December 13, 2008



The pressure on Pakistan from the US and other Western countries to act firmly against the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and its political wing called the Jammat-ud-Dawa (JUD) is quite strong not only because of their anxiety to prevent an Indian military retaliation for the Mumbai terrorist strike of November 26,2008, but also because of the anger in Israel and the Jewish diaspora in the West over the brutal massacre of eight Israeli nationals ---two them with dual US nationality--- and a Jewish person from Mexico by the LET terrorists in the Narriman House of Mumbai..

2. Concerns of Western businessmen, with business interests in India, over the security of their life and property have also contributed to the Western pressure on Pakistan, which is more intense this time than it was after the joint attack on the Indian Parliament launched by the LET and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) on December 13,2001.

3. Under this pressure, Pakistan has ostensibly acted against the JUD, through measures such as placing its Amir Pro-Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed under house arrest, arresting some cadres at senior, middle and junior levels , freezing the bank accounts of the organization etc.

4.Interestingly, it has attributed its actions to the decision of the anti-terrorism committee of the UN Security Council to designate the JUD as a terrorist organization and blacklist four of its top leaders including Prof.Sayeed. It has sought to avoid adding to the anti-Government anger in the pro-jihadi sections of its population by creating an impression that its actions were dictated by the decision of the UN Security Council’s Anti-Terrorism Committee, which the Government was bound to obey, and not by US pressure. Despite this, its actions are seen by these sections as due to Indian and US pressure and not just due to the UN designation.

5. This has added to the anti-Indian and anti-US anger in these sections, comparable to the anti-Chinese and anti-US anger after the commando action in the Lal Masjid of Islamabad from July 10 to 13,2007, which was seen by the pro-Al Qaeda jihadis as dictated by Chinese and American pressure on Pervez Mushharraf, the then President and Chief of the Army Staff (COAS).

6. One should, therefore, be prepared for a further surge in jihadi terrorist attacks on Indian nationals and interests as well as on Western and Israeli nationals and interests. The attacks on Indian and Western nationals and interests could be in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as in Indian territory. The attacks on Israeli nationals and interests could be in Indian territory.

7. The attacks on Indian nationals and interests could be not only from the remnants of the LET and the JEM, which have evaded arrest in Pakistan, but also from their supporters and sympathizers in the Indian Muslim community and in Bangladesh. The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), which was not banned by Musharraf in January,2002, and its branch in Bangladesh known as HUJI (B), have also a presence in a number of States in India having illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

8. It is likely that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, (TTP), which has not so far joined the anti-Indian jihad and has focused its operations against the US and Pakistani forces, may do so now in solidarity with the JUD and the LET. Another danger would be from Jundullahs (Soldiers of Allah), who are lone-wolf jihadis without any organizational affiliation. Many of them have taken to suicide or suicidal terrorism in Pakistan after the commando action in the Lal Masjid and have shown a capability for attacking high-value and hard targets, including in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

9. The danger of a further surge in jihadi terrorism against Indian nationals and interests in the coming months, if not weeks, would call for immediate measures for strengthening the physical security in all metro cities, namely, Delhi, Mumbai,Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad as well as in Goa, which has been a favourite destination for Israeli tourists.

10. The Government should immediately lay down tailor-made terrorism prevention and incident management drill for each metro city, clearly identifying who will be responsible for leadership and co-ordination. A similar drill should be prepared for the Government of India. The drill should cover aspects such as incident management, media management, relatives management, public management, co-ordination between the State affected and the Centre etc.

11. The measures, which the Government of India proposes to take such as the creation of a national agency for the investigation of terrorism-related cases with a pan-Indian dimension, additional powers for the Police, creating a rapid response capability in the Police in important States, the creation of a coastal command etc are strategic measures which would take at least one to two years to mature. Till then, enforcement of immediate preventive measures of a tactical nature would be necessary in consultation with the States of Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa.

12. The Government of India should immediately undertake a vulnerability assessment to identify areas and establishments, which would require immediate attention and initiate the necessary additional security measures with the presently available human and technical resources. Among immediate measures required would be intensification and strengthening of Police patrolling, intensification of enquiries about visitors of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin in hotels, inns, guest houses and other places, watch on areas of concentration of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh etc .

13. India has been attacked by the jihadi terrorists---home-grown as well as of Pakistani origin---for many years. Despite this, the international business community with interests in India had confidence in the capability of the Indian counter-terrorism machinery to prevail over them and in their ability to protect the lives and property of foreign business executives working and living in India. In justification of their continuing confidence in the Indian counter-terrorism machinery, they remembered the successful record of India in dealing with the insurgency in the North-East, the Khalistani terrorism in Punjab, the Al Ummah terrorism in Tamil Nadu and even in controlling the jihadi terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).

14. That confidence has been shaken after the Mumbai strike of November 26. This can be seen in the advisories being issued by private risk assessment consultancy groups to their business clients. The image of an India that can in the fight against terrorism is slowly giving way to an image of an India that probably can’t. This negative image of India, which has started emerging, can be reversed by determined tactical action to prevent any more acts of catastrophic terrorism and strategic measures to bring India in step with the Western countries in strengthening its counter-terrorism machinery. Mumbai—November 26 caused only 185 fatalities. Despite this, it was catastrophic in terms of the damage it has caused to the external image of India’s political leadership and professional national security managers. One more November 26 in any city with a large population of foreign businessmen---the present nervousness can turn into panic.

15. The Government of India has been in a denial and cover-up modes since it came to office in 2004. As a result of November 26, it is slowly coming out of its denial mode, but it continues to be in a cover-up mode as could be seen from its reluctance to order a detailed enquiry by a commission, enjoying the confidence of the Parliament and the public, into the sins of commission and omission, which facilitated the operation of November 26 by the LET and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Without such an enquiry with the findings of the enquiry available to the public, including the business community, we will find it difficult to regain the confidence of the public and the business community.

16. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition party, which hopes to come to power after the forthcoming parliamentary elections, has also been in a denial mode of its own. It is refusing to acknowledge that there are pockets of anger among Indian Muslim youth due to perceptions of the unfairness of the Indian system towards them. This anger has been inducing some of them to assist organizations such as the LET and the JEM in their terrorist attacks in Indian territory and some others to wage their own jihad in Indian colours in the name of the so-called Indian Mujahideen.

17. Dealing with the internal dimensions of the jihad is as important as dealing with the external dimensions. While the external dimensions have started receiving attention, the internal dimensions are sought to be pushed under the carpet. Anyone, who persists in drawing attention to the internal dimensions is sought to be ridiculed or vilified or projected as an apologist for the jihadis. Such an approach would be counter-productive and will ultimately weaken our fight against the external dimensions.

18. For four years, we dithered over the proposal to set up a national agency to investigate terrorism cases with a pan-Indian dimension. In our post-Mumbai haste to set it up, we should not repeat the mistakes we committed while creating the National Security Guards (NSGs) by making it over-centralised with no regional presence. The proposed national agency to investigate pan-Indian terrorism cases should not similarly become an over-centralised agency.

19. When terrorists strike, the first to reach the scene and start the investigation is the staff of the police station in whose jurisdiction the offence was committed. This should remain so. The police station should register the offence, start the investigation and keep it going till the national agency decides to take it over. This “first to start the investigation” role of the local police should not be diluted or supplanted by the proposed national agency. (14-12-08)

(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: )

QUOTE OF THE DAY : Vikram Sood

Why IB and RAW should not be merged

"This is unworkable and ridiculous for several reasons. The two require totally different disciplines. Intelligence is a function of area, language and regional expertise and of operational skills honed over years of practical experience. It is not a function that can be professionally performed by birds of passage. External intelligence requires different skills in language, regions and issues. Its method of collection is different as it has to work in hostile surroundings, against the laws of the country to which its officers are assigned. Internal intelligence operates on home ground in accordance with local laws and has the backing of the state. The two functions are not interchangeable. Besides, no democratic country has one intelligence service. "

December 12, 2008

Bringing Mumbai perpetrators to book top priority: Negroponte

New Delhi (IANS): Asking Pakistan to "act forcefully" against terrorist outfits, the US on Friday said it was cooperating with India in probing the Mumbai terror strikes and underlined the “responsibility” of the international community in bringing the perpetrators of the attack to book.

“We think it is imperative that these attacks be thoroughly investigated and we think it is also imperative that those responsible for perpetrating these attacks be brought to account,” visiting US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte told reporters here.

“So the effort at the moment is concentrated on investigating these attacks and bringing those responsible to account,” said Negroponte, who arrived here Friday on a day-long visit, after visiting Islamabad.

“We're cooperating in this effort, obviously the government of India is in the lead, but all of our diplomatic partners have a responsibility to contribute to this effort,” Negroponte said.

His remarks reflected a growing perception that the international community needs to proactively deal with the ramifications of the Mumbai attacks which have been seen as not just an attack on India but as part of the global scourge in which 26 foreigners were among 179 killed.

“We deplore them, we think that these were dastardly acts, and of course in addition to the fact that India has been seriously aggrieved, there were United States casualties as well. So we are also victims of these attacks,” he said.

Negroponte met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and discussed the leads gathered by US security agencies that appeared to confirm India's accusation that elements from Pakistan were directly involved in Mumbai's bloody terror assaults, reliable sources said.

Negroponte briefed Mukherjee on his interaction with Pakistani leaders during his visit to Islamabad Thursday and his message to them to widen the crackdown on anti-terror outfits in that country, sources said.

Negroponte came here a day after Pakistan clamped down on Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD), a front organisation for the Laskhar-e-Taiba suspected of masterminding the Mumbai attacks.

While underlining the need for concrete and urgent action by Pakistan against terrorist apparatus in that country, he also advised India to be restrained and pursue diplomatic options in dealing with Pakistan, the sources added.

Conveying the sense of deep anger and outrage in India, Mukherjee told his US interlocutor about growing perception in New Delhi that Islamabad needs to move beyond tokenism and focus on dismantling the entire terrorist infrastructure in that country, the sources said.

Negroponte also met National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and discussed the US experience in dealing with trans-national terror threats after the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.

Negroponte's India trip comes 10 days after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited New Delhi and asked Islamabad to take action against “non-state actors”, saying Pakistan must cooperate “urgently and transparently” with India in the probe into the Mumbai terror attacks.

In Washington, Rice sent a clear message to Islamabad to act forcefully against terror outfits that India suspcts of plotting and executing the Mumbai carnage. "Frankly, the US has better relations with India and Pakistan than in 2001-02. But it is obviously a dangerous situation, and Pakistan needs to act and act forcefully," she stressed.

"And I think the Indians rightly were concerned to make sure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and that follow-on attacks are prevented," she said.

According to The Dawn, a Pakistani daily, Negroponte had shared a list with his Pakistani interlocutors that contains names of lesser-known groups like the Pasban Ahle-e-Hadith against whom Washington wants Islamabad to take action.

The US diplomat has asked Islamabad to continue action against the LeT and to expand the scope of the operations to other "groups that may be linked with subversive activities in India", the daily said.

Banning Jamaat-ud-Dawa not sufficient: Germany

New Delhi (PTI): Germany on Friday said that banning of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, believed to be behind the Mumbai attacks, is "not sufficient" and Pakistan must act to prevent further terror strikes.

German Home Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who held talks with Home Minister P Chidambaram and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, said there was evidence to show that the Islamic terror network behind the Mumbai attacks had origin in Pakistan.

Schaeuble, who arrived here on Friday morning for discussing cooperation with India in dealing with terrorism, said the Pakistan was being encouraged by the international community to "cope" and "fight" terrorism as it is a threat to it too.

When asked whether banning of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is a frontal organisation of Lashkar-e-Taiba, by Pakistan was enough, Schaeuble said "it is a right thing but may be not sufficient."

