September 08, 2007

Musharraf Mendacity

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Earlier this year, William Langewiesche's The Atomic Bazaar alerted readers to the blind eye the United States and other nations have turned toward Pakistan's efforts to build a nuclear bomb and to sell that technology to other nations, including the entire Axis of Evil. Levy and Scott-Clark (The Amber Room) work on a larger canvas, shaping their in-depth reporting into a compelling and more detailed narrative. They have not truly improved upon Langewiesche's portrait of A.Q. Khan, the metallurgist who became Pakistan's biggest and most valuable personality after smuggling atomic secrets out of the Netherlands. But they do substantially support the idea that the nuclear program influenced Pakistan's internal power struggles, and that American government officials led disinformation campaigns for 30 years in order to hang onto the nation as a dubious ally against first the Soviets and then al-Qaeda. The authors also hint at the possible involvement of Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby in an attempt to discredit an intelligence analyst who spoke frankly of the Pakistani threat during the first Bush administration. Building on a decade's worth of interviews, the husband-and-wife investigative term serve a stunning indictment of the nuclear crime of all our lifetimes, in which, the authors claim, the U.S. has been an active accessory. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

War On Terror: At what point is it politically feasible to admit that a man the U.S. has called an “ally” for the past six years has been double-crossing us nearly every step of the way? We speak of Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf.


A new book, “Deception: Pakistan, the United States and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons,” reveals that President Muharraf knew about nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan’s proliferation activities long before the CIA confronted him with the evidence. And he did nothing to stop it.
The book claims that Musharraf launched a crackdown against Khan’s illegal network only after securing the political and economic support from Washington he needed to hold onto power.
The damage has been done: U.S. intelligence believes that Iran and North Korea — and possibly even al-Qaida — have benefited from nuclear secrets shared by Khan.
Musharraf to this day insists Khan ran a “rogue” operation without his knowledge or authority — even though the state scientist used Pakistani military cargo planes to transfer 18 tons of centrifuges and their nuclear bomb-making material to North Korea while Musharraf was in charge of both the military and Khan’s nuclear labs. (Pakistan in exchange received missile technology from North Korea to better target Indian cities.)
“The proliferation was a one-man act and neither the government of Pakistan nor the army was involved,” Musharraf flatly claimed in his memoir.
The military strongman says he launched an investigation into Khan’s activities in November 2003. But it came four years after suspicions were first raised, and only after pressure from Washington.
Even when Khan was exposed, Musharraf pardoned him. He still refuses to let Western investigators talk to him or other nuclear scientists, conveniently putting anybody who could incriminate him out of reach. Tellingly, Musharraf writes in his memoir that Khan was “reckless” but stops short of calling him a traitor.
The new revelations call into question not just Musharraf’s trustworthiness but his value as a custodian of Pakistan’s nukes. We already knew he’s been a reluctant partner in the war on terror, recently throwing in the towel against militants sheltering al-Qaida in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
Now we learn that yet another major terror plot was hatched in Pakistan on Musharraf’s watch. Authorities have caught a cell planning to bomb U.S. targets in Germany. They trained at al-Qaida-tied camps inside Pakistan.
The London subway bombers also trained with al-Qaida in Pakistan. The evidence was unambiguous. Yet Musharraf denied Pakistan’s role: “It is absolutely baseless to say that al-Qaida has its headquarters in Pakistan and that terror attacks in other parts of the world in any way originate from our country.”
He still denies the obvious, in spite of the recent National Intelligence Estimate warning of al-Qaida camps in Pakistan and testimony from U.S. director of national intelligence Mike McConnell warning that a new attack on the U.S. is “most likely” to emerge from Pakistan.
The rationale Washington uses to maintain this unholy alliance with Musharraf centers on the belief that we need him to keep Pakistan’s nukes out of the hands of extremists. But he has played us beautifully. As he was shaking our hand after 9/11, vowing to crack down on terrorists, he was busy selling nuclear secrets to our sworn enemies, according to “Deception.”
It has become painfully obvious that Musharraf has not acted in good faith, and may have even set us back in the war on al-Qaida and nuclear nonproliferation. The sooner we can get an honest broker and real friend of the West to replace him the better.


By B.Raman

Source: SAAG.ORG

1. Since 9/11, the US has a number of non-governmental Al Qaeda watchers, who have been doing tremendous service to the cause of the war against global jihad by systematically monitoring the various Internet sites known to be used by Al Qaeda, its propaganda and PSYWAR wing calleed As Sahab and other pro-Al Qaeda organisations and drawing the attention of the international community and their policy makers to significant statements and developments. Many of them are very proficient in their command of the Arabic language and are also experts in information technology.

2. Every time Al Qaeda and As Sahab have come out with an important statement or announcement, it is this community of voluntary Al Qaeda watchers, which has detected the imminence of the coming statement or announcement and alerted the public and the policy-makers.

3. This community excelled itself even more than in the past on September 7,2007. when it not only detected a brief alert issued by As Sahab regarding the imminence of a new video message by Osama bin Laden----the first since October,2004--- but even managed to get a copy of the video and put out its English transcript even before As Sahab could disseminate it through the Internet and the Al Jazeera TV station.

4. Al Qaeda and As Sahab were totally taken by surprise by the exploit of the American Al Qaeda watchers in getting hold of the tape even before they had released it. This created a scare in As Sahab that there could be a human or electronic mole in its midst and in a remarkable instance of crisis management, Al Qaeda and As Sahab went off the Internet for some hours till they were able to re-engineer their web presence. They have since started re-appearing one by one----apparently after assessing the damage and taking the required corrective action.

5. This exploit of the American community of Al Qaeda watchers is much more significant than the message itself. The most important fact of the message is that it sets at rest the speculation that bin Laden is either dead or in bad health. This speculation arose from the fact that there has been no video message of his since October,2004. The video messages circulated since then were a rehash of the past, but there were fresh audio messages, including one in April,2006, in which he described the global jihad as directed against the anti-Islam conspiracy of the Crusaders, the Jewish people and the Hindus.

7. The second interesting fact is that the latest message, which seems to have been recorded in the second half of August,2007, is full of more taunts than threats.It claims that there has never been a massacre of Jews or Christians in the Islamic world and refers to the presence of a large number of Jews in Morocco and Christians in Egypt in support of his assertion. It also highlights what it considers as the failure of the US to make headway in Iraq and Afghanistan and of the Democrats to bring about a change in the policies of President George Bush. He compares President Bush to the former Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev who ordered the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and hints that just as the policies of Brezhnev led to a collapse of the Soviet empire, the policies of Mr.Bush would lead to a collapse of the American empire.It refers to the influence exercised by the American corporate world over policy-making irrespective of which party is in power and says that one cannot expect a change in the US policies so long as this influence continues. It concludes on a mocking note that the only salvation for the US lies in the American people embracing Islam.

8. The message carries no indicators regarding Al Qaeda's future plans and tactics. It is doubtful whether it will have an ispirational impact on the Muslims of the world.

9. The successful hijacking of the video message by American Al Qaeda watchers shows that it should be possible to track down Osama bin Laden and other remnants of Al Qaeda hiding in Pakistani territory one day and neutralise them. The US Al Qaeda watchers' hunt for bin Laden is improving in finesse and sophistication.

10. A text of the transcript is Annexed. This is by the courtesy of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies of the US.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

A Video Speech from Osama bin Laden Addressing the American People on the Occasion of the Sixth Anniversary of 9/11
The Solution?
All praise is due to Allah, who built the heavens and earth in justice, and created man as a favor and grace from Him. And from His ways is that the days rotate between the people, and from His Law is retaliation in kind: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed. And all praise is due to Allah, who awakened His slaves' desire for the Garden, and all of them will enter it except those who refuse. And whoever obeys Him alone in all of his affairs will enter the Garden, and whoever disobeys Him will have refused.
As for what comes after: Peace be upon he who follows the Guidance. People of America: I shall be speaking to you on important topics which concern you, so lend me your ears. I begin by discussing the war which is between us and some of its repercussions for us and you.

To preface, I say: despite America being the greatest economic power and possessing the most powerful and up-to-date military arsenal as well; and despite it spending on this war and is army more than the entire world spends on its armies; and despite it being the being the major state influencing the policies of the world, as if it has a monopoly on the unjust right of veto; despite all of this, 19 young men were able - by the grace of Allah, the Most High- to change the direction of its compass. And in fact, the subject of the Mujahideen has become an inseparable part of the speech of your leader, and the effects and signs of that are not hidden.

Since the 11th, many of America’s policies have come under the influence of the Mujahideen, and that is by the grace of Allah, the Most High. And as a result, the people discovered the truth about it, its reputation worsened, its prestige was broken globally and it was bled dry economically, even if our interests overlap with the interests of the major corporations and also with those of the neoconservatives, despite the differing intentions. And for your information media, during the first years of the war, lost its credibility and manifested itself as a tool of the colonialist empires, and its condition has often been worse than the condition of the media of the dictatorial regimes which march in the caravan of the single leader.

Then Bush talks about his working with al-Maliki and his government to spread freedom in Iraq but he in fact is working with the leaders of one sect against another sect, in the belief that this will quickly decide the war in his favor.

And thus, what is called the civil war came into being and matters worsened at his hands before getting out of his control and him becoming like the one who plows and sows the sea: he harvests nothing but failure. So these are some of the results of the freedom about whose spreading he is talking to you. And then the backtracking of Bush on his insistence on not giving the United Nations expanded jurisdiction in Iraq is an implicit admission of his loss and defeat there. And among the most important items contained in Bush’s speeches since the events of the 11th is that the Americans have no option but to continue the war. This tone is in fact an echoing of the words of neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Richard Pearle, the latter having said previously that the Americans have no choice in front of them other than to continue the war or face a holocaust. I say, refuting this unjust statement, that the morality and culture of the holocaust is your culture, not our culture. In fact, burning living beings is forbidden in our religion, even if they be small like the ant, so what of man?! The holocaust of the Jews was carried out by your brethren in the middle of Europe, but had it been closer to our countries, most of the Jews would have been saved by taking refuge with us. And my proof for that is in what your brothers, the Spanish, did when they set up the horrible courts of the Inquisition to try Muslims and Jews, when the Jews only found safe shelter by taking refuge in our countries. And that is why the Jewish community in Morocco today is one of the largest communities in the world. They are alive with us and we have not incinerated them, but we are a people who don't sleep under oppression and reject humiliation and disgrace, and we take revenge on the people of tyranny and aggression, and the blood of the Muslims will not be spilled with impunity, and the morrow is nigh for he who awaits.

