Original Articles

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan are the Middle East Axis of Evil

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan are the Axis of Evil in the Middle East.

U.S. President George W. Bush coined the term “Axis of Evil” when refering to North Korea, Iran, and Iraq in his 2002 State of the Union Address. There are reasons to believe that like several of his strategic blunders (e.g., reliance on Pakistan army to neutralize the Al Qaeda threat, invasion of Iraq etc), Bush was much off the mark in his assessment of the Axis of Evil, an error which was also enabled by a powerful Saudi-Ikhwan (Saudi-Muslim Brotherhood) lobby in Washington, D.C.

If today, we have unrest in Afghanistan and Iraq and uncertain situations in Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen, the discreet role of three counties is hard to ignore: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. Together these three countries constitute the real axis of evil, the Middle East Axis of Evil.

We cannot hope to have democracy, peace and stability in the Middle East and the entire world unless we address the lack of democracy and active support for Jihadi Salafi-Ikhwan terrorism by these three countries.

Let me explain the above hypotheses with a few examples:

1. The September 11, 2001 terrorists were mostly of Saudi Arabian origin, inspired by the Jihadi-Salafi ideology of a Saudi citizen (Osama in Laden) and an Egyptian Ikhwani Jihadist (Ayman Al Zawahiri, current head of AQ).

2. Jordan and Saudi Arabia are two major sources of Al Qaeda infiltrators into Iraq, providing the largest number of Salafi-Ikhwan suicide bombers who have killed thousands of Shias, Sunnis (Hanafis), Christians and Kurds in Iraq in the last several years. Abu Musab Al Zarqawi who killed thousands of Shias and Sunni Hanafi Muslims in Iraq was a Jihadi-Salafi infiltrator from Jordan.

3. Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV is known for spreading Salafi-Ikhwan propaganda in the Middle East in a subtle and refined manner. While its English news channel is known for selective morality and dishonest twists (e.g., silence on Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, noise on Syria), the Arabic channel is much more blatant in its Salafi-Ikhwan psy-war and tactics. For all practical purposes, Al Jazeera is the major propaganda wing for the Middle East Axis of Evil.

4. Qatar and Saudi Arabia played a major role in providing financial and logistic support (including ammunition) to Libyan rebels. However, instead of supporting moderate Sunni rebels, Qatar and Saudi Arabia supported Salafi-Ikhwan militants (in other words: Al Qaeda) which now are a major source of threat to democracy and human rights in independent Libya.

5. A similar role was played by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to support the Salafists and Ikhwanites in Egypt, an investment that paid off. Today, Ikhwan and Salafis constitute majority of seats in Egypt’s newly elected parliament.

6. It’s the same axis of evil (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan) which is currently pumping millions of dollars and smuggling latest weapons to Jihadi-Salafi and Ikhwan militants in Syria, who have hijacked and tarnshied Syrian people’s legitimate struggle against an authoritarian dictator (Bashar Al Assad). Recently, Al Qaeda’s head Ayman Al Zawahiri and his affiliates in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Palestine’s Hamas and Pakistan’s Sipah-e-Sahaba/Taliban have expressed explicit support for the Salafi-Ikhwan militants in Syria. The Salafi-Ikhwan militants have killed thousands of Shia Muslims (including Alevites and Isna Asharis), Sunni Muslims (Hanafis and Shafeis) and Christians in the last few months.

7. It’s the same Axis of Evil which has unsuccessfully attempted to brutally suppress the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain. On 9 March 2012, almost one third of Bahrain’s population (about 200,000 people) marched in Bahrain to protest against Saudi-Qatar backed King Hamad regime. More than 75 Bahrainis have been killed so far by the Saudi-Qatar forces deployed to protect the current dictator of Bahrain. US, UK and other Western countries are suffering major public relations setback due to their silence on Saudi-Qatar brutalities in Bahrain.

8. Saudi Arabia is currently busy in suppressing not only women and pro-democracy Sunnis but also millions of Shias in its Eastern province. Dozens of Shias have been killed and hundreds arrested. Al Jazeera has maintained silence on the pro-democracy protests and brutal suppression in Saudi Arabia. Once again, thanks to Salafi-Ikhwan lobby in Washington, D.C., the West is silent at the cost of its own credibility.

9. It’s the same anti-Sunni (Salafis represent only one per cent of Sunni Muslims), anti-Shia axis of evil which is creating an artificial divide between Sunnias and Shias in order to augment recruitment for the Salafi-Ikhwan Al Qaeda movement. The same trio is unnecessarily threatening Iran (after invasion of Iran through Saddam Hussain in 1980s), which is creating more instability in the region.

10. Plan to re-install the Taliban regime in Kabul: Saudi Arabia and Qatar are actively lobbying in Washington, D.C. and other Western capitals to re-install brutal Taliban regime in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the US and NATO forces in the near future. Their aim is to use (abuse) Afghanistan as a main station from where a violent Salafi-Ikhwan ideology will be propagated in neighbouring countries and also internationally. In this effort, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are actively supported by Pakistan’s military establishment which remains dependent on Saudi-Jihadist ideology for their own Jihadist projects and also receives generous financial support from the Saudi Kingdom. A Taliban diplomatic office (informal embassy) has been set up in Qatar in order to formalize the handing over of Kabul to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

11. Saudi Arabian government through its amply funded and well connected Islamist Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) Lobby in Washington, D.C. is forcing the US government to release Al Qaeda-Taliban terrorist. Apparently, USA has agreed to free five most dangerous terrorists who are soon to be transferred from the Guantanamo Bay military prison to the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Five top terrorists include: Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Nori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Mohammad Nabi Omari. These five people are the killers of thousands of Shiite Muslims, Tajiks and Hazaras of Afghanistan, and are currently held by the U.S. in the Guantanamo Bay military prison.In Qatar, these terrorist will also be reunited with their families. At least one has been accused in the massacre of thousands of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan. His name is Mullah Norullah Nori, described in U.S. military documents as one of the most significant former Taliban officials held at Guantanamo. He was a senior Taliban commander in Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001. He previously was a Taliban governor in two provinces Northern Afghanistan, where he has been accused of ordering the massacre of thousands of Shiite Muslims including those of Hazara Shia and non-Hazara Shia backgrounds.

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri

17 Comments

Click here to post a comment
  • No reforms are possible anywhere in the Middle East as long as the House of Sauds rules (Saudi) Arabia.

    Salafi-Wahhabis are only 3 per cent of Saudi Arabia. Majority of Saudis are not Hambalis (70%) followed by Shias (20%) and others (7%).

    US should help install democracy in Saudi Arabia if it wants to make world a better, safer place to live.

  • The Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that it refutes and condemns a statement released by Russia on March 4, which included allegations that the Kingdon supports terrorism in Syria.
    “Such irresponsible statements are misleading and don’t take into account the kingdom’s keenness to deal with the Syrian crisis according to international rules and through the (UN) Security Council, which is concerned with preserving international peace and security,” the statement said.
    “The Russian accusations are based on false assumptions reported by Syrian media, claiming that Al Qaeda, along with other armed terrorist groups, form the basis of the Syrian opposition, claims disputed by the international community,” the statement said.

    http://en.ria.ru/world/20120311/172099331.html

  • The demonstrators condemned the imprisonment of human rights activist, Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja and demanded his immediate release.

    Al-Khawaja, the co-founder and former president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was sentenced to life in prison by a military court last April for “plotting to overthrow the government.”

    The top Bahraini activist has been on hunger strike for the past month.

    Human rights activists have already warned about the worsening health of the jailed opposition figure.

    We have conducted an interview with Kamel Wazni, political analyst, to share his opinion on this issue.

    The following is a transcript of the interview:

    http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=302019

  • House of Saud is the principle tool of Imperialism and corner stone of their policy for muslim countries.
    There is no progressive discourse on muslim countries which doesnt adresses Saudi factor

  • Al Jazeera journalists quit channel citing bias on Syria coverage

    Qatar’s aggressive stance towards Assad has led to a string of resignations at the country’s al-Jazeera TV news channel. Those who left describe bias at the station which they say has become a tool to target the Syrian regime. RT’s Paula Slier describes those accusations.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x–Td_8JXYk

  • Power Play in the Gulf
    Tiny Qatar Has Big Diplomatic Ambitions

    By Alexander Smoltczyk and Bernhard Zand

    Getty Images
    With his wealth, diplomatic skills and Al-Jazeera television network, Qatar’s Emir Hamad Al Thani has become one of the most important politicians in the Middle East. The tiny state is becoming a force to be reckoned with, but the emir’s motives are obscure.

    He is completely in his element here, underneath the heavy chandeliers in the ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton, surrounded by dignitaries from neighboring countries and delegates from the United Nations and the Arab League. He practically purrs when the Palestinian president praises him as the man who brings “oil into the mosque,” in other words, providing light and inspiration among the faithful. Here in this ballroom, His Highness the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is completely himself — or rather, completely the man he wants to be.

    He is today’s version of the classic oil sheikh, a global player, intermediary between east and west and the ruler of a “new world power,” as a French weekly recently described his small realm.
    He looks serious as he takes notes. He sports a large moustache above a double chin, and the gold hem of his robe practically glows with dignity. The emir loves these events, like the “International Conference for the Defense of Jerusalem” in late February or a meeting that was held in January to help bring about reconciliation between the Palestinian factions. The events usually end in some “Doha declaration,” ensuring that, once again, the name of the Qatari capital goes down in the annals of history.

    “Getting back to oil…” says Sheikh Hamad, and proceeds to describe how his emirate is supplying the Gaza Strip, which is under an Israeli blockade, with money and food. There are murmurs of approval from his audience, which includes representatives from Ramallah, Yemen, Morocco and the new Libya, because they know they will always have good credit here in the Emirate of Qatar.

    At the Center of Diplomacy

    Qatar is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, roughly the shape of Denmark but only a fourth the size and consisting mainly of sand. In 1949, it had an estimated population of 16,000, of which only 630 could write more than their names. Today Qatar is the world’s richest country, with an annual per-capita income of $98,000 (€73,000). It will host the 2022 football World Cup, for which it will spend at least $150 billion on the construction of stadiums, expressways and a subway system.

