Monday, May 25, 2009



I had conducted this interview with Dr. Wahid Baloch so that all of us can get a first hand report on the issues that plague Balochistan. Whatever we read in mainstream media, glosses over or does not report at all the scale of atrocities that Pakistan Army inflicts on the Balochis while robbing / stripping them literally off their assets.


Populated by fiercely independent Baluch warriors, Kalat retained much of its independence from the British. Regarded as too wild to tame but a useful buffer against Russians, the Baluch were allowed to keep their sovereignty.

Just six months of independence, the Pakistani military stormed in and forced Kalat to cede to Pakistan. Baluchi separatists have since fought five insurgencies to try to claw back their independence from Pakistan’s central government, which has responded with massacres, large scale disappearances and torture, inclusive of local rulers like Bughti, a secular soft spoken; Oxford educated leader who wanted independence from Pakistan and as such was assassinated by the Pakistan Military.

Read this statement by ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - PAKISTAN: Fingers point at state intelligence agencies in the killings of three Baloch nationalist leaders.

Main worry is that the continued repression of the Baluch, coupled with the de facto silencing of their tribal leaders, is forcing many formerly secular separatists into the arms of the Taliban / Al Qaeda instead.

Until recently, The Taliban have held little sway over the Baluchi tribes. But Islamic radicalism appears to be spreading through the region. Taliban leaders recently announced the creation of a new group, “Tehreek-e-Taliban Baluchistan”.

The shift to Taliban is not large scale, the Balochis themselves are largely secular, have a royal gait and demeanor. We now delve into the interview to make sense of the constantly shifting landscape to the west of India.

Q1. Please introduce yourself?

My Name is Wahid Baloch. I'm the president of Baloch Society of North America, an organization dedicated to highlight the plights of Baloch people in Iranian and Pakistani occupied Balochistan. I'm a US citizen, originally from Balochistan.

Q2. Can you please tell me your organization's aim?

Baloch Society of North America is the first Baloch political organization that was created in US on March 2005. The aim was to educate the American people and the world community against the Pakistani and Iranian illegal occupation of Balochistan and exploitation of Baloch resources and to bring their human right violations in Balochistan into the world notice. By doing so, we have done a great job in such a short span of time.

Q3. I have a flag here (dated 1893) which depicts Balochistan as a separate country? How did it become part of Pakistan?

Balochistan was never a part of India but was separate country and it had enjoyed bilateral relationship with British Government. When British left the Indian subcontinent, Balochistan emerged as an independent state on August 12, 1947. Pakistani army, after 7 and 1/2 months, attacked the sovereign Balochistan and occupied it on March 27, 1948 at gun point. Since then Balochs are fighting for their independence. The war of independence continue as we speak.

Q4. Why do you then consider the "occupation of Pakistan" illegal?

As I said, Balochistan was an independent free sovereign state even before Pakistan was carved out of India in 1947. Baloch people were not a part of Indian Muslim League's movement to create Pakistan. Balochistan was forcefully annexed into Pakistan against the wishes of Baloch people. Pakistan is in violation of international law for its continuous illegal occupation of Balochistan and exploitation of Baloch resources without Baloch consent.

Baloch do not consider themselves as Pakistani. We are a secular nation. We should not be forced to live in with Islamic terrorists and extremists in Pakistan. We have nothing in common with Islamic Pakistan. Our culture, language and traditions are completely different from that of Pakistan. We are fighting for our freedom that Pakistan has taken away from us.

Pakistani army has committed war crimes against the Baloch people in Balochistan. These war crimes include indiscriminate bombing women and children, use of chemical weapons, rape, torture, murder, disappearances and displacement of thousands of Baloch people, testing its nuclear weapons in Balochistan, rendering hundreds of miles of Baloch land into waste, leading to the spread of diseases such as increased number of abnormal birth defects and glaucoma due to spread of radio active materials. Thousand of nomadic lives have perished because of the effects of the Nuclear holocaust. These and many other crimes are well documented by independent human rights organizations. They all constitute crimes against humanity and call for international intervention and action that is long overdue.

Q5. Under the terms of agreement, Pakistan was to reimburse proceeds from gas sales which originated from Balochistan. Has Pakistan honored this commitment?

I'm not aware of any such agreement between the Baloch leaders and Pakistani Government. Whatever Pakistan is doing or has done with Baloch resources are a clear loot and plunder at gun point. Pakistan owes the Baloch people trillions of dollars for illegally occupying Baloch land, exploiting Baloch resources for the last 61 years and for testing its nuclear weapons on Baloch soil without the Baloch consent. Pakistani army must leave Balochistan peacefully without any further bloodshed . Balochistan's sovereignty must be restored as an independent secular state according to the international law as it was in 1947 prior to the Pakistani occupation. Pakistan must pay restitutions to thousands of Baloch families whose loved ones were killed, tortured, murdered, jailed or made disappeared by Pakistani army and its ISI.

Q6. In your quest for freedom struggle, how do you get to aim to fight Pakistan forces, which is one of strongest in the world? How would term the success / failure of the movement till now?

A strong or big army can not be defeated merely by being strong militarily alone but it also needs the will-power and determination of people too. Baloch people have demonstrated that will-power and have grown stronger and stronger everyday in their determination to defeat Pakistani and Iranian occupying forces. Baloch people may have lost few battles due to the lack of training and resources and lack of international help but we have not lost the war. The war for freedom continues and with everyday, Baloch's will to liberate their land from these occupying forces is getting stronger and stronger. Every Baloch is determined to fight to the last drop of his blood to free their land from the Pakistani and Iranian occupiers. We ask all the freedom loving Nations to support Baloch peoples in their just cause.

Q7. Pakistan claims that yours is a terrorist movement funded by outside countries (namely USA, India and even Russia). Your views.

Pakistan can calls us whatever she likes, but the fact is that we are not terrorists or separatists. We are freedom fighters, fighting for our freedom that has been taken away from us by Pakistan and Iran.

In fact, Pakistan and Iran, both are itself terrorist states and are sponsoring global jihad and Islamic terrorism. Pakistan is the epicenter of terror. Wherever there is a terrorism, Pakistan's foot prints are found there

Q8. In this link (CLICK HERE), it is mentioned that Akbar Bugti died from a shell that backfired. Your views?

These are Pakistani propaganda to mislead and hide the facts. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed along with his companions and body guards by Pakistan's army in a massive military operation by Pakistan's army on August 26, 2009. Baloch Nation lost a great leader but his great grandson Brhamdagh Bugti is still with us, fighting for Balochistan and we fully support him.

Q9. Pakistan is today facing an existential threat from Taliban, who too are entrenched inside Baluchsitan. How to aim to "cleanse" Baluchistan?

Taliban were created by Pakistani ISI and they have been nurturing and supporting them all this time. It will be naive to believe that Pakistani army will ever take any action against its own created ideological friends. It is no secret that Taliban's top leader Mullah Omar is hiding in Quetta with full ISI knowledge and support. As long as Pakistan exists Taliban are going no where and they will continue to bleed the NATO forces and Afghanistan, and the dream of a peaceful democratic Afghanistan will remain a distant reality.

In order to eliminate Taliban, the main sanctuary, Pakistan, must be be eliminated first. Their safe heavens inside Pakistan must be dismantled and their main sponsors and financier Pakistani Jihadi army and ISI must be defeated.

Let's not be too enthusiastic that Pakistan Jihadi army will defeat or eliminate its own created Taliban. Taliban are a big asset and a great source of income for Pakistan's army. I suggest the American and NATO forces in Afghanistan to take the matter in their own hand and go in into Balochistan along with secular Baloch on their side to finish Taliban sanctuaries by themselves.

A peaceful Balkanization of Pakistan on ethnic lines and creation of an independent Democratic Secular United Balochistan is the ultimate answer. This will limit and weaken both Pakistan and Iran's quest in their nuclear adventures and reduce their capablity to support and spread the Islamic extremism and fundamentalism in the region.

We will stand with the NATO forces and world community to do the job that needs to be done. Nothing else will work. Let's not waste time and money on Pakistan any more. This terrorist country with its pan-Islamic terrorist ideology should not have been born to begin with. This country is a curse for the entire region. It is the most corrupt country on the face of earth


Q10. Gwadar is a port built in Balochistan with help from China. If we give you the hypothetical situation that Balochistan is liberated, how would you want to use the port? Will you allow Chinese navy berthing rights in Gwadar?