Also, your Christian brothers have been living among us for 14 centuries: in Egypt alone, there are millions of Christians whom we have not incinerated and shall not incinerate. But the fact is, there is a continuing and biased campaign being waged against us for a long time now by your politicians and many of your writers by way of your media, especially Hollywood, for the purpose of misrepresenting Islam and its adherents to drive you away from the true religion. The genocide of peoples and their holocausts took place at your hands: only a few specimens of Red Indians were spared, and just a few days ago, the Japanese observed the 62nd anniversary of the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by your nuclear weapons.

And among the things which catch the eye of the one who considers the repercussions of your unjust war against Iraq is the failure of your democratic system, despite it raising of the slogans of justice, liberty, equality and humanitarianism. It has not only failed to achieve these things, it has actually destroyed these and other concepts with its weapons - especially in Iraq and Afghanistan- in a brazen fashion, to replace them with fear, destruction, killing, hunger, illness, displacement and more than a million orphans in Baghdad alone, not to mention hundreds of thousands of widows. Americans statistics speak of the killing of more than 650,000 of the people of Iraq as a result of the war and its repercussions.

People of America: the world is following your news in regards to your invasion of Iraq, for people have recently come to know that, after several years of the tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven’t made a move worth mentioning. On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there, which has led to the vast majority of you being afflicted with disappointment.

And here is the gist of the matter, so one should pause, think and reflect: why have the Democrats failed to stop this war, despite them being the majority?

I will come back to reply to this question after raising another question, which is: Why are the leaders of the White House keen to start wars and wage them around the world, and make use of every possible opportunity through which they can reach this purpose, occasionally even creating justifications based on deception and blatant lies, as you saw Iraq?

In the Vietnam War, the leaders of the White House claimed at the time that it was a necessary and crucial war, and during it, Rumsfeld and his aides murdered two million villagers. And when Kennedy took over the presidency and deviated from the general line of policy drawn up for the White House and wanted to stop this unjust war, that angered the owners of the major corporations who were benefiting from its continuation.

And so Kennedy was killed, and al-Qaida wasn?t present at that time, but rather, those corporations were the primary beneficiary from his killing. And the war continued after that for approximately one decade. But after it became clear to you that it was an unjust and unnecessary war, you made one of your greatest mistakes, in that you neither brought to account nor punished those who waged this war, not even the most violent of its murderers, Rumsfeld. And even more incredible than that is that Bush picked him as secretary of defense in his first term after picking Cheney as his vicepresident, Powell as secretary of state and Armitage as Powell's deputy, despite their horrific and blood history of murdering humans. So that was clear signal that his administration - the administration of the generals- didn't have as its main concern the serving of humanity, but rather, was interested in bringing about new massacres. Yet in spite of that, you permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you - with your full knowledge and consent- to continue to murder our people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then you claim to be innocent! This innocence of yours is like my innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11th - were I to claim such a thing. But it is impossible for me to humor any of you in the arrogance and indifference you show for the lives of humans outside America, or for me to
humor your leaders in their lying, as the entire world knows they have the lion's share of that. These morals aren't our morals. What I want to emphasize here is that not taking past war criminals to account led to them repeating that crime of killing humanity without right and waging this unjust war in Mesopotamia, and as a result, here are the oppressed ones today continuing to take their right from you. This war was entirely unnecessary, as testified to by your own reports. And among the most capable of those from your own side who speak to you on this topic and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war, but the leader of Texas doesn't like those who give advice. The entire world came out in unprecedented demonstrations to warn against waging the war and describe its true nature in eloquent terms like "no to spilling red blood for black oil," yet he paid them no heed. It is time for humankind to know that talk of the rights of man and freedom are lies produced by the White House and its allies in Europe to deceive humans, take control of their destinies and subjugate them.

So in answer to the question about the causes of the Democrats' failure to stop the war, I say: they are the same reasons which led to the failure of former president Kennedy to stop the Vietnam war. Those with real power and influence are those with the most capital. And since the democratic
system permits major corporations to back candidates, be they presidential or congressional, there shouldn't be any cause for astonishment - and there isn't any- in the Democrats' failure to stop the war. And you're the ones who have the saying which goes, "Money talks." And I tell you: after the failure of your representatives in the Democratic Party to implement your desire to stop the war, you can still carry anti-war placards and spread out in the streets of major cities, then go back to your homes, but that will be of no use and will lead to the prolonging of the war. However, there are two solutions for stopping it. The first is from our side, and it is to continue to escalate the killing and fighting against you. This is our duty, and our brothers are carrying it out, and I ask Allah to grant them resolve and victory. And the second solution is from your side. It has now become clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system and how it plays with the interests of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations. And with that, it has become clear to all that they are the real tyrannical terrorists.

In fact, the life of all of mankind is in danger because of the global warming resulting to a large degree from the emissions of the factories of the major corporations, yet despite that, the representative of these corporations in the White House insists on not observing the Kyoto accord, with the knowledge that the statistic speaks of the death and displacement of the millions of human beings because of that, especially in Africa. This greatest of plagues and most dangerous of threats to the lives of humans is taking place in an accelerating fashion as the world is being dominated by the democratic system, which confirms its massive failure to protect humans and their interests from the greed and avarice of the major corporations and their representatives.

And despite this brazen attack on the people, the leaders of the West - especially Bush, Blair, Barkozy and Brown- still talk about freedom and human rights with a flagrant disregard for the intellects of human beings. So is there a form of terrorism stronger, clearer and more dangerous than this? This is why I tell you: as you liberated yourselves before from the slavery of monks, kings, and feudalism, you should liberate yourselves from the deception, shackles and attrition of the capitalist system.

If you were to ponder it well, you would find that in the end, it is a system harsher and fiercer than your systems in the Middle Ages. The capitalist system seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of ‘globalization’ in order to protect democracy. And Iraq and Afghanistan and their tragedies; and the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgages; global warming and its woes; and the abject poverty and tragic hunger in Africa: all of this is but one side of the grim face of this
global system.

So it is imperative that you free yourselves from all of that and search for an alternative, upright methodology in which it is not the business of any class of humanity to lay down its own laws to its own advantage at the expense of the other classes as is the case with you, since the essence of man-made positive laws is that they serve the interests of those with the capital and thus make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The infallible methodology is the methodology of Allah, the Most High, who created the heavens and earth and created the Creation and is the Most Kind and All-Informed and the Knower of the souls of His slaves and the methodology that best suits them.

You believe with absolute certainty that you believe in Allah, and you are full of conviction of this belief, so much so that you have written this belief of yours on your dollar. But the truth is that you are mistake in this belief of yours. The impartial judge knows that belief in Allah requires straightness in the following of His methodology, and accordingly, total obedience must be to the orders and prohibitions of Allah Alone in all aspects of life.So how about you when you associate others with Him in your beliefs and separate state from religion, then claim that you are believers! What you have done is clear loss and manifest polytheism, And I will give you a parable of polytheism, as parables summarize and clarify speech.

I tell you: its parable is the parable of a man who owns a shop and hires a worker and tells him, “Sell and give me the money”, but he makes sales and give the money to someone other than the owner. So who of you would approve of that? You believe that Allah is your Lord and your Creator and the Creator of this earth and that it is His property, then you work on His earth and property without His orders and without obeying Him, and you legislate in contradiction to His Law and methodology. This work of yours is the greatest form of polytheism and is rebellion against obedience to Allah with which the believer becomes an unbeliever, even if he obeys Allah in some of His other orders. Allah, the Most High, sent down His orders in His Sacred Books like the Torah and Evangel and sent with them the Messengers (Allah?s prayers and peace be upon them) as bearers of good news to the people. And everyone who believes in them and complies with them is a believer from the people of the Garden. Then when the men of knowledge altered the words of Allah, the Most High, and sold them for a paltry price, as the rabbis did with the Torah and the monks with the Evangel, Allah sent down His final Book, the magnificient Quran, and safeguarded it from being added to or subtracted from by the hands of men, and in it is a complete methodology for the lives of all people. And our holding firm to this magnificient Book is the secret of our strength and winning of the war against you despite the fewness of our numbers and material. And if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing of your war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheer in this regard. Don?t be turned away from Islam by the terrible situation of the Muslims today, for our rulers in general abandoned Islam many decades ago, but our forefathers were the leaders and pioneers of the world for many centuries, when they held firmly to Islam. And before concluding, I tell you: there has been an increase in the thinkers who study events and happenings, and on the basis of their study, they have declared the approach of the collapse of the American Empire. Among them is the European thinker who anticipated the fall of the Soviet Union, which indeed fell. And it would benefit you to read what he wrote about what comes after the empire in regard to the United States of America. I also want to bring your attention that among the greatest reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union was their being afflicted with their leader Brezhnev, who was overtaken by pride and arrogance and refused to look at the facts on the ground. From the first year of the Afghanistan invasion, reports indicated that the Russians were losing the war, but he refused to acknowledge this, lest it go down in his personal history as a defeat, even though refusal to acknowledge defeat not only doesn't do anything to change the facts for thinking people, but also exacerbates the problem and increases the losses. And how similar is your position today to their position approximately two decades ago. The mistakes of Brezhnev are being repeated by Bush, who - when asked about the date of his withdrawing of forces from Iraq - said in effect that the withdrawal will not be during his reign, but rather, during the reign of the one who succeeds him.

And the significance of these words is not hidden.