    “In the name of God…,” says the emir as he gets up for lunch. He is a large man, although no longer quite as imposing as he was when former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi used to make jokes about the emir’s girth at Arab League meetings. But Gadhafi is no longer around.

    The emir of Qatar, by contrast, has gone from strength to strength. He stands at the center of Middle Eastern diplomacy, the place where key decisions are made. He convinced fellow Arab League members to approve the critical resolutions against Gadhafi, helping to advance the NATO mission in Libya. He was also the first to call for arming the Syrian rebels, and has even advocated military intervention to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    He was also involved in similar activities before the beginning of the Arab Spring. He dispatched his diplomats to mediate between the Sudanese government and the rebels in Darfur, between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and between the United States and the Afghan Taliban. He wasn’t always as successful as in 2008, when he prevented the renewed outbreak of civil war in Lebanon. But for the emir and his country, every diplomatic success represents a little more recognition of their increasingly important role as negotiators.

    Doha’s diplomatic district is in the process of turning into a kind of miniature international organization, where the forces of good and evil alike are permitted to hoist their flags. Secular opponents of the Somali Al-Shabab militants, deposed Iraqi generals and members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have found refuge there. The emir urged the Palestinian organization Hamas to move its headquarters from the Syrian capital Damascus to Doha. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal already maintains a residence in Qatar, and the Taliban will soon open an office in Doha — its first representation in a foreign country.

    When that happens, US generals from the Al Udeid air base could find themselves crossing paths with Hamas strategists and black-robed Taliban officials at Doha’s Diplomatic Club, in an atmosphere reminiscent of the film “Casablanca.”

    Eggs in Different Baskets

    The Almighty has provided the sea floor off the coast of this tiny patch of sand with the largest known naturally gas reserves on the planet. Unfortunately, he has also sandwiched Qatar between two large neighbors that are not on the best of terms: Saudi Arabia and Iran. Under these conditions, Qatar has no choice but to assert itself.

    For years, the Saudis refused to sign a treaty delineating their border with Qatar. The emir looked around for other alliance partners, developing diplomatic ambitions that put all other Arab countries to shame. He convinced Washington to move one of the headquarters of the US Central Command and one of the largest US air bases to Qatar, while at the same time inviting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend Arab summits in Doha.

    He offered the World Trade Organization (WTO) his capital as a site for the negotiations that have come to be known as the “Doha Round,” he encouraged free political forums like the “Doha Debates,” and he invited Israelis, like former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and current President Shimon Peres to participate in discussion forums.

    “The emir is the ultimate practitioner of Realpolitik,” says Ibrahim Sharqieh of the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. “He makes sure that he never puts all of his eggs in the same basket.”

    Carving Out a Niche

    Qatar has used its wealth to carve out a niche for itself in world politics. The emir opened his checkbook when the Libyan rebels ran out of money, and he sent weapons and Mirage jets to Benghazi. The new Egypt received $500 million in aid and assurances of another $10 billion in future investment.

    A group of French local politicians with immigrant roots recently wrote a letter to the Embassy of Qatar, asking the emir to help the troubled Paris suburbs known as banlieues, in light of their “abandonment by the French state.” Qatar promptly set up a €50 million fund for the suburbs.

    All this and more is reported, preferably live, by the Al-Jazeera television network. Next to his billions, the station is Hamad’s most important tool. Al-Jazeera broadcasts in Arabic and English, and it now has a station devoted solely to the Balkans, as well as new programming for Latin America and Africa.

    The influential cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the master thinker of the Muslim Brotherhood, uses Al-Jazeera to disseminate his message. Sheikh Hamad is an admirer of the theologian.

    Sinister Designs?

    Many find this suspect. Some speculate that the emir has a religious agenda, namely to strengthen Sunni Islam, the country’s dominant religion. There are even those who believe that tiny Qatar has sinister designs to “conquer the world”, as the French newspaper Le Monde puts it. In Germany, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, owns 17 percent of the carmaker Volkswagen, 10 percent of Porsche and 9 percent of the construction giant Hochtief. The emirate is buying agricultural land and investing in banks, tourism and real estate from Ukraine to Pakistan to Thailand.
    Qatar is seeking to acquire a stake in the aerospace corporation EADS in France, where it already owns shares in the Suez energy group, Dexia Bank and the Lagardère publishing group. The emir has also acquired the football club Paris Saint-Germain. “Qatar occupies positions that pose a threat to our national independence,” said the far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. “I say solemnly: The Qataris are financial supporters of Islamic fundamentalists, madmen of Sharia.”

    Is this true? And what exactly is the emir up to?

    Part 2: The Rise of Arab Nationalism

    Sheikh Hamad is the prototype of a second-generation Persian Gulf monarch. Born in 1952, he grew up in the modest affluence of a Bedouin ruling family and was sent to Britain’s Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. When he was 20, he returned to Qatar, which, like other Gulf countries, became independent in 1971. He entered the Qatari armed forces and was later promoted to the rank of major general and commander-in-chief.

    When his father refused to step down, the ambitious crown prince simply deposed him. The Saudi royal family, fearing its own palace coup, has never forgiven him for the move.

    Hamad’s character, as well as that of the rulers of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, who are all about the same age, was largely shaped by three experiences: the bleak years between the Suez War and the Arab defeat in the Six-Day War, the condescension with which the urban elites of Cairo, Beirut and Baghdad treated them as the sons of Bedouins, and the enormous wealth they acquired after the first oil crisis in 1973.

    The political reference point of this generation was the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Although he failed to provide the Arabs with a victory over Israel, Nasser did give them a feeling of self-worth. The sons of emirs and sheikhs had no use for Nasser’s socialist ideas. They adopted his Arab nationalism, but they never became Nasserists.

    They were united in their deep aversion to Nasser’s heirs, men like Moammar Gadhafi, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and former Syrian dictator Hafez Assad, the father of the current Syrian president. In their eyes, the dictators who had forced their way into power in Tripoli, Baghdad and Damascus were usurpers, and they felt what these men did to Libya, Iraq and Syria was a betrayal of true Arab nationalism.

    ‘More Aggressive’

    The desire to revive this Arab idenitity, rooted in the tribal traditions of the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the strongest motives behind the emir’s political activism. This desire was also behind the establishment of Al-Jazeera, says Palestinian journalist Ahmed Sheikh, one of the first employees and later the editor in chief of the news channel.

    The emir’s role changed with the Arab Spring. He has gone from being a mediator to a political player. “Qatar has adopted a more aggressive and potentially more risky foreign policy,” writes Meghan O’Sullivan, former US President George W. Bush’s Iraq envoy.

    Now the emir’s friendships have come to fruition, including his ties to Libyan Sheikh Ali al-Salabi, who mobilized Islamist networks in the eastern part of the country to bring down Gadhafi. In covering the uprisings in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, Al-Jazeera delivered the iconic images of the Arab Spring. The station broadcast live from Tahrir Square in Cairo for several days during the Egyptian revolution.

    To this day, the Qatari flag still flies next to the Libyan flag at checkpoints in that country. “We expect only good things from Qatar. It is a true partner in the Arab spring,” said Rachid al-Ghannouchi, Tunisia’s new strong man. Qatar’s ruler already sees himself at the head of what he calls the “Arabellion.” On the first anniversary of the Tunisian revolution, Hamad gave a speech in Tunis that sounded as if he had taken part in the uprising himself. The revolution must go on, he said, adding that he was prepared to send troops to Syria “to stop the killing.”

    Shifting Alliances

    But Qatar’s alliances change from country to country and from crisis to crisis. On Libya, Qatar cooperated with Saudi Arabia to get rid of Gadhafi, their common enemy. When Hamad noticed that the king of Saudi Arabia was not as determined as he was to convince then Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, he quit the negotiations and left it up to Washington to apply pressure on the Saudis.

    When Hamad realized that Saudi Arabia would have preferred to keep former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in power, he sought the support of the Turks. But when it became clear that Riyadh wanted to bring down Syrian dictator Assad, he revived the axis with Saudi Arabia. The emir’s policy of shifting alliances is worthy of a master diplomat and statesman.

    One could, however, also call him unprincipled. All its revolutionary posturing aside, Qatar is everything but a model democracy. The emir is responsible for appointing the Advisory Council, which has even less influence than its Saudi Arabian counterpart. The expanded voting rights promised years ago have yet to materialize. Amnesty International cites cases of whippings and the exploitation of foreign migrant workers. The strict Wahhabi form of Islam is the state religion in Qatar. And Al-Jazeera did not even report on the suppression of the protest movement in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in which Qatar was involved.

    Recently, however, Sheikh Hamad has hit a wall in his new role. The transitional council in Tripoli now seems to feel uneasy about the emir’s presence. “Our brothers from Qatar helped us but I fear Qatar will meet the same fate as Libya because of Gadhafi’s megalomania,” said Libya’s UN representative Abdel-Rahman Shalgham.

    A World Power in Miniature

    Hezbollah once received the emir like a hero in southern Lebanon, because he had helped rebuild the cities there after the 2006 war. But that has now changed. “The emir, along with his Al-Jazeera station, has become a persona non grata in Lebanon and Syria since he came out against Assad,” says a German observer in Damascus.

    Thomas Birringer, a Persian Gulf expert with Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation, compares Qatar to Luxembourg, with its media conglomerate RTL and influential prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker. “But a strong television station and a zealous diplomat do not make a leading power out of a tiny state,” he adds.

    Is Qatar a new world power? It’s more like a world power in miniature. Even Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is smaller, in absolute terms, than that of the United Arab Emirates. The emir has no divisions of his own, and his army consists mainly of mercenaries. When Qatar sent its Mirage pilots to Libya, they were escorted by American and French fighter jets so that nothing would happen to them.

    Because Qatar has relatively little to show for itself militarily, the emirate is in fact something of a lightweight in terms of realpolitik. But perhaps this isn’t the emir’s intention at all. Perhaps having the heavyweights as his friends is enough for him.

    Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,821130-2,00.html

  • Afghan foreign minister to visit Qatar to discuss Taliban talks

    KABUL, March 10 (Reuters) – Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasool will visit Qatar to meet government officials to discuss reconciliation with the Taliban, a ministry spokesman said today, a sign the nascent peace process could gain momentum.