We will use the port to benefit our people. We will facilitate the trade and business of South Asian countries to promote peace and friendship among nations in the region. Currently China is working with Pakistan to crush the Baloch freedom movement. We are not against China but China must stop supporting Pakistani army against Baloch freedom fighters. A free united Balochistan will extend a hand of friendship to all of those Nations who have helped us to liberate our land from the Pakistani and Iranian occupiers.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


There are reasons to believe that US is trying to scare India and Israel into taking actions on the Pakistani nuclear facilities including its supposed nuclear weapons.

The basis: US government thoughts are dutifully leaked through papers like New York Times, Washington Post. NYT in its recent issue on May 17th, titled provocatively : Pakistan is rapidly adding nuclear arms, US states:

Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the assessment of the expanded arsenal in a one-word answer to a question on Thursday in the midst of lengthy Senate testimony. Sitting beside Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, he was asked whether he had seen evidence of an increase in the size of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.

“YES,” he said quickly, adding nothing, clearly cognizant of Pakistan’s sensitivity to any discussion about the country’s nuclear strategy or security.

Bruce Riedel, the Brookings Institution scholar who served as the co-author of Mr. Obama’s review of Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, reflected the administration’s concern in a recent interview, saying that Pakistan “has MORE TERRORISTS PER SQUARE MILE THAN ANYPLACE ELSE ON EARTH, AND ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM IS GROWING FASTER THAN ANYPLACE ELSE ON EARTH.”

A spokesman for the Pakistani government contacted Friday declined to comment on whether his nation was expanding its nuclear weapons program, but said the government was “maintaining the minimum, credible deterrence capability.” He WARNED against linking American financial assistance to Pakistan’s actions on its weapons program

With this article and a few before, India it seems has been put on guard. Interestingly in a website considered close to the Israeli intelligence DEBKA – it states : “Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh had warned US president Barack Obama that Pakistan's nuclear sites in North West Frontier Province areas that are Taliban-al Qaeda strongholds are already partly in the hands of Islamic extremists. He (SINGH) told Obama: "Pakistan is lost."

Since no one can say with any certainty on the number of nuclear weapons that Paksitan (or indeed India or Israel has), people have been making intelligent guesses. We will look at both the aggressive and the likely scenario that Pakistan has.
However, before we go this path, it will be interesting to see why Pakistan and indeed the world is worried about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons (of course Bruce Riedel could not have put it more succinctly).

TIMES OF INDIA dutifully picked up the story. It states: "Pakistan is expanding its plutonium producing production capacity to build smaller, lighter plutonium-fission weapons and deliverable thermo-nuclear weapons.

The new lighter nuclear weapons would use plutonium as a nuclear trigger and enriched uranium in the secondary, a report by US arms control institute said.

Satellite images have revealed that Pakistan now has the fastest nuclear weapons programme and it has considerably expanded two sites producing fissile material for nuclear weapons, the report by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said<
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I will present the STRATFOR analysis here – this is as good as it gets. “The Pakistanis are in the middle of one of their most aggressive offensives against the Taliban in and around Swat Valley, and are expecting Washington to follow through with promises of $3 billion in military aid over the next five years and $7.5 billion in civilian assistance as a reward for their efforts. Since a good amount of unchecked U.S. aid to Pakistan frequently has been diverted to corporate entities for the benefit of military commanders in the past, U.S. lawmakers are naturally poking into every nook and cranny in Pakistan to see where future funds might be diverted. Of course, the last thing Washington wants is for Pakistan to use U.S. money to beef up the very nuclear arsenal the United States is attempting to secure from the jihadists.

But Pakistan has very different priorities in mind. A big part of the reason why Pakistan and the United States don’t see eye-to-eye on how to manage the jihadist problem is Pakistan’s deep-seated fear of its larger and more powerful rival and neighbor, India. While the United States is trying to keep Pakistan focused on its northwestern border with Afghanistan, where the writ of the Pakistani state is eroding at the hands of the jihadists, the Pakistani military leadership is far more concerned with keeping most of its troops stationed on its eastern border with India. This is a Pakistani fact of life that will not change, regardless of how much the United States attempts to reassure Islamabad of India’s military intentions.

Pakistan has been trying to play catch up with the Indians since the 1947 partition. Lacking India’s geographic strategic depth, economic foundation and political cohesion, Pakistan has rested its security policy on TWO primary pillars. The FIRST involves the Pakistani state’s long-standing ISLAMIZATION POLICY, which has been used as an unconventional tool to FOSTER MILITANTS in places like Afghanistan and Kashmir, to gain allies and fend off rivals. Since Pakistan was more likely to suffer defeat in trying to directly engage India militarily, it increasingly relied on proxies to keep India too busy putting out fires at home to seriously entertain military options against the Pakistanis.

The SECOND pillar is rooted in the Pakistani NUCLEAR ARSENAL — a last-resort option designed to keep the Indians at bay should Pakistan’s militant proxies push New Delhi’s buttons too hard. Pakistan would be quantitatively and qualitatively beaten by the Indians in a military contest and currently can only dream of reaching nuclear parity with India. Still, the Pakistani nuclear arsenal is Islamabad’s most valued defense against Indian aggression. In fact, just SIX MONTHS AGO Pakistan reminded India of the nuclear threat to make New Delhi reconsider any plans for military retaliation after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

With Taliban and scores of Kashmiri Islamist militants now turning on the Pakistani state, it has become all too clear that Pakistan’s first defense strategy — the militant proxy project — IS COMING UNDONE. Once, this strategy both ensured the integrity of the Pakistani state and reinforced Pakistani defense along its borders. Now, the same strategy is BREAKING IT APART.

This is not to say that the Pakistani military leadership is psychologically prepared to completely do away with its militant proxy strategy. But as the security and intelligence apparatus goes to work in trying to sort out the “good” militants from the “bad” militants that have turned on the state, the Pakistani state naturally feels pressured to ramp up its second line of defense (I.E. NUCLEAR) against India.

In all likelihood, the Pakistanis have been modernizing and expanding their nuclear arsenal for some time. Now that fears are being raised over Pakistan’s nuclear plans and the potential diversion of U.S. funds, aid earmarks are coming into question and Washington will experience even more difficulty in trying to deal with the Pakistanis and instill enough confidence in Islamabad to sustain the offensive against the Taliban. Furthermore, Washington is bound to run into complications with India, who will demand that the United States not stand idle while Pakistan expands its nuclear capability.


1. The aggressive scenario of Pakistani nuclear weapons:

Pakistan went the uranium enrichment way to develop its nuclear weapons. How the designs were stolen and how the bomb “may” have been built are subjects of hundreds of books and many bestsellers. No need to delve in the process.

China helped Pakistan in developing its Nuclear program. China already has setup two nuclear power plants Chasnupp 1 (300 MW) and Chasnupp 2 (300 MW). The Chashma Nuclear Power Plant is located at Chashma, Punjab, Pakistan. It consists of Chashma Nuclear Power Plant I (CHASNUPP-1) and Chashma Nuclear Power Plant II (CHASNUPP-2). CHASNUPP-3 (600MW under construction) and CHASNUPP-4 (2000 MW planned to be completed before 2030) are in the planning stages. China does not make any 1000 MW plants, so the Chasnupp 4 and Chasnupp 5 etc will be much larger plants beginning in 2010.

Rough estimates - Pakistan is said to have 70 odd nuclear weapons built through this route.

However, the interesting part of the story is Pakistan is also trying to build nuclear weapons through plutonium (India went this route to build its arsenal). In the 1990s Pakistan began to pursue plutonium production capabilities. With Chinese assistance, Pakistan built the 40 MWt (megawatt thermal) Khusab research reactor at Joharabad, and in April 1998, Pakistan announced that the reactor was operational. According to public statements made by US officials, this unsafeguarded heavy water reactor generates an estimated 8-10 kilotons of weapons grade plutonium per year, which is enough for one to two nuclear weapons. The reactor could also produce tritium if it were loaded with lithium-6.

Plutonium separation reportedly takes place at the New Labs reprocessing plant next to Pakistan's Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (Pinstech) in Rawalpindi and at the larger Chasma nuclear power plant, NEITHER of which are subject to IAEA inspection.

Robert Windrem writes in MSNBC
(May 12th) : “On the dusty plain 110 miles southwest of Islamabad, not far from an area controlled by the Taliban, two large new structures are rising, structures that in light of Pakistan’s internal troubles must be considered ominous for the stability of South Asia and, for that matter, the world.

Without any public U.S. reproach, Pakistan is building two of the developing world’s largest plutonium production reactors, which experts say could lead to improvements in the quantity and quality of the country’s nuclear arsenal, now estimated at 60 to 80 weapons.