And here I say: it would benefit you to listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying - with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs - the price for these sorts of irresponsible statements. Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms and invites them to join him there for a few days. Perhaps his message will find in you an attentive ear so you can rescue him and more than 150,000 of your sons there who are tasting the two bitterest things: If they leave their barracks, the mines devour them, and if they refuse to leave, rulings are passed against them. Thus, the only options left in front of them are to commit suicide or cry, both of which are from the severest of afflictions. So is there anything more men can do after crying and killing themselves to make you respond to them? They are doing that out of the severity of the humiliation, fear and terror which they are suffering. It is severer than what the slaves used to suffer at your hands centuries ago, and it is as if some of them have gone from one slavery to another slavery more severe and harmful, even if it be in the fancy dress of the Defense Department's financial enticements.

So do you feel the greatness of their sufferings?

To conclude, I invite you to embrace Islam, for the greatest mistake one can make in this world and one which is uncorrectable is to die while not surrendering to Allah, the Most High, in all aspects of one's life - ie., to die outside of Islam. And Islam means gain for you in this first life and the next, final life. The true religion is a mercy for people in their lives, filling their hearts with serenity and calm. There is a message for you in the Mujahideen: the entire world is in pursuit of them, yet their hearts, by the grace of Allah, are satisfied and tranquil. The true religion also puts peoples' lives in order with its laws; protects their needs and interests; refines their morals; protects them from evils; and guarantees for them entrance into Paradise in the hereafter through their obedience to Allah and sincere worship of Him Alone. And it will also achieve your desire to stop the war as a consequence, because as soon as the warmongering owners of the major corporations realize that you have lost confidence in your democratic system and begun to search for an alternative, and that this alternative is Islam, they will run after you to please you and achieve what you want to steer you away from Islam. So your true compliance with Islam will deprive them of the opportunity to defraud the peoples and take their money under numberous pretexts, like arms deals and so on. There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling only 2.5%. So beware of the deception of those with the capital. And with your earnest reading about Islam from its pristine sources, you will arrive at an important truth, which is that the religion of all of the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them) is one, and that its essence is submission to the orders of Allah Alone in all aspects of life, even if their Shari'ahs [Laws] differ. And did you know that the name of the Prophet of Allah Jesus and his mother (peace and blessings of Allah be on them both) are mentioned in the Noble Quran dozens of times, and that in the Quran there is a chapter whose name is "Maryam," i.e. Mary, daughter of 'Imran and mother of Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both)” It tells the story of her becoming pregnant with the Prophet of Allah Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both), and in its confirmation of her chastity and purity, in contrast to the fabrications of the Jews against her. Whoever wishes to find that out for himself must listen to the verse of this magnificent chapter: one of the just kings of the Christians - the Negus - listened to some of its verses and his eyes welled up with tears and he said something which should be reflected on for a long time by those sincere in their search for the truth.He said, "verily, this and what Jesus brought come from one lantern": i.e., that the magnificent Quran and the Evangel are both from Allah, the Most High; and every just and intelligent one of you who reflects on the Quran will definitely arrive at this truth. It also must be noted that Allah has preserved the Quran from the alterations of men. And reading in order to become acquainted with Islam only requires a little effort, and those of you who are guided will profit greatly. And peace be upon he who follows the Guidance.

Pakistan crisis 'hits army morale'

By Ahmed Rashid, Lahore


'There is widespread public anger against the army'

Ahmed Rashid, guest journalist and writer on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia, reflects on mounting political drama and militancy in Pakistan.

Pakistan's worst ever political crisis that has divided the nation also appears to be having a dramatic impact on the morale of Pakistani troops on the Afghan-Pakistan border who are engaged in the "war on terror" and fighting the Taleban.

Talebanisation along Pakistan's border regions has escalated even more rapidly since the political crisis began.

As people flee their villages to escape armed extremists, the state has been unable to protect the population and is rapidly losing credibility and authority.

Moreover, the army's insistence that a pro-Taleban Islamic party once again be part of any future government that may emerge after expected general elections will only lead to a further lessening of state control, an increase in the pace of Talebanisation and further divisions in the nation.

'Terrorism Central'

The surrender of an estimated 280 soldiers, including a colonel and nine other officers, on 30 August in South Waziristan to just a few score Taleban fighters who blocked their supply convoy on the road to the main town of Wana shocked the nation.
People have lost faith in the political system and in the army's attempts to concoct a new one

Send us your views

The Pakistani Taleban, ostensibly belonging to the group led by Baitullah Mahsud, persuaded the troops to surrender without firing a single shot. The group comprised more than a dozen mid-ranking officers, including a colonel.

The militants then split the soldiers into groups and took them into the high mountains as hostages - much as the Afghan Taleban did six weeks earlier near Ghazni to a group of 23 South Koreans who were subsequently freed.

A jirga of tribal elders who met the Pakistani Taleban for two days returned empty handed. The Taleban demanded the release of 10 of their prisoners held by the government and insisted upon all troops leaving the Federally-Administered Tribal Area or Fata, which comprises the seven tribal agencies.

After the hostage-taking, the government arrested 100 Mahsud tribesmen - but was quickly forced to free them in order to appease the militants.

The army attempted to cover up the disaster by making conflicting statements, none of which appeared logical and all of which were contradicted by the militants and local tribal elders.

The government has banned all journalists from the region since 2004 so real information is sparse.

Pakistani soldiers have been kidnapped in the border region

In case anyone doubted the militants' intentions, 10 Frontier Corps paramilitary soldiers and a major were kidnapped in Fata's Mohmand agency on 1 September, while two deadly suicide bombings killed several soldiers in Bajaur agency on the same day.

After a US intelligence estimate in mid-July that South and North Waziristan had become Terrorism Central and were the headquarters for al-Qaeda and the Taleban, President Pervez Musharraf sent 20,000 troops into the region breaking a ceasefire and a troop withdrawal treaty agreement the army had signed with the Pakistani Taleban in 2005.

Widespread anger

The Pakistani Taleban are now demanding the army returns to the status quo.

But that is impossible with the Americans breathing down Gen Musharraf's neck and threatening to attack al-Qaeda hideouts in Fata if the army does not move first. However, that is looking increasingly difficult.

Many of the army and Frontier Corp personnel serving in Fata are Pashtuns, the ethnic group that lives on both sides of the border and from which the Taleban in both countries originate. Pakistani Pashtun soldiers are now loathe to fire upon their fellow Pashtuns.

The last time the army attacked Fata in 2004 more than 700 soldiers were killed and dozens of Pashtun soldiers and Frontier Corp men deserted, while some army helicopter pilots refused to bomb their own fellow citizens. As a result, Gen Musharraf was forced to do a deal with the militants that took the troops out of Fata - much to the chagrin of the American forces based in Afghanistan.

This time the situation is much more serious.

Apart from the Taleban there is widespread public anger against the army which could make the loss of morale amongst the troops much more serious. People have lost faith in the political system and in the army's attempts to concoct a new one.

In such a political vacuum it is only natural that extremism should grow and the Pakistani Taleban face only a modicum of resistance from the military.

Gen Musharraf has failed to convince the general public that the struggle against extremism is not just President Bush's war, but a struggle that all fair-minded Pakistanis must wage.

In the meantime, the army is insisting that Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who leads the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI), be part of any future government, whether it is led by Benazir Bhutto or the ruling Pakistan Muslim League.

The JUI has been the mainstay for the revival of the Taleban in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

With supervision from Pakistan's intelligence services, thousands of JUI-run madrassas in Balochistan and North West Frontier Province have provided shelter to tens of thousands of extremists from both sides of the border.

Wider tragedy

As long as the JUI is a part of any future Pakistani government it is impossible to imagine how that government will be able to move against the Taleban.

Thus, by insisting that the JUI does become part of a future government, the army appears to be directly boosting the fortunes of the Afghan Taleban, even as Pakistani Taleban kidnap or kill Pakistani troops.

This is only part of a wider tragedy that is a result of eight years of military rule when Gen Musharraf appeared to be running with the hares and hunting with the hounds - following a deeply contradictory policy course that has now caught up with him and helped plunge the country into its present chaos.

Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore. He is the author of three books including Taliban and, most recently, Jihad. He has covered Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia for the past 25 years and also writes for the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Daily Telegraph and The Wall Street Journal.

September 07, 2007

Intelligence Activities of Large Finnish Companies

Comparative Study and Analysis of the Intelligence Activities of Large Finnish Companies

Virpi Pirttimäki

Tampere University of Technology, Finland


This article reports on a survey of the CI activities of large firms in Finland and compares these to the findings from previous intelligence studies. Global surveys were conducted in 17 countries in tandem with Finland in 2005. The results suggest that large Finnish companies view intelligence activities not only as a defensive tool to ward off perceived threats and changes but also as a proactive management tool for uncovering new business opportunities, trends, and weak signals in the business environment. Most of the companies interviewed utilized their own resources for intelligence activities and operate an information system dedicated to intelligence activities. At the same time though, they feel that those activities are currently not sufficiently systematic for their needs.



RAF intercepts eight Russian bombers as Putin provokes West

The Ministry of Defence released this photograph showing a British Tornado, top, escorting from British airspace the larger Russian Bear bomber

Michael Evans, Defence Editor, and Tony Halpin in Moscow
The RAF scrambled to intercept eight Russian nuclear bombers heading for Britain yesterday in the biggest aerial confrontation between the two countries since the end of the Cold War.

Russia Scared Britain’s Air Force by £160,000

Britain’s Royal Air Force has spent at least £160,000 for interception of Russia’s bombers. An hour of Tornado flight would cost more than £40,000, but RAF also sent its airborne early warning aircraft (AWACS) and VC10 tanker during the operation.
RAF scrambled the jets to oppose eight Tu-95 bombers of Russia patrolling international air over the Atlantic on September 6. According to Britain’s military, Tornados took off by alarm when the Russians approached the air of Britain.

