Tag Archives: Jihad

Method to madness

If you think anyone can go and join a terrorist organization, you are wrong. You are as wrong as I was when I was worried about a friend who proved to be an admirer of militancy and guerrilla warfare. In his college days, he was a friend to a Mujahid in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. I never took his crave to go and fight a battle, seriously but his Mujahid friend did. And he never let him get close to his organization, weapons or anything ‘militant’ he had. Years after, the same old crazy guy spotted his Jihadi friend somewhere in the Middle East and tried to contact him. I was worried about him and maybe I have mentioned my worry somewhere in some article. I was worried that he may fall prey to ISIL or some other terrorist organization but after reading this research, I am a bit relieved.

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This research; “The recruiter’s dilemma: Signalling and rebel recruitment tactics” by Thomas Hegghammer of Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) published in 2012 in the Journal of Peace Research, made me understand that my ‘once friend’ has very little chances to succeed in joining a terrorist organization. How do terrorists recruit? Thomas Hegghammer in order to answer this, say; we know much about the profiles and pathways of recruits, but little about the strategies and tactics of recruiters. He presents an analytical framework that conceptualizes recruitment as a trust game between recruiter and recruit. He argues that the central logic shaping recruiter tactics is the search for cost-discriminating signs of trustworthiness, that is, signs that are too costly for mimics to fake, but affordable for the genuinely trustworthy recruit.

He argues; Terrorist recruiters face a primary trust dilemma in the uncertainty over the quality of recruits. They need people who are trust worthy, which means a combination of at least three qualities: willingness to fight, loyalty and vigilance. But according to different jihadi manuals, there must be some more qualities in a recruit. For example, the so-called Manchester Manual listed 14 desirable qualities in a prospective member: Islam, ideological commitment, maturity, willingness to sacrifice, obedience, ability to keep secrets and conceal information, good health, patience, tranquillity, intelligence, prudence, truthfulness, ability to observe and ability to conceal oneself. Another manual, entitled A Course in the Art of Recruitment (al-Qa‘idi, 2008), advised recruiters to choose old friends or relatives who are not particularly religious and to avoid very pious people and certain types of professionals.

But these qualities, he says, cannot easily be seen but the signs in a terrorist recruit are notable. Recruiters observe, identify and evaluate these signs before probing and induction.

Researcher applies the framework to the case of ‘al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula’ (QAP), and finds that QAP’s recruiters didn’t pay attention to a recruit’s tribal origin or social class. But they paid great attention to ethnicity. In 260’s sample, there were no South Asians and only 12 non-Saudi Arabs. South Asians and non-Saudi Arabs, who together make up about a quarter of residents in Saudi Arabia, are thus underrepresented.  He argues, that, it is fair to assume, then, that QAP did not trust non-Arabs and were less likely to trust non-Saudi Arabs than Saudis. Asian, African or Western features would thus have been a strong negative cue, while very dark- or light-skinned Arab features would have been a moderately negative one.

These preferences probably had both a rational and an irrational component. It would be easier to check the background of a Saudi than a foreigner and easier to communicate with anArab than a non-Arab. The low income and status of Asians in Saudi Arabia would have made them more susceptible to bribes and vulnerable to blackmail. At the same time, prejudice toward Asians and Africans is very widespread in the Kingdom, and the international jihadi movement has historically been characterized by a certain Arab chauvinism.

Apparently this seems true about Taliban’s where majority is from tribal Afghanistan or Pakistan and speaks Pushto (correct me, if am wrong) but recruiters have used different methods to recruit new terrorist. Al-Qaeda preferred veteran jihadists who had been on the battleground in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia or somewhere else, whereas Taliban has depended on Madrassa students as well. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has recruited terrorists from all over the world but surprisingly even they did not rely on the internet for the recruitment.

 

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad and blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com go say hello @imrankhushaal

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Is terrorism transforming Kashmir?