What makes the project even more threatening is that it is unique

Moreover, he and other U.S. officials say, there long have been concerns about those who run the facility where the reactors are being built near the town of Khushab. They note that a month before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Khushab’s former director met with Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and offered a nuclear weapons tutorial around an Afghanistan campfire.

In the past several months, satellite imagery shows the first of these new reactors at Khushab nearing completion while the second is in final stages of external construction. Operations at the first may begin soon, while the second is four or five years from operation.

What is clear, Albright says, is that Pakistani officials are committing limited national resources to building up the country’s nuclear arsenal, resources he and others note have been supplemented and replenished by U.S. aid.

“They’re building a capability beyond any reasonable requirement,” says Albright, who first wrote about Khushab two years ago, when he noticed construction south of an existing but smaller plutonium production reactor that’s been operating since about 1998.

“We think it’s bigger than the first one,” he says of the so-called Khushab-I reactor, estimated by U.S. intelligence at 70 megawatts.

Albright estimates the new reactors are “at least on the order of 100 megawatts,” each capable of producing enough plutonium for “four or five nuclear weapons a year.” While small by power reactor standards, that’s substantially larger than the research reactors that provided material for the weapons programs of Israel, India and North Korea. He also believes that the reactors could have a separate mission: producing tritium, an element critical to the development of thermonuclear weapons, what used to be called H-bombs.”

Zia Mian, of the International Panel on Fissile Materials at Princeton University, says adding a reliable and large-scale plutonium stream to the country’s long-term expertise in uranium enrichment signals a change in Pakistan’s nuclear strategy.

“The addition of the two reactors does two things,” Mian notes. “It allows them to make a lot more warheads, four or five a year, but it also allows them to make much lighter and more complex weapons for longer-range missiles and cruise missiles. ... And triggers for thermonuclear weapons are almost always plutonium-based.

2. The most likely scenario of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal:

The first question that arises if Pakistan does have 70 odd nuclear weapons (albeit low yield), they should be enough and more as a deterrent for an Indian attack. What would then be the requirement for Pakistan to waste precious resources to build plutonium based plants and go in for more nukes?

If Pakistan does attack India with a nuclear weapon, the ferocity of an Indian nuclear repulse (it is expected) will be so huge that Pakistan will cease to exist as a nation. Under that logic, whether Pakistan has 10 nukes or 100 nukes makes no sense. Pakistan is a small nation and obliterating it militarily by using nukes is an easy task. India will be grievously hurt in nuclear strikes by Pakistan, but it will never be obliterated – India is too large and its economy and population are concentrated over many hundred centres. Pakistan does not have that luxury.

To understand this, we go back to the 1998 nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan. There were 6 devises as stated by Pakistan and even though it claimed the yield of the 1st device was in the range of 25 – 36 kt, the Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory put it at 9 – 12 kt. For the others, the observatory put it at 4 – 6 kt (against Pakistan’s stated 12kt). Actually the observatory could confirm only two tests.

According to a preliminary analysis conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory, material released into the atmosphere during an underground nuclear test by Pakistan in May 1998 contained low levels of weapons-grade plutonium. The significance of the Los Alamos finding was that Pakistan had either imported or produced plutonium undetected by the US intelligence community.

US sniffer planes that suck in atmosphere to test for samples, picked up plutonium signatures after the Pakistani tests. The proof of atmospheric residue of a plutonium-warhead explosion, it was acquired by a USAF U-2 that took off from Oman, overflew Chagai, and landed in Turkey in the first week of June 1998. This was widely reported and the US officially confirmed this at the NATO HQ by August 1998.

Note: Pakistan’s nuclear plant came on stream only in 1998 and it could not have produced enough plutonium for weapons grade induction for a nuke. Hence these plutonium based nukes came from somewhere – and these came from CHINA on a CKD basis.

Prasun Sengupta clarifies: “Kindly note that even though the N-reactor at Khushab achieved criticality in the first quarter of 1998, the spent fuel could only be extracted two years later and the related fuel reprocessing plant in Khushab became operational only by 2001. Which means Pu-239 isotope extraction could only be achieved by 2003 at the latest.”

Prasun in his blog writes:

Dr A Q Khan's clandestine programmes were all about enriching uranium to HEU (just like Iran) and then acquiring the production technology from North Korea (like Iran) for building the Ghauri IRBM (which is the same as the Iranian Shihab 3). But following this path didn't produce any breakthroughs as it emerged that warheads using Pu-239 were more suitable for mounting on IRBMs than were the much more bulkier warheads using HEU. But ince A Q Khan could not acquire the Pu-239 production processes from anywhere, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) stepped in in the late-1980s to begin talks with China for acquiring plutonium-production nuclear reactors. China agreed, but these reactors and the related fuel reprocessing plant were only for electricity generation (that went on line only in 2000), and China instead decided to supply off-the-shelf the 12 IRBMs and their nuclear warheads in the mid-1990s. THIS IS THE ONLY REASON WHY CHINA WAITED UNTIL 1998 TO BECOME A SIGNATORY TO THE NPT. As a result, the Ghauri IRBMs imported from North Korea are now configured to carry only conventional warheads. The same goes for the Iranian Shihab-3s and unless and until Iran acquires the capability to produce and process Pu-239 at Arak, it will never be able to have a nuclear warhead even though it already has IRBMs.

The n-arsenal of Pakistan now stands at 10 warheads as the remaining two warheads were detonated on May 28 and 30, 1998. Both these warheads were of the tactical nuke-type. Only after these tests did China come clean with the US (when the US confronted China with clinching evidence--the radioactive plutonium's atmoshperic residue) and China admitted to its pivotal role in Pakistan's n-weaponisation and thereafter agreed to sign the NPT. Regarding the nuclear reactors supplied by China in the late 1990s they are NOT under IAEA safeguards as the sale & purchase agreement was inked when neither Beijing nor Islamabad were signatories to the NPT. These reactors and their plutonium reprocessing plants are therefore totally un-safeguarded. As for the Babur cruise missile there are presently no plans for arming them with nuclear warheads. They are meant for conventional precision strike just like the BrahMos

CHINA – A curious case (a detour, but will have an impact in geopolitics). China revealed Iran’s nuclear secrets to UN. What led China to do it – one can only guess – were they caught out? Were they trying to help Pakistan (only Islamic nation – Sunni – to have the bomb).

Which leaves the point – how many nukes does Pak have now?

I think the ruse of USA to get INDIA to sign the NPT (now in 2009) is actually to get Pakistan to sign the NPT so that these breeder reactors (plutonium) come under IAEA inspection. Also the US / NATO is seriously worried that Pakistan will have serious nuclear arsenal that will be plutonium based which will make negotiating with Pakistan a nightmare !

You the reader make an intelligent choice on the size of nuclear arsenal that Pakistan currently has.

When will Pakistan use the nukes?

Prasun states: “Based on the seismic readings of the 1998 tests in Chagai, it is evident beyond reasonable doubt that the China-supplied warheads tested were of the tactical fission-based type. Which in turn means that these warheads WILL NOT be used against large urbanized targets like Indian cities. Instead, they will be used INSIDE Pakistan against major Indian troop concentrations (such as those in the Great Thar Desert) that have invaded Pakistan during a major offensive thrust. Therefore, the Indian security planners have to contend with this following scenario: if Pakistan as part of its first-strike doctrine were to use tactical nuclear weapons against invading Indian military forces BUT use them INSIDE sovereign Pakistani soil, how would India respond? Would India be morally justified in employing nuclear weapons as well against targets deep inside Pakistan, even if this were to be a second-strike? Would India then lose the high moral ground since Pakistan did not violate Indian sovereignty and did not explode n-weapons INSIDE sovereign Indian territory? These are some of the issues now being grappled with in order to gauge the so-called n-threshold of Pakistan, i.e. what would compel Pakistan to employ n-weapons on the battlefield in a pre-emptive manner.”

Friday, May 15, 2009


There has been a lull in writing - simply because I have been riveted by the ongoing polls in INDIA and the drama unfolds tomorrow. Who is going to be the next Indian PM.

A lot of money bags are floating around, after dark clandestine meetings, IB (India's intelligence bureau) trying very hard to tap mobile conversations for their political masters / friends in the opposition, the US political shenanigans meeting LK Advani and Chandrababu Naidu - it has been far more interesting than the damp squib of an IPL that is underway in South Africa.

Incidentally, the best thing about the IPL has been the FAKE IPL PLAYER'S BLOG.

Who is going to be the next Indian PM?

1. Nitish Kumar
2. Sushil Kumar Shinde
3. LK Advani
4. Manmohan Singh
5. ???

For a view up close and from the RIGHT, do visit Swapan Dasgupta's blog - THE USUAL SUSPECTS.



