Original Articles

Baloch nationalists and Takfiri Deobandis jointly mourn the death of a Baloch LeJ-ASWJ terrorist

We condemn the expression of support by some Baloch nationalists to Baloch LeJ-ASWJ terrorists. The evidence of links between Baloch nationalists and Baloch LeJ-ASWJ terrorists is very disturbing.

Overlapping membership of BRP and LeJ-ASWJ

The very fact that a leader/activist of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) Sanaullah Siddiqi Baloch was also an office bearer of a Takfiri Deobandi outfit (LeJ-ASWJ) is very worrying. BRP claims to be a Baloch nationalist party, formed after Brahamdagh Bugti broke away from the Jamhoori Watan Party, originally formed by his grandfather Akbar Bugti. We are worried that other similar cases of overlapping membership between Takfiri Deobandis and Baloch national parties may remain unknown to us. Recently three journalists Amir Mateen, Shahzada Zulfiqar and Fahd Hussain have highlighted the Baloch dimension of the LeJ-ASWJ operations in Balochistan. The current evidence, along with other previous examples, is discomfiting.

According to some Baloch nationalists on Twitter, the Baloch ASWJ-LeJ terrorist Sanaullah killed in Khuzdar (3 Sep 2012) is a brother of BRP Khuzdar organizer Naseer Baloch. Others stated he is a BRP activist. The same person was mourned by ASWJ-LeJ terrorists on Twitter and facebook as one of their leader. ASWJ-LeJ terrorists have pledged to kill forty more Shias in revenge of Sanullah Siddiqi’s murder.

According to some Baloch nationalists (see Tweets below), the Baloch LeJ-ASWJ terrorist in Khuzdar was killed by the ISI. If that is true, we hope the trend continues. Enough of Shia genocide by ASWJ-LeJ terrorists; 19000 Shia dead bodies, the number is much more high than any other community target killed in Pakistan due to its faith or ethnicity!

We can’t expect fairness, humanity from those who condemn a Baloch LeJ terrorist’s death but celebrate or remain conveniently silent on murder of innocent Saraiki/Punjabi Settlers and Pashtun labourers.

Not long ago, Baloch nationalists expressed support for Abdul Malik Regi, the Iranian version of Malik Ishaq, a Takfiri anti-Shia group.

In recent past, Khan of Kalat was alleged to have a meeting with Jundullah terrorists in a European country. Now he offers condolences on “Hazara killings”, giving ethnic colour to Shia genocide!

Baloch nation is secular but some Baloch nationalists surely are an insult to secularism. They remain deeply anti-Shia despite their token comments or tweets in support of secularism and tolerance. They hide in the guise of secularism but continue to glorify Baloch LeJ terrorists killing Shias in Balochistan. Some of them have been noted to misrepresent Pakistan-wide Shia genocide as a Hazara specific ethnic issue.

Many Baloch nationalist were mourning the killing of a LEJ/ASWJ terrorist in Khuzdar yesterday. Run with the hare, hunt with the hounds. Very sad.

It is worrying to see Senator Sana Baloch’s name in the following pro-LeJ thread. We hope that he will dissociate from Baloch LeJ terrorists who have killed 1000 Shias in Balochistan alone.

There are some indications that Both Jundullah and LeJ are ISI-sponsored. Therefore, Baloch nationalists’ support to Jundullah-LeJ thugs is more worrying.

Baloch nationalists must pause and reflect on the Takfiri Deobandi-Salafi mindset that is there within their own ranks particularly in the Brahvi-Baloch section of their community.

ASWJ-LeJ elements have infiltrated Baloch nationalists, thanks to agencies; Baloch must be very careful, just like Takfiri damaged the legitimate cause of Kashmiri, they also have potential to damage the Baloch cause.

Baloch nationalists should have pity on the Shia of Balochistan. 1000 Shia in a very small community already killed!

We demand an unconditional apology from the Baloch nationalists on their support to Baloch LeJ-Jundullah terrorists and also on remaining silent on or endorsing the murder of innocent non-Baloch settlers, travellers and labourers.

If they remain in denial or refuse to apologize, at least they should stop promoting and justifying their cause in the name of human rights and secularism.

SSP News
22 hours ago

شہادت——سعادت

کوئٹہ: اھلسنت والجماعت ضلع خضدارکےسیکرٹری اطلاعات حافظ ثناءاللہ صدیقی کودہشت گردوں نےفائرنگ کرکےشہیدکردیا

کوئٹہ:حافظ ثناءاللہ صدیقی صاحب کانمازجنازہ قائدبلوچستان مولانارمضان مینگل صاحب کی اقتدامیں ابھی3بجےخضدارکوشک میں اداکی جائےگی

تمام ساتھیوں سےشرکت کی اپیل ہے

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23 people like this.

Saleem Naz Saleem Allah kareem unki maghfirat farmaye
22 hours ago · Like

Sallo Bahi ameen.
22 hours ago via mobile · Like

Hasnan Ahmed Inshallah is k bdale me 40 shia or qatal krga inshallah

Source: https://www.facebook.com/sspnews1/posts/341457845941703
https://www.facebook.com/sspnews1/posts/341415362612618

Source: http://dailybaloch.com/news%20folder/tafseel/news1.jpg

Source: http://www.balochjohd.com/modules/xnews/article.php?storyid=693

Source: Baloch Tawar http://tawar.hstraders.org/khabra_page/t12.htm

A viral video has made rounds online where a Quetta bus carrying Shia pilgrims was stopped by Takfiri Deobandis in Mastung (September 2011), and where all Shias (including Hazara and non-Hazara Shias) in the bus were rounded up and shot dead in cold blood. Upon closer inspection of that video, it turns out that the killers of those Shia pilgrims were not speaking Pashtu or Punjabi – as the common stereotype about LeJ-Taliban is – but Brahvi mixed with some Balochi. Brahvi speaking people are an integral part of the Baloch nation.

http://youtu.be/9Irg8bsIhMA

In recent times the Baloch city of Mastung – an traditional stronghold of Baloch politics – has become a hotbead of anti-Shia killings and many deadly acts of terror have been carried out against Shias in and around Mastung where the local language is both Brahvi and Balochi. It seems that the Deep State has now successfully infiltrated the secular Baloch movement while some Baloch activists remain either in denial or silence over these atrocities.

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  • Every single murder of Shias in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan is a handiwork Brahvi Baloch LeJ militants who have the 100% support of Baloch Sarmachars. Separatists want to create more and more chaos and LeJ is only helping them in creating that chaos.