Noting that "forbidding an organisation is one thing and to avoid crimes is another", he suggested that Pakistan should try those proscribed to "ensure that nobody will commit terrorist attacks or other crimes".

On whether the government of Pakistan was really capable of cracking down on the terror elements, the German minister said hope and optimism cannot be given up.

He said it was a "difficult" situation for the Pakistan government "but don't know if there is any alternative". He hoped that Pakistan government will continue to move on the path of cracking down on terror elements.

British and Saudi Intelligence Recruit Terrorists In British Mosques

Increase DecreaseDecember 10, 2008 (LPAC)--The British think-tank Policy Exchange produced an exhaustive and fair-minded report, "The Hijacking of British Islam; How Extremist Literature Is Subverting Mosques in the UK," in 2007. An initial review shows how the whole framework of facts-on-the-ground in Britain, proves in the starkest terms that the British Muslim terrorists found in Chechnya, Bosnia, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan are no coincidence, but the result of the fact that British and Saudi intelligence are up to their elbows in cooperation in recruiting and deploying them in Britain.

First of all, the great majority of British Muslims, over two thirds of an estimated 1.8 million (half born in Britain), are of South Asian origin, mostly Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Indian. But the outside financing and control of mosques, is much more Saudi than it is South Asian. Indeed, under Saudi financing and control, the complexion of religious belief of Britons of Pakistani origin has been shifting rapidly since 1970 and later, with the rapid growth the Saudi-allied Deobandi movement, which was previously a minority of perhaps 20%. In September 2007, the London Times claimed that "almost half of Britain's mosques" were by then under Deobandi control.

Most of the South Asian Islamic terrorist movements are Deobandi-linked; the others are linked to various other Saudi-financed sects.

For this study, teams of Muslim researchers visited almost 100 representative British mosques, to see whether "extremist" literature, preaching hate or violent jihad, was available there. It was available in 26 mosques, or almost one-quarter. But what is more interesting is that a large part this hate literature had actually been shipped over from Saudi Arabia. If you include pamphlets produced with Saudi subsidies, it would be a clear majority.

Hate literature of this sort is an integral part of the recruiting of terrorists, as case studies have repeatedly shown.

The report's authors, who are scholars of Islam, place primary responsibility on Saudi Arabia for the growth of Islamic extremism and therefore terrorism in Britain, but omit to mention that all this is taking place under the nose, and therefore with the complicity, of British secret domestic intelligence MI-5, and by extension British secret foreign intelligence MI-6.

Forty-eight percent of the hate pamphlets were in English, 45% in Arabic, and 7% in Urdu, a Pakistani language. But one single institution of many such in Saudi Arabia, the Islamic University of Medina, publishes texts in no fewer than 47 languages. "This is an institution within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the authors report, "dedicated to Islamic propagation (da'wah). It was founded in 1961 when members of the [London-hatched] Muslim Brotherhood who had been exiled from Egypt, persuaded the Saudi king to found a Wahhabite institution that might become a rival to Cairo's famous al-Azhar Mosque and University."

Most revealing is that it is precisely those Islamic institutions which are most extremism-ridden, which official British government bodies have chosen to "partner" with, and thus to support and sponsor. These include the Islamic Foundation and its associated Markfield Institute of Higher Education. The Muslim Safety Forum, which described itself as the "key advisory body ... on issues concerning British Muslims," with which the Metropolitan Police Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers were working unreservedly, had as affiliates three of the worst offending mosques and institutions.

In their conclusions, the authors demand that the Saudis come clean on what they're doing with their money and their extremist literature, and even ask them whether all Saudi clergy sent to Britain are given diplomatic status, in view of the fact that those recently approached by British police on any matter turn out to have diplomatic status, and therefore immunity.

Fight For India


Following the coordinated terror attacks in India’s financial center of Mumbai, which were called “carnage” in the local media, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev paid an official visit to Delhi on 4-5 December. India`s meticulous journalists praised Mr. Medvedev`s calmness and his decision to stay at “Sheraton Maurya” hotel, while the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had visited Delhi ahead of the Russian-Indian summit, preferred the residency of the US Ambassador to India David Mulford.

What`s the outcome of the Russia-India talks in Delhi?

1. The sides signed a joint Declaration, in which among other things they emphasized “an importance to implement an integral reform of the international financial and economic system in order to adjust it to new realia of global economy”. Russia and India announced their preparedness to “aim at the establishment of a fairer economic world order, based on the principles of multipolarity, supremacy of law, equality, mutual respect and common responsibility”. India announced its support to Russia as a mediator in the Caucasus: “In view of the recent war conflict in South Ossetia, Russia and India welcome the Medvedev-Sarkozy peace plan and hope the measure be enough to establish peace and stability in the region”.
2. Moscow and Delhi signed a long-awaited atomic energy cooperation deal. In accordance with the agreement, Russia will build four more nuclear reactors at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (state of Tamil Nadu) in addition to the existing power generating units, with the first to be commissioned in April 2009. Few more nuclear power plants are due to be constructed in India with Russia planning to supply nuclear fuel to its Indian partners. As the local media report, the move will increase the national available capacities in non-classical energy up to 90% (currently the reactors` maximum capacities are 30-40%).

3. The sides focused on military-technical cooperation (MTC), the issue which had been for some time a bone of contention in their bilateral relations. Yet no decision has been made on the cost of re-equipment of the ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ aircraft carrier (probably, the issue will be settled by the new Indian government in spring 2009). The vessel`s re-equipment demands huge investments. However, India’s Finance Ministry thinks there may be a precedent other participants of the MTC could use for their needs. Russia expects to win the tender for buying 126 multifunctional fighter jets but India again postponed the campaign. The sides yet have not agreed on T-90 tanks and nuclear submarines. (The recent tragedy in the Sea of Japan with Russia`s “Nerpa” submarine received an extensive and sometimes biased coverage in the Indian media). However, the participants of the talks had a kind of a backup, and India`s Defence Ministry signed a $1 billion deal with Russian “Rosoboronexport” to receive 80 multi-role Mi-17V-5 helicopters.