The long-range bombers of Russia were on strategic air patrols, never reaching the borders of foreign states, said Alexander Drobyshevsky, who heads the PR department at the RF Air Force. Each flight lasted 17 hours and the NATO jets accompanied bombers in each mission. On September 6, 20 fighters of Norway and Britain were launched to intercept Tu-95s, Drobyshevsky specified.

The Tupolev-95 Bear bombers were approaching in formation when they were met by four Tornado F3 fighter jets. Defence sources said that the Russian pilots turned away as soon as they spotted the approaching Tornados and did not enter British airspace.

Norway had earlier sent four F16 jets to shadow the Russians as they neared its airspace in what Moscow insisted was a training mission. The bombers had flown over international waters from the Barents Sea to the Atlantic before heading for Britain.

Russian Bears flying in pairs have triggered several alerts this year as they neared the 12-mile British airspace zone, but this was the first time that so many bombers had simultaneously tested British air defences.

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The exercise is expensive for the RAF. It costs more than £40,000 an hour to fly a Tornado F3 and yesterday’s operation will have cost at least £160,000. Underlining the scale of the operation, the RAF also sent up an airborne early warning aircraft (Awacs) and a VC10 tanker so that the Tornados could be refuelled.

Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky, a spokesman for Russia’s air force, said that 14 long-range bombers began missions over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans on Wednesday night.

In an echo of the Cold War chess game that the Soviet Union and Nato played continuously in the skies around Europe, he acknowledged that “virtually all of our strategic planes are being shadowed by Nato fighters”.

He later told Interfax that up to 20 Nato jets had scrambled to intercept the Russian aircraft. Colonel Drobyshevsky had announced on Monday that a dozen bombers would practice firing cruise missiles over the Arctic.

This was Russia’s biggest show of strength since President Putin ordered strategic air patrols to resume last month. They were suspended in 1992 after the Soviet collapse because the Kremlin could not afford them.

Until Mr Putin’s decision, the RAF’s main air-defence role around Britain had been to ensure that it reacted swiftly to suspicious manoeuvres by commercial airliners approaching British airspace, with a view to countering any hint of a terrorist-related attack.

The flights are the latest example of Mr Putin’s ability to irritate the West with bold strokes that cost the Kremlin little and delight many ordinary Russians, who enjoy seeing Nato discomfited. He has already pulled Russia out of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty on arms limitation, and railed against US proposals to install a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

With presidential elections only six months away, such assertive nationalism convinces many Russians that he has restored the country’s international prestige. Some critics have suggested that a siege mentality is being fostered to create support for a presidential successor from the siloviki, the Kremlin’s hardline military and security service faction.

As Nato scrambled its jets, Mr Putin was in Indonesia to seal a $1 billion contract for his hosts to buy Russian fighter planes, submarines and helicopters, with a loan provided by Moscow.

Russia’s economy is flush with petro-dollars. Mr Putin’s visit to the world’s most populous Muslim nation forms part of a Kremlin drive to convert economic power into a new global political and military reach.

Russia has already sought to restore its influence in India, the Middle East and Africa, and is building ties in Latin America. Russian and Chinese special forces are currently on joint counter-terrorism exercises, further evidence of their growing military relationship.

Mr Putin ordered strategic flights to resume after noting that other countries had maintained their patrols in the past 15 years. He said that this threatened Russia’s security. Bear bombers can carry nuclear warheads but General Pavel Androsov, the head of strategic aviation, said last week that they were not armed and that the goal of the patrols was pilot training.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, said on Monday that the missile defence shield was a “red line” for Moscow.

Unease in the sky

–– This interception of eight Bears was the fourth time that RAF aircraft have had to be scrambled this year

–– In May two Tornado F3s were launched from RAF Leuchars in Scotland to intercept a Bear observing a Royal Navy exercise called Neptune Warrior

–– In July two more Bear bombers were headed off by two Tornados as they approached British airspace

–– Last month the RAF scrambled two Eurofighter Typhoons from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire for the first time to head off two Bears

–– Also last month General Gene Renuar, the commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, said that Russian bombers were flying more often and closer to US territory

Russia and APEC: towards sustained and stable development

12:00 | 07/ 09/ 2007

Vladimir V. Putin

President of the Russian Federation

Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of Russia's becoming a full‑fledged member of APEC. It was a committed and strategic choice for us, based on objective economic factors and geopolitical circumstances. Life itself has since then convincingly demonstrated that the decision made then was timely and well-founded.

Today, on the eve of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Sydney I would like to share with you my vision of the prospects for Russia's participation in this influential regional association.

APEC has entered the 21st century as a major and authoritative regional structure with a uniquely broad membership of countries situated on both sides of the Pacific. Represented in it are Asia, America and the Southern Pacific. Russia has been successfully cooperating within its framework.

Due to the rapid development of the Asia-Pacific Region, APEC can be called the most promising economic association of the planet. Even now the Member States of the Forum account for 57 percent of the world's gross domestic product, 48 percent of world trade and over 40 percent of direct foreign investments. And according to expert estimates, these figures may go up in the coming years. Such a prospect is also held out by APEC's basic priorities aimed at improving the trade environment in the Asia-Pacific Region as well as broadening regional integration.

Active and multifaceted participation in the work of APEC is becoming an increasingly important aspect of Russia's foreign policy on its eastern frontiers. Accordingly, our interaction with the Forum has been growing every year. For instance, APEC's share in Russia's foreign trade has increased now to reach 18.1 percent including up to 16.6 percent in Russian exports. Such influential APEC members as China and USA are among our top ten partners, and if combined with Japan, they are among the top ten leaders of investment cooperation with Russia.

Our key task is to make use of APEC's possibilities so that Russia could join the Asia-Pacific integration mechanisms in a most effective and efficient way. This naturally complements Russia's national plans for social and economic development. Top priority is given to projects of intensive development of Siberia and the Far East. A large scale modernization of leading economic sectors, industrial and transportation infrastructure is being pursued, notably, by the Program for the Development of the Far East and Trans-Baikal Regions, i.e. the areas that directly belong to the Asia-Pacific Region.

Russia has officially stated its readiness to chair APEC in 2012. And it is not by chance that we have suggested that the Associations' Summit be held in the eastern part of our country - in the city of Vladivostok. We believe that this meeting will allow a detailed discussion of the future of the Asia-Pacific Region and its progress towards a sustainable and stable development.

I would like to emphasize that this would not be the first time that important APEC events have taken place in the Russian Far East. We have hosted a major APEC Investment Fair as well as meetings of the APEC Working Groups on Transportation, Energy, Industrial Science and Technology. An active and substantive dialogue took place during the First Asia-Pacific Congress that focused on deepening business links between the Russian Federation and APEC.

We are confident that Russia's chairmanship of APEC can be of great benefit both for our partners and us, primarily in terms of further strengthening mutually beneficial business links and the free trade space as well as in deploying innovative technologies. It would make a substantial contribution to the development of regional and world cooperation and provide an incentive for bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the APEC economies.

It is evident that APEC's current activities go beyond addressing economic problems only. The task of countering threats and challenges in the area of development remains relevant. It includes neutralizing terrorism, warning of natural calamities and preventing man‑made disasters as well as epidemics. The problem of corruption and money laundering continues to be a serious obstacle on the way to economic stability in the APEC region.

The Russian Federation is consistently strengthening its positions in these important spheres of regional cooperation. Our country has been making a notable contribution to APEC counter-terrorism activities. This year, for example, we have put forward an initiative to set up a system to protect critical energy infrastructure facilities against terrorist attacks. We actively cooperate with the other Forum Member States in elaborating joint steps to cut off financial channels feeding terrorists and to counter corruption. Finally, starting from last year our country has been cosponsoring a broad dialogue between civilizations within APEC. This dialogue is meant to protect our societies, particularly the youth, from xenophobia, ethnic or religious intolerance.

Russia pioneered here the work on managing the consequences of natural and man‑made emergencies and designing a system of information sharing and coordinated action in case of epidemic and pandemic outbreaks.

Moreover, we have unswervingly supported the progress towards regional energy security based on partnership beneficial for everyone.

We believe that strengthening interaction between APEC official and business circles is of utmost importance. Russia has vigorously supported the industrial dialogue on non‑ferrous metals engaging businesspeople from 12 APEC countries. By all accounts, its three‑year work was mutually beneficial and made it possible to achieve serious progress in creating more favorable conditions for the relevant APEC markets. Now, this dialogue is being reshaped to a new, more powerful institution with a broader scope, whose activities, I hope, will be as effective.

The effort of CEOs of large Russian companies within the APEC Business Consultative Council is also worth paying close attention to. The constructive cooperation between the Council and Forum is being consistently and steadily strengthened, bringing together the interests of the private and public sectors. I am referring to the promising joint work that has a direct practical effect on the development of the participating economies.

* * *

In conclusion, I would like to stress once again that Russia strives to actively broaden its participation in APEC. It is of fundamental importance to us that all activities of this association are carried out on the basis of consensus and discretion in the implementation of the decisions made, as consistent with one's national interests. It is this very approach that both secures regional progress and allows each participant to address the specific tasks it has set for itself.

The focus of the current summit in Sydney - Strengthening our Community, Building a Sustainable Future - fully lives up to the logic of the APR economic development which is based on consolidating mutually beneficial cooperation, expanding large-scale trade and investment, and strengthening common security. I am convinced that the meeting of the APEC leaders in Australia will contribute to the achievement of these strategic goals, the main one consisting in ensuring a sustainable and predictable future for all countries and peoples of the region.

Russian-Chinese nuclear cooperation develops despite problems

15:59 | 07/ 09/ 2007

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti commentator Tatiana Sinitsyna) - On August 16, the No. 2 generating unit of China's Tianwan nuclear power plant, which was built with Russian assistance on the Yellow Sea coast, attained design capacity and currently produces 1.05 million kilowatts of electricity an hour. However, Beijing is still reluctant to commission it.

This week, representatives of Atomstroiexport, the Russian nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly which is implementing the Tianwan project, met with the Chinese partners at the nuclear power plant to discuss routine construction issues and the commissioning of the No. 2 unit.