Sunday, May 10, 2009



Before I go into the main article, I will deviate as a website DEBKA, known to be close to Israeli intelligence (and whose breaking news has been very accurate) is saying the following:

Pakistan hangs back from major Swat offensive, talks secretly to Taliban

While by no means a phony war, DEBKAfile's military sources report that accounts of a major Pakistan military offensive launched to flush Taliban out of their strongholds in the northern Swat Valley are generally inflated. This is not to say that hundreds of thousands of civilians are not fleeing the valley. Some half a million are on the move and will join the same number displaced since August, generating a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe.

According to our sources, the Pakistani army has so far not fought a single pitched battle with the Taliban. Neither have the insurgents been rooted out of any of the cities and villages under their control.

Islamabad's one-sided claims of some 200 Taliban killed in three days are not independently confirmed. At most, the Taliban have suffered some 50 dead combatants.

Pakistani troops are attacking Taliban positions with long-range artillery. Three to five warplane and helicopter strikes have been staged at most, as well as heavy machine gun fire on small Taliban groups on the move.

Pakistani prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's statement Wednesday, May 6, that the "armed forces were being called into to eliminate the militants and terrorists" is locally assessed as intended for Western ears rather than their own commanders. It was made when president Asif Ali Zardari was in Washington warding off criticism for not doing enough to fight Islamist terror.

However, our military sources do not at this point see the 15,000 Pakistani troops poised in the Swat Valley actually launching a major offensive against the 5,000 Taliban fighters standing against them.

One reason is that not all the armed men fighting in Swat belong to the Taliban; some are local Swat militia groups whose chiefs have made ad hoc deals with Taliban. It is far from certain that Pakistani troops will want to fight their own countrymen.

Furthermore, according to DEBKAfile sources, the Islamabad government and local insurgent chiefs are in secret negotiation to arrange for the army to move "victoriously" into the main Swat towns of Mingora and Kambar without facing resistance. Taliban would retreat to the countryside, undefeated and with minimal losses. Both sides would then revert to the original deal for the imposition of Sharia law in the province in return for a ceasefire.

The negotiations also provide for Taliban to pull out of Bunar province which is 90 kilometers from Islamabad.

Both sides allowed a refugee catastrophe to develop to generate an eve-of-battle climate – hence the lifting of the curfew for a few hours Sunday, May 10, to encourage the civilian exodus.

A breakdown of these talks may well result in the much-publicized Pakistani military push actually taking off. At the same time, military experts estimate that at least double the number of Pakistani troops deployed at present will be needed to regain control of the Swat Valley from Taliban and its allies.

This extremely volatile situation prompted Gen. David Petraeus, chief of the US Central Command, to remark Saturday, May 9 that it is "too soon to gauge the full magnitude or duration of the Pakistani response



Ahmed Rashid, famous for his seminal books "THE TALIBAN" and "DESCENT INTO CHAOS" recently categorized Taliban into four broad groups:


After the fall of Taliban, foreign correspondents, army generals rode into Kabul with one book in their hands - "The Taliban" written by Ahmed Rashid. It was and remains the "BIBLE" on Taliban.

We have discussed and know about the first two. We will look at the fourth phenomenon which directly impacts INDIA - as this is home grown and is being bred and nurtured inside INDIA - waiting for an opportune moment to strike.

To be honest, THE INDIAN TALIBAN is not yet a force to reckon with. It finds its home in its spiritual home - the Deoband and Wahabbi seminaries in UP and its sister branches all over India. I had written an earlier article on DEOBAND - THE THREAT FROM WITHIN.

We Indians can be proud of one thing. If there is one thing more we have exported to Pakistan, it is the Deoband ideology from Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, INDIA. This strain of hardline Islam which is a clone of Wahabism is an Indian export and draws its inspiration and monetary sustenance from the deserts of Saudi Arabia.

Both Pakistan Taliban and Afghan Taliban are 100% students of Deoband madrassas and Wahabbi madrassas of Pakistan.



The Deoband school had come in for attack from Pakistan. Mr Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Islamabad’s permanent envoy to the UN, blamed its ulema for fomenting trouble in his country as well as in India. “It is for the clerics in Deoband, who wield great influence in the NWFP territories of Pakistan and in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), to come to Pakistan, get together and embed, offer a fatwa in Pakistan against suicide bombings and killings of Muslims in Pakistan as well as in India,” he had said.


ECONOMIC TIMES: The Administrative Reform Commission’s (ARC) report on terrorism, which draws linkages between Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Deoband Dar-ul-Uloom, has left the Congress red faced, while, at the same time, giving an opportunity to the BJP to seek a ban on the Islamic seminary.

Thereafter, in January, 1994, Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi arrived in India with the task of working out the reconciliation of the cadre of Harkat Mujahideen and Harkat-ul Jihad Islami whose parent organisations had merged to form the Harkat-ul-Ansar. His organisation’s main objective was to liberate Kashmir from Indian rule and to establish Islamic rule in Kashmir. He also interacted extensively with the leading figures of the Deoband Ulema,” it goes on to add.

The report, not surprisingly, has left the Congress deeply embarrassed. It was, after all, prepared by AICC media department chairman Veerappa Moily, who also doubles up as the head of the Administrative Reforms Commission.
(The poor guy, Moily, has been sacked as the spokesperson of Congress Party, ostensibly for annoying Nitish Kumar).


If the Taliban in Pakistan (both Afghan Taliban and Pakistan Taliban) get their religious indoctrination from the ulemas belonging to the Deoband school, which is headquartered in INDIA - how long before we see an amalgamation of Sunni terror groups in India into a single entity - THE INDIAN TALIBAN - of the sort Ahmed Rashid was talking about? We have already seen JeM involvement with the Deoband. It is to be noted that both SIMI and Indian Mujahideen are organizations whose cadres are students of Deoband.

Deoband seminaries are India's ENEMY NUMBER ONE.

The faster we realize this the better it is for us. They are indoctrinating and sending in thousands of their students (Allah's warriors for a future fight against the kufr Hindus). They are taking over other Sunni mosques in cities over India and converting them to their hardline philosophy.

We have seen what this Taliban can do in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The rise of Taliban in India will not be easy as they will not have institutional state support or even Army support (the type ISI gives to Taliban in Pakistan). However the Deoband are adopting are different path for INDIA. They have formed a political party and will try to win votes in Muslim dominated areas, get their MPs into Indian Parliament and subvert our democracy. This insidious plan is ready and they have formed a political party.


INDIAN EXPRESS: Muslims of the state, particularly Deobandi sect of Sunni Muslims, are set to float a new political party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Those who played a pivotal role in proposing the front are perfume king Maulana Badruddin Ajmal and Azamgarh-based Ulema council led by Maulana Amir Rasadi Nadvi, which had last month taken a trainload of protestors to New Delhi. Beside Ulema council, National Loktantrik Party led by Mohammed Arshad Khan, Parcham Party and few other Muslim outfits are also associated with the move.

“It will be a formidable organisation of the Muslims in the forthcoming elections as it will have the backing of all prominent Islamic institutions and organisations of the country, including Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband, Jamaat-ul-Ulema Hind, Jamat-e-Islami Hind and Nadwa tul Ulema,” said Shahid Akhlaque.


Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi from Hojai, Assam, is, besides being the President of AUDF, a Fadhil degree holder is a successful businessman (perfumes - atar).

Ajmal got his Fadhilat from Darul Uloom Deoband, and he is associated with many prominent religious institutions and bodies of India. He is a member of Advisory Board of Darul Uloom Deoband, UP, and Central Working Committee, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind. He is the President of Assam unit of Jamiat Ulama-e Hind and Tanzim Madaris-e Qaumia. Tanzim Madaris is a Madrasa Board of all the non-government madrasas of Assam, numbering more than 400. Tanzim Madaris prepares the curriculum and conducts examinations. Besides, Ajmal is in the executive body of numerous other madrasas, yatimkhanas (orphanages), schools, and associations of Assam and other parts of India.

Maybe it will be a failed attempt. After all, religious parties did not get more than 2% popular vote in Pakistan. However, that did not stop the Taliban from taking over vast areas of Pakistan. This simple fact should not be lost.

Giving the Telegraph Kolkata (copyright Telegraph Kolkata) article (10th May) - in full: THE RISE AND RISE OF WAHABISM - by VELLY THEVAR:

On Bakri Id last year (2008), over 1,500 Sunni Muslims in Kandivali, a Mumbai suburb, found that they couldn’t enter their mosque to offer prayers. Some 700 Wahabis, a hardline sect of Sunni Muslims, from neighbouring Pathanwadi had taken over the shrine. The congregation, prevented from entering the mosque, finally offered prayers in a playground that December day.