4. Dmitry Medvedev and his Indian counterpart signed a Memorandum on mutual understanding between the Federal Financial Markets Service and India`s Council on Securities and Stocks. Amid the global economic crisis, financial issues are expected to remain on the Russian-Indian agenda for quite a long time. I believe BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) ought to establish an inter-regional economic zone, which would be relatively autonomous from traditional centers of world economy (US, Western Europe and Japan). The move could prevent global crisis deepening.

5. Some changes have been seen in the scheme of Russia-India trade turnover. Currently the deliveries of Russian machinery equipment make 40% of Russian exports. Experts indicate that the Russian business has begun its integration into India`s market: Joint Stock Financial Corporation “System” launched an all-India mobile operator project. However, Russian direct investments to India ($145 million) fall behind the influx of capital coming from Delhi: India has already invested about $800 million in Russian economy. The two countries seem to have boosted their cooperation in science. Still, Russia-India mutual trade turnover does not exceed $7 billion. Analysts name $16-18 billion as real achievement since then non-state participants of economic process usually disclose their interests and join in.

6. Although Mr. Medvedev`s visit to India cannot be called a “breakthrough”, the talks were successful. The sides discussed their perspectives on bilateral cooperation and made another step toward stability in Asia.

Nuclear parity threatened

11:30 | 12/ 12/ 2008

MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti military correspondent Ilya Kramnik) - The 1991 Soviet-U.S. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) expires December 5 next year.

This brings to the fore the problem of reducing nuclear arsenals and the monitoring of the process because the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which is valid through 2012, does not provide for irreversible reductions and does not establish a permanent mutual verification mechanism.

The 1991 treaty, which entered into force in late 1994, limits the sides' strategic offensive potential to 1,600 carriers and 6,000 warheads. START II, the successor of START I, banned the use of MIRVs on ICBMs but it was never validated. In 2004, Russia officially withdrew from START II in response to the U.S. pullout from the 1972 ABM Treaty in 2002.

The latest nuclear disarmament agreement, SORT, limits the sides' nuclear arsenal to 1,700-2,200 warheads each. It does not specify how many warheads one carrier may have. Each side can independently determine the components and structure of its nuclear force. The treaty does not establish a mechanism to verify compliance. Instead, the sides merely refer to the currently valid START I treaty and agree to convene a monitoring commission twice a year.

However, as mentioned above, the START I treaty expires next year, which means that its verification provisions will become invalid. As for the SORT treaty, it does not restrict decommissioned warheads or carriers. They may be stored at munitions depots and quickly put back into service.

Russia is against this approach. Economically, we are unable to quickly build up our strategic nuclear potential, considering that in the next decade we will have to replace almost 300 ground-based missiles and close to a hundred sea-based missiles. It is necessary to conclude a new comprehensive agreement on cuts in strategic offensive arms, which would not only establish quantitative restrictions, but also create a dependable verification mechanism.

Lack of such agreement and deployment of a U.S. missile defense system may undermine strategic parity between the Russian Federation and the U.S. The potential enemy's considerable superiority in the number of warheads is greatly increasing the risk of a disarming first strike, and the surviving missiles may not be enough to penetrate missile defenses and inflict unacceptable damage on the aggressor.

Ideally, a new treaty should not only limit strategic offensive arms but also regulate the sides' missile defense relations. The outgoing Republican administration did not wish to negotiate these problems. Hopefully, the new guard will change this policy, and enable Russia and the United States to preserve parity, and continue the gradual reduction of nuclear threat, launched in the 1980s.

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

Top 5 Intelligence Analysis Methods: Social Network Analysis (#3)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Part 1 -- IntroductionPart 2 -- What Makes A Good Method?

Social Network Analysis (SNA) is fundamentally about entities and the relationships between them. As a result, this method has a number of variations within the intelligence community ranging from techniques such as association matrices through link analysis charts right up to the validated mathematical models. It is most commonly used as a way to picture a network, however, and is rarely used in the more formal way envisioned by the sociologists who created the method. In other words, while SNA is a very powerful method, intelligence professionals rarely take advantage of its full potential.Because it is primarily a visual method, most analysts (and the decisionmakers they support) immediately grasp the value of the method. Likewise, some variation of SNA will likely work with any data set where the entities and the relationships among those entities are important (in other words, almost every problem). Parsing all the relevant attributes can be difficult, however, and there are few automated solutions that work well with unstructured data sets. Likewise, at the higher levels of analysis, where the analyst is trying to do more than merely visualize a network, a good bit of special knowledge is required to understand the results.Talking about SNA doesn't make a lot of sense though. It is much easier to grasp its value as an intel method by looking at some examples. I2's Analyst Notebook is widely available and examining their case studies is helpful in seeing what that tool can do. Another widely used tool, particularly for more formal analyses, is UCINET. For example, some of our students used this tool last year to examine the "social network" of government and non-governmental organizations engaged in security sector reform in sub-Saharan Africa (the image above comes from their study). Recently, my students and I have been playing around with a new tool from Carnegie Mellon University called ORA. It is very easy to use and very powerful.Of the 5 methods I intend to discuss, SNA is the one with the widest visibility in all three major intelligence communities (national security, business and law enforcement). As such, there is already a good bit of research activity into how to better use this method in the intelligence analysis process. The big challenge, as I see it, is to design educational programs and tools that help analysts move away from the "pretty picture" possibilities presented by this method and toward the more rigorous results generated by the more formal application of the method.Tomorrow: #2...

The neo-Taliban: A year on

The success of a reinvigorated Afghan insurgency – albeit qualified by overstretch and internal tensions – guarantees that 2009 will be another tough year of combat, writes Antonio Giustozzi for openDemocracy.