  • HOW MUCH SUPPORT FOR JUNDULLAH IS TOO MUCH?
    Posted by Malik Siraj Akbar

    June 29, 2010

    By Malik Siraj Akbar

    Balochs living in Pakistan’s provinces of Balochistan and Sindh reacted very irritably towards the decision of the Iranian government to hang Abdul Malik Regi, the chief of banned organization Jundullah, by terming it as an act of repression by a regime that is bent upon crushing its Baloch population.
    All available forms of condemnation, such as issuance of newspaper statements, arrangement of press conferences, protest rallies and condolence references, were used to censure the hanging of a leader who fought for the rights of the Sunni Baloch minority population residing in Iranian Balochistan. The outpouring of condemnation was so overwhelming that even an impressed Jundullah spokesman went on to appreciate the Balochs living in Pakistan for their moral and political support offered to the Iranian Balochs at the critical juncture.
    In Eastern Balochistan, the Baloch National Front (BNF) was on the forefront of all protest rallies held in the province to condemn the execution of 28-year Regi who was wanted by Teheran in more than seventy cases. The Front observed three days of mourning and organized a number of programs to vent its frustration of Iran’s behavior towards its Baloch population. Nonetheless, many people, including some components of the BNF, now realize that they went overboard in agitating on the Regi issue which could, at the end of the day, prove counterproductive and detrimental for the secular Baloch nationalist movement.
    A timely expression of this concern has been made by the Baloch National Movement (BNM) which has categorically refused to join the BNF in its announced schedule of anti-Iran protests to express solidarity with Jundullah and the Balochs of Iran. Condoling the murder of Regi and his brother, Abdu Hameed, the BNM central spokesman, however, said here on Monday that his party did not see eye-to-eye with the Jundullah manifesto which underlines religious and sectarian ambitions.
    The BNM believes that the Baloch issue has nothing to do with religion nor can it go an extra mile to join hands with ethnic Balochs living in Iran who do not recognize Baloch nationalism and solely talk of religious rights. BNM is equally disillusioned with BNF leadership for not taking it into confidence while unfolding its schedule of protests in support of Jundullah and said that it could not support a Sunni movement which did not keep in consideration the Baloch identity.
    This is a very crucial development. The BNM stance will surely alert the Balochs struggling in Iran on religious lines that their counterparts in Pakistani Balochistan do not concur with their ideology. The Baloch resistance movement in Pakistan, which is largely leftist, is not compatible with what Jundullah stands for i.e. Sunni rights. BNM has clarified its stance on the right time as the BNF response to Regi’s killing had already begun to raise many eyebrows about the ideological foundations of the Baloch resistance movement.
    By supporting Jundullah, the BNF, which always requests the international community to take notice of the plight of the Balochs, is further confusing the world. Does it mean that the Baloch nationalism has succumbed to religion and begun to endorse suicide bombings on the name of religion as was done by Jundullah inside Iran? If the answer to such a question is in affirmation then BNF will surely find itself in an indefensible position before the larger world which is currently battling the scourge of religious fundamentalism.
    On their part, the supporters of Jundullah do not easily digest the nationalists’ claim that Regi was a secular. For example, Hafiz Abu Ubaid, the acting vice president of Karachi-based Ittehad-e-Tuleba-wa-Sunna, has strongly condemned Abdul Wahab Baloch, chairman of Baloch Rights Council, for calling Regi a secular. The righwing has termed Wahab’s remarks and proposal that Jundullah should operate on nationalistic lines as highly offensive. They have sought an apology from Wahab Baloch for allegedly insulting Regi by calling him secular. This is another point of view which exists and has to be acknowledged, if not agreed with.
    Baloch nationalism and Islamic nationalism cannot comfortably go side by side. If the mere fact that Regi was a Baloch attracted BNF reaction then one wonders if similar reaction would be shown on the death of a Baloch who is a part of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Pakistan People’s Party and Muslim League? BNF should not judge people merely on their Baloch ethnicity. It should support the people who share the same ideology that the BNF stands for.
    Baloch nationalism cannot live in isolation. No national movement can start and end with a simple demand for national liberation. The Baloch movement needs to have clearly defined answers of several crucial questions to satisfy the rest of the world about the structure of a proposed independent Balochistan. Such a roadmap should implicitly define the relationship between the state and religion; role of tribalism and the status of women and religious as well as ethnic minorities in an independent Balochistan, the ultimate goal for which parties like BNF are struggling right now.
    BNM has adopted a timely stance and rightly warned BNF not to compromise on Baloch nationalist ideology by backing religious fundamentalism. By supporting religious fundamentalists, Baloch nationalists would be compromising on their ideological foundations and make it more difficult for the international community to support the Baloch movement.

    http://gmcmissing.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/how-much-support-for-jundullah-is-too-much/

  • Mureed Bizenjo ‏@MureedBizenjo
    @Karachi_Post The radicalisation was started after the brutal assassination of Nawab bugti, a true secular tribal chief

    Naseem Chaudhary ‏@NaseemChaudhry
    yeh bahut buri development hai, Iss say Baloch cause ko nuqsan phunchey gaa

    Naseem Chaudhary ‏@NaseemChaudhry
    @MureedBizenjo just like takfiri damage cause of Kashmiri, they also potential 2 damage Baloch cause @Karachi_Post @abdulnishapuri

    Mureed Bizenjo ‏@MureedBizenjo
    @AbdulNishapuri BMDT closely allied with ISI LEJ in remote areas of Balochistan are not nationalists, but paid crooks @Karachi_Post

    Karachi_Post ‏@Karachi_Post
    @MureedBizenjo @AbdulNishapuri All baloch nationalist were mourning the killing of a LEJ/ASWJ terrorist in Khuzdar yesterday !

    Karachi_Post ‏@Karachi_Post
    @AbdulNishapuri if one reads the history of separatists around the world,all of them want Chaos.Killing Shia hazara creates chaos

    Abdul Nishapuri ‏@AbdulNishapuri
    @Karachi_Post Baloch nation is secular but some Baloch nationalists surely are an insult to secularism. They remain deeply anti-Shia.

    Yousuf Nazar ‏@YousufNazar
    “Secular” Baloch nationalists silent over Shia killings; elites silent when reminded abt responsibility in criminal neglect of education!

  • World Shia Forum ‏@WorldShiaForum
    Many Baloch friends are currently polluting our timeline only because we said they need to kill Brahvi-Baloch LeJ instead of settlers. Many noisy Baloch friends attacking us remain conveniently silent on attacks on Shias by their own ethnic friends. Baloch nationalists remain silent, if not complicit, on murder of 1000 Shias in Balochistan in last few years by LeJ Baloch militants. Shallow slogans of ‘we are secular’ vanish in thin air when our Baloch friends go in denial mode about LeJ strong presence in Brahvi-Baloch

  • Infiltrators of agencies in Hazaras and Balochs are listed below:

    Jihand Baloch ‏@BalochTawar
    @ArchenBaloch these iranian funded terrorist like @WorldShiaForum are actually themselves killing Shia Hazara to get Asylum in Australia

    Saleem Javed ‏@mSaleemJaved
    I am sure #Baloch activists are well-aware that #Hazaras have never blamed #Balochs in spite of all the efforts by agencies & their bloggers
    Retweeted by Sohaib Mengal Baloch

    Saleem Javed ‏@mSaleemJaved
    “HDP criticised the provincial Govt and warned that if target killings were not stopped a civil war would start in the province” #Quetta
    Retweeted by Sohaib Mengal Baloch

    Sohaib Mengal Baloch ‏@MirSohaib
    The recent news statement by LeJ even targeted Baloch nationalists but some nuts still allege Baloch nation for Shia killings
    Retweeted by Saleem Javed

    Haider Changezi ‏@Aushpaz
    We all know est wants to start #Baloch vs #Hazara conflict in #Quetta.Who tried to do just that through there blog recently? #Pakistan #Shia
    Retweeted by Sohaib Mengal Baloch

    Faiz Baluch فیض بلوچ ‏@Faiz_Baluch
    #BalochGenocide: Three Activists of BRP SANAULLAH, RIAZ BAL0CH, & ASHRAF BAL0CH killed by Pakistani Secret Agencies in Khuzdar.

    Faiz Baluch فیض بلوچ ‏@Faiz_Baluch
    #Baloch & #Hazara should show unity and defeat our common enemy.The Pakistani state and her proxy organizations responsible of our genocide.

    Jihand Baloch ‏@BalochTawar
    @WorldShiaForum Baloch LeJ Terrorist? Chose ur word correctly. Did u condemned that the attacks of Terrorist Shia Hazara on houses yesterday

    Jihand Baloch ‏@BalochTawar
    I don’t Understand why the Hazara Shia Mob Attacked Baloch Houses after LeJ attacked them #ShiaKilling #LeJ #Quetta

    Jihand Baloch ‏@BalochTawar
    @WorldShiaForum but i would say that you are silent on Genocide of Balochs in Iranian occupied Balochistan by Mullah Regime of Iran

    World Shia Forum ‏@WorldShiaForum
    @BalochTawar Since Iran is persecuting Balochs, Balochs in Pakistan should kill Shias in Pakistan? Keep going, Jundullah.

    ——-

    Criticism

    vijaygkg ‏@vijaygkg
    Balochistan nationalists should not get involved in shia or religious sectarian violence-worsens perception people worldwide will have

    Yousuf Nazar ‏@YousufNazar
    “Baloch nationalists &Takfiri Deobandis jointly mourn the death of a Baloch LeJ-ASWJ terrorist” http://criticalppp.com/archives/226505 [ if correct, worrying]

    Yousuf Nazar ‏@YousufNazar
    “Secular” Baloch nationalists silent over Shia killings; elites silent when reminded abt responsibility in criminal neglect of education!

  • I want to take the liberty of saying that LUBP is so far the best venture of Military establishment and its agencies. There are plenty of others propaganda websites which serve the deep state but LUBP is simply awesome for them. It criticizes ISI very harshly but behind the screen its working for it..