The incident was the latest example of the growing influence of Wahabis in India. Intelligence agencies say there has been a spurt in the missionary and political activities of Wahabis after 9/11, though the ultra orthodox brand of Islamic faith, practised in Saudi Arabia, has been in existence in India for over a century. Intelligence reports suggest that since Wahabism embraces the ideology of militant jihad, it is pushing a section of Muslim youth towards fundamentalism.

Sarvar Khan, a Sunni Barelvi Muslim from Kandivali, says the loss of their mosque underlines the way the Wahabis are trying to overrun moderate Sunnis. Trouble started at Kandivali when three of the trustees switched to Wahabism. “It is not just the loss of a mosque — what bothers us is the jihadi ideology of the Wahabis,” says Khan.

Like Khan, a majority of India’s Muslims — about 86 million out of 130 million — is Sunni. Most are moderates and many pray at the shrines of Sufi saints, which the Wahabis consider heresy. The fight between the moderates and hardliners has been mostly on the way rituals — births, marriages and burials — are conducted.

Mosques are often the arena where the two sections fight. In recent months, the Wahabis have tried to dominate the Nakhoda and Mohan Bagan mosques in Howrah. They control three mosques at Chimur in Chandrapur in Maharashtra. A fracas broke out recently over the control of a mosque in Nagpur.

“Most of these mosques are in urgent need of repairs. Wahabis donate funds and then persuade some of the trustees into letting them appoint their own imam,” says Mohammad Salim, an official of IMAN Tanzeem, a moderate Islamic organisation.

The wrangle over controlling mosques often leads to violence. At the New Ahbab colony mosque in Nagpur, Salim claims, a group of Wahabis sprinkled red chilli powder on the congregation. “There was a free for all after two Sunni boys were thrashed by the Wahabi group. But we saved the mosque.”

Several followers of Wahabism declined to comment on these incidents, but Aslam Ghazi, Mumbai head of the Jamaat-e-Islami, which disseminates books by the organisation’s founder Maulana Maududi, may represent their position when he says, “We preach and propagate true Islamic values and teachings through peaceful and democratic means. We are involved in the reformation of Muslims. Contemporary Muslims are far away from Islamic rituals, teachings and faith.”

But the security agencies are concerned. According to intelligence reports, after Pakistan’s defeat in the Bangladesh war in 1971, then Premier Z.A. Bhutto used the Kashmir branch of the Jamait-e-Islami Pakistan to infiltrate the state’s madarsas with Wahabi ideology. Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq is said to have sent Wahabi jihadis to Kashmir to fuel its separatist movement.

Only a minuscule section of Wahabis is drawn towards terrorism, however. Says an observer, “Some Wahabis are and will be terrorists. But the overwhelming section has nothing to do with terrorism.” Still, the debate consuming Indian intelligence agencies is whether they can combat terrorism by countering Wahabi ideology. Al-Qaida and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist outfit that allegedly masterminded the November Mumbai attacks, are said to draw inspiration from Wahabism.

“If we have to seriously root out terrorism, we have to root out Wahabism. They are interlinked,” argues Saed Noori, who runs the Raza Academy, a Muslim rights and educational body in Mumbai.

Not everyone agrees that a link exists. B. Raman, a former intelligence official and now director of the Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai, doesn’t believe there is a “direct” link between Wahabism and terrorism. “But there is an attempt at spreading Wahabism through funding from Saudi Arabia,” he says. “You can see the response to their drive everywhere. More Muslim youths in Chennai don’t wear contemporary clothes; more women are wearing burkhas in colleges.

Bohra reformist Asghar Ali Engineer too doesn’t agree that Wahabi radicalism leads to extremism. “Among the Wahabis, the Deobands (followers of the Deoband seminary in UP) contributed to Indian nationalism right from the 19th century. They stood by the Congress and opposed the Muslim League. Though they have differences with other Sunnis, the extremism that we see today is a reaction to what is happening around us. The debate about terrorism only talks of Islamic fundamentalism. In India, the extremist policies of the Hindutvavadis have contributed to terrorism.”

Still, Wahabis have a firm grip on most of India’s madarsas. Shabeeb Rizvi, a professor at Rizvi College in Mumbai, points out that in 1947, the Indian subcontinent had 150 madarsas. “Today, there are more than 45,000 madarsas with over one million students. Most of them are Wahabi with Saudi funding. Wahabis believe that Muslims who do not subscribe to their ideas are to be purged. I really believe that the growing influence of Wahabi groups in India may lead to major strife in the future.”

Moderate Muslims are alive to the threat posed to their way of life by Wahabis. IMAN Tanzeem head Mohammad Hamid Engineer says that many major Sunni organisations, such as the Wakf Board and the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board, are now dominated by Wahabis. “I am sure that over a period of time the dargahs will cease to exist and will be replaced by Wahabi mosques,” he says.

When a clean-shaven Muslim was not allowed to offer prayers in a Deoband mosque in Saharanpur, leading to clashes late last year, Sultan Shahin, editor of, said: “The Wahabi onslaught on Sunni Indian Muslims is now acquiring overtones of Talibani extremism and violence.”

Still, there are not too many apologists for the way Wahabis are pressing forward with radicalisation. Tele-evangelist Zakir Naik, a Wahabi, preaches orthodoxy on his channel Peace TV. Naik also runs the Islamic Research Foundation, which is described as a religious learning resource centre by the website of the Jamaat ud Dawa, Lashkara-e-Taiba’s parent body.

Peace TV is beamed to 60 countries. Last December, the information and broadcasting ministry confirmed in response to information sought under the RTI Act that the channel neither had permission to uplink from India nor downlink in India.

Most moderate Muslims are deeply uncomfortable with the growing influence of Wahabis. They feel that the spread of the Wahabi ideal of radicalism needs to be checked — for the good of the community and the country. Intelligence agencies could not agree more.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


SINGAPORE STAR: Some Maoist combatants have been taken in custody as per the directives of the party headquarters after a controversial video of outgoing Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' addressing a training session in Shaktikhor (in NEPAL) became public.

The Maoist army is on to prevent similar activities in other divisions.

Addressing a press conference which was captured in a videotape, of his lecture to PLA commanders some 16 months ago, which has caused quite an uproar in the political circle, Prachanda said his party had three tiers of armed forces - central and regional as regular armed forces and militia that numbered well over 100,000.

He said what he mentioned in the tape that real strength of the PLA was 7,000 to 8,000 was only the number of the 'central regular armed force'.


Times of India (9th May) reporting: "While India was inviting popular opprobrium in Nepal trying to prevent Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda from sacking the army chief,

China at the same time sent messages to Prachanda pledging support for doing just the opposite!

According to sources monitoring events in Nepal during those crucial days, China reportedly told Prachanda to stick to his guns and they would support him. In fact, they had offered to train the PLA cadres who could be integrated into the Nepal army.

Apparently, it was one of the assurances that led Prachanda to disregard the opinions of his allies in government and go ahead with the sacking, with disastrous consequences to the government and the infant democracy in Nepal.



On national army:

Integration will not happen before the Constituent Assembly elections. It cannot happen. You just have to look around, and you will know. Do you understand? This is the reality. Nowhere does it say that integration has to happen before the elections – there is no decision, no agreement and no understanding. We have said that it will happen after the elections. About the elections, either the Congress will not let it happen, or we won't. Let us say that somehow it does happen. We cannot say it will not happen, 100 percent. MARXISTS DO NOT SAY SUCH THINGS.

If it looks likely that the Maoists will capture power before the elections, they may be compelled to go for elections, thinking it will allow them to last for a few more months. If we do well, then we can implement socio-economic change under our leadership, with our majority. If we win, then the current verification will not be considered to be the criteria. Please explain this to all of our friends. Once we become the rooster – please pardon expression – once we have won, WHY WOULD WE NEED TO OBEY THE VERIFICATION? When we win, we will just CREATE A NEW LAW THAT INCLUDES OUR PEOPLE AND ELIMINATE THOSE FROM THE OTHER SIDE. When we have already won and have the upper hand, why would we OBEY THE CURRENT VERIFICATION?

We will have integration – in a way that decreases the size of the army. From the start, I have said that we DO NOT need such a large army. Let's keep it between 30,000 and 50,000. We will bring it down from 100,000 to 50,000. Ours may drop from 20,000 to 10,000, let's just say. You heard what Katawal said the other day. EVEN IF THE ARMY ABSORBS ONLY 3,000 MAOIST COMBATANTS, THAT THE WHOLE ARMY WLL BE FINISHED. Did you read that? He said a mere 3,000 could destroy their 100,000. That is true.