By Antonio Giustozzi

2008 has seen a marked worsening of the security situation in Afghanistan, both in terms of the number of incidents and in terms of the geographical spread of the insurgency. The number of violent incidents has increased by about 50 percent on previous years (although statistics vary depending on the source); while the government has de facto lost control over two provinces close to the capital Kabul (Wardak and Logar).
In some northern provinces - most notably Kunduz - the insurgency is beginning to represent a serious threat. Indeed, clear signs of insurgent infiltration exist in almost all the northern provinces: Only Samangan and Panjshir provinces appear to remain completely free of violent activities.
In central Afghanistan, Bamiyan is only marginally affected, with just one district showing sign of the presence of the Taliban. The situation in the other 31 provinces of Afghanistan is far more serious; all have insurgents active within their territory. What I described a year ago as the "war difficult to win" has become even more so, and the "unlikely peace" even less imaginable (see "The resurgence of the neo-Taliban," 14 December 2007).

The fuse's spark

It is also clear as 2008 nears its end (though again, estimates vary) that the number of rebels is growing steadily and must now range in the tens of thousands. In part this expansion is due to the growth of the Taliban, but it is also the case that other groups are increasingly mobilizing against the Kabul government and the foreign troops. The most influential of these groups is the Hizb-i Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a key player in the jihad against the leftist regime in Kabul and its Soviet army backers in the 1980s.

Perhaps more worryingly, the insurgents show signs of improving their tactical skills. Some of their ambushes and attacks on fixed positions in 2008 have been executed more effectively than ever before, and they have become more operationally flexible (reducing the focus on direct attacks and using more asymmetrical tactics, for example). The casualties they have been inflicting on foreign troops are up 20 percent this year, while less complete statistics seem to show higher casualties for the Afghan security forces too.

The Taliban in particular are also having some success in infiltrating the Afghan security forces, in particular the police, which is now in deep crisis in several Afghan provinces in the south and west of the country. The Taliban's tactical improvement owes something to successful efforts to integrate Afghan and foreign fighters.

In the past, predominantly or exclusively foreign jihadist groups have not operated very successful in Afghanistan, in part because cooperation with Afghan Taliban has proved troublesome. Now at least some foreign jihadists - acting as specialists and supplying skills that are rare among the mostly illiterate Afghan rank-and-file - accept the authority of Afghan commanders. It is likely that a few non-Afghan jihadists are also involved in training the Afghan Taliban, for example in bomb-making skills.

The shoe's grit

The Taliban's campaign is, however, not quite trouble-free. Afghanistan's difficult economic situation - and the large pool of unemployed and disaffected young people that is one of its by-products - favors the Taliban less than might be expected (even though there are allegations of a large mercenary presence in the movement's ranks). Although high unemployment may push some people towards joining the insurgency, the same could be said of the police or the national army.

Moreover, the Taliban might now be experiencing a crisis of growth. Their expansion has made internal communication, and central command-and-control, increasingly difficult. Moreover, the movement's leadership is trying to turn it into a more structured and disciplined entity. This involves a range of measures: insisting that its commanders behave more moderately towards the civilian population, marginalizing its more extremist component, establishing a civilian administration, and expanding its judiciary into more and more areas.

In implementing these objectives, the Taliban leadership is facing multiple difficulties; indeed it is by no means assured that it will succeed in achieving them. Not all commanders in the field are keen to follow the leadership's directives; some are not well equipped intellectually and emotionally to correctly interpret them; others still might operate in conditions where implementing them is difficult. In the absence of any effective system of supervision from the centre to the field level, making any administrative structure work well is a daunting task.
Indeed, there are indications that the Taliban's governors in most cases have little power over the commanders and that their effectiveness or lack thereof depends on their personal relations with the various networks of Taliban commanders. Similarly, the Taliban's desire to offer an alternative to the very corrupt state judiciary has outstripped its ability to expand its own sharia-based judiciary, which is still limited to perhaps two dozen districts (out of about 400). Elsewhere, the Taliban are sending people to any Islamic judge willing to hand down sentences; the fact that the group has little control over the outcome dilutes the "quality" of the judicial services it offers.

The purse's hole

Nonetheless, the Taliban strategy remains on the whole quite sound - not least because the other side in the conflict is still unable to piece together a strategy both appropriate and workable. The counter-insurgency debate among western military strategists in Afghanistan is just emerging from a phase of political maneuvering and has barely entered one of experimenting with any of the new ideas canvassed (a troop surge, the creation of pro-government tribal militias, increased funding, the massive expansion of the size of the national army, a reform of the police).

The latter two components of the counter-insurgency strategy appear the most promising - but even were they to be effectively implemented, they would be certain also to take longer than any other initiatives. The much-debated foreign-troop surge, which should translate to 20,000 additional troops in Afghanistan, would in reality do little more than maintain the trend of previous years into 2009 (for the international contingents have been growing steadily since 2004). But more soldiers are not a panacea; and greater funds might well disappear amid government corruption and incompetence (and "government" here does not mean only Afghan).
The real novelty of the debate among counter-insurgents in the last few months has in a sense been the creation of militias on a large scale. It is also the most controversial element of the future anti-Taliban strategy, on two grounds.

First, it is not clear how much enthusiasm exists in the villages for participating in the creation of tribal militias; if anything the elders seem to have been drifting away from the Kabul government.

Second, there is some conflict over the control of such militias. The Americans, among the chief proponents and surely the main donor-to-be in the initiative, would like to exercise strict supervision over how the money assigned to them is going to be spent. President Hamid Karzai and the cabinet would instead like to retain control over the process, which promises to be a major source of patronage. This will be another source of tension among allies in what promises to be another difficult year in Afghanistan's long war.

Antonio Giustozzi is a researcher at the Crisis Research Centre at the LSE, and author of Koran, Kalashnikov and Laptop: The Resurgence of the Neo-Taliban in Afghanistan (C Hurst, 2007).
Editor's note:

To view the original article, please click here.