    All the persons or group who are against the deep state, LUBP attacks them one way or the other be it Jurnos like Hamid Mir, activists like Marvi Sirmid or Baloch nationalists… The modus operandi of LUBP is also impressive especially the comments made by the LUBP under fake names which support the false stories published by LUBP…

    According to LUBP anyone who is a terrorist or killer belongs from LeJ, Thats ridiculous and senseless but many idiots believe it.

  • As per the wishes of deep state LUBP is alleging Baloch to be involved in Shia killings which is baseless. As far as Abdul Malik Regi was concerned, it has a different aspect as well. We all condemn the killing of innocent people by Jundullah but its very existence was a reaction of state oppression of Iranian Baloch by Theocratic dictatorship of Iran…

    LUBP cries for minority rights and their state persecution but the Baloch of Iran don’t appear to be seen by its prejudiced sight. Iranian govt. is treating Baloch Sunnis as second class citizens and all dissidents are hanged summarily. Let me put it this way, The Shia state of Iran is the reason that Sectarian terrorism started in the world……

  • “All the persons or group who are against the deep state, LUBP attacks them one way or the other be it Jurnos like Hamid Mir”

    ha ha. If Hamid Mir is against Deep State, then LUBP is not only ISI project, it is the queen of England.

    “Let me put it this way, The Shia state of Iran is the reason that Sectarian terrorism started in the world……”

    The Shia State of Iran is barely 400 hundred years old. Sectarianism in Islam is probably 1000 years older.

    The more this guy comments, the more credibility he/she gives to LUBP.

    I disagree with LUBP’s criticism of human rights activist Marvi Sirmed but it is ridiculous comments such as these by Abbas Ahmad and that European Liberal Character (are they both the same) that overshadow valid criticsm of LUBP.

  • Stop talking, and start acting, Mr. Malik!

    ISLAMABAD – Interior Minister Rehman Malik, on Tuesday, chaired a high level meeting to review law and order and security situation of the country.
    As per details, during the meeting, it was observed that violence through sectarian divide is being prompted through paid agents of hostile elements of Pakistan.
    The analysis done on the basis of available intelligence and from strong indicators, there is a strong nexus between Lashkar-e-Jhangwi and one of the factions of TTP.
    It was also observed that TTP is doing it purely based on petty financial gains in Quetta and around Quetta.
    There are two former Harkat-al-Ansar terrorists who are supervising and handling the killings of the innocent Shias. It includes also the role of Asmat Maavia who is operating in upper Punjab and Central Punjab.
    It is beyond doubt that there is no religious strife between Sunnis and Shias whereas the hostile elements are trying to create a conflict between Sunnis and Shias after killing of Shias and Sunnis.
    It has also been observed that Mastung area is full of united elements hailing from TTP, BLA and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The intelligence agencies have also identified some of the camps of militants around that area and accordingly FC is being directed to raid those camps without further delay and FC to also ensure that they only raid on the specific information on specific targets to avoid any casualty of innocent people.
    The intelligence agencies also suggested that there is special conspiracy plan to kill Hazaras in maximum numbers to create unrest and chaos in Quetta and adjoining areas to achieve their nefarious designs.

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/09/05/news/national/malik-reviews-countrys-security-situation/

  • @fahad Khan: I understand its your duty to defend LUBP and make comments under a false name. Hamid Mir has criticized state on issue of missing persons more than anyone else. You should bother to watch his speech on Balochistan issue on supreme court bar seminar. Even a child will easily tell that Hamid mir is proving to be menace for the state and LUBP is playing in the lap of deep state.

    I am talking about violence caused due to sectarianism and it stated after 1979 when Iran wanted to export its revolution and then sectarian proxy war started between Saudi arabia and Iran. Both countries have enormous oil wealth and are financing this trouble around the world.

    The more I comment, more I expose LUBP and all those comments aganst people like me and in favor of LUBP are actually made the LUBP team itself so that doesn’t count.

    Now whoever is making comments by using the name of Fahad, He/She must have got my point …..

  • Abbas, you are one paranoid person. It is not my duty to defend anyone, especially LUBP. Your strange comments already serve that purpose. Yes, I have also seen Hamid Mir in the media and one or two good speeches and statements by him and Tahir Ashrafi do not wipe out their past.

    Deep State has many actors and LUBP could be one of them and so could you. Who cares

    Yes, the more you comment the more you expose yourself as a troll who does such silly criticism of LUBP articles that it looks like he himself is part of their team of over the top jiyalas.

    I disagree with LUBP posts on Marvi, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and NFP. I think they are correct to expose Hamid Mir and Ansar Abbasi and GEO group.

  • Where is any1 to defend this startling evidence? Sacred cows?

    Any Baloch nationalist to refute it?

  • Very intriguing. The Baloch are a great, brave and proud Nation with more than 9,000 years of history behind them. Their leaders (separatist and nationalist both) should take cognizance of this presence of sectarian terrorists in their ranks.

    By now LUBP authors are used to reading the immature vitriol of people like Mr Abbas Ahmed here. No point in wasting time in talking sense into them.

  • I am Paranoid because i rightly exposed LUBp, give me a break. I think its LubP who is paranoid from day one taking many U_turns.

    I can be a an agent of deep state, Now you are using my lines against me. It simply won’t work. Come up with something workable.

    I feel its my duty to pinpoint every false item being reported in LUBP and expose it. I will keep on doing it with complete disregard of what LUBP planted apologists keep on saying. That will not stop me from the journey of LUBP exposition that I have embarked upon.

  • It seems that everyone keeps on targeting me be it Mr. Junejo or fahad Kahn or others. why? Its because all of are attacking me are agreeing with LUBP’s disinformation by making agreeable comments under pseudo names. Unlike them I am Exposing it….

    One final slap on the face of LUBP and these fake commentators:

    I.A Rehman writes in Dawn

    In Balochistan too, for credible evidence is available to show that the campaign against the Hazaras is being carried out largely by militant groups based in other provinces.

    http://dawn.com/2012/09/06/savages-at-large/

  • Baloch natioanlists should keep them selves away from these extremist groups, this is a agency sponsered alliance this LJ is working under control of pakistani esteblishment, the Hazarah killings in Balochistan and trem it as shia genocide and not stoping by govt is a conspiracy aginst baloch, they should uderstand the sitaution and clearly stop those people who are killing people just on sectrain basis,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • False Flag
    A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.

    BY MARK PERRY | JANUARY 13, 2012

    Buried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation.

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    The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah — a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.

    But while the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel’s Mossad. The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel’s recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel’s ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.

    The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad’s efforts.

    “It’s amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with,” the intelligence officer said. “Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They apparently didn’t give a damn what we thought.”

    Interviews with six currently serving or recently retired intelligence officers over the last 18 months have helped to fill in the blanks of the Israeli false-flag operation. In addition to the two currently serving U.S. intelligence officers, the existence of the Israeli false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired intelligence officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government.

    The CIA and the White House were both asked for comment on this story. By the time this story went to press, they had not responded. The Israeli intelligence services — the Mossad — were also contacted, in writing and by telephone, but failed to respond. As a policy, Israel does not confirm or deny its involvement in intelligence operations.

    There is no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program, though no evidence has emerged connecting recent acts of sabotage and killings inside Iran to Jundallah. Many reports have cited Israel as the architect of this covert campaign, which claimed its latest victim on Jan. 11 when a motorcyclist in Tehran slipped a magnetic explosive device under the car of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a young Iranian nuclear scientist. The explosion killed Roshan, making him the fourth scientist assassinated in the past two years. The United States adamantly denies it is behind these killings.

    According to one retired CIA officer, information about the false-flag operation was reported up the U.S. intelligence chain of command. It reached CIA Director of Operations Stephen Kappes, his deputy Michael Sulick, and the head of the Counterintelligence Center. All three of these officials are now retired. The Counterintelligence Center, according to its website, is tasked with investigating “threats posed by foreign intelligence services.”

    The report then made its way to the White House, according to the currently serving U.S. intelligence officer. The officer said that Bush “went absolutely ballistic” when briefed on its contents.

    “The report sparked White House concerns that Israel’s program was putting Americans at risk,” the intelligence officer told me. “There’s no question that the U.S. has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we’re not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians.”