If we are going to place 10,000 combatants in the army, the whole force will come under OUR INFLUENCE. It will be Maobaad-maya, under our total influence. I fully believe this. We will introduce our agenda in there at that time. The issue here is not about more or less; it is about AWARENESS. We have concepts, policies and vision. They do nothing but bang their boots. The enlightened ones will eat up the boot-bangers. The 3,000 will SWALLOW THE REST.

If there are no elections, we will WIN THROUGH A MOVEMENT. We will first capture power, and then work on integration. We will not throw out all of them, as it will be necessary to keep some of them. We will reduce them systematically, and bring the ARMY UNDER OUR LEADERSHIP.

You expressed worries about continuing the revolution. This is how it will happen. It will happen in a new way. Please don't look for examples from Russia or China, or Vietnam or Cuba. Our solution will be specific to Nepal, but it will happen. Integration will happen in this way. It will not happen one-by-one, on an individual basis. We will do it unit-wise. Our battalions and theirs will be separate, under one command. Our people will also be in command. The plan is to 'democratise' the army, which means to POLITICISE it. It'll take five to seven years to do that. If we are really going to have integration, the way to do it is unit-wise, so that our units remain with us. This is important: if we do it unit-wise, we can REACT if we are BETRAYED. I have had talks with the army leadership about going about this on a unit-wise basis.

On funds, arms and elections:

We have said that for elections to happen, the martyrs' families must receive relief, information on the disappeared must be gathered, the injured receive relief, and the combatants be paid. Elections cannot happen without these conditions. Over the last 3-4 months, the world has been repeating our formula; it has been accepted all over. They've been saying the Maoists are right on this. Believe me, I have seen it all. This is great for us; this will take us to the top. When we insist that we will not go to elections without money for the families of martyrs, they all say, "Yes! Yes!"

Now a relief package is being promised to the martyr families by Magh (Jan/Feb). For now, this is one lakh (one hundred thousand), though the full compensation is 10 lakh. Now don't think this is just money; it is politics. We will distribute this money in mass meetings. We will make a plan from the top and go district to district. All of this is not preparations for elections; it is preparations for revolt. With the money, our relationship with the people will improve. They will feel this is their party. And we will say, "One lakh is not enough, we will get you the nine lakh." Of course, we will not say, "Take this and go home."

Now, about the 60 crore (one crore is equivalent to ten million) for the cantonments, we will use this for the revolt. We need money to prepare for the revolt. Remember my point about the need for 10 crore, to bring it all in a truck. We need money for what the truck carries; nobody gives it for free. We don't have enough money for that. Of the 60 crore, you will take a little bit, and about 20 crore will come to us. Just imagine the preparations we can do with 20 crore.

To make good battle plans, you need money. With lots of money, we can make good plans. We need quite a bit for a REVOLT. So, it you only look at the form, it may look like the party is heading towards agreement. Look deeper and you will understand how the brave party is preparing for revolt.

On combatant numbers and verification:

Revolution calls for renunciation, penance, sacrifice. How is today's situation different from during the people's war? Talking of form, earlier you were holding the machine gun, killing or being killed. Today, it seems like we are sitting at the table with the enemy, chatting and sipping tea. The form is very different. But the gist is still the same: we are both taking the revolution forward.

Did you see the Naya Patrika the other day? It says that B. P. Koirala said that if he had been able to keep just 500 soldiers in 1960, the Panchayat takeover would not have happened. That seems correct. If they had not dissolved their insurrectionary force, Mahendra would not have had the guts to act. Because we have thousands in the People's Liberation Army, nobody has the guts to challenge us.

Your position today can be called renunciation, penance or sacrifice. I would say you are doing penance, for revolution. Our actions in Baluwatar, Singha Durbar, inside and outside the country, have been successful only because of you. Without you, nobody would listen to us. Because we have an army, everybody is petrified, even now. The Congress and UML don't want to admit it, but they feel the fear.

Earlier today, the UML's Bam Dev called, saying that our friends in Kavre had badly beaten up their party workers. I said yours are hardly better, they beat us up yesterday. His reply was, "We can hardly hurt you. Yours are all trained, and they beat hard." They are terrorised by us – everyone is. I have also talked to the top officers in the other army, and they too feel terror, great terror. They fear our numbers.

You say our numbers have decreased. That's not true. Our army has grown significantly. Where is the shrinking? You must understand strategy and tactics. Tell me, how many of us were there earlier? Speaking honestly, we were few before the compromise. We were at 7,000 to 8,000. If we had reported that, we would have had 4,000 left after verification. Instead, we claimed 35,000, and now we have 20,000. THIS IS THE TRUTH. We cannot tell others, but you all and I know the truth.

How can anyone say our numbers have decreased? Look how wisely our leadership took a 7,000-person army and made it a 21,000-person regular army. That is what you are now. We have not shrunk; we have grown. And on the outside, we have created the YCL infrastructure, and we have thousands in the YCL. So we have built a lot, and are still building. It is true that there some complexities, but they are still a strength. About our friends who did not make it through the verification process, there is a fear that they are done. But arrangements will be made.

On Constituent Assembly elections:

What will come of the elections is not agreement but revolt. First, let me assure you that elections will not happen. But we cannot share this understanding. We must insist that the country needs elections that it is the only way out. If we show enthusiasm, then they will stop the process. You may remember that in June, before the peace process, I said that if it looks like we will win they will not let it happen. And if it looks like they will win, we will not let it happen. Either way, I have said there will be no elections. I was never confused about that.

If it looks like the Maoists are going to win, THE REACTIONARIES - AMERICA AND INDIA, will together prevent the elections. If there is an anti-Maoist conspiracy making things difficult for us, we will not let the elections happen. Before we had the meeting with the UML, you may recall that I told them, "If you go above board on this, we can break the legs [of your candidates] across the country. We can destroy your elections." This, then, is our line today. It is the only line that prepares us for revolution. One cannot have a revolution by panicking and merely wanting it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Reproduced with permission. However before reading the article, also go to the pro-LTTE website:

The unedited Stratfor article written by Fred Burton and Scott Stewart (May 6th, 2009):

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told parliament May 5 that he believes Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is among the large group of Tiger militants trapped in a 4-square kilometer coastline area near Mullaitivu. The area around Mullaitivu has been the final focal point of a recent larger government military offensive aimed at restoring government control of northeast Sri Lanka and crushing the South Asian country’s separatist rebels, who have controlled large parts of the region for the past several years.

The Tigers’ battlefield losses have been compounded by the severe disruption to their formerly extensive financial network (primarily concentrated among the Tamil diaspora in Western Europe and Canada) after the European Union placed the group on its terror list in 2006. This led to tightened sanctions by Europe, the United States and Canada against the Tigers, as well as greater international cooperation in arresting Tiger smuggling rings. Some of the Tigers’ main financiers have since been arrested, and many of their assets have been frozen. It takes a lot of money and equipment to wage a conventional war, and those resources have become far harder for the Tigers to come by of late.

As STRATFOR has previously noted, if Sri Lankan troops manage to crush the remnants of the Tigers’ hard-pressed conventional military forces, the Tigers will have little choice but to give up on conventional warfare (at least for the time being). But the Tigers’ separatist struggle is more than 30 years old and has been marked by great brutality on both sides. Because of this, there is very little chance the Tigers will simply accept defeat and fade into history. Instead, now that the government has the military advantage, the Tigers can be expected to continue their war against the government by melting back into the populace and resorting to guerrilla tactics and terrorism.

In many ways, this will resemble events in Iraq and Afghanistan, where a militarily weaker force melted away in the face of a more powerful conventional military force. The Tigers, however, have a far more experienced and effective terrorist apparatus than either their Taliban or Iraqi counterparts. This struggle will therefore remain bloody in Sri Lanka (and perhaps even abroad).


The Tigers are battling for the creation of an independent Tamil homeland for the country’s 10-15 percent Tamil minority, the dominant ethnicity in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. The Tigers are struggling against the majority Sinhalese Buddhist-controlled government, which has fought the Tigers in a bloody civil war that has lasted nearly three and a half decades. Over the decades, the Tigers have developed an extremely sophisticated paramilitary organization. This force consists of not only ground forces (complete with artillery and even some armor), but also a sea wing that engages in arms smuggling and naval attacks against the Sri Lankan Navy — to include suicide boat attacks — a small air wing, and an elite force of militants trained to conduct assassinations and terrorist attacks known as the Black Tigers.