By: Imran Khushal

Before going to analyze, is terrorism transforming Kashmir, or otherwise, let us see what was the latest ‘’untransformed status of Kashmir’’. All most everyone knows that it is divided and disputed between two nuclear states, India, and Pakistan, but not many people are aware of China’s occupation, which is another nuclear state. So it is a part of the land, (for the contesters), surrounded by three nuclear states and, being contested, mainly between India and Pakistan. India wants to annexed the remaining part of it, namely, Azad Kashmir, or as they call it, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, or PoK, whereas Pakistan wants to liberate the rest of Kashmir, namely Jammu and Kashmir, as they call it, Indian Occupied Kashmir, or IoK, not to leave it independent but to annexed the whole sum. And this is perhaps the dumbest strategy for expansion of any of nuclear states so far. It’s not that nuclear states are always the wiser states, but they have capabilities to foresee future and plan in advance. Many of these plans fail when implemented, but still they plan. In Kashmir’s case, we see no planning on either end to cope with the upcoming or already came, challenges. They wanted and fought on the piece of land and ignored everything else, and they are again ignoring everything else. The only thing for these two states is “territorial Expansion”. And no matter what they pay for it, they want it.

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Terrorism for individuals is terrorism, but for states, it is a mean of fighting the war to weak and deteriorate other states, and to gain relative power on them, for example, the United States’ war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, was clearly terrorism, but it gave them what they wanted. Terrorists for individuals are evil and immoral but for states they are strategic assets and force multiplier, for example, Osama bin Laden was a terrorist, but he enjoyed protection as an asset and force multiplier.

This tool and the mean of fighting the war and destabilizing the enemy were never abandoned in Kashmir neither by India nor Pakistan. These strategic assets and force multiplier are still there and could be activated on one single command, if not already had been activated. This reality coupled with a new reality that many Kashmiri students from south Kashmir has joined Hizbul Mujahideen, a militant organization which altered the theme of Kashmir insurgency of 1989 from “Sovereign Kashmir” to “Pakistani Kashmir” and replaced Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) as the top most guerilla organization of Kashmir, opens a new window to foresee Kashmir’s future from a global perspective.

Globalization has made migration an organic aspect of today’s world and there are tens of thousands of Kashmiri migrants in Europe as well as in the Middle East. Global Terrorism offers the solution to all evil including Kashmir and Palestine issue, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Qaeda challenge Gulf Regimes’ which are clearly exploiting these migrant workers. Frustration at work and turmoil at home can lead many of them to join these terrorist organizations and maybe many has already joined them. As they have fled from Europe to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria they could join it in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Kashmir.

As in August 2014, Kashmiri Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told Media that “a Kashmir youth has reportedly joined powerful Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Australia”. And as it was reported in the Nation Pakistan, that “The revelation by Chief Minister came after Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) flags became the common sight during anti-Israel and anti-India demonstrations and clashes in Old City and Civil Lines of Srinagar since July 11, this year”. Also, in July 2015 as First Post India, reported that according to an Indian defense analyst, Alok Bansal, “No doubt, it (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a major concern in terms of the country’s internal security. The IS jihadists have already announced a war in future from the soil of Khorasan that includes India. For the IS, their ultimate battle for global jihad will be on this land of Khorasan. They have also talked about Kashmir. The unfurling of IS flags will give a boost to the radicalization in Kashmir valley, as more number of educated youth are joining militancy.”

So, as it is clear from these developments that Kashmir, which already had seen militancy and is fueling militancy at the moment could also see flocks of Kashmiri migrants coming home and joining militant organizations. Which will clearly transform its realities and most probably convert it into next battleground. As Pakistan and India are nuclear states and will avoid head to head collision, Kashmir would serve as proxy war ground.

This upcoming disaster is posing a threat to the political stakeholders in the region and abroad. To the socio-political and economic institutions of the region and development on democratic front no matter how tiny that is. This threat requires clear actions from all the stakeholders. Muzaffarabad and Srinagar should come up with more jobs and employment opportunities, (even if they can’t). Social and political activists should play their role in youth counseling and democratizing their thoughts. Political parties should participate in the electoral process and bring democratic reforms within themselves to accommodate youth and give them a sense of belonging and positivity. Writers should write about harms of militancy and terrorism and try to convey their message to the masses that why terrorism doesn’t work.

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal

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Why couldn’t 1989 insurgency liberate Kashmir?

By: Imran Khushal

Militant movements or guerrilla warfare has played a vital role in transforming the realities almost all the time, particularly in the 20th-century world. After the Second World War, starting from Chines Revolution where Mao’s People Liberation Army (1945-1949) not only defeated the three time bigger opponents and conquered the third largest nation in the period of just four years but also brought one billion under the rule of Communism and influenced the communist movements in many nations like India (Naxalite movement), Vietnam (Vietcong), Malaysia, Philippines etc. to Mujahideen in Afghanistan (1979-1989) who failed soviet war machine to occupy this mountain-rugged nation and weakened its economy which assisted in the fall of Soviet Union in 1991.