It took almost 10 years to complete the Tianwan NPP, whose first generating unit features twin reactors with a joint infrastructure. It was completed in June and was used to streamline various engineering solutions. The reactor has been operating for almost a month now.

Although both reactors provide a $2 million daily economic effect, the Chinese side is reluctant to sign the relevant acceptance statement because it has some misgivings about nuclear-safety issues.

Before leaving for Beijing, Alexander Nechayev, director of Atomsatroiexport's department in charge of building the Chinese NPP, told RIA Novosti that his company would try to persuade China to sign the acceptance statement.

Bilateral cooperation faced some problems because Beijing, a fault-finding partner, is closely monitoring the Tianwan project. "Nevertheless, the positive results of our cooperation prove that both partners have profited from it. We believe that Moscow has built the best NPP in the world," Nechayev told RIA Novosti.

An upgraded version of the VVER-1000/428 water-cooled and water-moderated reactor, which was developed especially for the Tianwan NPP, features better neutron-physics specifications, multi-channel safety systems, and other technological marvels.

Over 150 Russian companies were involved in the unique Tianwan project. The Atomenergoproject R&D Institute in St. Petersburg designed the NPP and the world-famous Kurchatov Institute acted as academic supervisor.

The Gidropress design bureau in Orenburg in the Volga Region developed the reactor, and engineering giants Izhorskiye Zavody (Izhora Plants) and Silovye Mashiny (Power Machines) in St. Petersburg manufactured all other equipment.

Silovye Mashiny contributed the turbines, which are 150% "faster" than similar units with the same capacity. The double-walled reactor building features an airtight compartment ruling out radiation leaks and ensures adequate protecting against external factors.

The Tianwan NPP has a special trap featuring unique engineering solutions that can cool down the reactor core in case of a hypothetical accident. The trap has been certified by Russian and Chinese watchdog agencies and approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Russian experts said major accidents could happen only once in every 100,000 years. According to Nechayev, the reactor, which has a service life of 40 years, can operate even longer. He said Finland had recently extended the service life of the Soviet-made Lovisa NPP, which was built 30 years ago, to 50 years, and that the Tianwan NPP could operate as long.

China, an emerging global powerhouse, has received a major source of energy. The Tianwan NPP is the first ambitious nuclear project to be implemented by Moscow in the past 20 years.

The Russian nuclear industry, which can effectively cooperate with foreign partners and successfully compete on the global market, will now be able to offer new standard reactors to other partners.

Moscow eventually fulfilled all Chinese requirements and heeded the specifics of national management and mentality, and hopes to build four more reactors in Tianwan, provided that Beijing agrees to level several mountains hindering the project's implementation.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Israel's Syria sortie ill-advised

While Israel could hope for limited intelligence gains from an apparent over-flight of Syrian territory, the sortie's overall impact is harmful to the frozen peace process.

Image: ISNCommentary by Dominic Moran in Tel Aviv for ISN Security Watch (07/09/07)

Syrian-Israeli tensions appeared to be easing Friday after an Israeli military over-flight of Syrian territory threatened to spark the confrontation analysts have warned of in recent months.

It was revealed on Thursday that Israeli Air Force jets had crossed into Syrian territory via the Mediterranean at around midnight on Wednesday.

Syrian anti-aircraft defenses fired on the Israeli aircraft at Tell Al-Abyad, near the Turkish border after they had flown deep into Syrian territory.

The Syrian army reported that the planes "dropped munitions" on Syrian territory before returning to Israel. Rather than an attack, the ammunition dump may have been an effort to increase the maneuverability of the planes under fire.

There were no reports as to whether newly acquired Russian anti-aircraft missile systems were involved in the incident, although this appears unlikely given the concentration of Syrian air defenses around Damascus and along the Golan Heights ceasefire line.

Syria is making ongoing efforts to bolster its anti-aircraft defenses, receiving delivery in August of sophisticated Pantsyr-S1E anti-aircraft missiles from Russia and, in June, of five MiG-31E interceptors.

Syrian officials said Thursday that they were considering their response to the infiltration, which is likely to include efforts to secure a denunciation of Israeli over-flights at the UN.

The Baathist regime is seeking rehabilitation on the international stage, through the resumption of severed diplomatic ties with the US and an easing of frosty relations with regional rival Saudi Arabia and has a clear interest in preventing the incident from being blown out of proportion, while emphasizing its sovereign rights.

Thursday's over-flight is not the first. There have been repeated reports of regular Israeli sorties over Syrian territory - confirmed by Israeli Science, Sport and Culture Minister Ghaleb Majadele on Friday.

Two Israeli fighters buzzed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's summer residence in the Syrian Mediterranean port of Latakia on 28 June 2006. On 5 October 2003, Israeli warplanes attacked a Palestinian militant base deep inside Syrian territory following a suicide bombing the day before in Haifa.

Israeli defense and political leaders have explained past sorties as reminders to the Syrian government that Israel held it responsible for the actions of militants it allegedly funds and arms.

The Israeli Air Force has continued its daily reconnaissance flights over Lebanese territory since the July-August 2006 war, despite protests from UN Interim Force In Lebanon peacekeepers stationed in the south of the country and Fuad Siniora government.

The Israeli over-flight came amid signs that the recent military buildup on the Golan Heights was being reversed by both sides, with Israel calling off planned large-scale maneuvers on the Golan and Syria reportedly standing down forces.

In a further indication that Israel does not foresee an imminent war with Syria, the Israeli government has launched a campaign for citizens to return gas masks distributed during previous regional crises.

Israel is prioritizing spending on anti-missile research projects but still appears a long way from finding a solution to the firing of primitive rockets from Gaza, let-alone advanced Hizbollah and Syrian missile systems.

It is this fact, and the attendant governmental failure to channel funding toward civilian missile protection, despite the demonstrated inadequacies of current measures, that is a significant rein on Israeli threat postures on the Golan and Lebanese borders.

For its part, Syria knows that, despite intimations by al-Assad and other prominent figures of a willingness to consider alternatives should Israel refuse to negotiate on the Golan, the Syrian military would be overmatched in battle with Israeli forces and that a military defeat could precipitate the overthrow of the Baathist state.

The motivations behind the Israeli incursion into Syrian airspace are unclear given the refusal of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and defense officials to acknowledge that the incursion took place.

The sortie appears to ignore a clear injunction from Olmert to the military not to conduct activities that may be construed by the Syrians as posing a threat.

Israeli and Syrian analysts speculated that the over-flight may have been intended to probe for future attack corridors, reconnoiter long-range missile placements, or test anti-aircraft defenses - plausible suggestions given the irregularity of Israeli over-flights and recent Syrian anti-aircraft system purchases.

From an Israeli strategic standpoint, the mission may have served a dual purpose: to warn Syria that the current Israeli troop drawdown on the Golan did not limit Israel's ability to strike Syrian territory; and to remind the international community of the Baathist state's close relationship with Iran.

Indeed, Tehran responded quickly, with IRNA quoting Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Ali Hosseini as coining the Israeli incursion a "brazen and provocative act."

The al-Assad government has intimated a willingness to cool its steadily building economic, military and diplomatic ties with Iran in recent months as it works to prevent the anti-Syrian March 14 Forces from seizing the presidency in Lebanon and to avoid implication in the murder of former Lebanese premier Rafik al-Hariri at the newly announced international tribunal at The Hague.

While Israel could hope for limited intelligence gains from the over-flight, the sortie's overall impact is harmful to prospects for reviving the frozen Syrian-Israeli peace process.

The fact the over-flight was publicized first by the official SANA news agency indicates that the Syrians have had enough of the repeated Israeli incursions and are determined, for the first time, to link these flights to progress in the diplomatic process.

Information Minister Mohsen Bilal confirmed this hardening of the Syrian stance in comments to reporters Thursday, saying, "Israel in fact does not want peace […] It cannot survive without aggression, treachery and military messages."

Without the requisite trust and US support, prospects appear bleak for the blossoming of sporadic peace feelers and possible covert talks into fully-fledged negotiations crucial to future sub-regional stability.

Dr Dominic Moran, based in Tel Aviv, is ISN Security Watch's senior correspondent in the Middle East and the Director of Operations of ISA Consulting.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not the International Relations and Security Network (ISN).

Baghdad spin, Tehran war

The positive mood-music from Iraq, which includes President Bush's surprise visit, may be ominous for Iran. From openDemocracy.

Link to original article
Image: US DODBy Paul Rogers for (07/09/07)

A war of position in Washington is well underway in advance of the status report on the United States military "surge" in Iraq being prepared by the military commander in the country, General David Petraeus. The general's hint on 4 September that progress in achieving key objectives might allow modest troop withdrawals from Iraq early in 2008 is being used as one gambit in this power-game; the bleak report of the US government's accountability office - stating that the Iraqi government had passed only three of the eighteen "benchmarks" set for it by the US Congress - is another.

Petraeus' signal may reflect a realistic assessment of the United States army's current overstretch as much as any real confidence that security in Iraq has or will improve in an enduring way. But it reinforces the sense that the combination of his testimony to Congress (on 10 September) and the release of the report itself (on 15 September) is likely to recommend a continuation of the surge for the next six months at least.

The presence of the military's voice in public debate on the war in Iraq, of which Petraeus' report is only one example, is questioned by some observers. In principle, it can increase the presentational problems for the army's political leaders (if the surge is going well, it might make it harder to justify a large-scale US troop presence). But the current predicament and mindset of the George W Bush administration is indifferent to such concerns. The determination to maintain an upbeat narrative is absolute; this was demonstrated by the president himself, in his cheerleading stopover on 3 September at a heavily fortified desert base (rather than Baghdad).

The real facts on the ground in Iraq may suggest a different picture. Indeed, the administration's claims are contrasted with a far more sobering reality in much of the media (see Karen De Young, Experts Doubt Drop in Violence, Washington Post, 6 September). A remarkable, lengthy report that is positive in tone about the "successes" of US forces in making "local deals" with traditional leaders in several areas of Sunni Iraq concludes with a limpid comment from a US strategist that speaks volumes about the longer-term realities: "This [approach] works against national level accommodation because it politicizes sectarian identity" (see Yochi J Dreazen et al, US Shifts Iraq Focus as Local Tactics Gain, Wall Street Journal, 5 September [subscription only]).