    Rasool is scheduled to leave for Qatar in under ten days, Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai told Reuters. The Afghan Taliban announced in January it would open a political office in Qatar, suggesting the group may be willing to engage in negotiations that would be likely to give it Afghan government positions or official control over much of its historical southern heartland.

    Initially the Kabul government was cool to the idea of the Taliban holding talks with U.S. officials in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar. President Hamid Karzai withdrew his ambassador to Doha, apparently angry he had not been properly consulted or worried his government could be excluded from talks.

    An Afghan government official described Rasool’s visit as a “very important step” and that the Afghan ambassador would soon return to Qatar. Afghan officials have since pledged support for the Qatar reconciliation efforts, but also want Saudi Arabia and Turkey to facilitate talks to make the process more comprehensive.

    The Afghan government has had some contact with the Taliban, who have made a strong comeback after being toppled by a U.S. invasion in 2001, but there are no signs that fully-fledged peace talks will happen soon. U.S. diplomats have also been seeking to broaden exploratory talks that began clandestinely in Germany in late 2010 after the Taliban offered to open a representative office in Qatar. The United States hopes to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table so Afghanistan can be stabilised before foreign combat troops head home at the end of 2014.

    In another signal of possible progress, an Afghan government delegation visited the U.S. Guantanamo Bay military prison this week to secure approval from five Taliban detainees who may soon be moved to Qatar.

    The delegation, which visited the top-security detention centre in Cuba on Monday, included Ibrahim Spinzada, a senior foreign policy aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, sources familiar with the subject said.Government sources in Kabul said Spinzada and Shahida Abdali, a senior Afghan security official, visited the United States this week.

    The White House said the two officials were in Washington briefly but both the White House and the Pentagon declined to comment on the Guantanamo visit. Karzai’s government has demanded the five former senior members of the Taliban government, held at Guantanamo Bay for a decade, give their consent before they are transferred to the small country where they would under Qatar’s custody.

    The transfer would be one of a series of good-faith measures that, if U.S. diplomats can surmount remaining hurdles, would set in motion the first substantial political negotiations on the conflict in Afghanistan since the Taliban government was toppled in 2001 by a U.S.-led invasion.

    A year after it was unveiled, the Obama administration’s peace initiative may soon offer the United States an opportunity to broker an end to a conflict that began as the response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
    The war has dragged on for a decade at huge financial and human cost.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/120311/Timestwo/int02.html

  • The Taliban detainees are seen by some U.S. officials as among the most dangerous inmates at Guantanamo.
    Their possible transfer has drawn attack from U.S. politicians from both parties even before the administration formally begins a required congressional notification process.
    Among the prisoners who may be sent to Qatar is Mohammed Fazl, a “high-risk” detainee alleged to be responsible for the killing of thousands of minority Shiite Muslims between 1998 and 2001.

    The Economist’s Lucy Morgan Edwards, author of “The New Afghan Solution: The Inside Story of Abdul Haq, the CIA and How Western Hubris Lost Afghanistan” talks about the recent announcement to end U.S. combat in Afghanistan next year.
    They also include Noorullah Noori, a former senior military commander; Abdul Haq Wasiq, a former deputy intelligence minister; and Khairullah Khairkhwa, a former interior minister.
    Karzai has complained the United States has repeatedly sidelined his government in a process that is supposed to be “Afghan-led” after it emerged that U.S. officials had established contacts with the Taliban in Qatar.
    But his worries seem to have eased, and there are signs that the Kabul government is prepared to extend greater support to the Qatar process, even though it wants Saudi Arabia and Turkey to facilitate talks as well.

    http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/10/10632773-5-taliban-detainees-to-be-transferred-out-of-guantanamo-prison

  • Five Taliban Guantanamo detainees agree to Qatar transferReuters 10th March, 2012
    Afghan detainees are escorted by a US Army soldier.—Reuters Photo
    KABUL: Five Taliban detainees held at the US Guantanamo Bay military prison have agreed to be transferred to Qatar, a move Afghanistan believes will boost a nascent peace process, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman said on Saturday.

    The transfer idea is part of US efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table to avoid prolonged instability in Afghanistan after foreign combat troops leave the country at the end of 2014.

    “We are hopeful this will be a positive step towards peace efforts,” Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi told Reuters, adding the Taliban detainees would be re-united with their families in Qatar if the transfer takes place.

    It would be one of a series of good-faith measures that could set in motion the first substantial political negotiations on the conflict in Afghanistan since the Taliban government was toppled in 2001 in a US-led invasion.

    A year after it was unveiled, the Obama administration’s peace initiative may soon offer the United States a historic opportunity to broker an end to a war that began as the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda attacks on the United States.

    But the peace drive also presents risks for President Barack Obama. He faces the potential for political fallout months before a presidential election, as his government considers backing an arrangement that would give some degree of power to the Taliban.

    Despite months of covert diplomacy, it remains unclear whether the prisoner transfer will go ahead.

    Doubts are growing about whether the Taliban leadership is willing to weather possible opposition from junior and more hard-core members who appear to oppose negotiations.

    US WANTS RESULTS BEFORE NATO SUMMIT
    Karzai’s top aide, Ibrahim Spinzada, visited the Guantanamo facility this week to secure approval from the five Taliban prisoners to be moved to Qatar.

    Karzai’s government has demanded the five former senior members of the Taliban government, held at Guantanamo Bay for a decade, give their consent before they are transferred to the small Gulf state where they would be under Qatar’s custody.

    US officials hope the peace initiative will gain enough traction to enable Obama to announce the establishment of full-fledged political talks between the Karzai government and the Taliban at a Nato summit in May.

    That would mark a major victory for the White House and might ease some of the anxiety created by Nato nations’ plans to gradually pull out most of their troops by the end of 2014, leaving an inexperienced Afghan military and fragile government to face a still-formidable insurgency.

    The Taliban detainees are seen by some US officials as among the most dangerous inmates at Guantanamo.

    Their possible transfer has drawn attack from US politicians from both parties even before the administration formally begins a required congressional notification process.

    Among the prisoners who may be sent to Qatar is Mohammed Fazl, a “high-risk” detainee alleged to be responsible for the killing of thousands of minority Shia Muslims between 1998 and 2001.

    They also include Noorullah Noori, a former senior military commander; Abdul Haq Wasiq, a former deputy intelligence minister; and Khairullah Khairkhwa, a former interior minister.

    Karzai has complained the United States has repeatedly sidelined his government in a process that is supposed to be “Afghan-led” after it emerged that US officials had established contacts with the Taliban in Qatar.

    But his worries seem to have eased, and there are signs that the Kabul government is prepared to extend greater support to the Qatar process, even though it wants Saudi Arabia and Turkey to facilitate talks as well.

    Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasool will visit Qatar to meet government officials to discuss reconciliation with the Taliban, a ministry spokesman said earlier.

    Rasool is scheduled to leave for Qatar within 10 days, Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai told Reuters.

    The Taliban announced in January they would open a political office in Qatar, suggesting they may be willing to engage in negotiations that would likely give them government positions or control over some of their historical southern heartland.

    An Afghan official described Rasool’s visit as a “very important step”. The Afghan government has had some contact with the Taliban while US diplomats have been seeking to broaden exploratory talks that began clandestinely in Germany in late 2010.

    http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/10/five-taliban-guantanamo-detainees-agree-to-qatar-transfer-afghan-official.html

  • Wide distrust imperils talks on Afghanistan
    Peaceful 2014 pullout in doubt
    By Ashish Kumar Sen-The Washington Times Wednesday, March 7, 2012
    A Canadian Army soldier, mentoring the Afghan National Army, follows a training session of Afghan National Army soldiers at the Kabul Military Training Center on the outskirts of Kabul on Wednesday. The Afghan National Army will be tasked with providing security throughout Afghanistan after the last international troops pull out in 2014. (Associated Press)
    Ads by Google
    Call Pakistan for 1p/min
    Cheap Calls to Pakistan – Try a Free Test Call Today!
    Localphone.com/Pakistan
    Looking for a New Job?
    Find your next role on the UK’s #1 Upload your CV and apply today.
    reed.co.uk
    STORY TOPICS
    War_Conflict
    Politics
    Taliban
    Afghanistan
    Pakistan
    FOLLOW US ONFACEBOOKQUESTION OF THE DAY
    Do you think the economy is heading in the right direction?
    Yes
    No
    Undecided
    Other
    Login to Vote
    View results

    COMMENTS (8)
    RECOMMEND
    TWITTER
    LINKEDIN
    READ LATER
    EMAIL
    PRINT
    TEXT SIZE: +| –
    MORE SHARING SERVICESSHARE
    Afghanistan’s peace process is crumbling amid distrust among all the key players – the U.S., Pakistan, the Afghan president and the Taliban, who continue to attack American and NATO troops.

    The Obama administration had bolstered its attempts to end the war with the Taliban ahead of a planned withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2014, but those efforts now appear to have become bogged down in suspicion.

    Failure to reconcile the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan before the 2001 U.S.-led invasion, with the Western-backed government in Kabul could abandon the country to civil strife – like that in post-U.S.-occupied Iraq – after international forces leave the country.

    “The way reconciliation is going on right now is extremely ad hoc. It is being conducted in an environment of mistrust,” said Said Jawad, who served as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2003 to 2010.

    “There is no mutual trust and agreed-upon base lines among Afghans and the international community, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S., and Pakistan and those elements of the Taliban that are reaching out to us or the Americans,” Mr. Jawad said.

    Omar Samad, a former Afghan ambassador to France and Canada, said the peace process is “in a state of confusion and disarray.”

    “Diplomatic endeavors lack coordination, and the parties are on different pages with little real movement,” Mr. Samad said.

    Heightened tensions

    The Taliban announced in January that it would set up an office in Qatar to facilitate peace talks.

    But Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been reluctant to embrace the proposal, which is supported by the U.S. He would rather have Saudi Arabia or Turkey host the talks.

    Mr. Karzai favors Saudi Arabia because it commands respect as the custodian of the Muslim holy shrines and has influence over Pakistan, which U.S. and Afghan officials accuse of sheltering the Taliban.