Kuwait's political morass

12 Dec 2008

With the emirate embroiled in its latest political fiasco, Kuwait's regionally important reform process is under severe strain, Dominic Moran writes for ISN Security Watch.

By Dominic Moran in Tel Aviv for ISN Security Watch

Kuwait has again plunged into political crisis with efforts underway to reconstitute the government, after the cabinet tendered its resignation over parliamentary efforts to hold the prime minister to account for alleged misdeeds.

Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who retains full executive authority in the reformed Kuwaiti governance structure, demurred before deciding to accept the cabinet's resignation.

His call for the reappointment of outgoing prime minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah almost certainly presages further conflict between the parliamentary opposition and government.

While the political crisis peaked with parliamentary efforts to question the prime minister on his alleged mismanagement, and for allowing a banned Iranian Shia cleric to enter the country, more fundamental issues are at stake.

"I think that this is more of a symptom of a larger issue of the legislature trying to gain more power in the Kuwaiti political system," Professor F Gregory Gause III from the University of Vermont told ISN Security Watch.

Chatham House's Professor Gerd Nonneman agreed, "It is a combination, on one hand, of grandstanding on the part of various MPs who want to make their name and, on the other hand, a genuine conviction that some of the things that the government gets up to are not properly accounted for or aren't appropriate in Islamic terms - when you are talking about some of the Islamist MPs," he told ISN Security Watch.


Kuwait's political system is caught betwixt and between the traditional authoritarianism of Gulf monarchic and emirate rule and full representational government under a constitutional monarchy. It is the tensions created by the failure to find a stable middle path that has led to ongoing political stalemate and repeated governance breakdowns.

The 50-seat unicameral National Assembly – which expands to up to 66 members through the presence of unelected cabinet members – is empowered to oversee the budget and pass legislation.

Through a formal parliamentary questioning process, known as interpellation, the Assembly is also able to encourage the ouster of ministers, via subsequent no-confidence measures.

The premier, who is a direct appointee of the emir, is not subject to no-confidence motions. However, it is clear from the recent crisis over Sheikh Nasser's planned interpellation and a similar questioning attempt in 2006 that led directly to elections, that the ruling family is currently unwilling to allow the Assembly to win an important symbolic victory through formally chastising a standing prime minister.

"Because of the nature of the political system that exists now, it means that any parliamentary scrutiny that leads to scrutinizing the government is effectively opposition and the government […] or the royal family is on the other side," Nonneman noted in explaining the ongoing legislature-government standoff.

While theoretically inferior to some regional legislatures, the Kuwaiti parliament enjoys greater effective clout. Other powers include signing off on prime ministerial cabinet selections and involvement in determining the identity of the crown prince – a power that grants the Assembly a key role in choosing the future emir.

Neither the ruling family nor parliament appear to favor fresh polls at this time, which would not ease tensions and would be costly to the political blocs and individuals forced to seek a new popular mandate so soon after legislative elections in May. The polls came after the emir dissolved parliament in March due to ongoing government-parliament tensions.

The tumult surrounding parliamentary prerogatives and the seeming institutionalization of the standoff between government and parliament bodes ill for both domestic and regional reform efforts.

Palace factionalism?

Opposing factions and figures within the ruling al-Sabah family have allegedly pressed opposition MPs to question ministers in an effort to bolster their own prospects of replacing the incumbents, according to media reports.

The importance of factional political power plays within the family was demonstrated in January 2006 when Sheikh Sabah replaced the late Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, who had ruled as emir for just over a week, without being officially confirmed.

The ouster upset the regular transition of power between the two main branches of the royal family, but any resultant tensions appear to have had little political salience.

Asked if factionalism within the ruling family contributes to political instability in Kuwait, Nonneman said, "I don't think it does particularly.

"Of course there are different views within the royal family about where this democratic experiment should go; whether it should be rolled back or not. And of course there is also competition between various people for future top jobs. But that is not really the cause of the current problems," he said.

Key portfolios in the Kuwaiti cabinet are reserved for prominent members of the ruling family. Thus, the competition for factional influence within the al-Sabah dynasty is the true contest for power in the absence of more determined political reform processes. The balancing of intra-family tensions is a key task for the emir.

"Now that is the kind of thing that you are never going to get conclusive evidence on because family matters tend to very much be kept close to the vest," Gause said, adding, "even if it is exaggerated it has become a factor in people's political calculations."

Failed reform

Electoral district reform in 2006 brought the number of constituencies down from 25 to five, fulfilling a long-sought demand of the political opposition, backed by a strong popular campaign dubbed the Orange Movement.

The sharp diminution of electorates was sought to undermine a purported process whereby parliamentary deputies were often elected by slim majorities and a narrow core of support, leading to complaints of both undue influence and vote-buying from within limited constituency pools.

"It was a stirring, bottom-up political reform that as far as I can tell has had absolutely no effect on the way politics is conducted or even the people who are in the legislature," Gause said.

Some analysts believe that the reformed constituencies over-represent affluent elements of the population who are unlikely to favor the extension of legislature prerogatives, while having minimal impact on the alleged bias and improprieties the measure was designed to address.

It is now clear that fiddling with the process whereby members are elected to parliament will not, of itself, bring the necessary changes required to ease the Kuwaiti political stalemate, which ultimately is an issue of power being withheld from the legislature itself.

Asked what impact the electorate rezoning had on easing the political paralysis Nonneman said, "None at all. The only impact was, ultimately, that the elections were seen to be more legitimate.

"I guess some of the parliamentarians concluded from that that they had greater power or legitimacy. So maybe that gave them [more] determination to push their case," he said.

Multiple tendencies

The constitutional ban on political parties has cast a pall over efforts to develop a truly representative governance structure, with the balance between small, loosely affiliated tribal, sectarian Islamist and liberal opposition blocs shifting on an issue-specific basis.

The resultant fragmentation while promoting damaging dissensus, has failed to stop opposition legislators from the various tendencies – some organized in de-facto parties - from banding together in a manner that has effectively paralyzed the government.

Gause identifies five organized tendencies within the Kuwaiti legislature, "Salafi Islamists, Muslim Brotherhood Sunni Islamists, Shia Islamists and, for want of a better term, liberals." He also included pro-government MPs, many of whom share the socially conservative stances of the Islamic blocs.

Alongside these small established blocs "there are all sorts of independents who, I think the voters know kind of where they side but they don't affiliate with any of the organized groups," Gause said.

He also stated that due to politics happening behind parliament's closed doors and not in public, as with a real parliamentary democracy, it is hard to determine the political winners and losers in elections.

Salafism on the rise

Salafi and tribal representatives were the big winners in the May poll, with the former seeming to draw support from Kuwait's wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Constitutional Movement (Hadas).

HADAS has been thoroughly integrated into the Kuwaiti political mainstream a fact that appears to have allowed it to be outflanked by the more hard-line Salafi elements.

Indeed, the relatively poor performance of Hadas in the May election, when taken alongside similar reverses for the Brotherhood's Moroccan and Jordanian wings, has been seen by some analysts, who talked to ISN Security Watch, as signaling that the Brotherhood regionally may be on the verge of decline.

This is perhaps too broad a reading and is one that ignores vast differences in national wealth and resultant social conditions across the region. The Kuwaiti shift away from the Brotherhood has not been as substantial or irreversible as often presented – though it does bring up the salient issue of the impact of institutionalization on popular support for Islamic movements.

Referring to the mainstream status of Hadas, Nonneman added, "Unless the government shuts the political experiment down altogether, I think many of the Salafis will evolve in a similar kind of direction. Kuwait is not the kind of environment where extreme radicals will get much of a chance."

Islamic parties' efforts to promote a conservative religious, educational and social reform agenda have created significant ruptures with the small liberal bloc in parliament on issues such as women's rights – creating rifts often exploited by recurrent governments.

Where emirs have been unable to play on the latent tensions between the somewhat amorphous competing opposition blocs they have, over the decades, chosen the path of firing ministers, reforming governments and, in fewer cases, the dissolution or suspension of the legislature as a whole.

"In each case the emir says, "Right, let's suspend parliament" or "We move this minister." And the upshot of this is that no serious decision-making is done over the long-term," Nonneman said.

Worryingly, this tendency toward governance failure and pattern of collapse and reconstitution has picked up pace in recent years, a fact that speaks to the ultimately untenable nature of the current balance of competing political forces in the absence of more substantial reform, or autocratic regression.

Reform prospects

It is difficult to foresee a viable future for the political reform process in Kuwait in which the ruling family fails to divest itself of power more determinedly through allowing legislators to play an increasing role in government.

"I think that there would have to be a really big change in Kuwait for that to happen – constitutional changes – and I don't really see them on the horizon," Gause said.

"There'll be a bargain I think in the end," he said, "Maybe it will be more elected legislators getting cabinet positions."

The ongoing stalemate with parliament is already undermining the emirate's efforts to promote economic reforms and address the impact of falling oil prices and the global economic downturn on the local economy. The local bourse has plummeted 30 percent in the last year, according to Reuters, amid concerns regarding the government's failure to appoint a market regulator.

Nevertheless, the Kuwaiti reform experiment is worth encouraging and extending. Important markers have been achieved in recent years including women's emancipation and partial press liberalization, while the parliament's ability to criticize and hold to account government members is unprecedented in the Gulf states.

The overall success of the reformed Kuwaiti political structure is of pivotal importance in determining both the future trajectory and stability of the state and prospects for the future extension of civil and democratic reforms in fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

Given that this would directly impact on both the executive authority of the emir and prospects for advancement of competing al-Sabah factions and individuals, the chances for significant further reform advances do not appear good at present.

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.

Terrorism & The Business World

by B. Raman

Terrorists target human beings---combatants and non-combatants (civilians) --- as well as capabilities---economic and strategic.

2. Till the 1980s, they focused more on targeting human beings. Targeting of capabilities----which may or may not cause human fatalities---- came into vogue in the 1980s, when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out explosions in London's financial district.

3. Targeting of capabilities does not create the same kind of public revulsion against the terrorists as the targeting of human beings does. Whereas the after-effects of the targeting of human beings remain localised in the area where they were targeted, the impact of the targeting of capabilities has a ripple effect far beyond the area where the act of terrorism was carried out.

4. The 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US homeland had a ripple effect right across the world because of the increase in insurance premia for various business transactions and dislocation of international flights. The successful terrorist strikes in Bali had an impact on the tourist economy of not only Indonesia, but also of neighbouring countries. The effect of a successful terrorist strike on the oil installations of Saudi Arabia or on commercial shipping in the Malacca Strait would be felt right across the world with varying degrees of intensity. The impact of a successful terrorist strike on the information technology (IT) industries of Bangalore would be felt not only in Bangalore, but also in the stock markets of different cities, where the shares of the IT companies are traded. Because of networking, the repercussions of a successful terrorist operation against the critical information infrastructure in one city can spread the resulting damage right across the world.

5. Globalisation and decentralisation are the defining characteristics of the business world of today. Very often many of the core tasks of multinational companies are performed not by their headquarters in their country of origin, but by their field offices spread across the world. Western multinationals delegate many of their core tasks to their offices in India because of the availability in India of highly-qualified managerial experts, who are prepared to work for emoluments, which are high by Indian standards, but not so high by the standards of the country of origin of the multinational. If an act of terrorism disrupts the workling of their Indian offices it would affect not only their business operations in India, but also their operations right across the world.

6. Many studies of terrorist operations across the world since 9/11 have brought out how the international terrorist organisations of various hues have successfully adapted for their operations the same concepts and techniques of globalisation and decentralisation, which they have borrowed from the business world. They are globalised in their thinking and outlook and decentralised and autonomous in their operations in the field.