    Israel’s relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel’s activities jeopardized the administration’s fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on U.S. personnel.

    “It’s easy to understand why Bush was so angry,” a former intelligence officer said. “After all, it’s hard to engage with a foreign government if they’re convinced you’re killing their people. Once you start doing that, they feel they can do the same.”

    A senior administration official vowed to “take the gloves off” with Israel, according to a U.S. intelligence officer. But the United States did nothing — a result that the officer attributed to “political and bureaucratic inertia.”

    “In the end,” the officer noted, “it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know, rock the boat.” Even so, at least for a short time, this same officer noted, the Mossad operation sparked a divisive debate among Bush’s national security team, pitting those who wondered “just whose side these guys [in Israel] are on” against those who argued that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    The debate over Jundallah was resolved only after Bush left office when, within his first weeks as president, Barack Obama drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel intelligence programs targeting Iran, according to multiple serving and retired officers.

    The decision was controversial inside the CIA, where officials were forced to shut down “some key intelligence-gathering operations,” a recently retired CIA officer confirmed. This action was followed in November 2010 by the State Department’s addition of Jundallah to its list of foreign terrorist organizations — a decision that one former CIA officer called “an absolute no-brainer.”

    Since Obama’s initial order, U.S. intelligence services have received clearance to cooperate with Israel on a number of classified intelligence-gathering operations focused on Iran’s nuclear program, according to a currently serving officer. These operations are highly technical in nature and do not involve covert actions targeting Iran’s infrastructure or political or military leadership.

    “We don’t do bang and boom,” a recently retired intelligence officer said. “And we don’t do political assassinations.”

    Israel regularly proposes conducting covert operations targeting Iranians, but is just as regularly shut down, according to retired and current intelligence officers. “They come into the room and spread out their plans, and we just shake our heads,” one highly placed intelligence source said, “and we say to them — ‘Don’t even go there. The answer is no.'”

    Unlike the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the controversial exiled Iranian terrorist group that seeks the overthrow of the Tehran regime and is supported by former leading U.S. policymakers, Jundallah is relatively unknown — but just as violent. In May 2009, a Jundallah suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan, during a Shiite religious festival. The bombing killed 25 Iranians and wounded scores of others.

    The attack enraged Tehran, which traced the perpetrators to a cell operating in Pakistan. The Iranian government notified the Pakistanis of the Jundallah threat and urged them to break up the movement’s bases along the Iranian-Pakistani border. The Pakistanis reacted sluggishly in the border areas, feeding Tehran’s suspicions that Jundallah was protected by Pakistan’s intelligence services.

    The 2009 attack was just one in a long line of terrorist attacks attributed to the organization. In August 2007, Jundallah kidnapped 21 Iranian truck drivers. In December 2008, it captured and executed 16 Iranian border guards — the gruesome killings were filmed, in a stark echo of the decapitation of American businessman Nick Berg in Iraq at the hands of al Qaeda’s Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In July 2010, Jundallah conducted a twin suicide bombing in Zahedan outside a mosque, killing dozens of people, including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

    The State Department aggressively denies that the U.S. government had or has any ties to Jundallah. “We have repeatedly stated, and reiterate again that the United States has not provided support to Jundallah,” a spokesman wrote in an email to the Wall Street Journal, following Jundallah’s designation as a terrorist organization. “The United States does not sponsor any form of terrorism. We will continue to work with the international community to curtail support for terrorist organizations and prevent violence against innocent civilians. We have also encouraged other governments to take comparable actions against Jundallah.”

    A spate of stories in 2007 and 2008, including a report by ABC News and a New Yorker article, suggested that the United States was offering covert support to Jundallah. The issue has now returned to the spotlight with the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and has outraged serving and retired intelligence officers who fear that Israeli operations are endangering American lives.

    “This certainly isn’t the first time this has happened, though it’s the worst case I’ve heard of,” former Centcom chief and retired Gen. Joe Hoar said of the Israeli operation upon being informed of it. “But while false-flag operations are hardly new, they’re extremely dangerous. You’re basically using your friendship with an ally for your own purposes. Israel is playing with fire. It gets us involved in their covert war, whether we want to be involved or not.”

    The Israeli operation left a number of recently retired CIA officers sputtering in frustration. “It’s going to be pretty hard for the U.S. to distance itself from an Israeli attack on Iran with this kind of thing going on,” one of them told me.

    Jundallah head Abdolmalek Rigi was captured by Iran in February 2010. Although initial reports claimed that he was captured by the Iranians after taking a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, a retired intelligence officer with knowledge of the incident told me that Rigi was detained by Pakistani intelligence officers in Pakistan. The officer said that Rigi was turned over to the Iranians after the Pakistani government informed the United States that it planned to do so. The United States, this officer said, did not raise objections to the Pakistani decision.

    Iran, meanwhile, has consistently claimed that Rigi was snatched from under the eyes of the CIA, which it alleges supported him. “It doesn’t matter,” the former intelligence officer said of Iran’s charges. “It doesn’t matter what they say. They know the truth.”

    Rigi was interrogated, tried, and convicted by the Iranians and hanged on June 20, 2010. Prior to his execution, Rigi claimed in an interview with Iranian media — which has to be assumed was under duress — that he had doubts about U.S. sponsorship of Jundallah. He recounted an alleged meeting with “NATO officials” in Morocco in 2007 that raised his suspicions. “When we thought about it we came to the conclusion that they are either Americans acting under NATO cover or Israelis,” he said.

    While many of the details of Israel’s involvement with Jundallah are now known, many others still remain a mystery — and are likely to remain so. The CIA memos of the incident have been “blue bordered,” meaning that they were circulated to senior levels of the broader U.S. intelligence community as well as senior State Department officials.

    What has become crystal clear, however, is the level of anger among senior intelligence officials about Israel’s actions. “This was stupid and dangerous,” the intelligence official who first told me about the operation said. “Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us. If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.”

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/01/13/false_flag

  • THE REDIRECTION
    Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?
    by Seymour M. Hersh
    MARCH 5, 2007

    Efforts to curb Iran’s influence have involved the United States in worsening Sunni-Shiite tensions.
    A STRATEGIC SHIFT