    “Qatar is not final yet as far as we are concerned,” said an Afghan official, who, like other Afghan and Western officials interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues.

    “We need to first agree on where the talks take place. Saudi Arabia or Turkey [is] more appropriate for negotiations with the Taliban,” the official said.

    Tensions have escalated between the U.S. and Afghan governments since the Feb. 25 slayings of two U.S. military advisers inside the Interior Ministry in Kabul. The two were among six U.S. troops killed by Afghan security forces in the backlash that followed the accidental burning of Korans at a U.S. military base in eastern Afghanistan.

    The Taliban has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, raising questions about its commitment to the peace process.

    On Wednesday, six British troops were killed when an explosion hit their armored vehicle in Helmand province in southwestern Afghanistan.

    The U.S.-Pakistani relationship also is at a low point after a series of incidents, including a U.S. commando raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and a NATO attack on two border posts in November that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead.

    Meanwhile, U.S. officials have accused elements of Pakistan’s military and intelligence service of aiding the Taliban in northwest Pakistan, from where the militants direct attacks in Afghanistan.

    Pakistani support is key to the success of the peace process, but “Pakistan-U.S. tensions have stopped Pakistan thinking about reconciliation,” said a Western official. “There is an enormous amount of mistrust all around.”

    Current and former Afghan officials describe as frosty their country’s relationship with Pakistan.

    “The challenge of reconciliation is that we are implementing confidence-building measures with the Taliban on the other side of the table without having enough confidence between the allies themselves on this side of the table,” Mr. Jawad said.

    “And this will benefit the Taliban, because it looks like everyone is rushing to reach out and talk to the Taliban,” he added.

    Prisoner transfer

    Peace efforts have been further endangered by a delay in Washington to respond to a Taliban demand to transfer five of its top operatives from the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar, according to some analysts.

    “These delays are strengthening the hands of opponents of reconciliation within the Taliban,” said Michael Semple, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

    “The national security of the United States is now far better served by parking these five men in a gilded cage in Qatar, at which point real diplomacy starts, than keeping them in Cuba,” he said. “Further delay in getting the prisoners there will mean that the spring fighting season is upon us before diplomacy is given a chance.”

    The Obama administration has been briefing members of Congress on the details of the transfer and has yet to reach a final decision.

    Any decision to transfer the detainees would be undertaken in “full accordance with U.S. law and in consultation with Congress,” said Noel Clay, a State Department spokesman.

    An Afghan delegation is expected to travel soon to Guantanamo Bay to meet with the five detainees and ascertain the conditions for their transfer. The transfer of the detainees’ families to Qatar is one of the issues.

    Despite statements from U.S. officials that reconciliation should be an Afghan-led process, Afghan officials complain privately that they have not been kept in the loop on U.S. efforts to engage the Taliban.

    “President Karzai has felt left out of crucial contacts, like Qatar, at least initially, and this clearly contradicts the Western line of an ‘Afghan-led’ [process], which was lip service in most of the cases anyway,” said Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network in Kabul.

    Afghan officials insist that the process must be Afghan-led if it is to succeed.

    “Without a leading role for the government of Afghanistan, everybody understands that this process will not go anywhere,” said a second Afghan official.

    Mr. Karzai’s own efforts to take the lead have been thwarted by the Taliban, which refuses to talk to what it considers a “puppet” government.

    Former militants on the Afghan government’s High Peace Council, which is tasked with reconciliation, serve as a conduit to the Taliban.

    “Through their personal connections, you can do things that you cannot otherwise,” said the second Afghan official.

    Previous efforts to initiate talks with the Taliban have been stopped in their tracks by deceit and death.

    In 2010, Western officials were duped by an impostor claiming to represent the Taliban. In September, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who led the High Peace Council, was assassinated by a man who said he was a Taliban negotiator.

    Afghan officials say the talks so far with the Taliban have been exploratory.

    “What we have done is to make sure that we are talking to the right people, that they have access to the right chain of command,” said the second Afghan official.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/7/wide-distrust-imperils-talks-on-afghanistan/?page=3

  • 6 March 2012

    The Realignment of Jihadist Groups in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Region – The Formation of Shura Muraqba In Parallel to the U.S.-Taliban Talks
    By: Tufail Ahmad*

    The above cartoon from an Afghan website depicts the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) cultivating terrorism (courtesy: kabulpress. org, May 18, 2011)
    Introduction
    This paper examines the following: first, the essential ideological unity and operational collaboration between the jihadist organizations based in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region; second, the reality of the now-not-so secret U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations and how the Taliban aim to gain from the talks; third, the Taliban’s official statements illustrating their viewpoint on the continuation of jihad against the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in spite of the talks; fourth, how a realignment of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is underway in Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, backed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies and parallel to the U.S.-Taliban talks; and fifth, the message of jihad that is being reinforced by the newly established Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), a new incarnation of the banned Pakistani jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
    Western writers and security analysts view these groups in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region as independent units led by different commanders, and as operationally autonomous. However, this view does not reflect the accurate situation on the ground. The jihadist organizations, i.e. those based in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region or elsewhere, deeply share the ideology of jihad, even though they may constitute operationally different units at some times and do collaborate whenever it is operationally achievable for them.
    As discussed below, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban’s shadow government) views its talks with the U.S. as a means to gain political and diplomatic legitimacy at the international level and sees the talks as in a pre-negotiations stage, when primarily the goals to be achieved include an exchange of prisoners and the de-listing of Taliban leaders from the United Nations terror blacklist as well as from the U.S. State Department’s own terror watchlist. Various statements issued by the Islamic Emirate, and examined below, illustrate the point that the Taliban will continue their jihad against the U.S. forces, including repeating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, like the one on September 13, 2011.
    In the middle of the U.S.-Taliban talks and the U.S. move to end the occupation of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan security forces, the Pakistani military leadership is failing to see any strategic advantage for itself in the emerging situation in Kabul. As a result, the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is propping up a new pro-Pakistan Coordination Council of Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders, as seen in the emergence of Shura Muraqba in early January 2012.
    This paper also examines how the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the jihadist organization known for working with the support of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is transforming itself into a new avatar under the banner of the newly established Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), leading mass public rallies in Pakistani cities where the message of jihad against the U.S. and India is publicly declared and threats are issued against the elected civilian government of Pakistan to completely sever all relationships with the U.S. – a goal desired by the ISI. In its understanding of jihad and strategic objectives, the DPC does not differ in any way from other jihadist groups in Pakistan, including the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and the Punjab-based Sunni jihadist groups that have emerged as affiliates of Al-Qaeda in recent years.
    The Essential Unity of the Taliban and Other Jihadist Groups

    In a pre-recorded video, the Jordanian suicide bomber who carried out the December 2009 CIA base at Khost, Afghanistan sits alongside Hakimullah Mehsud, who succeeded Baitullah Mehsud as TTP Emir
    It should be noted that there is an essential ideological unity and operational collaboration between the jihadist organizations active in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, including the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, the Pakistani Taliban, and Al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
    The Afghan Taliban groups, including the main constituent Haqqani Network, are organized primarily under the banner of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s shadow government in the country. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is headed by Mullah Mohammad Omar. The Haqqani Network, perhaps the most dominant unit among the Afghan Taliban currently, is led by commander Sirajuddin Haqqani and his father Jalaluddin Haqqani.
    Over the past few years, the U.S. government and Western journalists have tried to argue that the Haqqani Network is not part of the Taliban. Some journalists, advocating this view, have published reports arguing that the Afghan Taliban are a peaceful group whose interests are limited to governing Afghanistan whereas the Haqqani Network is closer in its tactical orientation towards Al-Qaeda.[1] This view has been encouraged by the U.S. government in order to drive a wedge between the militant groups. However, time and again the Taliban have rejected this view, reiterating instead that the Haqqani Network is formally part of the Taliban and owes its allegiance to Mullah Mohammad Omar.
    Maulvi Sangeen, the Taliban’s shadow governor for Paktika province, stated recently that the Haqqani Network, is part of the Taliban. In a statement published by an official website of the Islamic Emirate, Maulvi Sangeen rejected Western assertions that Haqqani Network is a non-Taliban group active in the eastern Afghan provinces of Paktia, Paktika and Khost, stating: “This is the public cry of the enemies of Islam and Afghanistan and their stooges. It has no reality. It is the propaganda of different radio channels and the media. I can say quite openly that all the mujahideen work under the leadership of the honorable Emir-ul-Momineen (head of the pious people) [i.e. Mullah Mohammad Omar]. Not only in our area, but also in the whole of Afghanistan, the operations are carried out according to his command and under his control…. I would like to clarify that Alhaj Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani (may Allah protect him) and his family have rendered unforgettable sacrifices for Islam and Afghanistan. All his family members are sincere to Islam and jihad. Mr. Haqqani himself is a devoted Mujahid, scholar and a pious person. He obeys the head of the Islamic Emirate [Mullah Mohammad Omar] and asks others to obey him.”[2]
    In November 2011, Sirajuddin Haqqani went on record to clarify that the Haqqani Network is part of the Taliban, stating that the U.S. has been working to separate him from the Islamic Emirate. In an audio interview published on the official website of the Islamic Emirate, Sirajuddin Haqqani stated: “Right from the first day of the American forces’ arrival into Afghanistan until this day, not only Pakistan but other Islamic and non-Islamic countries, including the U.S., contacted us for negotiations and they are still doing so. They offered a big share and important role in Afghan government if we part ways with the Islamic Emirate. But, we always replied that they should rather engage themselves in negotiations with the political commission of the Islamic Emirate. We know that the so-called reconciliation [i.e. peace process] is not their goal; rather they want to create a rift in the ranks and files of the Islamic Emirate.”[3]
    Asked about what relationship the Haqqani Network has with Mullah Mohammad Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani stated: “The respected Emir-ul-Momineen Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid is our supreme leader. We follow his directives. We are representing a particular area under the umbrella of the Islamic Emirate and act accordingly. We follow directives of the Shura [led by Mullah Mohammad Omar] in planning and financial matters. In such a situation, there is no question of running a separate organization, group, or entity.”[4] Sirajuddin Haqqani also sits on the Shura, i.e. the Taliban’s governing council based in Pakistan and headed by Mullah Mohammad Omar.
    The Pakistani Taliban groups, which are organized under the umbrella organization known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP or Movement of the Pakistani Taliban), also consider themselves as part of the Taliban headed by Mullah Omar. On numerous occasions, TTP Emir Hakimullah Mehsud has clarified that the TTP owes its allegiance to Mullah Mohammad Omar, who is regarded as Emir-ul-Momineen or Leader of the Faithful by all major jihadist groups worldwide.
    In a statement issued in March 2010, Hakimullah Mehsud rejected distinctions between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban, stating: “The other point is that the Afghan Taliban are waging jihad under the leadership of Mullah Omar, and Pakistani Taliban are also waging jihad under his leadership. The Emir of the Afghan Taliban and Emir of the Pakistani Taliban too is Emir-ul-Momineen Mullah Omar. The Emir-ul-Momineen, Mullah Omar, is bravely confronting the infidels and in this war against infidels, the Pakistani Taliban are standing alongside him….”[5]
    In another message issued on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice in November 2011), Hakimullah Mehsud vowed to “fight in the way of Allah” until the earth is cleared of the infidels (non-Muslims), and reiterated that the Taliban fighters owe their allegiance to Mullah Omar.[6] Mehsud stated: “I urge all Muslims to rise up against these agents of the kuffar who have sold their consciences; to rise above their differences and unite under the banner of Emir-ul-Momineen Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid (HA) and work towards the revival of the Caliphate – a dream awaiting fulfillment.”[7]
    The Haqqani Network of the Afghan Taliban, Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban collaborate in executing major attacks. One such key attack that illustrates deep collaboration between the Haqqani Network, the TTP and Al-Qaeda is the December 30, 2009 suicide bombing at the CIA’s Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, the eastern Afghan province, which killed seven CIA operatives. The bombing was carried out by triple agent Hamam Al-Balawi aka Abu Dajana, a Jordanian intelligence operative working for CIA but simultaneously recruited by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Al-Balawi said in a pre-recorded video that he was carrying out the operation to avenge the killing of TTP’s Emir Baitullah Mehsud, the predecessor of Hakimullah Mehsud.[8]
    It is pertinent here to note that in that pre-recorded video, Hamam Al-Balawi sat alongside Hakimullah Mehsud to record his statement, warning: “We will never forget the blood of our Emir, Baitullah Mehsud. We will continue to avenge his blood in America and elsewhere. This is a pledge taken by all the muhajireen [foreign militants based in Waziristan], who were hosted by Baitullah Mehsud. By Allah, we shall never forget our Emir, Baitullah Mehsud, who used to kiss the hands of the muhajireen, out of the love he had for them in his heart. We shall never forget our Emir, Baitullah Mehsud.”[9] The reference to muhajireen (migrants) draws on Islamic history, as the muhajireen were Prophet Muhammad and his companions when he migrated from Mecca to Medina leading to the establishment of the first Islamic state there. The attack on the CIA base at Khost was described in an editorial by the Pakistani newspaper Dawn as a “spectacular example of collaboration” between the Afghan Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and the Pakistani Taliban.[10]
    Faisal Shehzad, who carried out the failed bombing on May 1, 2010 in the Times Square of New York, had hoped to achieve martyrdom in that attack, as it became evident from a pre-recorded video of him that emerged afterwards. The video speech illustrated how Shehzad, like other Islamic militants, saw no distinction between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Shehzad, who is now serving a life term in a U.S. jail, stated in the video: “This attack on the United States will also be a revenge attack for all the mujahideen, and the muhajireen, and the weak and oppressed Muslim people, for example, the martyr Baitullah [Mehsud, the TTP] Emir, as well as Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi [of Al-Qaeda in Iraq], and all the Muslim Arabs that have been martyred. I will take revenge on their behalf, Allah willing, and I really wish that the hearts of the Muslims will be pleased with this attack [in Times Square].”[11]
    It should also be noted here that in addition to the TTP, a number of Punjab-based jihadist organizations in Pakistan – e.g. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) – operate closely with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Hizb-e-Islami of former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is a major non-Taliban militant group in Afghanistan, but it too works alongside the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in some parts of Afghanistan as well as independently.
    Some of the major Al-Qaeda affiliates worldwide that regard Mullah Mohammad Omar as the Emir-ul-Momineen include Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula of Yemen, the Islamic State of Iraq, Morocco’s Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen in Somalia. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which recruited six dozen German nationals in 2009, and its splinter group Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), both operate alongside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Osama bin Laden, the late Al-Qaeda leader, and his successor Ayman Al-Zawahiri too gave bai’yah (allegiance to the Emir of the Muslim Ummah) to Mullah Omar. All these groups view the mujahideen in Pakistan and Afghanistan as Ansar, literally, helpers or locals who aided the Prophet Muhammad after he migrated from Mecca to Medina.
    Because terrorist groups cannot be expected to operate freely and unhindered in view of military operations in Afghanistan, it is also a reality that despite their ideological unity regarding jihad fi Sabilillah (fighting in the way of Allah), many of them are led by different commanders who act both on their own as well as in operational collaboration with each other in executing some of the major attacks. In the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, their operational relationship runs deep as most of these groups have their bases and hideouts in Waziristan, the safe haven for Al-Qaeda and the Taliban protected by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of the Pakistani military.
    The Hard Reality of the U.S.-Taliban Negotiations