The Black Tigers became famous for suicide bombings (one of which killed former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991), and we are hard-pressed to think of another militant group that has assassinated as many VIPs, including several Cabinet ministers and numerous members of parliament, as have the Black Tigers. Last year alone, they killed a Sri Lankan member of parliament on Jan. 1, the minister for nation building on Jan. 8, and the highway minister on April 7. They also killed the Sri Lankan foreign minister in August 2005.

The Tigers’ fortunes have fluctuated over the years. Several times they have brought large swathes of northern and eastern Sri Lanka under their exclusive control, only to lose them to government offensives, such as an offensive launched in January 2001. As mentioned, international pressures on their finances and logistics in recent years, plus the loss of the strategically significant Elephant Pass in January — formerly a key logistics hub for their resupply efforts and an important base for their naval efforts — mean the Tigers are now in an uphill battle for survival. Compounding the Tigers’ woes, the government now is far better prepared, equipped and trained than it has been during previous military offensives. But despite being so hard-pressed and having taken such significant losses, there are no signs that the Tigers have lost the will to fight. They continue to hold out rather than surrender, and we have not seen news of desertions.

The Tigers’ material losses will be more difficult to overcome than their loss of personnel. They should be able to find new volunteers (or conscripts) among Sri Lanka’s Tamil population. Their ability to recruit should be aided by the Sri Lankan military’s policy of forcing Tamils into internment camps, something the Tigers also have leapt on as an international propaganda opportunity. Tiger militants are well-trained and are also subject to rigorous political indoctrination. With rare exception, the Tigers prefer to fight — or take their standard-issue cyanide capsules — and die rather than surrender.

This willingness for self-sacrifice is best seen in the Black Tigers, which were early adopters of suicide bombing attacks and have been among the most frequent users of the tactic. The Black Tigers also have employed more female suicide bombers than any other group. (They used a female suicide operative in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.) The Black Tigers reportedly have a waiting list of militants seeking to enter the unit — suicide bombers reportedly are held in almost mythical esteem by their ordinary Tiger colleagues — and Prabhakaran reportedly handpicks each member.

Insurgency and Terror

As seen from Iraq, Afghanistan and any number of historical examples, it is very difficult to eradicate an insurgency that can blend in with a sympathetic local population. Doing so is even harder when the insurgents can exploit international borders to create a place of refuge. Although Sri Lanka is an island, it is located very close to the coast of India. It lies just a few miles from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, an Indian state that, as its name implies, has a substantial ethnic Tamil population. Some Indian Tamils are sympathetic to the Tigers, and the Tigers have established a sizable presence in Tamil Nadu.

Sympathy in Tamil Nadu for the Tigers came into view May 5, 2009, when a large group of pro-Tiger Indian Tamil activists blocked a convoy of Indian army trucks in the city of Coimbatore because they believed the trucks were carrying supplies destined for the Sri Lankan military. The activists reportedly damaged and ransacked some of the trucks.

Support in Tamil Nadu means that the Tigers can — and do — exploit the international border to their advantage. The Tigers use India in much the same way that the Taliban and al Qaeda use Pakistan. The Tigers’ logistical and training infrastructure in India is especially important during times (like the present) when the Sri Lankan government is hammering them. The Tigers also have a long history of working with an array of other militant groups in India and the general region. This cooperation is not based on ideology, but rather on mutual benefit, such as bolstering the groups’ ability to smuggle weapons and other goods.

Another truism about insurgency is that it takes far fewer resources to sustain an insurgency than it does to fight a conventional war. The amount of ordnance expended in a single conventional battle can sustain months or even years of insurgent activity, especially if the insurgents can acquire ordnance from their enemy during their operations. Conducting terrorist attacks requires even fewer resources than insurgent attacks; terrorism is a cheap and time-tested means of hitting a militarily superior foe. When properly conducted, terrorist attacks are the ultimate exercise of asymmetrical warfare.

For a militant group to effectively wield terrorism as an asymmetrical weapon, however, it must gain mastery of a range of tactical skills that we refer to as terrorist tradecraft. These skills include, among other things, the ability to operate without being detected, the ability to collect intelligence on potential targets, the ability to procure munitions, the ability to recruit operatives, the ability to plan effective strikes and the ability to construct reliable improvised explosives devices (IEDs).

Through decades of trial and error, the Tigers have developed all of these skills, as evidenced by their large number of successful assassinations. In fact, they have a record of tactical success that would make any jihadist group green with envy. The Tigers excel at collecting intelligence, and their female operatives form a significant part of their intelligence apparatus, since they generally can travel more widely than males can and do not tend to arouse suspicions to the extent male operatives do. Female Tigers who are already willing to serve as suicide bombers not surprisingly have been willing to use seduction to obtain information critical to their cause.

The group has also long demonstrated the ability to operate in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, as well as in other non-Tamil majority areas. And it has conducted scores of attacks against military, financial and political targets and civilian soft targets in non-Tamil areas. The group conducted five suicide bombings in Colombo alone in 2008, and several attacks against soft targets like passenger buses and commuter trains. The group also has a cadre of very polished and experienced bombmakers who make reliable and effective IEDs.

Perhaps most spectacularly, the Tiger air wing launched a 9/11-inspired airborne suicide attack Feb. 20, in which their two remaining aircraft were loaded with explosives and sent out after dark on a suicide mission to attack Colombo. One of the planes was shot down, but the other plane reached the capital and struck the 12th floor of the 15-floor Inland Revenue Department, where it exploded — a scene captured by a Sri Lankan navy infrared camera and posted to YouTube.

YouTube Video of Airborne Tiger Suicide Attack

It is thought that the Inland Revenue Department was not the intended target, but that the plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and accidentally struck that building. According to Sri Lankan sources, the intended target may have been either the headquarters of the Sri Lankan air force, which is next to the building that was hit, or the president’s house or army headquarters, which also are close by. The decision to use the remaining Tiger aircraft in this type of suicide operation against the government in Colombo rather than risk losing them to advancing government troops is a prime example of the Tigers’ mind-set.

Mayhem in the Forecast

With the Tigers’ air wing now apparently gone, further 9/11-style suicide planes are unlikely. The Tigers, however, will almost certainly plan more terrorist strikes. Such attacks will be seen as retaliation against the Sri Lankan government. They also will be used to hurt the economy (and thus the government’s ability to finance its military efforts). And they will be used to force the government to divert troops from the northeast to provide security to other parts of the country, thus taking pressure off the Tamil heartland. The Tigers also have shown a limited cyberwarfare capability, which they can be expected to use to score propaganda points and wreak economic havoc when possible. In addition to assassinating VIPs and attacking passenger trains and buses, the Tigers have a long history of attacking villages and massacring Sinhalese Buddhist and Muslim civilians to foster a sense of terror.

We anticipate that small Tamil units will resume operations to massacre civilians, in particular Sinhalese Buddhist and Muslim civilians. The Tigers also probably will attack crowds of civilians and commercial centers. We also anticipate assassination attempts to be launched against military and political VIPs in Colombo, and against local/regional leaders and military and police commanders in the northeast. Attacks against passenger trains and buses also can be expected. STRATFOR sources in Sri Lanka advise that the Tigers are likely to strike at the Yal Devi Express, a train that runs from Colombo to Vavuniya and is of great symbolic value to Tamil-Sinhalese coexistence.

We believe there will be numerous attacks and ambushes targeting traffic on the A-9 road that leads from Colombo to Jaffna aimed at both military and commercial targets, blending terrorism and insurgency. Such attacks could involve ambushes and roadside IEDs, a tactic the Tigers have used with success in the past, such as with the roadside IED used in the January 2008 assassination of the minister of nation building.

Due to the long history of conflict in Sri Lanka (which has sometimes been fueled by external meddling), we do not share the assessment by some in the Sri Lankan government that the Tigers are all but dead. They may be severely damaged as a conventional military force — for a time at least — but the group’s cadre of dedicated, zealous militants will certainly spill a lot more blood in their quest for independence and vengeance against the Sri Lankan government.


Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland is coming alive in US as Obama (Alice) gets to meet Hamid Karzai (Tweedle Dee) and Asif Ali Zardari (Tweedle Dum).


The US sets date with two figureheads both of whom are mere ornaments that adorn a mantelpiece rather than as executives with real enforceable power. Both Zardari and to a lesser degree Karzai have shown immense prevarication towards governing their countries respectively.

Yet the US cannot do business without the two. Of the two, the interaction the world is watching out for is between Zardari and Obama.

The first ball has already been lobbed – much like a puppet whose strings have been snapped at the sight of big daddy – Zardari shot off the block first.


Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had opposed inking a peace agreement with Taliban in the Swat Valley but was “forced to agree to it”, US Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has said. And Holbrooke lobbed back: “We support the democratic government led by Zardari and speculation that we are having discussions with Nawaz Sharif is just plain wrong.”