    In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The “redirection,” as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
    To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
    One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran. Its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made defiant pronouncements about the destruction of Israel and his country’s right to pursue its nuclear program, and last week its supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on state television that “realities in the region show that the arrogant front, headed by the U.S. and its allies, will be the principal loser in the region.”
    After the revolution of 1979 brought a religious government to power, the United States broke with Iran and cultivated closer relations with the leaders of Sunni Arab states such as Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. That calculation became more complex after the September 11th attacks, especially with regard to the Saudis. Al Qaeda is Sunni, and many of its operatives came from extremist religious circles inside Saudi Arabia. Before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, Administration officials, influenced by neoconservative ideologues, assumed that a Shiite government there could provide a pro-American balance to Sunni extremists, since Iraq’s Shiite majority had been oppressed under Saddam Hussein. They ignored warnings from the intelligence community about the ties between Iraqi Shiite leaders and Iran, where some had lived in exile for years. Now, to the distress of the White House, Iran has forged a close relationship with the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
    The new American policy, in its broad outlines, has been discussed publicly. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is “a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,” separating “reformers” and “extremists”; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were “on the other side of that divide.” (Syria’s Sunni majority is dominated by the Alawi sect.) Iran and Syria, she said, “have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize.”
    Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.
    A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee told me that he had heard about the new strategy, but felt that he and his colleagues had not been adequately briefed. “We haven’t got any of this,” he said. “We ask for anything going on, and they say there’s nothing. And when we ask specific questions they say, ‘We’re going to get back to you.’ It’s so frustrating.”
    The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney. (Cheney’s office and the White House declined to comment for this story; the Pentagon did not respond to specific queries but said, “The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran.”)
    The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.
    The new strategy “is a major shift in American policy—it’s a sea change,” a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. The Sunni states “were petrified of a Shiite resurgence, and there was growing resentment with our gambling on the moderate Shiites in Iraq,” he said. “We cannot reverse the Shiite gain in Iraq, but we can contain it.”
    “It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written widely on Shiites, Iran, and Iraq, told me. “The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”
    Martin Indyk, a senior State Department official in the Clinton Administration who also served as Ambassador to Israel, said that “the Middle East is heading into a serious Sunni-Shiite Cold War.” Indyk, who is the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, added that, in his opinion, it was not clear whether the White House was fully aware of the strategic implications of its new policy. “The White House is not just doubling the bet in Iraq,” he said. “It’s doubling the bet across the region. This could get very complicated. Everything is upside down.”
    The Administration’s new policy for containing Iran seems to complicate its strategy for winning the war in Iraq. Patrick Clawson, an expert on Iran and the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued, however, that closer ties between the United States and moderate or even radical Sunnis could put “fear” into the government of Prime Minister Maliki and “make him worry that the Sunnis could actually win” the civil war there. Clawson said that this might give Maliki an incentive to coöperate with the United States in suppressing radical Shiite militias, such as Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.
    Even so, for the moment, the U.S. remains dependent on the coöperation of Iraqi Shiite leaders. The Mahdi Army may be openly hostile to American interests, but other Shiite militias are counted as U.S. allies. Both Moqtada al-Sadr and the White House back Maliki. A memorandum written late last year by Stephen Hadley, the national-security adviser, suggested that the Administration try to separate Maliki from his more radical Shiite allies by building his base among moderate Sunnis and Kurds, but so far the trends have been in the opposite direction. As the Iraqi Army continues to founder in its confrontations with insurgents, the power of the Shiite militias has steadily increased.
    Flynt Leverett, a former Bush Administration National Security Council official, told me that “there is nothing coincidental or ironic” about the new strategy with regard to Iraq. “The Administration is trying to make a case that Iran is more dangerous and more provocative than the Sunni insurgents to American interests in Iraq, when—if you look at the actual casualty numbers—the punishment inflicted on America by the Sunnis is greater by an order of magnitude,” Leverett said. “This is all part of the campaign of provocative steps to increase the pressure on Iran. The idea is that at some point the Iranians will respond and then the Administration will have an open door to strike at them.”
    President George W. Bush, in a speech on January 10th, partially spelled out this approach. “These two regimes”—Iran and Syria—“are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq,” Bush said. “Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”
    In the following weeks, there was a wave of allegations from the Administration about Iranian involvement in the Iraq war. On February 11th, reporters were shown sophisticated explosive devices, captured in Iraq, that the Administration claimed had come from Iran. The Administration’s message was, in essence, that the bleak situation in Iraq was the result not of its own failures of planning and execution but of Iran’s interference.
    The U.S. military also has arrested and interrogated hundreds of Iranians in Iraq. “The word went out last August for the military to snatch as many Iranians in Iraq as they can,” a former senior intelligence official said. “They had five hundred locked up at one time. We’re working these guys and getting information from them. The White House goal is to build a case that the Iranians have been fomenting the insurgency and they’ve been doing it all along—that Iran is, in fact, supporting the killing of Americans.” The Pentagon consultant confirmed that hundreds of Iranians have been captured by American forces in recent months. But he told me that that total includes many Iranian humanitarian and aid workers who “get scooped up and released in a short time,” after they have been interrogated.
    “We are not planning for a war with Iran,” Robert Gates, the new Defense Secretary, announced on February 2nd, and yet the atmosphere of confrontation has deepened. According to current and former American intelligence and military officials, secret operations in Lebanon have been accompanied by clandestine operations targeting Iran. American military and special-operations teams have escalated their activities in Iran to gather intelligence and, according to a Pentagon consultant on terrorism and the former senior intelligence official, have also crossed the border in pursuit of Iranian operatives from Iraq.
    At Rice’s Senate appearance in January, Democratic Senator Joseph Biden, of Delaware, pointedly asked her whether the U.S. planned to cross the Iranian or the Syrian border in the course of a pursuit. “Obviously, the President isn’t going to rule anything out to protect our troops, but the plan is to take down these networks in Iraq,” Rice said, adding, “I do think that everyone will understand that—the American people and I assume the Congress expect the President to do what is necessary to protect our forces.”
    The ambiguity of Rice’s reply prompted a response from Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, who has been critical of the Administration:

    Some of us remember 1970, Madam Secretary. And that was Cambodia. And when our government lied to the American people and said, “We didn’t cross the border going into Cambodia,” in fact we did.
    I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee. So, Madam Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the President is talking about here, it’s very, very dangerous.

    The Administration’s concern about Iran’s role in Iraq is coupled with its long-standing alarm over Iran’s nuclear program. On Fox News on January 14th, Cheney warned of the possibility, in a few years, “of a nuclear-armed Iran, astride the world’s supply of oil, able to affect adversely the global economy, prepared to use terrorist organizations and/or their nuclear weapons to threaten their neighbors and others around the world.” He also said, “If you go and talk with the Gulf states or if you talk with the Saudis or if you talk with the Israelis or the Jordanians, the entire region is worried. . . . The threat Iran represents is growing.”
    The Administration is now examining a wave of new intelligence on Iran’s weapons programs. Current and former American officials told me that the intelligence, which came from Israeli agents operating in Iran, includes a claim that Iran has developed a three-stage solid-fuelled intercontinental missile capable of delivering several small warheads—each with limited accuracy—inside Europe. The validity of this human intelligence is still being debated.
    A similar argument about an imminent threat posed by weapons of mass destruction—and questions about the intelligence used to make that case—formed the prelude to the invasion of Iraq. Many in Congress have greeted the claims about Iran with wariness; in the Senate on February 14th, Hillary Clinton said, “We have all learned lessons from the conflict in Iraq, and we have to apply those lessons to any allegations that are being raised about Iran. Because, Mr. President, what we are hearing has too familiar a ring and we must be on guard that we never again make decisions on the basis of intelligence that turns out to be faulty.”
    Still, the Pentagon is continuing intensive planning for a possible bombing attack on Iran, a process that began last year, at the direction of the President. In recent months, the former intelligence official told me, a special planning group has been established in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged with creating a contingency bombing plan for Iran that can be implemented, upon orders from the President, within twenty-four hours.
    In the past month, I was told by an Air Force adviser on targeting and the Pentagon consultant on terrorism, the Iran planning group has been handed a new assignment: to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq. Previously, the focus had been on the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities and possible regime change.
    Two carrier strike groups—the Eisenhower and the Stennis—are now in the Arabian Sea. One plan is for them to be relieved early in the spring, but there is worry within the military that they may be ordered to stay in the area after the new carriers arrive, according to several sources. (Among other concerns, war games have shown that the carriers could be vulnerable to swarming tactics involving large numbers of small boats, a technique that the Iranians have practiced in the past; carriers have limited maneuverability in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, off Iran’s southern coast.) The former senior intelligence official said that the current contingency plans allow for an attack order this spring. He added, however, that senior officers on the Joint Chiefs were counting on the White House’s not being “foolish enough to do this in the face of Iraq, and the problems it would give the Republicans in 2008.”

    PRINCE BANDAR’S GAME

    The Administration’s effort to diminish Iranian authority in the Middle East has relied heavily on Saudi Arabia and on Prince Bandar, the Saudi national-security adviser. Bandar served as the Ambassador to the United States for twenty-two years, until 2005, and has maintained a friendship with President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. In his new post, he continues to meet privately with them. Senior White House officials have made several visits to Saudi Arabia recently, some of them not disclosed.
    Last November, Cheney flew to Saudi Arabia for a surprise meeting with King Abdullah and Bandar. The Times reported that the King warned Cheney that Saudi Arabia would back its fellow-Sunnis in Iraq if the United States were to withdraw. A European intelligence official told me that the meeting also focussed on more general Saudi fears about “the rise of the Shiites.” In response, “The Saudis are starting to use their leverage—money.”
    In a royal family rife with competition, Bandar has, over the years, built a power base that relies largely on his close relationship with the U.S., which is crucial to the Saudis. Bandar was succeeded as Ambassador by Prince Turki al-Faisal; Turki resigned after eighteen months and was replaced by Adel A. al-Jubeir, a bureaucrat who has worked with Bandar. A former Saudi diplomat told me that during Turki’s tenure he became aware of private meetings involving Bandar and senior White House officials, including Cheney and Abrams. “I assume Turki was not happy with that,” the Saudi said. But, he added, “I don’t think that Bandar is going off on his own.” Although Turki dislikes Bandar, the Saudi said, he shared his goal of challenging the spread of Shiite power in the Middle East.
    The split between Shiites and Sunnis goes back to a bitter divide, in the seventh century, over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis dominated the medieval caliphate and the Ottoman Empire, and Shiites, traditionally, have been regarded more as outsiders. Worldwide, ninety per cent of Muslims are Sunni, but Shiites are a majority in Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain, and are the largest Muslim group in Lebanon. Their concentration in a volatile, oil-rich region has led to concern in the West and among Sunnis about the emergence of a “Shiite crescent”—especially given Iran’s increased geopolitical weight.
    “The Saudis still see the world through the days of the Ottoman Empire, when Sunni Muslims ruled the roost and the Shiites were the lowest class,” Frederic Hof, a retired military officer who is an expert on the Middle East, told me. If Bandar was seen as bringing about a shift in U.S. policy in favor of the Sunnis, he added, it would greatly enhance his standing within the royal family.
    The Saudis are driven by their fear that Iran could tilt the balance of power not only in the region but within their own country. Saudi Arabia has a significant Shiite minority in its Eastern Province, a region of major oil fields; sectarian tensions are high in the province. The royal family believes that Iranian operatives, working with local Shiites, have been behind many terrorist attacks inside the kingdom, according to Vali Nasr. “Today, the only army capable of containing Iran”—the Iraqi Army—“has been destroyed by the United States. You’re now dealing with an Iran that could be nuclear-capable and has a standing army of four hundred and fifty thousand soldiers.” (Saudi Arabia has seventy-five thousand troops in its standing army.)
    Nasr went on, “The Saudis have considerable financial means, and have deep relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis”—Sunni extremists who view Shiites as apostates. “The last time Iran was a threat, the Saudis were able to mobilize the worst kinds of Islamic radicals. Once you get them out of the box, you can’t put them back.”
    The Saudi royal family has been, by turns, both a sponsor and a target of Sunni extremists, who object to the corruption and decadence among the family’s myriad princes. The princes are gambling that they will not be overthrown as long as they continue to support religious schools and charities linked to the extremists. The Administration’s new strategy is heavily dependent on this bargain.
    Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
    This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
    The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.”
    In the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction. At least four main elements were involved, the U.S. government consultant told me. First, Israel would be assured that its security was paramount and that Washington and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states shared its concern about Iran.
    Second, the Saudis would urge Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian party that has received support from Iran, to curtail its anti-Israeli aggression and to begin serious talks about sharing leadership with Fatah, the more secular Palestinian group. (In February, the Saudis brokered a deal at Mecca between the two factions. However, Israel and the U.S. have expressed dissatisfaction with the terms.)
    The third component was that the Bush Administration would work directly with Sunni nations to counteract Shiite ascendance in the region.
    Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations. Syria is a major conduit of arms to Hezbollah. The Saudi government is also at odds with the Syrians over the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, in Beirut in 2005, for which it believes the Assad government was responsible. Hariri, a billionaire Sunni, was closely associated with the Saudi regime and with Prince Bandar. (A U.N. inquiry strongly suggested that the Syrians were involved, but offered no direct evidence; there are plans for another investigation, by an international tribunal.)
    Patrick Clawson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, depicted the Saudis’ coöperation with the White House as a significant breakthrough. “The Saudis understand that if they want the Administration to make a more generous political offer to the Palestinians they have to persuade the Arab states to make a more generous offer to the Israelis,” Clawson told me. The new diplomatic approach, he added, “shows a real degree of effort and sophistication as well as a deftness of touch not always associated with this Administration. Who’s running the greater risk—we or the Saudis? At a time when America’s standing in the Middle East is extremely low, the Saudis are actually embracing us. We should count our blessings.”
    The Pentagon consultant had a different view. He said that the Administration had turned to Bandar as a “fallback,” because it had realized that the failing war in Iraq could leave the Middle East “up for grabs.”

    JIHADIS IN LEBANON

    The focus of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, after Iran, is Lebanon, where the Saudis have been deeply involved in efforts by the Administration to support the Lebanese government. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is struggling to stay in power against a persistent opposition led by Hezbollah, the Shiite organization, and its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah has an extensive infrastructure, an estimated two to three thousand active fighters, and thousands of additional members.
    Hezbollah has been on the State Department’s terrorist list since 1997. The organization has been implicated in the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed two hundred and forty-one military men. It has also been accused of complicity in the kidnapping of Americans, including the C.I.A. station chief in Lebanon, who died in captivity, and a Marine colonel serving on a U.N. peacekeeping mission, who was killed. (Nasrallah has denied that the group was involved in these incidents.) Nasrallah is seen by many as a staunch terrorist, who has said that he regards Israel as a state that has no right to exist. Many in the Arab world, however, especially Shiites, view him as a resistance leader who withstood Israel in last summer’s thirty-three-day war, and Siniora as a weak politician who relies on America’s support but was unable to persuade President Bush to call for an end to the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. (Photographs of Siniora kissing Condoleezza Rice on the cheek when she visited during the war were prominently displayed during street protests in Beirut.)
    The Bush Administration has publicly pledged the Siniora government a billion dollars in aid since last summer. A donors’ conference in Paris, in January, which the U.S. helped organize, yielded pledges of almost eight billion more, including a promise of more than a billion from the Saudis. The American pledge includes more than two hundred million dollars in military aid, and forty million dollars for internal security.
    The United States has also given clandestine support to the Siniora government, according to the former senior intelligence official and the U.S. government consultant. “We are in a program to enhance the Sunni capability to resist Shiite influence, and we’re spreading the money around as much as we can,” the former senior intelligence official said. The problem was that such money “always gets in more pockets than you think it will,” he said. “In this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don’t have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we like and avoid the people we don’t like. It’s a very high-risk venture.”
    American, European, and Arab officials I spoke to told me that the Siniora government and its allies had allowed some aid to end up in the hands of emerging Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hezbollah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with Al Qaeda.
    During a conversation with me, the former Saudi diplomat accused Nasrallah of attempting “to hijack the state,” but he also objected to the Lebanese and Saudi sponsorship of Sunni jihadists in Lebanon. “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them,” he said. “They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.”
    Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, “The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.” Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,” Crooke said.
    The largest of the groups, Asbat al-Ansar, is situated in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. Asbat al-Ansar has received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal-security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government.
    In 2005, according to a report by the U.S.-based International Crisis Group, Saad Hariri, the Sunni majority leader of the Lebanese parliament and the son of the slain former Prime Minister—Saad inherited more than four billion dollars after his father’s assassination—paid forty-eight thousand dollars in bail for four members of an Islamic militant group from Dinniyeh. The men had been arrested while trying to establish an Islamic mini-state in northern Lebanon. The Crisis Group noted that many of the militants “had trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.”
    According to the Crisis Group report, Saad Hariri later used his parliamentary majority to obtain amnesty for twenty-two of the Dinniyeh Islamists, as well as for seven militants suspected of plotting to bomb the Italian and Ukrainian embassies in Beirut, the previous year. (He also arranged a pardon for Samir Geagea, a Maronite Christian militia leader, who had been convicted of four political murders, including the assassination, in 1987, of Prime Minister Rashid Karami.) Hariri described his actions to reporters as humanitarian.
    In an interview in Beirut, a senior official in the Siniora government acknowledged that there were Sunni jihadists operating inside Lebanon. “We have a liberal attitude that allows Al Qaeda types to have a presence here,” he said. He related this to concerns that Iran or Syria might decide to turn Lebanon into a “theatre of conflict.”
    The official said that his government was in a no-win situation. Without a political settlement with Hezbollah, he said, Lebanon could “slide into a conflict,” in which Hezbollah fought openly with Sunni forces, with potentially horrific consequences. But if Hezbollah agreed to a settlement yet still maintained a separate army, allied with Iran and Syria, “Lebanon could become a target. In both cases, we become a target.”
    The Bush Administration has portrayed its support of the Siniora government as an example of the President’s belief in democracy, and his desire to prevent other powers from interfering in Lebanon. When Hezbollah led street demonstrations in Beirut in December, John Bolton, who was then the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., called them “part of the Iran-Syria-inspired coup.”
    Leslie H. Gelb, a past president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the Administration’s policy was less pro democracy than “pro American national security. The fact is that it would be terribly dangerous if Hezbollah ran Lebanon.” The fall of the Siniora government would be seen, Gelb said, “as a signal in the Middle East of the decline of the United States and the ascendancy of the terrorism threat. And so any change in the distribution of political power in Lebanon has to be opposed by the United States—and we’re justified in helping any non-Shiite parties resist that change. We should say this publicly, instead of talking about democracy.”
    Martin Indyk, of the Saban Center, said, however, that the United States “does not have enough pull to stop the moderates in Lebanon from dealing with the extremists.” He added, “The President sees the region as divided between moderates and extremists, but our regional friends see it as divided between Sunnis and Shia. The Sunnis that we view as extremists are regarded by our Sunni allies simply as Sunnis.”
    In January, after an outburst of street violence in Beirut involving supporters of both the Siniora government and Hezbollah, Prince Bandar flew to Tehran to discuss the political impasse in Lebanon and to meet with Ali Larijani, the Iranians’ negotiator on nuclear issues. According to a Middle Eastern ambassador, Bandar’s mission—which the ambassador said was endorsed by the White House—also aimed “to create problems between the Iranians and Syria.” There had been tensions between the two countries about Syrian talks with Israel, and the Saudis’ goal was to encourage a breach. However, the ambassador said, “It did not work. Syria and Iran are not going to betray each other. Bandar’s approach is very unlikely to succeed.”
    Walid Jumblatt, who is the leader of the Druze minority in Lebanon and a strong Siniora supporter, has attacked Nasrallah as an agent of Syria, and has repeatedly told foreign journalists that Hezbollah is under the direct control of the religious leadership in Iran. In a conversation with me last December, he depicted Bashir Assad, the Syrian President, as a “serial killer.” Nasrallah, he said, was “morally guilty” of the assassination of Rafik Hariri and the murder, last November, of Pierre Gemayel, a member of the Siniora Cabinet, because of his support for the Syrians.
    Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said.
    The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father. In 1982, the Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people. Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, “We told Cheney that the basic link between Iran and Lebanon is Syria—and to weaken Iran you need to open the door to effective Syrian opposition.”
    There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.
    Jumblatt said he understood that the issue was a sensitive one for the White House. “I told Cheney that some people in the Arab world, mainly the Egyptians”—whose moderate Sunni leadership has been fighting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for decades—“won’t like it if the United States helps the Brotherhood. But if you don’t take on Syria we will be face to face in Lebanon with Hezbollah in a long fight, and one we might not win.”