But the time to look clearly at the US' predicament has not yet arrived. The Bush administration's argument is that victory is in sight and to withdraw any time soon would be disastrous. A narrative therefore takes shape in which things are going well; the US forces keep up the pressure; things go even better; so that in 2008, selected contingents of soldiers can be deployed homewards in a phased, orderly fashion - just as the election campaign heats up. If facts on the ground eventually do suggest otherwise, then there will be two groups to blame: the failure of the Iraqis to grasp the opportunity presented to them by Washington, and interference in Iraq by the perfidious Iranians.

The spiral crisis, again
For the second time this year, Iran is again visibly in the US' sights. In late January and early February, tensions rose markedly (see Nasrin Alavi, "Iran's attack blowback," 5 February). The escalation was fuelled by rhetoric from Washington and Tehran, including US claims of Iraqi insurgents being supported by the Pasdaran-e Inqilab (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps); a conspicuous build-up of US forces in the Persian Gulf; and maneuvers (and some missile tests) by the Iranian military.

The atmosphere was intensified too by a press leak of a decision by the Bush administration to allow US forces in Iraq to kill or capture members of the Quds force, a component of the Revolutionary Guards (see The United States and Iran: the logic of war, 1 February). Five Iranians were detained shortly afterwards (they are still in American custody), and in March, Britain faced the embarrassment of sailors and marine commandoes being captured by other Revolutionary Guard units (see Sanam Vakil, "Iran's hostage politics," 2 April 2007).

By the end of February, the US was routinely maintaining two aircraft-carrier battle groups and two expeditionary strike groups in the region, roughly double the deployments typical of the previous four years (see The Persian Gulf: a war of position, 8 February). Allowing for other units within a reasonable distance of the Gulf, the US can maintain this level of force more or less indefinitely and can increase it at a matter of a few weeks' notice.

This situation remained static since the tensions of early 2007, until a notable sharpening of rhetoric in the past three weeks - coming mainly from Washington, but with vigorous responses from Tehran. On the US side, there have been substantial claims that Iran is playing a major role in the insurgency (see Kimberley Kagan, The Iran Dossier, Weekly Standard, 29 August); some have even declared that Tehran is operating "terrorist training camps" on its own territory (see William Kristol, Terrorist Training Camps in Iran: Should They Be Safe Haves?, Weekly Standard, 5 September). President Bush's decision to list the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization is part of this process, as are persistent reports that vice-president Dick Cheney is committed to "sorting out" the Iran issue before the Bush administration leaves office (see Warren P Stroebel et al, Cheney Urging Strikes on Iran, McClatchy Newspapers, 9 August).

There have also been several reports of plans for US air strikes against Iran. The Sunday Times (London) described a plan for a three-day operation hitting up to 1,200 targets across Iran (see Sarah Baxter, Pentagon 'three-day blitz' plan for Iran, 2 September); a report by two British analysts, Dan Plesch and Martin Butcher, also cited the likelihood of attacks that would going far beyond limited strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities (see their paper, Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East, September 2007; summarized here. In addition, numerous blogs - some from within the US military - have reported a build-up of forces and training directed to a possible war (see, for example, George Packer, Interesting Times, New Yorker, 31 August).

On the Iranian side, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that Iran has 3,000 uranium-enrichment centrifuges now operative. These would theoretically be enough to produce sufficient enriched uranium for a crude bomb in perhaps a year if all the other technical difficulties could be overcome and if the centrifuges could work efficiently. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is doubtful on both counts.

Ahmadinejad is speaking to a national audience and is almost certainly exaggerating, but he faces continuing economic problems and such claims are useful diversions. Furthermore, his position is not helped by the success of the former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, in being elected the head of the Assembly of Experts, a key religious body that has recently failed to utilize all its powers but may well now do so.

A war for hardliners
However important Ahmadinejad's domestic electorate might be, his belligerent rhetoric is just what the hawkish elements in Washington want to hear. Moreover, if there really was a possibility of an armed confrontation with Iran, it is certainly the case that there are strong military arguments for conducting major operations rather than just a limited attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

It is widely recognized that such an attack would lead to major Iranian retaliation (see Paul Rogers, Iran: Consequences of a War, Oxford Research Group, 2006), including wholesale involvement in support for Shi'a militia in Iraq.

The thinking in Washington is therefore as follows: a small-scale attack would inevitably lead to a wider confrontation, so better to limit the size of such an Iranian response by pre-emption. Such an operation would set back Iranian nuclear aspirations by several years, and would greatly damage the ability of the Quds force and other Revolutionary Guard units to make things worse in Iraq.

All of this may fit uneasily with US military overstretch but it has to be remembered that the US air force and navy are very far from being under stress. They have had little to do with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and there will be many senior air-force and naval officers who are concerned at all the attention, and funding, going to the army and marine corps. An intense air war with Iran involving the navy's aircraft carriers and the air-force's planes in the middle east would do much to restore the domestic political balance between the services.

The prospect
What remains open to question is whether American domestic opinion can be molded sufficiently to accept the need for a war with Iran. Since the Tehran government is not creating particular difficulties with the IAEA, it is highly unlikely that the US can get much international support for military action. Domestic support will also be limited unless the claim can be made that it is Iran that is behind most of the problems in Iraq. Again, international opinion will not bend to this view but the Bush administration, in the last months of its power, will regard the domestic audience as vastly more important than the views of Europeans or others.

The core issue at stake is whether there is a real probability of a US attack on Iran. Air-force and navy chiefs may see value in it for their own services; there may be strong support from neo-conservatives and others; and many supporters of Israel will be very positive. That does not mean that it will happen. Even a major attack on more than a thousand targets will have little effect on the Iranian ability to respond in the longer term; it will also unify the country, increasing Ahmadinejad's power-base and rapidly making life even more difficult for US forces in Iraq. There are plenty of people in the middle and upper ranks of the US military who would be frankly aghast at extending the war to Iran, and this might be enough to ensure that wiser counsel prevails.

There is always the possibility that the Israelis themselves will provoke a war, inciting in return an Iranian response against US forces in the region which then leads on to full-scale US military action (see Iran in Israel's firing-range, 8 December 2005). A greater risk, though, is that some small incident sets in motion a chain of escalation that rapidly gets out of hand - possibly made worse by deliberate overreaction. There are, after all, powerful forces in the US and Iran that actually seek a clash.

This is the real danger of the present atmosphere of confrontation. It is likely to endure for many months, quite possibly right up to the presidential election in November 2008. That is a long time to manage a stand-off without some misjudgment or accident. It goes a long way to explaining why the Persian Gulf region remains the most important focus of danger anywhere in the world.

Paul Rogers is professor of peace studies at Bradford University, northern England. He has been writing a weekly column on global security on openDemocracy since 26 September 2001.

Osama Bin Laden: The Suspense

Osama Bin Laden: The Suspense - International Terrorism Monitor: Paper No. 275

Source: SAAG.ORG
By B. Raman

On July 14, 2007, As Sahab, Al Qaeda's propaganda and Psywar wing, had put out a video of past clips of Osama bin Laden and others, in which they had glorified martyrdom in the cause of Islam. I had referred to this in my article titled "AL QAEDA CHANGES TACTICS: TO RELY ON JUNDULLAHS MORE & MORE" available at

2. In that article, I had stated as follows: "The recent video of Al Qaeda's propaganda wing carrying excerpts from past messages of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda fighters glorifying the Islamic concept of martyrdom has been disseminated in pursuance of this new tactics. "Arise wherever you are and martyr yourself"----that is the hidden message it has sought to convey. The latest video's central message is: "‘By Him in Whose Hands my life is! I would love to attack and be martyred, then attack again and be martyred, then attack again and be martyred.’"

3. On the eve of the sixth anniversary of its 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US homeland, As Sahab has alerted Al Qaeda's followers to look out for the release of another video of Osama bin Laden. Its announcement says: "Soon, with the permission of God, a new visual tape, the Sheikh, the Lion, Osama bin Laden. May God protect him.” Web sites identified with Al Qaeda have been talking of a "special gift" on the anniversary of the 9/11 strikes.

4. The announcement of the coming video message from him carries a photo of his in which the grey hairs in his beard have disappeared, indicating either that he has dyed his beard if he is still alive or that his picture has been touched up by As Sahab in its studio.

5. What do the pro-Al Qaeda web sites mean by "a special gift"--- another terrorist strike coinciding with the anniversary of 9/11, or a peace offer subject to certain conditions as he had made after the Madrid blasts of March, 2004 or just another video of bin Laden to reassure his followers that he is alive and kicking or an announcement of his martyrdom, which Muslims consider a gift of God?

6. Let us wait and see.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:

Security During Beijing Olympics

- International Terrorism Monitor: Paper No. 274
Source: SAAG.oRG

By B. Raman

(Paper prepared by me in connection with a discussion at Chengdu, China, from August 26 to 31, 2007)

The main task of the security set-up of the Beijing Olympics of 2008 would be to prevent any accidental or deliberate disruptions of the Games. Accidental disruptions could be due to human negligence or unanticipated circumstances. Among examples of such likely accidental disruptions one could mention stampedes in the sports stadiums due to ineffective crowd management or control, fire due to short circuits, collapse of structures due to poor construction quality, mechanical and technical failures, contamination of food and water due to ineffective hygiene, inadequacy of arrangements for medical assistance in the form inadequate storage of blood of different groups etc.

2. Over the years, the organisers of the Olympic Games have developed a fairly fail-safe method of avoiding such accidental disruptions and controlling their impact if, despite all precautions, accidental disruptions do take place. During the Athens Olympics of 2004, a propane leak at a luxury hotel that was hosting hundreds of representatives from major Olympic sponsors necessitated the evacuation of a seaside hotel for several hours while firefighters emptied a tank containing the gas. Many of those staying at the hotel were Americans. Deaths and injuries due to poor crowd control have not been unusual during major football games in Europe.