    The logo of the Islamic Emirate’s website
    In recent years, efforts were made at different levels by the Afghan government headed by President Hamid Karzai, the U.K., and the U.S. to engage the Taliban in peace talks. At various times in 2007-2008, the British diplomats tried their best to engage the Taliban through the mediation of Saudi Arabia, but were unsuccessful.
    The Karzai government announced a series of measures aimed at reconciliation with the Taliban, offering the low-ranking militants jobs in government departments in exchange for abandoning violence. The government measures, facilitated by German funds and also supported by the U.S., made little headway, though some militants, many of them genuine and some not so genuine, did surrender before Afghan officials. However, these efforts did not usher in a hopeful era of negotiations on the political future of Afghanistan, as the Taliban showed no serious inclination to engage with the peace process.
    However, an American soldier, Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl, was kidnapped in mid-2009 by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. It was around this time that the Taliban began engaging with U.S. officials through Taliban representative Tayyab Agha. These contacts with the Taliban were presented in the U.S. media as negotiations for a political settlement on the future of Afghanistan. But the realistic assessment is that the Taliban saw these contacts merely aimed at exchange of prisoners – i.e. a promise to free Bergdahl in exchange for Taliban commanders being held at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay.
    Over the past few years, several Taliban statements denied any peace talks with the U.S. However, on July 6, 2011, one of the official websites of the Islamic Emirate (the Taliban’s shadow government) issued a statement, titled “Statement of the Islamic Emirate Regarding the Baseless Rumors of Negotiations” and rejecting Western media reports of U.S.-Taliban peace talks. The same statement also admitted for the first time that the Taliban are in “direct and indirect” contacts with the U.S. and Canadian officials regarding prisoner release.[12] The statement added that “direct and indirect contacts continue about Canadian and American prisoners who are in our captivity as well as about other nationals who have come to our country for occupation and were/are under our detention. The rumor about negotiation with America is not more than the talks aimed at the exchange of prisoners. Some circles call these contacts as comprehensive talks about the current imbroglio of Afghanistan. However, this shows their unfair treatment of the issue and lack of knowledge about the reality.”[13]
    In an August 29, 2011 message released on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, Mullah Omar continued to reiterate the stated Taliban position regarding the talks, noting: “The contacts which have been made with some parties for the release of prisoners can’t be called a comprehensive negotiation for the solution of the current imbroglio of the country. However, the Islamic Emirate, as an efficient political and military entity, has a specific and independent agenda in this regard….”[14] The fact that Mullah Omar referred to the Islamic Emirate as a “political and military entity” was the nearest to saying that the Taliban have begun to see themselves re-emerging as rulers of Afghanistan as a result of the contacts with the U.S.
    It is a reality that the Taliban saw their contacts with U.S. officials – at least initially – as an opportunity to get the Taliban commanders freed from the Guantanamo Bay detention center. However, amid these contacts, sometime later they also sensed a greater opportunity: i.e. they are already present militarily inside Afghanistan and now they are getting a chance to be present politically and diplomatically outside Afghanistan as the U.S. offered to allow them to open a political office in Qatar to further the talks. On January 3, 2012, the website of the Islamic Emirate issued a statement, officially confirming a U.S.-mediated deal to set up a Taliban political office in Qatar.
    The January 3, 2012 statement, which was careful to indicate that the Taliban will not engage with the Karzai government, noted: “The ongoing issue in the country which came about 10 years ago [after the U.S. launched the invasion of Afghanistan] has been between two fundamental elements: on the one side is the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and on the other is the United States of America and its foreign allies…. We are at the moment, besides our powerful presence inside the country, ready to establish a political office outside the country to come to an understanding with other nations and in this series, we have reached an initial agreement with Qatar and other related sides. The Islamic Emirate has also asked for the release of its prisoners from the Guantanamo prison on an exchange basis.”[15]
    The fact that the Taliban saw for the first time that they are getting political and diplomatic legitimacy internationally as a result of talks with the U.S. was illustrated in an interview given in February 2012 to London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat by Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, one of the key spokesmen of the Islamic Emirate. Asked about whether the Taliban will like to open political offices – similar to the one on the lines of the political office in Qatar – in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Libya, Egypt and other countries, Ahmadi said: “After 10 years of jihad and steadfastness on the part of the Afghan people against the arrogant occupiers, the entire world is aware of the strength of the Afghan jihad and has accepted the reality of the situation in the Afghan arena. This has caused many countries in the world to desire contact with the Islamic Emirate and the political office of the Islamic Emirate. The Islamic Emirate will welcome the opening of its political offices in these countries and others, if this is approved.”[16]
    In mid-February 2012, Zabihullah Mujahid, the main spokesman of the Islamic Emirate, laid down four conditions for negotiations to begin with the U.S. on the future of Afghanistan, adding that “negotiations with America have not yet begun.”[17] In a statement published on the Taliban website, Zabihullah Mujahid stated: “Now the question is, when will negotiations begin? I must say that before any negotiations can take place, confidence-building measures must first succeed so that an atmosphere can be created for negotiations and this confidence-building measure rests entirely with the Americans; and they must take steps for it including: the exchange of Guantanamo prisoners, the opening of a political office and the termination of the black list of the United Nations as well as the bounty lists of America and her allies.”[18]
    Some hard realities associated with the U.S.-Taliban peace talks include the following: a) the Taliban have rejected any engagement with the Afghan government which in their opinion is not the legitimate representative of the Afghan people; b) the Taliban think of the peace talks as tactics aimed at getting the Taliban prisoners freed from the Guantanamo Bay prison and getting the Taliban commanders de-listed from the UN terror blacklist and the U.S. terror watchlist; and c) the Taliban view the talks as confidence-building or pre-negotiations stage before the actual talks on the political future of Afghanistan.
    Additionally, the Taliban have repeatedly refused to state clearly that they will not host Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan if they take power in Kabul. In February 2012, Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi was asked if the Taliban could make a commitment not to host Al-Qaeda once more if they take power in Kabul. Ahmadi merely stated: “You must notice that the Americans acknowledged, on more than one occasion, that Al-Qaeda is no longer centered in Afghanistan, whilst on the other hand the situation in the Islamic world has experienced huge change, with successful revolutions having taken place in Arab states…. Islamic movements have succeeded in suppressing authoritarian governments that previously unjustly expelled or forced these movements to flee their countries. Therefore, Al-Qaeda and other Islamic organizations have now found what they need elsewhere, and I believe they are no longer interested in Afghanistan.”[19]
    The Taliban’s Ideological Imperative behind Jihad
    In the years before the U.S.-Taliban talks were confirmed, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan issued a number of statements, routinely reiterating that the Taliban will continue to wage jihad against the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. There has been no change in this Taliban position, both theoretically and on the ground in Afghanistan, as the Islamic Emirate – despite confirming its participation in the talks – has been routinely issuing statements, explicitly warning attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and reiterating that the jihad against the U.S. and NATO forces will continue in Afghanistan.
    In December 2011, i.e. weeks before the Taliban confirmed their participation in the talks with America, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden remarked that the Taliban in Afghanistan are “not our enemy.”[20] In the interview with journalist Leslie H. Gelb of Newsweek, Vice President Biden “Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us. So there’s a dual track here: One, continue to keep the pressure on Al-Qaeda and continue to diminish them. Two, put the government in a position where they can be strong enough that they can negotiate with and not be overthrown by the Taliban. And at the same time try to get the Taliban to move in the direction to see to it that they, through reconciliation, commit not to be engaged with Al-Qaeda or any other organization that they would harbor to do damage to us and our allies.”[21]
    In sharp contradiction to the realpolitik of the U.S. administration, the Taliban have been articulating their own ideological imperative for waging jihad in Afghanistan. In his Eid-ul-Adha message issued on November 4, 2011, Mullah Omar asked the U.S. to quit Afghanistan and outlined the Taliban’s ideological imperative for waging jihad against the U.S. and NATO troops in the following words: “Our Jihad is for attaining the gratification of Allah Almighty as well as the country’s peace, freedom and sovereignty. We are shielding a creed [i.e. Islam] … and we firmly believe that honor and dignity are destined for us. We will once more live in the world with our heads held high as a noble nation, if Allah wills it.”[22] In that statement, Mullah Omar, who is considered Emir-ul-Momineen (Leader of the Faithful) by jihadist groups worldwide, also advised his international followers: “I call on all the Muslims to take viable steps in these days of changes in the Islamic world for the benefit of Islam, unity and country by implementing all the Islamic principles. I advise all the Islamic and jihadi movements in all corners of the world to be cautious of the plots of the enemies of Islam and to detest from committing any act which is against or is skeptical in Islamic Law, and that will stain the image of mujahideen and cause aversion amongst the populace.”[23]
    In a statement issued in January 2012, the Islamic Emirate argued that its willingness to open a political office in Qatar as part of U.S.-mediated peace talks is not “a surrender from jihad.”[24] The statement added: “It is well known to the Mujahid nation of Afghanistan that the Islamic Emirate has been engaged in a struggle and in jihad for the past one and a half decades to establish an Islamic government in accordance with the request of its people. It is for this purpose and for bringing about peace and stability in Afghanistan that we have increased our political efforts to come to mutual understanding with the world in order to solve the current ongoing situation.” “But this understanding,” the statement added, “neither means a surrender from jihad nor is it connected to an acceptance of the constitution of the stooge Kabul administration…rather the Islamic Emirate is utilizing its political wing alongside its military presence and jihad in order to realize the national and Islamic aspirations of the nation and its martyrs. We must say that some sources and reports of media outlets often try to distort realities… [about the jihad in Afghanistan].”[25]
    A January 17, 2012 statement issued by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan rejected any likely compromise with the U.S., noting: “The Islamic Emirate… rejects the poisonous propaganda of the enemy which depicts the Islamic Emirate as being content with having control of a few provinces. We shall not stop our armed jihad for a single moment as long as the invaders are present on our soil as it would be contradictory to the goals of our decade-old jihad; and as long as the occupiers have not been completely gotten rid of, the Islamic Emirate shall never consider ceasefire even for a single instance.”[26]
    In his February 2012 statement, Zabihullah Mujahid, the main Taliban spokesman, outlined the Taliban’s objectives in Afghanistan by outlining the jihadist imperative in the following words: “If America and its allies consider the current jihad and struggle in Afghanistan against the eradication of the occupation and its continuation until all foreign troops leave and an Islamic government is established as terrorism, then we cannot shun this as it would be an un-Islamic act because we consider this jihad and struggle as our Islamic obligation, the shunning of which is not possible in any circumstance. However, as we continue with this obligation – jihad and struggle – we are religiously held responsible in preventing civilian casualties.”[27]
    In his February 2012 interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, one of the two key Taliban spokesmen, reiterated that jihad is a “legitimate obligation” and warned that an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, like the one on September 13, 2011, will happen in the future.[28] To a question about the September 13, 2011 attacks on the U.S. Embassy and NATO military headquarters in Kabul, Ahmadi stated: “This [September 13, 2011] will not be the last time that the U.S. Embassy and the military headquarters of foreign troops will be targeted; we will attack them in the future as well, in addition to using other tactics. The objective of this is to show the power of the mujahideen and their military presence in the heart of the Afghan capital Kabul, and invalidate the claims of the Americans that they have pushed out the mujahideen from some areas.”[29]
    The Realignment of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by ISI – Formation of Shura Muraqba

