ahead of the fighting, but the Taliban forced us to stay there," a frantic hotel owner reports by telephone from a village near Malam Jabba, once a popular ski resort…

Many even claim that the military has deliberately spared the Taliban leadership to avoid provoking further Taliban animosity against itself and the government. Others believe that the security forces were just too weak to defeat the 3,000 armed extremists. Both views are probably correct. The militants installed their regime in the mountainous tribal areas after being ousted from Afghanistan in 2001. Now their power is starting to spill over into Pakistan’s heartland, which includes the Swat Valley.

After the sun has set in the Swat Valley, small groups of men furtively enter the house of Khalil Mullah. The visitors are Taliban spies, and they have come to report to Khalil – whose name means "friend" in Arabic – about who has broken the laws of Allah in the region they control. They will report who has been seen dancing exuberantly, had his beard shaved, committed adultery or expressed sympathy for the government in Islamabad – in short, who is a traitor.

Khalil Mullah begins his daily radio show on FM 91, a Taliban radio station, at about 8 p.m. The residents of the snow-covered plateau listen to Khalil’s religious broadcast to hear the names he reads at the end. Acting as both judge and prosecutor, he announces the names of those required to appear before the Taliban’s Sharia count – and of those who have already been sentenced.

 

Map: The Swat Valley

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Map: The Swat Valley

The bodies of these unfortunate residents can be found the next morning on the market square in Mingora. The corpses are hanging by their legs, their heads cut off and placed onto the soles of their feet as a final form of disgrace for the dead. A note under each body reads: "The same penalty will await those who dare to remove or bury these spies and traitors."

 

The extremists are led by Maulana Fazlullah, 33, a self-proclaimed cleric who once worked as a laborer on a ski lift. The people of Malakand call him simply the "radio mullah." It was Fazlullah who first took his terrorist network to the airwaves.

In his broadcasts, he promised more efficiency and justice to citizens disappointed by the corrupt and lethargic Pakistani authorities. But the station quickly turned into a parallel government of sorts. In each day’s broadcast, Fazlullah’s holy warriors issue new rules that reflect their own interpretation of Sharia. Women are already banned from visiting markets, under penalty of death, and girls prohibited from attending school. Police officers who obey orders from Islamabad risk having their ears cut off or being killed. Some 800 policemen have already deserted their posts to join the Taliban.

The death lists draw no class distinctions and include people from all walks of life. The Taliban’s victims range from barbers and teachers to tribal elders, ministers and more liberal clerics who oppose Fazlullah.

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 26, 2009

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A dissolving state 1

The Taliban has rallied after its initial defeat by American forces under George W Bush, and now controls 70% of Afghanistan. It is gaining territory in Pakistan too. The Swat Valley, once a happy tourist destination, has been ceded by Pakistan to the Taliban after a year of fighting, and has become one of the Islamic hells on earth, where ‘beheadings are commonplace and schools for girls are regularly burned down’.   

An extract from Kathie Shaidle’s article in Front Page Magazine: 

[Salim] Mansur [an academic consultant with the Center for Security Policy in Wshington, D.C.] predicts that Pakistan as the world knows it will dissolve, sooner rather than later, depending in part upon when American and NATO forces pull out of Afghanistan. He believes that the North West Frontier Province, of which Swat is a part, “will likely detach itself from the existing arrangement within Pakistan and join Afghanistan.” This “nightmare,” he says, which has been envisioned and feared by Pakistan’s elite since 1947, “can no longer be postponed.”

Meanwhile, Mansur explains, the West must decide how to respond to the “reality of nuclear weaponry in the region.” Mansur also predicts “another Mumbai” terrorist assault and an ensuing “regional conflagration” as Pakistan “dissolves.” “The Pakistani elite made their own reckless choices of fraud, double-dealing and sheer mendacity,” says Mansur, “and the time is now close at hand for paying the price of these choices.”

This critical time has not brought out the best in Western leaders, who seem incapable of fully explaining to their war-weary constituents why they are still fighting in Afghanistan, especially during the present economic climate. If Pakistan can capitulate to the Taliban within its own territory after a year of pitched battles, what is to prevent America and its allies from abandoning a fight thousands of miles away? How the Obama administration answers that question will have a great impact on the state of security in Pakistan and beyond.

Extreme danger is brewing in the region which will affect the world, and all the US has to deal with it is an inexperienced Secretary of State who intends to use what she calls ‘smart power’ – of which we have not yet seen a sample – and an even less experienced President, who is perceived as weak by Islamic states, to judge by their reactions to his inauguration: the immediate release from prison of 170 terrorists by the Yemen government, and of Abdul Qadeer Khan, who sold the know-how of making nuclear weapons to whomever would buy it from him, by the Pakistan government.

Okay, President Obama is sending 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. But to what end? Has any aim been defined for the continuation of the war – other than to capture bin Laden? If that’s it, it looks pretty puny in the light of what’s happening there.

What might a desperate nuclear-armed Pakistan do? In simmering conflict with India, and losing to the Taliban, how much of an added danger does Pakistan pose to a Western world already threatened by Islamofascism and a nuclear-armed Iran?

Analysis of the danger and clarification of policy are urgently needed.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 19, 2009

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