3. The Olympic Games provide the most spectacular theatre in the world for human elements wanting to draw attention to themselves and to their cause. This leads to attempts to cause deliberate disruptions of the Games by political, social and human rights activists, terrorists and irrational individuals. There were instances, at the height of the Vietnam war, of the participating athletes themselves shouting anti-US slogans.

4. The Beijing Olympics would be the third one to be held since the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US by Al Qaeda, the so-called war against terrorism launched by the US in Afghanistan on October 11,2001 and the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.The earlier two were the Athens Olympics of 2004 and the Turin Winter Olympics of 2006.Global jihad as waged by Al Qaeda and other jihadi organisations associated with it in the International Islamic Front (IIF) formed by Osama bin Laden in 1998 has shown no signs of abating. On the contrary, it has spread from Afghanistan and Iraq to Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Algeria and even to Europe as seen from the Madrid blasts of March 2004 and the London blasts of July, 2005. The IIF is a united front, under Al Qaeda's leadership, of jihadi organisations from Pakistan, Egypt, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Neo Taliban, and the Abu Sayyaf of the Philippines. Some individual Uighur elements from the Xinjiang region of China and some jihadis from Chechnya in Russia have also been active in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region as members of the IMU.

5. The five Pakistani organisations, which are members of the IIF, are the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ). The Jemmah Islamiya (JI) of South-East Asia, which was responsible for acts of jihadi terrorism in Bali and Jakarta, is also closely associated with Al Qaeda.

6. Since the beginning of last year, one has also been seeing the phenomenon of individual Muslims, not belonging to Al Qaeda or any other structured jihadi terrorist organisations, taking to suicide terrorism to give vent to their anger over the manner in which the so-called war against terrorism is being waged in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq under the US leadership. The ideological influence of the Neo Taliban and Al Qaeda has been spreading across the tribal areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border, thereby aggravating the threat posed by religious extremism.

7. There are certain defining characteristics of the jihadi terrorism of the kind practised by Al Qaeda and the organisations associated with it in the IIF. Firstly, their practice of mass casualty terrorism hitting at soft as well as hard targets. Secondly, their willingness to use any means to cause mass casualties, including the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) material. Thirdly, their insensitivity to the impact of their attacks on public opinion. Fourthly, their ability to innovate and improvise and adopt ever new methods of causing death and destruction. Fifthly, their ability to adapt discoveries of modern science and technology for use in acts of terrorism. Their increasing use of mobile telephones as a trigger for causing explosions is an example. Sixthly, their expertise of information technology and their use of the Internet for propaganda, communications, motivation, recruitment and training. Seventhly, the large number of experts in IT of different nationalities at their disposal. Eighthly, their look-out for opportunities to stage spectacular acts of terrorism viewed by their co-religionists and the rest of the world on the TV.

8. The US and Israel remain the principal targets of anger of Al Qaeda and other jihadi organisations associated with it. They have been desperate to stage another spectacular act of mass casualty terrorism against the US in order to show that their command and control and ability to strike at a time and place of their choosing remain unimpaired despite the so-called war against terrorism. Their other targets are countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Turkey, which they view as apostates because of their close co-operation with the US. Since 2003, they have also been critical of India. There have also been some signs of anger against China over Xinjiang.

9. This is the background against which next year's Beijing Olympics will be held. Even in the unlikely event of the US-led international coalition prevailing over the terrorists in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region and in Iraq between now and next year's Olympics, the likelihood of threats from gliobal jihadi terrorism will remain high. The security arrangements have to cater to this possibility.

10. The prevailing international situation at the time of an Olympics always casts its shadow on the Games. The anti-US anger among large sections of people in different countries of the world over its role in Vietnam cast its shadow over the 1968 games in Mexico City. There were protests over the US role in Vietnam not only in the city, but also by some black athletes of the US team. Black American track medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos bowed their heads and raised their fists in the Black Power salute during the playing of the US National Anthem and were immediately suspended from the team by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

11. Anger against Israel over its occupation of Palestinian territory during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war had a brutal consequence in the Munich Olympics of 1972 when nine Israeli team members were killed during a terrorist strike by eight Arab terrorists belonging to the Black September group, who had slipped into the Olympic Village and took some Israeli teammates hostage. Before 1972, there had been instances of protests of a political nature in the form of demonstrations, shouting of slogans etc, but without violence. The Munich Olympics saw the first instance of an act of reprisal terrorism directed against one of the participating teams.

12. The shocking consequences of the Munich Olympics highlighted the lack of preparedness to be able to prevent and counter such incidents not only by the organisers of the Games, but also by the local Police and security authorities. The ease with which the terrorists had managed to infiltrate into the Games Village and take some Israeli team members hostage and the ineffective handling of the sequel by the local Police and security agencies led to the tragedy. It was alleged that two of the terrorists had managed to take up jobs inside the Village without a proper verification of their antecedents and that six others had managed to enter the village by climbing over the perimeter fencing without being detected by the security staff. The confusion and the lack of co-ordination among the local and the Games security agencies after the terrorists had entered the Village and taken the Israelis hostage made the tragedy inevitable.

13. Among the weak links in the security arrangements at Munich which reportedly came to notice were:

Two of the terrorists had managed to get jobs inside the Games village and had obtained the security passes. They managed to establish in which apartments the Israeli team members were staying and to obtain duplicate keys to their place of stay.
The remaining six terrorists entered the village by climbing over the perimeter fencing. Since they were wearing track suits and carrying the sports bags issued by the Games organisers, nobody stopped them and questioned them as to why they were entering the village by climbing over the fencing and not through the gates.
When news spread that terrorists had entered the Games Village and taken some Israelis hostage, the media rushed there. The local TV stations were beaming live the goings-on in the vicinity of the Israeli apartments. The terrorists were able to see on the TV sets kept inside the apartments the deployment of the German commandoes outside. The commandoes were dressed as athletes, but they were carrying firearms. It did not occur to anyone to stop the press from reaching there and to stop all TV transmissions.
The terrorists wanted to take the hostages to Cairo. They were taken by two helicopters to an airport with the promise that they would be provided with an aircraft to fly them out to Cairo. The local special forces were hoping to ambush the terrorists, kill them and rescue the hostages at the airport at the time of the transfer from the helicopters to the plane. The whole plan failed because the transfer took place at the dead of night, the sharp-shooters deployed at the airport to ambush the terrorists had allegedly no night vision equipment, their rifles had no telescopic sites and they had no means of communicating with each other while laying the ambush.The whole operation was consequently a disastrous failure. While some of the hostages were killed by the terrorists, some others died in the exchange of fire between the terrorists and the snipers of the security forces.
14. Six lessons stand out from the experience of the Munich tragedy. Firstly, the importance of a thorough verification of the antecedents of all those---paid employees, office-bearers and volunteers--- employed in connection with the Games. Secondly, the importance of effective physical security, including perimeter security. Thirdly, an effective co-ordination mechanism to ensure co-ordination not only among all Olympics officials responsible for security, but also among all those in the local administration responsible for security and between officials of the Games and the local administration. Fourthly, the importance of a well-tested crisis management drill if despite all security measures, a crisis created by terrorism takes place. Fifthly, the proper training of the commandoes of the security forces in dealing with the situation and the issue of all the equipment needed to them. Sixthly, the importance of effective media management to prevent the media from unwittingly hampering the operations of the security forces.

15. The post-1972 Olympic Games saw considerable strengthening of security for the Olympic Games to prevent a repeat of 1972. These revamped security measures were largely focussed on action to prevent similar acts of terrorism by well-organised and well-motivated terrorist groups and to be able to deal with them effectively if, despite all the security measures, any terrorist group succeeded in staging an act of terrorism. These revamped security measures were also focussed on the core of the Games-related activities such as the various stadia where the different Games would take place, the main Games Village where many of the athletes would be staying and the hotels in which the remaining participants, Games officials and the large number of visitors to watch the Games would be staying. The same focus was not there on the peripheral areas of the city, where the Games were held, which were away from the core of the Games-related activities.

16. The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta in the US saw a rogue act of terrorism totally different from what one had seen at Munich. An unidentified individual, who was subsequently identified as an irrational right-wing extremist (Eric Robert Rudoplph), planted a concealed improvised explosive device (IED)underneath a bench in a place called the Centennial Park away from the core of the Games-related activities, but the park was frequented at night by many visitors to Atlanta. It used to have at night cultural activities such as music concerts etc, which were attended by local residents as well as visitors to the city to watch the Games. A suspicious looking rucksack, which contained the IED, was noticed in time by a security guard of the Park, who immediately alerted a police officer present in the park. The police officer took prompt action to keep people away from the area, while waiting for a bomb disposal squad to arrive from the Central Control Room to defuse the IED. There was allegedly a delay in the arrival of the bomb disposal squad because neither the Control Room nor the driver of the vehicle in which the squad travelled knew where the Park was located. While all those associated with the security of the Games had excellent topographic knowledge of the location of the places associated with the Games-related activities, they did not have an equally good topographic awareness of the places outside the core. Details of the location of the park had been fed into the police computer, but the person, who had fed the data, had wrongly spelt the name of the park. As a result, the computer was not helpful. Due to this delay in the arrival of the bomb disposal squad, the IED could not be prevented from exploding. The explosion killed one person and injured 110 others. The casualties might have been more if the police officer in the park had not taken prompt action to keep people away while waiting for the bomb disposal squad. There was considerable delay in identifying and arresting the perpetrator, who managed to cause three more explosions of a minor nature in other parts of the town, without large casualties.