    A copy of the pamphlet announcing the formation of Shura Muraqba
    Over the past few years but especially since the summer of 2011, the Pakistani military establishment, which is considered as the final arbiter of power in Islamabad, has been dictating the country’s foreign policy aimed at ensuring Pakistan’s strategic shift away from the U.S. and closer to China. Although this strategic shift had been underway in recent years, there were three immediate triggers: the unilateral U.S. military operation of May 2, 2011 in Abbottabad that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the November 26, 2011 NATO raid in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed, and the launch of the U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations without the involvement of ISI.
    Around the time the U.S. made headway in its talks with the Taliban, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which is known for creating and nurturing jihadist organizations in order to use them in achieving the Pakistani foreign policy objectives in Afghanistan and Kashmir, began propping up a new Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders’ group, which has the potential to emerge as another Haqqani Network or as the key Taliban decision-making Shura in coming months should the U.S.-Taliban talks appear succeeding to the detriment of Pakistan’s strategic goals in Kabul. This ISI-backed process culminated in the announcement of the formation of Shura Muraqba (coordination council). It is not a coincidence that the news announcing the formation of Shura Muraqba, which was dated December 31, 2011, appeared in the Pakistani newspapers of January 3, 2012 – the same day the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan formally confirmed its peace talks with the U.S., noting that it has agreed to open a political office in Qatar.
    The pamphlet in the name of Shura Muraqba was distributed to journalists on January 2, 2012 in North Waziristan, the stronghold of jihadist groups along the Afghan border, noting that five members of the Shura Muraqba Five (Coordination Commission Five) are: Maulvi Azmatullah; Maulvi Noor Syed, Maulvi Saeedullah, Maulvi Sadar Hayat and Hafiz Amir Hamza.[30] Maulvi Azmatullah is a Taliban commander from the Barwan area and represents the Waliur Rehman group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Maulvi Noor Syed is a militant commander from Barwan and represents the group of fighters owing allegiance to Hakimullah Mehsud, the TTP Emir. Maulvi Saeedullah hails from Afghanistan and represents the Haqqani Network of the Taliban. Taliban commander Maulvi Sadar Hayat belongs to North Waziristan and represents Maulvi Gul Bahadur group of the TTP. Hafiz Amir Hamza is from Ahmedzai Wazir tribe and represents the TTP’s Mullah Nazir group in South Waziristan.
    Of them, Maulvi Gul Bahadur group and Mullah Nazir group have been known over the years for enjoying the support of the Pakistani military. The Haqqani Network is currently enjoying the support of Pakistani military intelligence agencies as it furthers their cause in Afghanistan. The TTP’s groups led by Hakimullah Mehsud and Waliur Rehman, who represented on the Shura Muraqba, are known to be ideologically committed against the Pakistani state and have declared the Pakistani military as apostates, i.e. those who have left Islam. However, it may be a tactical move by them to be on the Shura Muraqba, as they stand to gain everything and lose nothing. According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan confirmed that the pamphlet is authentic.[31]
    On the face of it, the Shura Muraqba is aimed at resolving differences among various militant factions in order to regroup them and investigate any excesses by Taliban fighters. The pamphlet read: “All mujahideen, local and foreigners, are to be informed that they should desist from killing and kidnapping innocent people for ransom and cooperate with the commission in curbing crimes. If any mujahid is found involved in killings, crimes and other illegal activities, then he will be answerable to the Shura Muraqba and will be given a penalty in accordance with Islamic Shari’a law.”[32]
    However, what is worrying is that process leading to the formation of Shura Muraqba also involved Al-Qaeda. The first meeting in this regard was held on November 27, 2011 in Azam Warsak area near Wana, South Waziristan, where Waliur Rehman Mehsud, Hakimullah Mehsud, Mullah Nazir, Abu Yahya Al-Libi of Al-Qaeda; Abdur Rehman Al-Saudi of Al-Qaeda network and Sirajuddin Haqqani of the Taliban’s Haqqani Network participated.[33] A second meeting regarding the formation of Shura Muraqba was held on December 11, 2011 in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan and was attended by Zabiullah Mujahid, Maulvi Sangeen and Maulvi Ashfaq from Afghanistan; Yahya Al-Libi, Abdur Rehman Al-Saudi of Al-Qaeda network; Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Maulvi Sadiq Noor from North Waziristan agency; Hakimullah Mehsud, Waliur Rehman and Mullah Nazir from South Waziristan.[34]
    TTP Spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan, who confirmed the first pamphlet of Shura Muraqba, warned that the TTP will send fighters from the Pakistani region to Afghanistan after March 2012 in support of Mullah Omar’s jihad against the “U.S.-led infidel forces.”[35] According to another report in the Urdu-language Pakistani newspaper Roznama Ummat, the Shura Muraqba will be headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who leads the Haqqani Network, the largest group of militants among the Taliban in Afghanistan.[36]
    A second pamphlet was issued by Shura Muraqba on January 18, 2012. It mentioned the five commanders whose names appeared first when the group’s name was announced through in the first pamphlet: Maulvi Sadar Hayat, Maulvi Saeedullah, Maulvi Noor Syed, Maulvi Azmatullah and Hafiz Ameer Hamza.[37] The second pamphlet, headlined “A significant and excellent decision by Shura Muraqba,” warned masked militants in Waziristan not to act without its approval, stating: “All mujahideen – foreigners and locals – and particularly local residents, are to be informed through this advertisement that masked fighters of any jihadi group have no authority to capture or detain any suspected person on charges of spying or any other crime. They should have to mandatorily take into confidence the Shura Muraqba before taking action against any alleged spy.”[38]
    The Shura Muraqba is working at the behest of the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as it was evident in a third pamphlet issued by it, dated February 10, 2012. The one-page statement declared that a 2007 peace agreement reached between the Taliban and the Pakistani government is in effect and stated: “As all of us know, through a well-planned and secret conspiracy the law and order situation is being caused to deteriorate in North Waziristan. Therefore, all the mujahideen – Ansar and Muhajireen [local and foreign militants] – are especially directed through this advertisement that the peace deal signed [in February 2007] with the government of Pakistan is an agreement by all of us; so it is our collective responsibility to abide by it.”[39] “Therefore, no individual is permitted,” the pamphlet warned, “to violate the said agreement. If anyone is found guilty of violating the said agreement (by firing missiles, or using remote [-controlled bombs]), we reserve the right to carry out any action against the culprit….”[40]
    Writing about the Shura Muraqba’s February 10, 2012 pamphlet, senior Pakistani journalist and author Amir Mir published a report in his newspaper The News, stating: “Sirajuddin Haqqani, the chief operational commander of Haqqani Network, has conceded for the first time the existence of a peace deal with the Pakistani security establishment as per which the Tehreek-e-Taliban [Pakistan or TTP], Afghan Taliban, Haqqani network and several other militant groups won’t attack the Pakistani troops and instead would focus attention on the U.S.-led allied forces stationed in Afghanistan.”[41]
    While the Shura Muraqba itself does not note who its chief is, the Roznama Ummat report, mentioned above, and other news reports indicate that it is headed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani Network. Amir Mir observed in his report: “In his statement (i.e. the February 10, 2012 pamphlet), Sirajuddin Haqqani directed the Pakistani Taliban to stop attacking Pakistani security forces in accordance with a peace agreement, thus giving credence to media speculations that the Taliban-linked militants and the military establishment have struck a clandestine ceasefire, especially after Islamabad’s decision to suspend the Nato supplies going to Afghanistan [in the wake of the November 26, 2011 Salala air strike which killed 25 Pakistani soldiers].”[42]
    It is also noteworthy here that while several Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders, including the TTP’s Nek Mohammad and Baitullah Mehsud, have been killed in the U.S. drone attacks in recent years, no key militant commander has been killed in the Pakistani military operations, as the Pakistani Army invariably avoids targeting the influential militant commanders who could be used in Afghanistan or against India.
    Calls for Jihad at Rallies by Difa-e-Pakistan Council – The New Face of Lashkar-e-Taiba

    The banner at the December 18, 2011 rally of Difa-e-Pakistan in Lahore reads: “Difa-e-Pakistan – Jihad in the Way of Allah”
    On February 2, 2012, MEMRI published a research paper on how the banned Pakistani jihadist organization has re-emerged under the banner of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (Defense of Pakistan Council, or DPC) and is leading a series of mass rallies in Pakistani cities.[43] In the above image, a banner of the DPC at its December 18, 2011 rally in Lahore reads: “Difa-e-Pakistan – Jihad in the Way of Allah.”[44] The DPC is led by Professor Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and now Emir of LeT’s successor Jamaatud Dawa. Maulana Samiul Haq, a veteran Pakistani cleric and former senator known as the father of the Taliban, is the co-chairman of DPC along with Hafiz Saeed. The DPC does not differ in its understanding of jihad and its strategic goals from those of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
    At the public rallies organized by the DPC, several of whom have taken place in the cities of Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi, the message of DPC speakers has been invariably to call for jihad against the U.S. and India and to mount pressure on the civilian Pakistani government to completely break off its relationship with America. It should be noted that the LeT has enjoyed the support of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Hafiz Saeed is mounting unprecedented pressure on the elected democratic government in Islamabad to force it to announce a full stop to all kinds of relationships with the U.S., an objective also desired by the powerful ISI.
    At the December 18, 2012 DPC rally in Lahore, Pakistani cleric Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer lauded Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Samiul Haq for hoisting the “flag of jihad” by establishing the DPC.[45] Zaheer told the crowd: “As you know that Allah Almighty has said in his holy book [the Koran], Jews and Christians cannot be our friends.”[46] Rejecting Pakistan’s role against the U.S.-led war on terror, the renowned cleric exhorted the crowd: “And tell me! Are you ready for fight with America? Are you ready for collision with America? And are you ready to confront America?”[47] “Today we want to declare that those who possess swords [weapons] are the Pakistan Army. The Army should defend the geographical frontiers of Pakistan and we have come to protect ideological boundaries of Pakistan,” he said, adding: “Now these chains will be broken and your fate will be awakened. This sea [of people] has risen and will not stop… Pakistan was created in the name of La Illaha Ilallah [There is no deity but Allah] and will survive. And enemies of Pakistan will be crushed. India will be disgraced. America too will be disgraced; and Israel also will be humiliated. Islam will survive and Pakistan too will survive.”[48]
    Hafiz Saeed is an ideologue of jihad. In a speech available on the video-sharing website YouTube, he articulates his views regarding in the following words: “The nations that eat pig are on the path of extreme shamelessness. Every obscenity and shamelessness is spreading in the world through them. This is a culture, formally. The Prophet Muhammad said: Jesus [when he rises] will murder the pig, will end the pig, the culture of pig and everything like this. And after the success of this jihad [against the culture of pig], after the end of Jew-ism, after the end of Christianity, after the end of obscenity and irreligiousness, Islam will rule the world….”[49]
    The LeT founder adds: “The Prophet [Muhammad] connected this jihad to the Jihad in Hind [India] against the Hindu so that the greatness of this jihad [against this culture of pigs] could be evident. And what is the reason for jihad? The reason is shirk [idolatry, i.e. believing in numerous gods or sharing others in the entity of Allah] by Hindus who are the biggest representatives of shirk right from the ancient age…. [The prophet] said that the one who waged jihad in Hind, that jihad will be superior. [The Prophet’s companion] Abu Huraira narrated: ‘The prophet of Allah explained so much greatness of jihad in Hind, jihad against the Hindu, that – oh, people remember – if the door opened for this jihad there in my lifetime, then Abu Huraira will run to participate in that jihad… And if Allah granted me martyrdom, I will not be a martyr like others, but among the Greatest Martyrs….'”[50]
    At the December 18, 2012 DPC rally in Lahore, where tens of thousands of supporters could be seen waving the Jamaatud Dawa flag, Hafiz Saeed gave a call for jihad and declared that the U.S.’s New World Order is being replaced by the Muhammadi World Order, i.e. the Islamic order of Prophet Muhammad. The jihadist leader, who is banned by the UN Security Council for his role in the terrorist attacks of November 2008 in Mumbai, told the crowd: “Jihad will continue until the Indian Army leaves from there [i.e. from Kashmir], Allah willing. [Crowd chants:] ‘Insha Allah, Sabeelona, Sabeelona – al-Jihad-o-wal Jihad; Sabeelona, Sabeelona—al-Jihad-o-wal Jihad. Only one cure for America – jihad, jihad. One cure for India – jihad, jihad. Hafiz Saeed March on, we are with you.'”[51]
    “My respected brothers,” Hafiz Saeed said, “I thank you all and also to the leaders of all parties who expressed solidarity here… I want that this solidarity should be expressed in every city of Pakistan. And this unity, by the Grace of Allah, is the greatest power of Muslims. Allah willing, we will defend Pakistan and this Pakistan of La Ilaha Illallah Muhammadur Rasoolullah [There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Prophet], the atomic Pakistan would shine on the world map, Allah willing. And those who would try to wipe out Pakistan would be wiped out, Allah willing. They would be wiped out [themselves]. Neither this Kalimah [i.e. the words – La Ilaha Illallah Muhammadur Rasoolullah] would be finished and nor the Pakistan of this Kalimah.”[52]
    He added: “And now the last message, brothers! The one problem of all the problems is this new world order and it will not be allowed. Allah willing, the Muhammadi world order [The order of Islam] will prevail. [Chants] ‘Isha Allah.’ The solution of all issues is the Muhammadi world order. This is the message; this is the call; this is the gathering… this is the journey; come and walk with us ….”[53]