    THE SHEIKH

    On a warm, clear night early last December, in a bombed-out suburb a few miles south of downtown Beirut, I got a preview of how the Administration’s new strategy might play out in Lebanon. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, who has been in hiding, had agreed to an interview. Security arrangements for the meeting were secretive and elaborate. I was driven, in the back seat of a darkened car, to a damaged underground garage somewhere in Beirut, searched with a handheld scanner, placed in a second car to be driven to yet another bomb-scarred underground garage, and transferred again. Last summer, it was reported that Israel was trying to kill Nasrallah, but the extraordinary precautions were not due only to that threat. Nasrallah’s aides told me that they believe he is a prime target of fellow-Arabs, primarily Jordanian intelligence operatives, as well as Sunni jihadists who they believe are affiliated with Al Qaeda. (The government consultant and a retired four-star general said that Jordanian intelligence, with support from the U.S. and Israel, had been trying to infiltrate Shiite groups, to work against Hezbollah. Jordan’s King Abdullah II has warned that a Shiite government in Iraq that was close to Iran would lead to the emergence of a Shiite crescent.) This is something of an ironic turn: Nasrallah’s battle with Israel last summer turned him—a Shiite—into the most popular and influential figure among Sunnis and Shiites throughout the region. In recent months, however, he has increasingly been seen by many Sunnis not as a symbol of Arab unity but as a participant in a sectarian war.
    Nasrallah, dressed, as usual, in religious garb, was waiting for me in an unremarkable apartment. One of his advisers said that he was not likely to remain there overnight; he has been on the move since his decision, last July, to order the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid set off the thirty-three-day war. Nasrallah has since said publicly—and repeated to me—that he misjudged the Israeli response. “We just wanted to capture prisoners for exchange purposes,” he told me. “We never wanted to drag the region into war.”
    Nasrallah accused the Bush Administration of working with Israel to deliberately instigate fitna, an Arabic word that is used to mean “insurrection and fragmentation within Islam.” “In my opinion, there is a huge campaign through the media throughout the world to put each side up against the other,” he said. “I believe that all this is being run by American and Israeli intelligence.” (He did not provide any specific evidence for this.) He said that the U.S. war in Iraq had increased sectarian tensions, but argued that Hezbollah had tried to prevent them from spreading into Lebanon. (Sunni-Shiite confrontations increased, along with violence, in the weeks after we talked.)
    Nasrallah said he believed that President Bush’s goal was “the drawing of a new map for the region. They want the partition of Iraq. Iraq is not on the edge of a civil war—there is a civil war. There is ethnic and sectarian cleansing. The daily killing and displacement which is taking place in Iraq aims at achieving three Iraqi parts, which will be sectarian and ethnically pure as a prelude to the partition of Iraq. Within one or two years at the most, there will be total Sunni areas, total Shiite areas, and total Kurdish areas. Even in Baghdad, there is a fear that it might be divided into two areas, one Sunni and one Shiite.”
    He went on, “I can say that President Bush is lying when he says he does not want Iraq to be partitioned. All the facts occurring now on the ground make you swear he is dragging Iraq to partition. And a day will come when he will say, ‘I cannot do anything, since the Iraqis want the partition of their country and I honor the wishes of the people of Iraq.’ ”
    Nasrallah said he believed that America also wanted to bring about the partition of Lebanon and of Syria. In Syria, he said, the result would be to push the country “into chaos and internal battles like in Iraq.” In Lebanon, “There will be a Sunni state, an Alawi state, a Christian state, and a Druze state.” But, he said, “I do not know if there will be a Shiite state.” Nasrallah told me that he suspected that one aim of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon last summer was “the destruction of Shiite areas and the displacement of Shiites from Lebanon. The idea was to have the Shiites of Lebanon and Syria flee to southern Iraq,” which is dominated by Shiites. “I am not sure, but I smell this,” he told me.
    Partition would leave Israel surrounded by “small tranquil states,” he said. “I can assure you that the Saudi kingdom will also be divided, and the issue will reach to North African states. There will be small ethnic and confessional states,” he said. “In other words, Israel will be the most important and the strongest state in a region that has been partitioned into ethnic and confessional states that are in agreement with each other. This is the new Middle East.”
    In fact, the Bush Administration has adamantly resisted talk of partitioning Iraq, and its public stances suggest that the White House sees a future Lebanon that is intact, with a weak, disarmed Hezbollah playing, at most, a minor political role. There is also no evidence to support Nasrallah’s belief that the Israelis were seeking to drive the Shiites into southern Iraq. Nevertheless, Nasrallah’s vision of a larger sectarian conflict in which the United States is implicated suggests a possible consequence of the White House’s new strategy.
    In the interview, Nasrallah made mollifying gestures and promises that would likely be met with skepticism by his opponents. “If the United States says that discussions with the likes of us can be useful and influential in determining American policy in the region, we have no objection to talks or meetings,” he said. “But, if their aim through this meeting is to impose their policy on us, it will be a waste of time.” He said that the Hezbollah militia, unless attacked, would operate only within the borders of Lebanon, and pledged to disarm it when the Lebanese Army was able to stand up. Nasrallah said that he had no interest in initiating another war with Israel. However, he added that he was anticipating, and preparing for, another Israeli attack, later this year.
    Nasrallah further insisted that the street demonstrations in Beirut would continue until the Siniora government fell or met his coalition’s political demands. “Practically speaking, this government cannot rule,” he told me. “It might issue orders, but the majority of the Lebanese people will not abide and will not recognize the legitimacy of this government. Siniora remains in office because of international support, but this does not mean that Siniora can rule Lebanon.”
    President Bush’s repeated praise of the Siniora government, Nasrallah said, “is the best service to the Lebanese opposition he can give, because it weakens their position vis-à-vis the Lebanese people and the Arab and Islamic populations. They are betting on us getting tired. We did not get tired during the war, so how could we get tired in a demonstration?”
    There is sharp division inside and outside the Bush Administration about how best to deal with Nasrallah, and whether he could, in fact, be a partner in a political settlement. The outgoing director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, in a farewell briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee, in January, said that Hezbollah “lies at the center of Iran’s terrorist strategy. . . . It could decide to conduct attacks against U.S. interests in the event it feels its survival or that of Iran is threatened. . . . Lebanese Hezbollah sees itself as Tehran’s partner.”
    In 2002, Richard Armitage, then the Deputy Secretary of State, called Hezbollah “the A-team” of terrorists. In a recent interview, however, Armitage acknowledged that the issue has become somewhat more complicated. Nasrallah, Armitage told me, has emerged as “a political force of some note, with a political role to play inside Lebanon if he chooses to do so.” In terms of public relations and political gamesmanship, Armitage said, Nasrallah “is the smartest man in the Middle East.” But, he added, Nasrallah “has got to make it clear that he wants to play an appropriate role as the loyal opposition. For me, there’s still a blood debt to pay”—a reference to the murdered colonel and the Marine barracks bombing.
    Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites.
    “The most important story in the Middle East is the growth of Nasrallah from a street guy to a leader—from a terrorist to a statesman,” Baer added. “The dog that didn’t bark this summer”—during the war with Israel—“is Shiite terrorism.” Baer was referring to fears that Nasrallah, in addition to firing rockets into Israel and kidnapping its soldiers, might set in motion a wave of terror attacks on Israeli and American targets around the world. “He could have pulled the trigger, but he did not,” Baer said.
    Most members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities acknowledge Hezbollah’s ongoing ties to Iran. But there is disagreement about the extent to which Nasrallah would put aside Hezbollah’s interests in favor of Iran’s. A former C.I.A. officer who also served in Lebanon called Nasrallah “a Lebanese phenomenon,” adding, “Yes, he’s aided by Iran and Syria, but Hezbollah’s gone beyond that.” He told me that there was a period in the late eighties and early nineties when the C.I.A. station in Beirut was able to clandestinely monitor Nasrallah’s conversations. He described Nasrallah as “a gang leader who was able to make deals with the other gangs. He had contacts with everybody.”

    TELLING CONGRESS

    The Bush Administration’s reliance on clandestine operations that have not been reported to Congress and its dealings with intermediaries with questionable agendas have recalled, for some in Washington, an earlier chapter in history. Two decades ago, the Reagan Administration attempted to fund the Nicaraguan contras illegally, with the help of secret arms sales to Iran. Saudi money was involved in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, and a few of the players back then—notably Prince Bandar and Elliott Abrams—are involved in today’s dealings.
    Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said.
    I was subsequently told by the two government consultants and the former senior intelligence official that the echoes of Iran-Contra were a factor in Negroponte’s decision to resign from the National Intelligence directorship and accept a sub-Cabinet position of Deputy Secretary of State. (Negroponte declined to comment.)
    The former senior intelligence official also told me that Negroponte did not want a repeat of his experience in the Reagan Administration, when he served as Ambassador to Honduras. “Negroponte said, ‘No way. I’m not going down that road again, with the N.S.C. running operations off the books, with no finding.’ ” (In the case of covert C.I.A. operations, the President must issue a written finding and inform Congress.) Negroponte stayed on as Deputy Secretary of State, he added, because “he believes he can influence the government in a positive way.”
    The government consultant said that Negroponte shared the White House’s policy goals but “wanted to do it by the book.” The Pentagon consultant also told me that “there was a sense at the senior-ranks level that he wasn’t fully on board with the more adventurous clandestine initiatives.” It was also true, he said, that Negroponte “had problems with this Rube Goldberg policy contraption for fixing the Middle East.”
    The Pentagon consultant added that one difficulty, in terms of oversight, was accounting for covert funds. “There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the world on a variety of missions,” he said. The budgetary chaos in Iraq, where billions of dollars are unaccounted for, has made it a vehicle for such transactions, according to the former senior intelligence official and the retired four-star general.
    “This goes back to Iran-Contra,” a former National Security Council aide told me. “And much of what they’re doing is to keep the agency out of it.” He said that Congress was not being briefed on the full extent of the U.S.-Saudi operations. And, he said, “The C.I.A. is asking, ‘What’s going on?’ They’re concerned, because they think it’s amateur hour.”
    The issue of oversight is beginning to get more attention from Congress. Last November, the Congressional Research Service issued a report for Congress on what it depicted as the Administration’s blurring of the line between C.I.A. activities and strictly military ones, which do not have the same reporting requirements. And the Senate Intelligence Committee, headed by Senator Jay Rockefeller, has scheduled a hearing for March 8th on Defense Department intelligence activities.
    Senator Ron Wyden, of Oregon, a Democrat who is a member of the Intelligence Committee, told me, “The Bush Administration has frequently failed to meet its legal obligation to keep the Intelligence Committee fully and currently informed. Time and again, the answer has been ‘Trust us.’ ” Wyden said, “It is hard for me to trust the Administration.” ♦

    Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh?printable=true&currentPage=all#ixzz27cBpfF1A

  • The shrinking space for pluralism in Balochistan
    HINA BALOCH
    Share Email 11 Comment(s) Print
    Updated
    2013-12-10 14:10:14
    Interestingly, in the recent earthquake in Balochistan where international aid agencies and local NGOs were barred from entering Balochistan, the religious organisations and their charity-arms, most of them with established ties to militant organisations were allowed to make inroads into the province. According to many locals, there is covert support for these madressahs from the state security agencies. Many think that the recent injection of religiosity is an attempt to divide an otherwise united youth along religious and sectarian lines – a diversion tactic to curb the nationalist movement. Militant organisations like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) that operate from south Punjab are actively recruiting young Baloch men, particularly from the Khuzdar region of Balochistan. Today, when people in Balochistan hear surnames like Mengal and Buledi associated with the LeJ, the news comes as a rude shock to them.

    It was not too far back when a similar scenario to the one unfolding in Balochistan was played out in another part of Pakistan, albeit for different reasons. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) was then a newly established war theater. The state, under General Ziaul-Haq’s command, was promoting an extremist brand of Islam, recruiting mujahideen to fight the Soviets and fanning the flames of militancy for short-term ‘strategic’ leverage. Back then, through these religious seminaries and their allied training camps, young Pashtun men were incited, trained and readied to commit themselves to militancy. Young and impressionable, the Pashtun fell to the ruse like a pack of cards, forgetting the legacies and customs of their tribal elders and ancestors. When the mission was accomplished, the umbilical cord was cut by the state and its foreign patrons as clinically as it was forged; the once spoilt militia was left to fend for itself.

    A decade and a half later, recharged, re-grouped and re-financed, the same jihadists have now metastasized into countless terrorizing coteries spread all across KPK. Armed with their specific brands of Islam and ready to eliminate anyone that opposes or impedes their mission, sectarian and religion-based violence has engulfed the entire province of KPK. As a wise voice once said, ‘today the killer and the killed are both Pashtuns’.

    As proven over time, the use of outlawed proxies for short-lived gains is a dangerous and self-defeating strategy. Its deployment in Balochistan may aid in temporarily curbing the nationalist movement currently underway, but the blow back will be felt far beyond the borders of Balochistan. This cancer of sectarian and religion-based violence, if persisted with as a tool for statecraft, will sooner than later creep its way into the safer havens of Pakistan’s other provinces.

    One can only hope that Zaheer and other young impressionable men like him will finally begin to see through the polemics used to lure them into becoming torchbearers of a specific brand of religion. The sooner they arrest their fall into the cauldron of extremism, intolerance and violence, the better it will be for them, their families and for the religious minorities across Pakistan. Likewise, the sooner the powerful realise their historical misadventures are not worth repeating, the better it will be for everyone. Alas, who will make these demigods realise is the bigger question. Any takers?

    http://www.dawn.com/news/1061498/the-shrinking-space-for-pluralism-in-balochistan/2

    Abdul Hai Kakar ‏@haikakar
    State radicalizing Baloch youths to counter secular&pluralistic nature of Baloch culture. Good Read by @hinabaloch
    http://www.dawn.com/news/1061498/the-shrinking-space-for-pluralism-in-balochistan/2

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