17. There were the following differences between the Munich incident and those at Atlanta. Firstly, the Munich incident was staged by a well-organised and well-motivated terrorist organisation. The Atlanta incidents were staged by an irrational individual with strong extremist political views. Secondly, the Munich incident was staged by foreign terrorists, who had infiltrated into Germany. The Atlanta incidents were staged by a local American citizen. Thirdly, the Munich incident targeted the nationals of a single country, namely, the Israelis. The Atlanta incidents targeted the civilians indiscriminately irrespective of their nationalities--- Americans as well as foreigners. Fourthly, the perpetrators in Munich used hand-held weapons. They managed to smuggle them into the Games Village by climbing over the perimeter fencing and by avoiding the main entrance gate where a door-frame metal detector was installed. The lone terrorist at Atlanta used explosive devices in places such as a park where there were no anti-explosive checks. Fifthly, the Munich incident was staged in the core of the Games area, where there was supposed to have been maximum security. The Atlanta incidents were staged in a peripheral area where security could not have been that tight.

18. The most important lesson from the Atlanta incidents was the need for topographic awareness amongst the security personnel, particularly those posted in the Central Control Room. Computers are increasingly and efficiently performing the job of topographic guidance for bomb disposal squads and other emergency teams, but computers can fail either due to technical reasons or due to human mistakes while feeding topographic data. It is, therefore, important to have a back-up team of well-trained human elements in the Control Room with excellent topographic awareness of Beijing and equipped with the latest maps etc. When an emergency is reported from any part of Beijing, they should not be asking: "Is there such a place in Beijing? I had never heard of it." That is what happened in Atlanta.

19. Another lesson from Atlanta was the importance of fail-safe means of communicating with the Control Room. It was reported that some of the Police officers deployed in the Atlanta park complained that they had difficulty in contacting the Control Room because its telephones were constantly busy.

20. The first use of an explosive device at Atlanta had another consequence, which causes tremendous strains to the security forces----namely, the large number of false alarms and hoax calls about the presence of explosives. It was reported that there were more than 100 telephone calls to the police after the Atlanta explosion regarding the presence of suspected explosives in different parts of the city. Some of these calls were from good-intentioned persons, who sincerely thought they had noticed a suspicious-looking package in a public place, but there were others, which were mischievous. Whether good-intentioned or mischievous, the Police had to verify each and every alert.

21. Since then, hoax calls and false alarms have become a regular feature of the Olympic Games. According to the Athens Police, Greek authorities dealt with more than 700 security scares during the Athens Games, including a bomb hoax before the opening ceremony. The Police chose not to evacuate the Olympic stadium, which was packed to capacity with more than 70,000 spectators, when they received a bomb threat before the opening ceremony. It was one of dozens of bomb threats during the games that turned out to be hoaxes. "We had 738 incidents, of which 82 cases — or 11% — involved bomb threats," police spokesman Col. Lefteris Ikonomou said as quoted by the Associated Press. One problem involved two Russians who tried to use doctored accreditations to enter the Olympic athletes' village. Ikonomou said authorities at first feared the two men were Chechen rebels until "it turned out that they were ... relatives of members of the Russian team" simply seeking free room and board. Ikonomou said most of the bomb threats were aimed at venues such as the athletes' village and the public transportation network. One included a threat to use ships to blow up a suspension bridge linking southern and central Greece. Security personnel also responded to 219 threats involving large gatherings of foreign officials and 134 security checks of suspicious individuals and packages.

22. Since the Munich Olympics, jihadi terrorist organisations have made tremendous advances in their modus operandi (MO). Among the worrisome advances made by them, the following may be mentioned:

Use of commonly available materials, which would not evoke suspicion, for making IEDs. Since the New York World Trade Centre explosion of February, 1993, they have been using nitrogenous fertilisers as an explosive material. In the London explosions of July, 2005, the suicide bombers were reported to have fabricated peroxide based explosives by mixing cosmetic items normally used by women. In July, 2006, the London Police discovered a plot to take liquids of normal use on board the aircraft and mix them in the aircraft for making an explosive material. In the failed explosions in London and Glasgow in July, 2007, the terrorists unsuccessfully tried to use motor fuel and gas for causing an explosion. At the Glasgow airport, the material caused only a fire and not an explosion, but in a packed stadium even a sudden fire can cause panic and a stampede. In view of these developments, the anti-explosive checks in Beijing during the Olympics should be able to detect conventional as well as unconventional explosives and even ostensibly harmless material like cosmetic items, which could be converted into an explosive or inflammable material inside a toilet.
Use of mobile phones as a remote-control device for triggering an explosion. The mobile phone has become a dangerous weapon in the hands of terrorists. In the 1990s, they were using it for communication purposes from moving vehicles in order to prevent the police from pinpointing their location. They are now increasingly using it for triggering an IED. In a crisis situation after a terrorist strike, the mobile phones also hamper the crisis management efforts of the police. It was reported that after the London explosions of July, 2005, there were tens of thousands of mobile calls all over the city as the people frantically tried to contact their relatives in order to satisfy themselves that they were safe. This reportedly came in the way of the police communications. The Police, therefore, asked the mobile service companies to suspend their services for some time. One of the important decisions the security authorities at Beijing will have to take is how to prevent the terrorists from using mobile phones as an IED trigger and how to prevent the mobile communications of the people from hampering the communications of the security forces in a crisis situation. One does not know how this problem was handled at Athens and Turin. It is presumed the authorities responsible for security during the Beijing Olympics must have already consulted those responsible for security at Athens and Turins on how they handled the likely threats from mobile telephones.
Use of car bombs as suicide vehicles as well as for remote-controlled explosions. One has been seeing this extensively in Iraq and to a limited extent in Afghanistan too.
Use of individual suicide bombers.
Use of chemical gas such as the Sarin gas used in Tokyo in 1995 to cause panic and confusion in public transportation systems.
Use of aircraft to cause mass casualties on the ground as was seen in the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US.
23. Among the new MO, which the terrorists have been contemplating to use, but which they have not so far used are the use of weapons of mass destruction material and mass disruption techniques to disrupt the working of the computer networks. While for staging a terrorist strike, involving the use of hand-held weapons, explosives, WMD material and planes, the would-be perpetrators have to infiltrate into Beijing, they don't have to do so for causing a mass disruption of the computer networks. These could be caused by net terrorists based anywhere in China and the rest of the world. The importance of emergency back-ups cannot be over-emphasised.

24. To mention the various MO already used in the past and the new MO that might be used in the future is not to cause nervousness, but to create an awareness of how the various threats could arise so that the security drill caters to these possibilities. The more one is prepared mentally, technically and professionally, the more one's ability to prevent an act of terrorism. Lack of anticipation and preparation by the security forces is often an important cause of successful terrorist strikes. Many successful terrorist strikes could be attributed to lack of anticipation, preparation and preventive measures by the security forces.

25. Any comprehensive security plan in connection with the Beijing Olympics has to cater to the following possible terrorism-related scenarios:

SCENARIO I: A terrorist strike in the core area of Beijing where the Games-related activities will be concentrated such as the stadia, the swimming pools, the Olympics Village, the hotels in which the participants, officials and visitors will be staying etc.
SCENARIO II: A terrorist strike targeting the transportation system.
SCENARIO III: A terrorist strike in the peripheral areas of Beijing where there may not be any-Games related official activities, but where the visitors from outside may go for tourism, cultural and entertainment purposes.
SCENARIO IV: Diversionary terrorist strikes such as hijackings, kidnappings, assassination of very important persons, explosions in other parts of China----and particularly in Xinjiang.
SCENARIO V: Diversionary terrorist strikes against Chinese nationals, interests, diplomatic missions, offices etc in other countries.
SCENARIO VI:Virtual acts of terrorism through the Internet to cause mass disruptions.
26. While considerable focus would be on terrorism-related scenarios likely to arise from foreign terrorists, likely scenarios from domestic disgruntled elements should be given adequate attention. Among these one could mention the Uighur jihadi terrorists who have close links with Al Qaeda and the International Islamic Front (IIF), the Tibetan activists, the members of the Falun Gong and irrational Chinese individuals. On the basis of the evidence presently available, it is assessed that the Uighur terrorists have a capability for diversionary attacks in Xinjiang and against Chinese nationals, interests, diplomatic missions and offices in Pakistan and the Central Asian Republics. The Tibetans have motivated activists, who might indulge in political acts such as shouting slogans, demonstrations, self-immolation etc. The Falun Gong could also indulge in such political acts. In the case of irrational elements, one cannot rule out acts of copy-cat terrorism similar to what happened at Atlanta.

27. Disruptions by non-governmental organisations over issues such as human rights, economic policies, ill-effects of globalisation etc have become a frequent occurrence during international gatherings such as summit conferences etc. Their objective is to draw attention to their cause. While they may have difficulty in staging demonstrations etc in Beijing itself, they may find it easier to do so in Hong Kong coinciding with the Olympics. Hong Kong will need close attention before and during the Olympics.

28. An unknown and unpredictable quantity relating to the security arrangements is the possibility or danger of Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations or self-motivated individual jihadis infiltrating t into the competing teams as participating members and using their participation for indulging in acts of terrorism or political disruption. A close networking with the security authorities of the Islamic countries would be called for to prevent this danger.

29. The security authorities should keep in their mind all the time from now onwards the following dos:

BE AWARE of the situation in your own country and outside, which could have an impact on the security arrangements.
BE MENTALLY, TECHNICALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY prepared for different scenarios--- not only for a repeat of past scenarios, but also for new scenarios, which had not happened in the past.
BE ALERT. Your alertness should have already started. You can't wait till the Games to start being alert. Alertness always starts NOW---not tomorrow or the day after. If there are terrorists wanting to disrupt the Olympics, they must already be planning it now.
AVOID OVER CONFIDENCE that nothing can go wrong. It is said that in a crisis there is always one more thing to do, which you had failed to do.In dealing with situations such as security during the Olympics, there could always be one more scenario, which you should have thought of, but which you have not.All of you must all the time keep asking yourself---IS THERE A POSSIBLE SCENARIO WHICH I HAVE OVERLOOKED?
BE IN TOUCH---not only with various organisations responsible for security in your country, but also with the security organisations of the participating countries. Effective co-operation and co-ordination at the national and international levels is an important component of any effective security plan.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai,. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies. E-mail: