New Delhi, 03
Attacks Intensify During
had predicted that the world was heading for some sort of crisis, by
what was going on in Iraq, Afghanistan and all over the terrorism
prone world. There seemed to be a pattern of renewed attacks by
Muslim Jihadis in Baghdad, Afghanistan and Kashmir from the first
day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Religion and politics are
a very heady mix and Lee Kuan Yew on CNN opined that more
troublesome days were to come. In India, Hindus have had rabid
Naxalites but not many suicide terrorists (though LTTE in Srilanka
had produced them), but Muslims on the other hand were producing
more and more suicide bombers, and there was little one could do
against them. It looks very ominous for the free world that the next
30 days could be a bloodbath by militant attacks around the globe.
Here are some media clippings:
鄭fghan Ambush Kills CIA Workers"
28 October 2003
US nationals working for the CIA tracking terrorists in Afghanistan
were killed over the weekend. Their deaths occurred near the village
of Shkin in the province of Paktika. Both men were part of the CIA's
Directorate of Operations. Few other details of the men's deaths
have been released. Meanwhile, some 22 Taliban and al-Qaeda rebels
were killed in air raids by US-led forces in also in Shkin over the
killed, 44 injured in two Kashmir blasts" & "'Top
militant' killed in Kashmir"
News, 28 October 2003 & BBC, 27 October 2003
least two people were killed and another 44 were injured in two
separate explosions in Kashmir on Tuesday. The two deaths and eight
of the injuries were the result of a landmine explosion, while
another 36 people were injured after a grenade was thrown into a
telephone office. The attacks come on the first day of Ramadan. Also
this week, Indian officials claimed that they killed top militant
Saifur Rehman Bajwa, the chief of operations for Hizbul Mujahideen.
29 October 2003
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released a report today
that warns that Afghanistan risks becoming a failed state run by
narco-terrorists and organized crime if it cannot curb its
production of illicit opium. Afghanistan provides three-quarters of
the world's illicit opium, a crop that accounts for half of the
country's GDP. The body notes that with low risk and high
yield, warlords and local drug cartels have little incentive to
renounce the drug trade for legitimate enterprise; the longer that
this continues unfettered, the more entrenched the illicit economy
will become. The UN estimates, based on fieldwork and satellite
images, that this year's poppy crop will be the second largest in
Afghanistan, since recording began in 1994.
Rights Watch issued a press release today 28th October
calling on Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai to work to stop
warlords from manipulating the constitutional drafting process
underway in the loya jirga. Unnamed warlords have reportedly
issued death threats to loya jirga members to influence the
process's outcome or to prevent some individuals from participating
at all. Moreover, military figures have nominated themselves to the
body, despite a decree issued in July 2003 expressly forbidding the
participation of commanders and local government officials.
President Karzai has not responded to the report."
Times, 03 Nov 2003: "Iraqis Down US Chopper, 15 Killed"
the biggest attack since major combat was declared over on May 1, a
US Chinook helicopter was reportedlt shot down by Iraqi rebels on
Sunday, killing 15 soldiers and wounding 21 others, the US Command
said. ..... Witnesses said they saw two missiles fired at the
helicopter, which came down in farm fields near the village of Hasai,
a centre of Sunni Muslim resistance to the US occupation."
by 'Strategic Forecast'
analysis from Strategic Forecast is appended,
to explain how decent
the Americans had been to allow Ramadan feasts but their decency is
going to be met with scorn. Bush has his hands full with opposition
in Iraq and a large deficit to contend with. The Coalition
Provisional Authority and US military in Iraq recently lifted a
nighttime curfew in Baghdad to allow the city's inhabitants to
celebrate the after-dark activities associated with Ramadan. During
Ramadan, Muslims socialize with Iftaar dinners and gather after
nightfall, meaning more people are out on the streets at all hours
of the night, which potentially could create trouble for coalition
forces. The string of attacks in Iraq raises an alarming question
for US and other Western countries fighting al Qaeda: Were these
attacks a symbolic trigger 末 a message from al Qaeda to its
allies around the globe 末 to kickstart a campaign of attacks
against Western allies, assets and infrastructure across the globe?
Although the answer currently is unclear, the bombings will cause
Western governments and businesses to respond as though Ramadan will
be a month of bloodletting.
in various parts of the world mark the start of Ramadan differently,
depending on their political orientation, geographic location and
sometimes their sect. Traditionally, people look for the appearance
of the new moon around dusk on the 29th day of the Islamic month of
Shaban. If a sighting is reported, Ramadan begins the next day. If
no moon sighting is reported, then
another day of Shaban is observed and the following day marks the
beginning of Ramadan. The ability of militant Islamist organizations
to act in concert on a global scale is a critical concern for the
United States and its allies. Washington's war against al Qaeda is
in part psychological, and both sides need to demonstrate that the
other cannot operate globally without substantial risk. Al Qaeda
hopes to raise the costs of US involvement in the Gulf region high
enough that Washington will pull out. The United States needs to
break al Qaeda's global network and Lee Kuan Yew said so too, so
that it eventually can back the group's leadership into a geographic
corner, lock it down and finally quash its operational capability.
Several questions remain about the Oct 27 attacks in
Baghdad. For example, there are various and conflicting reports
about both the number of attacks and their locations. Ad Doura, Al
Bayaa, Al Elam, Ash Shaab, Al Shawla, Al Khudra and Al Jadida have
all been mentioned as locations where the police stations were hit.
Other reports indicate, for instance, that there was no suicide
attack at Ad Doura, but that Katyusha rockets were fired at the
police station instead. Moreover, there were reports before the Oct
27 suicide bombings of unexplained explosions inside the Green Zone
末 the converted presidential palace where the CPA is
headquartered. These attacks followed the Oct 26 rocket attack on
the al-Rashid hotel in central Baghdad, where U.S. Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.
What is known, however, is that the attacks on the
ICRC and the police stations were meant to undermine stability. The
Red Cross announced that it will withdraw its agents from the
country, following in the footsteps of the United Nations, which
also reduced its staff in Iraq after its headquarters in Baghdad
were bombed in August.
The attacks on the police stations are probably meant
to discourage Iraqis from working with the CPA, and to prevent
citizens from working with the police. While they may succeed in
scaring off foreign players, the attacks won't stop Iraqis from
working with the police. Baghdadis, for instance, are concerned
about everyday issues of law and order and are likely to feel less
supportive of any resistance, guerrilla or militant group that
threatens the stability of their daily existence.
the current political and military situation in Iraq, neither the
modus operandi nor the target set points to any one group. The
country's Sunni guerrillas, former Ba誕thists and Hussein
loyalists, foreign fighters from countries like Saudi Arabia and
Syria 末 as well as a local cell of al Qaeda 末 are all
potential suspects. It's possible that a collaboration of two or
three different groups is working together. However, that does not
give any insight into the more important question: Will this trigger
attacks elsewhere on the globe?
Qaeda is a global network but also an operational unit formerly
based in Afghanistan that might still be directing attacks against
the United States and its allies in the Gulf. Al Qaeda Prime, the
senior leadership's operating unit based in Afghanistan 末 which
conducted the Sept. 11 attacks and other major operations 末 has
never used symbolic dates for operational activities.
However, other militant groups have launched or planned attacks
around symbolic dates. For instance, Egypt's Gama'at Islamiyya
bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 on the day after Ramadan
began. The Bali bombing by Jemaah Islamiyah in 2002 was supposed
to have occurred on the anniversary of Sept 11, but preparations
weren't ready on time. Both groups are now reportedly allied with al