Well, thank you for the curtain raiser – let the actual games begin!

What are the leading journalists saying about it?

Simon Cameron Moore wrting in Reuters (May 3rd) : Pakistanis don't often see their country the same way as American presidents, but the fear spread by Taliban fighters turning up a few hours drive from Islamabad has finally put them on the same page.

When Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the situation in the nuclear-armed Muslim nation warranted "grave concern" there was no dispute in Pakistan.

Politicians of every hue, the media and the public have all been seized by the urgent need to fight back.
"The national mood is changing," said a senior Pakistani official with knowledge of foreign policy and security matters.
"People got scared, which is good. Getting scared is good."

The turnaround is occurring as President Asif Ali Zardari prepares to meet Obama and Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in Washington on May 6-7 to discuss how to destroy al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Pakistan is suffering the backwash from the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, a price paid, according to critics, for supporting the militants in the past.”

Zaid Hussain on Times Online (May 5th) : Islamabad’s patchy attempts to fight surging militancy will be the focus of Mr Zardari’s talks in Washington later this week. Pakistan’s President is likely to seek increased US help. Analysts said that Mr Obama would present his strategy for defeating al-Qaeda to the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan tomorrow.

The Taleban’s advance from Swat into the neighbouring districts of Buner and Lower Dir heightened fears that the militants were extending their influence. Security forces launched an offensive to expel militants a week ago, with helicopter gunships and ground troops fighting hundreds of armed Taleban.

The renewed military action in Swat will stretch the Pakistani army, which is ill-equipped to fight an insurgency over such a large area. The situation is made more difficult by Pakistan’s insistence on deploying the bulk of its forces on its border with India.

Ahmed Rashid on Washington Post (May 5th) : Pakistan is on the brink of chaos, and Congress is in a critical position: U.S. lawmakers can hasten that fateful process, halt it or even help turn things around. The speed and conditions with which Congress provides emergency aid to Islamabad will affect the Pakistani government and army's ability and will to resist the Taliban onslaught. It will also affect America's image in Pakistan and the region. Pakistanis are looking for evidence of the long-term U.S. commitment about which President Obama has spoken.

In the past, many of these jihadist groups, including the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, have been fostered by Pakistan's army and intelligence services -- at the cost of global security, democracy and civil society. The Bush administration ignored this trend for years while it pumped more than $11 billion into Pakistan. The bulk of that funding went to the military, which bought arms to fight Pakistan's historic enemy, India, rather than the insurgency.

The army's recent counteroffensive against the Taliban was prompted in part by U.S. pressure and, more significant, by a dramatic shift in public opinion toward opposing the Taliban. Many people are beginning to see the country threatened by a bloody internal revolution. This public pressure can lead to a major change in army policies toward India and Afghanistan.

Certainly the United States can demand that its money be used for good purposes. The original Biden-Lugar bill introduced last year had the mix just right, setting down three strategic benchmarks -- that Pakistan be committed to fighting terrorism, that Pakistan remain a democracy (in other words, the army must not seize control), and that both nations provide public and official accountability for the funds.

For three decades, I have written about the fire that Islamic militancy has lit in this region. I do not want to see my country go down because Congress is more concerned with minutiae than with the big picture. Yes, there must be a sea change in attitudes and policies in the army, intelligence services and civilian government. But tomorrow may be too late. Pakistan needs help today.”


Beyond the rhetoric – the US will want to know – where are the Pakistani nukes? Of course Zardari is not qualified to know this, for that US will have to seek answers from Kiyani and Kidwai. However, the game starts here.

David Sanger, the author of Inheritance, whom I have quoted widely and has one of the best eyes and ears on the “ground” writes in New York Times (May 3rd) : “As the insurgency of the Taliban and Al Qaeda spreads in Pakistan, senior American officials say they are increasingly concerned about new vulnerabilities for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, including the potential for militants to snatch a weapon in transport or to insert sympathizers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities.

The officials emphasized that there was no reason to believe that the arsenal, most of which is south of the capital, Islamabad, faced an imminent threat. President Obama said last week that he remained confident that keeping the country’s nuclear infrastructure secure was the top priority of Pakistan’s armed forces.

But the United States does not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located, and its concerns have intensified in the last two weeks since the Taliban entered Buner, a district 60 miles from the capital. The spread of the insurgency has left American officials less willing to accept blanket assurances from Pakistan that the weapons are safe.

Pakistani officials have continued to deflect American requests for more details about the location and security of the country’s nuclear sites, the officials said.

Mr. Zardari heads the country’s National Command Authority, the mix of political, military and intelligence leaders responsible for its arsenal of 60 to 100 nuclear weapons. But in reality, his command and control over the weapons are considered tenuous at best; that power lies primarily in the hands of the army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the former director of Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s intelligence agency.

For years the Pakistanis have waved away the recurring American concerns, with the head of nuclear security for the country, Gen. Khalid Kidwai, dismissing them as “overblown rhetoric.”

Even as Pakistan faces instability, it is producing more plutonium for new weapons, and building more production reactors.
In the current climate, with Pakistan’s leadership under duress from daily acts of violence by insurgent Taliban forces and organized political opposition, the security of any nuclear material produced in these reactors is in question.” The Pakistanis, not surprisingly, dismiss those fears as American and Indian paranoia, intended to dissuade them from nuclear modernization. But the government’s credibility is still colored by the fact that it used equal vehemence to denounce as fabrications the reports that Abdul Qadeer Khan, one of the architects of Pakistan’s race for the nuclear bomb, had sold nuclear technology on the black market.

In the end, those reports turned out to be true.

Some of the Pakistani reluctance, they said, stemmed from longstanding concern that the United States might be tempted to seize or destroy Pakistan’s arsenal if the insurgency appeared about to engulf areas near Pakistan’s nuclear sites. But they said the most senior American and Pakistani officials had not yet engaged on the issue, a process that may begin this week, with President Asif Ali Zardari scheduled to visit Mr. Obama in Washington on Wednesday.

Ergo, the sub-heading – where the heck are your nukes buddy?

MUST READ: Pakistan's nuclear scenarios and US options - in New York Times (5th May'09). As the Pakistani military launched a new offensive against the Taliban in the country’s North-West Frontier Province, officials and former officials in Washington continued to discuss what the American response should be to the heightened conflict. How should the United States respond? And how secure are Pakistan’s nuclear weapons?

Discussed by:

Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution
Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, former Energy Department official Karin von Hippel, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute
Ellen Laipson, Stimson Center
Parag Khanna, New America Foundation

Of the five, I am giving the op-ed written by Danielle Pletka of AEI.


"American South Asia policy is terminally afflicted by strategic attention deficit disorder (SADD). In the three decades since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States has trusted the Pakistanis (and allowed the ISI to run mujahedeen operations), mistrusted the Pakistanis (and sanctioned them for developing the nuclear weapons they developed five years before the sanctions), trusted the Pakistanis (and climbed into bed with Pervez Musharraf as the terror fighting hero of the post 9/11 era), dumped Musharraf, embraced Benazir Bhutto and then her widower, and now we’re about to dump the widower.

Neither Bush or Obama were interested in scrutinizing where U.S. aid goes and what it achieves, preferring to trumpet mere expenditure as policy.
In light of the fact that successive American directors of the C.I.A. have labeled South Asia the world’s most dangerous nuclear flashpoint, the fact that 9/11 was plotted in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, that Islamists affiliated with al Qaeda now dominate significant swaths of Pakistani territory, and that we have two nuclear armed nations eying each other warily, the administration’s confusion is staggering.

What’s the nightmare scenario? This is it. We have another president in Washington who believes that if he only finds the right president (of Pakistan, Afghanistan, whatever), the situation on the ground will improve. Another president who believes that more troops equals better strategy. Another president who believes that nuclear weapons and the creeping domination of territory is something that can be managed by better diplomacy. Another president that has been persuaded, as Secretary Gates said today, that Saudi Arabia can help manage our problems.

These problems aren’t going to be solved by having special envoys with better titles, or subcontracting American defense to Saudi Arabia. We need clear indications of long term American commitment to the region, training and equipping of the Pakistani military, and effectively integrated military and aid programs. And what of the billions that have already been spent?

Like soldiers, money should not be obligated without a strategy. Neither Bush or Obama were interested in scrutinizing where U.S. aid goes and what it achieves, preferring to trumpet the mere expenditure as policy. Absent these changes, we are inviting our enemies to believe again in American weakness. And we know where that led the last time

Thoughts to carry home: Does PAKISTAN have “actionabale and usable nukes?”