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Exactly when Soviet was defeated in 1989 in Afghanistan, an insurgency broke out in Kashmir. Definitely, Kashmir had background and conditions which led to the insurgency in 1989 but the success of Mujahideen in Afghanistan played like a catalyst. In the mid 80’s when Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference allied to All Indian National Congress, radical groups and parties gained grounds and later momentum and soon an insurgency gripped Srinagar in 1989, under the banner of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front commonly known as JKLF, which demanded a “Sovereign Kashmir’’, in their slogans like “Kashmir Bannay Ga Khudmukhtar”, and “Hum Kia Chahtay, Azaadi”, from both India and Pakistan.

So If Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and his group of 82 were able to overthrow the corrupt rule of Fulgencio Batista and defeat his army of more than 20,000, after 1955 in Cuba, why couldn’t Maqbool But and His companions do the same thing in Kashmir? If Vietcong could defeat France in Battle of Dien Bien Phu and forced American to leave why JKLF couldn’t defeat India and liberate Kashmir?

Well, in Kashmir’s case, even though JKLF was fighting for a sovereign Kashmir it was fighting only against Indian occupation which made it suspicious in the eye of other Kashmiri nationalists in general and Kashmiri non-Muslims in Particular, where it lacked general public support and due to lack of resources and dependency on Pakistan, soon it was weakened and divided. In the absence of a clear political aim, a perfect propaganda, sustainable resources and public support along with other deficiencies, JKLF was replaced by Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) in couple of years, and insurgency’s theme became “Kashmir, Bannay Ga Pakistan”, (Kashmir will become a Part of Pakistan), from “Kashmir, Bannay Ga Khud Mukhtar”.

By comparing Kashmir’s insurgency of 1989 and the July 26 Movement of Cuba, we see one essential difference in two guerrilla approaches, and that is of recognizing and challenging the instant enemy. General Batista was nothing but an American puppet, similarly government in Srinagar was nothing but an Indian installation. Where JKLF tipped was neglecting Pakistani Installations in Muzaffarabad and Gilgit-Baltistan. They rallied to fight against occupation and yet they fought against only one kind of occupation and “favored” or “neglected” other kind of occupation. They depended on Muslim fighters and gave an impression of liberating Kashmir to build a theocratic state or joining Pakistan an already theocratic state. Where non-Muslims feared and preferred to remain in a “Contested, but Secular Land” instead of living in a “Liberated, but non-secular state”, or predominantly Muslim theocratic state.

Another reason for the failure of 1989 insurgency can clearly be seen in the divided status of Jammu and Kashmir. Insurgency broke out and remained in one “part of the state” i.e. Valley, against “one occupier” i.e. India, by “one religious group” i.e. Muslims. So here arises a fundamental question, can Kashmir be liberated without its unification and can Kashmir be united without liberation? One of the Kashmiri nationalist parties tried to answer this question in 1992 when they opposed militancy and insurgency in Kashmir. They renamed their party after a split in old party. It was called United Kashmir People’s National Party, or (UKPNP) which then gave an idea of the unification and creation of United States of Kashmir, by combining all its divided parts which are under Chines, Indian and Pakistani control. As per UKPNP’s philosophy, former states of Burushal, Dardistan, Boloristan, Ladakh, Purig, Kishtwar, Duggart, Poonch and Kashmir, should be united in order to get what they called United States of Kashmir.

Recently in South Kashmir, a new wave of militancy struck a handful number of college and university students who see Jihad as the only way forward ignoring the historical lesson of JKLF and 1989 insurgency. If Kashmir could not be liberated in 1989, through a militant struggle, in the 20th-century, when plenty of countries opted guerilla warfare and got independence from their occupiers all over the world, it can’t be liberated through militancy in the 21st century, which is clearly not a century of guerrilla warfare.

So the only way forward is the political one. Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri, all those who are interested in peace in South East Asia, should behave politically. United Nations should force Pakistan and India to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir after withdrawal of their militaries. Nationalists should put pressure on both India and Pakistan to include independence as a third option. And also, participate in “fair or rigged” all kind of electoral processes, in all parts of “state”, under Indian as well a Pakistani administration to spread their message across Jammu and Kashmir.

Writer is pursuing his MPhil at Iqra University Islamabad, blogs at Kashmirica.wordpress.com and can be followed @imrankhushaal

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