    * Tufail Ahmad is Director of MEMRI’s South Asia Studies Project (www.memri.org/sasp)

    Endnotes:
    [1] For example of such reports, see http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/11/13/afghanistan-haqqani-s-jihad-manual-the-secret-taliban-letter.html, November 14, 2011.
    [2] Taliban Governor Details Jihadist Activities In Paktika Province, Says Commander Jalaluddin Haqqani Is Part Of The Islamic Emirate Led By Mullah Omar, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 18, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5705¶m=UPP)
    [3] In Audio Interview, Sirajuddin Haqqani Says Haqqani Network is Not Separate from the Taliban, Offers of Peace Talks are Aimed at Dividing the Mujahideen, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 15, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=5819¶m=UPP)
    [4] In Audio Interview, Sirajuddin Haqqani Says Haqqani Network is Not Separate from the Taliban, Offers of Peace Talks are Aimed at Dividing the Mujahideen, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 15, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=5819¶m=UPP)
    [5] Taliban’s New Video of Hakimullah Mehsud Fails to Conclusively Establish that He is Alive; Mehsud Says: ‘This War is Not a War between the Taliban and America; This War is a War between the Muslim Ummah and Infidels; This is [Their] Crusade’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, March 5, 2010. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=4014)
    [6] In A Message On Eid Al-Adha, Pakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud Warns Of ‘Well-Orchestrated’ Attacks In Coming Days, Pledges To Fight Until ‘There is No More… (Kufr) On The Earth’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 9, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=5794¶m=UPP)
    [7] In A Message On Eid Al-Adha, Pakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud Warns Of ‘Well-Orchestrated’ Attacks In Coming Days, Pledges To Fight Until ‘There is No More… (Kufr) On The Earth’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 9, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=5794¶m=UPP)
    [8] Recorded Message by Hamam Al-Bluwi, Triple Agent Who Killed Eight in Suicide Bombing at CIA Base in Khost, Afghanistan, MEMRI TV Clip No. 2338, January 9, 2010. (http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2338.htm)
    [9] Recorded Message by Hamam Al-Bluwi, Triple Agent Who Killed Eight in Suicide Bombing at CIA Base in Khost, Afghanistan, MEMRI TV Clip No. 2338, January 9, 2010. (http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2338.htm)
    [10] Dawn (Pakistan), January 11, 2010.
    [11] Times Square Bomber Faisal Shahzad, Shown Hugging Pakistani Taliban Leader Hakimullah Mehsud, Says He Hopes “that the Hearts of the Muslims Will Be Pleased with This Attack”, MEMRI TV Clip No. 2547, July 14, 2010. (http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2547.htm)
    [12] Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Rejects Western Media Reports on Peace Talks, Admits Direct And Indirect Contact With America For Prisoner Release, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, July 6, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5168¶m=UPP)
    [13] Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Rejects Western Media Reports on Peace Talks, Admits Direct And Indirect Contact With America For Prisoner Release, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, July 6, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5168¶m=UPP)
    [14] In Eid-ul-Fitr Message, Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Denies Peace Talks, Promises ‘Imminent Victory’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, August 29, 2011. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5376¶m=UPP)
    [15] Taliban Agree A U.S.-Mediated Deal To Set Up A Political Office In Qatar, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5662¶m=UPP)
    [16] Taliban Spokesman: ‘We will Attack … [the U.S. Embassy in Kabul] in the Future As Well’; Qatar-Based Taliban Political Office ‘will Serve the Jihadist Interests, Guarantee the End of Occupation, and Bring Security to Afghanistan’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 28, 2012 (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=6131)
    [17] Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid: ‘If America And Its Allies Consider The Current Jihad… As Terrorism, Then We Cannot Shun This As It Would Be An Un-Islamic Act’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 15, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5774¶m=UPP)
    [18] Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid: ‘If America And Its Allies Consider The Current Jihad… As Terrorism, Then We Cannot Shun This As It Would Be An Un-Islamic Act’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 15, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5774¶m=UPP)
    [19] Taliban Spokesman: ‘We will Attack … [the U.S. Embassy in Kabul] in the Future As Well’; Qatar-Based Taliban Political Office ‘will Serve the Jihadist Interests, Guarantee the End of Occupation, and Bring Security to Afghanistan’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 28, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=6131)
    [20] The full text of Vice President Joe Biden’s interview can be read here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/12/18/joe-biden-on-iraq-iran-china-and-the-taliban.html, accessed December 27, 2011.
    [21] The full text of Vice President Joe Biden’s interview can be read here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/12/18/joe-biden-on-iraq-iran-china-and-the-taliban.html, accessed December 27, 2011.
    [22] Taliban Mullah Omar’s Message On Eid-ul-Adha Asks The U.S. To Quit Afghanistan: ‘Now You Only Have One Choice And That Of Removing All Of Your Military Forces From Our Country As Quickly As Possible’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 4, 2011 (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5542¶m=UPP)
    [23] Taliban Mullah Omar’s Message On Eid-ul-Adha Asks The U.S. To Quit Afghanistan: ‘Now You Only Have One Choice And That Of Removing All Of Your Military Forces From Our Country As Quickly As Possible’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, November 4, 2011 (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5542¶m=UPP)
    [24] Taliban Statement Says Negotiations With U.S. Is Neither ‘A Surrender From Jihad Nor….An Acceptance Of The [Afghan] Constitution’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 12, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5689¶m=UPP)
    [25] Taliban Statement Says Negotiations With U.S. Is Neither ‘A Surrender From Jihad Nor….An Acceptance Of The [Afghan] Constitution’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 12, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5689¶m=UPP)
    [26] Taliban Statement: ‘We Shall Not Stop Our Armed Jihad For A Single Moment As Long As The Invaders Are Present On Our [Afghan] Soil’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 18, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5704¶m=UPP)
    [27] Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid: ‘If America And Its Allies Consider The Current Jihad… As Terrorism, Then We Cannot Shun This As It Would Be An Un-Islamic Act’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 15, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5774¶m=UPP)
    [28] Taliban Spokesman: ‘We will Attack … [the U.S. Embassy in Kabul] in the Future As Well’; Qatar-Based Taliban Political Office ‘will Serve the Jihadist Interests, Guarantee the End of Occupation, and Bring Security to Afghanistan’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 28, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=6131)
    [29] Taliban Spokesman: ‘We will Attack … [the U.S. Embassy in Kabul] in the Future As Well’; Qatar-Based Taliban Political Office ‘will Serve the Jihadist Interests, Guarantee the End of Occupation, and Bring Security to Afghanistan’, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 28, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/report.htm?report=6131)
    [30] Details Emerge Of ‘Shura Muraqba Five’ Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)
    [31] Dawn (Pakistan), January 3, 2012. Also see: Details Emerge Of ‘Shura Muraqba Five’ Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)
    [32] Details Emerge Of ‘Shura Muraqba Five’ Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)
    [33] Details Emerge Of ‘Shura Muraqba Five’ Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)
    [34] Details Emerge Of ‘Shura Muraqba Five’ Formed By Taliban And Al-Qaeda Commanders To Fight Against U.S. Forces In Afghanistan, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 3, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5659¶m=UPP)
    [35] Dawn (Pakistan), January 3, 2012.
    [36] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), January 3, 2012.
    [37] Shura Muraqba’s New Pamphlet Warns Masked Jihadi Fighters In Waziristan, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 30, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5735¶m=UPP)
    [38] Shura Muraqba’s New Pamphlet Warns Masked Jihadi Fighters In Waziristan, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, January 30, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5735¶m=UPP)
    [39] Taliban Shura Orders Militants To Uphold 2007 Peace Pact With Pakistan Army, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 12, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5766¶m=UPP)
    [40] Taliban Shura Orders Militants To Uphold 2007 Peace Pact With Pakistan Army, MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, February 12, 2012. (http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=5766¶m=UPP)
    [41] The News (Pakistan), February 14, 2012.
    [42] The News (Pakistan), February 14, 2012.
    [43] Pakistani Jihadist Organization Jamaatud Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Reappears on Internet, Promotes Antisemitism and Jihad, Leads Mass Protests Against America and India, MEMRI’s Inquiry & Analysis Report No. 791, February 2, 2012. (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/840/6051.htm)
    [44] Pakistani Jihadist Organization Jamaatud Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Reappears on Internet, Promotes Antisemitism and Jihad, Leads Mass Protests Against America and India, MEMRI’s Inquiry & Analysis Report No. 791, February 2, 2012. (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/840/6051.htm)
    [45] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRgYJUuzbMI&feature=related, accessed February 29, 2012.
    [46] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRgYJUuzbMI&feature=related, accessed February 29, 2012.
    [47] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRgYJUuzbMI&feature=related, accessed February 29, 2012.
    [48] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRgYJUuzbMI&feature=related, accessed February 29, 2012.
    [49] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whFmjEfwS6w, accessed February 29, 2012.
    [50] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whFmjEfwS6w, accessed February 29, 2012.
    [51] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6nkY1Jgb6M&feature=related, accessed February 29, 2012.
    [52] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6nkY1Jgb6M&feature=related, accessed February 29, 2012.
    [53] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6nkY1Jgb6M&feature=related, accessed February 29, 2012.

    http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/6150.htm

  • Al-Qaeda Leader Orders Saudi Shia Protesters Killed

    An al-Qaeda leader has issued a decree ordering his extremists followers to kill Shia Muslims taking part in anti-regime protests in Saudi Arabia.

    (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – In an audio message, Said al-Shihri, who leads al-Qaeda militants in the Arabian Peninsula, has ordered the killing of Shia protesters and takeover of their property.

    Shihri attacked Saudi authorities for their ‘lenient handling’ of the anti-regime demonstrations and denounced Wahhabi extremist leaders for failing to issue fatwas (decrees) against Shias.

    He argued that Saudi Shias have collected wealth via the facilities in the kingdom, and thus seizing their property is necessary.

    Shihri said the gains should then be transferred to Wahhabi extremists.

    Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia have been staging peaceful protests in the past months, demanding justice and criticizing injustice and discrimination exercised among the followers of different faiths.

    Several people have so far been shot dead by Saudi security forces and hundreds more have been arrested and taken to unknown destinations.

    http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=302930