7. The terrorist strike in Mumbai from the night of November 26, 2008 to the morning of November 29, 2008, has sent a shiver right across the world not just because it was spectacular, but because there was a fearsome brain, which had conceptualised the entire operation, planned it to the minutest details and had it carried out through remote control from Pakistan with the help of not more than 10 terrorists. There might have been----I apprehend there would have been--- many, many more terrorists involved in various peripheral roles such as intelligence collection, reconnoitring, logistics etc, but the core group, which carried out the strike was not more than 10 in number, but it managed to have an important corner of Mumbai, India's financial capital, under its control for more than 48 hours. A force of nearly 600 men of the Mumbai Police and the National Security Guards was required to eliminate this small group of 10. This was asymmetric urban warfare of a kind not seen in the world ever since terrorism assumed its major dimensions in the post-1967 world after the Arab-Israeli war of that year.

8. We saw in Mumbai a mix of attacks on human beings and capabilities, a mix of attacks on Indians and foreigners and a mix of various strategies. A strategy to disrupt the peace process between India and Pakistan was mixed with a strategy for reprisal against the expanding strategic co-operation of India with Israel and the Western world. A strategy for discrediting India's political leadership and professional national security managers in the eyes of the Indian public was combined with a strategy for discrediting them in the eyes of the international community and the international business world. These strategies focussed on a mix of targets----the man in the street and the elite. The man in the street was attacked in places like a railway station, a hospital and other public places. The elite was attacked in the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Oberoi-Trident Hotels.

9. These hotels are not just the favourite spots of tourists who travel on shoe-string budgets. These are the favourite spots of the cream of the international business world, who come to Mumbai not for pleasure, but for their business. Imagine what impressions the business managers of the world, who escaped being killed by the terrorists, would have carried back to their corporate headquarters--- about the security of life and property in India, about the efficiency of India's national security managers, about the quality of our political and professional leadership.

10. In an article on the terrorist strike in Mumbai, the "Guardian" of the UK wrote: "Analysts are worried that the constant reminder of the attacks will heighten investors' concerns at a time when the Indian economy is slowing and foreign capital is being repatriated. 'This is the last thing India needs,' said businessman Sir Gulam Noon. The British-based multimillionaire, who made his fortune in ready meals, escaped unhurt from the Taj Mahal after spending a frightening night holed up in his suite on the third floor. 'The attacks will temporarily have an impact. It's clearly not good for the economy at a time when the world is in a financial crisis.' That the Taj Mahal and Oberoi play host to the cream of the international business elite is clear given the high-profile executives caught up in the tragedy. Along with Noon, Unilever chief executive Patrick Cescau and his successor, Paul Polman, escaped the Taj Mahal. 'The security landscape has changed overnight,' said Jake Stratton of investment risk consultancy Control Risks. 'This will have a serious effect on how foreign companies perceive India as a business destination.'

11. The success of the terrorists in Mumbai was due to various factors---- inaction or inadequate action on available intelligence about the plans of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) to target Mumbai with a sea-borne operation, the rusting of our rapid response capability, our failure to draw the right lessons about crisis management from the unsatisfactory manner in which the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft to Kandahar in 1999 was handled, and the lack of a joint action capability in our counter-terrorism community consisting of the intelligence agencies, the police, the armed forces, the NSG, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and the Joint Intelligence Committee.

12. The intelligence about the plans for a sea-borne strike in Mumbai had reportedly started flowing in from September when the attention of our policy-makers and senior national security managers was turned towards Vienna where the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was meeting to consider the question of a waiver for India. In their preoccupation with the Vienna meeting of the NSG, the task of co-ordinating the follow-up action on the flow of intelligence appears to have been relegated to junior officials. whose decisions and directions did not have the same impact on the various dramatis personae involved in joint action. Moreover, during the months preceding the attack the Joint Intelligence Committee, whose task it would have been to analyse and assess the intelligence and decide on follow-up action, was without a head just as it was during the months when the Pakistan Army was getting ready to launch its intrusions into the Kargil area in 1998-99. One of the important lessons of the Kargil conflict was the danger of leaving important posts in our national security apparatus remain unfilled, but we seem to have repeated that mistake once again.

13. Terrorist attacks directed against economic and business targets have a tactical as well as a strategic impact, an economic as well as a psychological impact. The tactical impact is in respect of replaceable damages. The strategic impact has a long-term effect on the profitability of their business operations due to factors such as an increase in insurance premia for business transactions, an increase in their expenditure on physical security, and an increase in their tax liability due to a surge in Govt. spending on counter-terrorism for which the money has to come from the tax-payers. It has been estimated that the 9/11 terrorist strikes have resulted in a one-third increase in the expenditure on counter-terrorism in the US Defence Department alone. This does not include the expenditure of the Department of Homeland Security. The total US expenditure on counter-terrorism now amounts to US $ 500 billion per annum, which is 20 per cent of the total federal budget. This money has to come from the tax-payers.

14. The psychological impact arises from the nervousness of the business community. A businessman, who ventures abroad, looks for two things----profitability and security of life and property. If we are not able to assure the security of life and property, no amount of profitability will induce him to take the risk of operating from India.

15. It is important to hold a thorough, time-bound enquiry into what went wrong in Mumbai and to share its findings with the Parliament and the public. The 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US led to an enquiry by a National Commission constituted jointly by the President and the two Houses of the Congress. Its report was released to the public and discussed in the Congress. A bipartisan resolution to implement its recommendations was passed in 2004. The London blasts of July 2005, were followed by a detailed enquiry by the joint Intelligence and Security Committee. Its report was discussed in the Parliament and its recommendations implemented. So too in Spain after the Madrid blasts of March, 2004. In Singapore, there was a detailed enquiry into the escape from jail of a member of the pro-Al Qaeda Jemmah Islamiyah some months ago. Its report was placed before the Parliament and discussed. Since 9/11, there have been many acts of mass casualty terrorism in India---- seven since November, 2007, alone. We have not had a thorough enquiry into any of them. How can we identify the weaknesses in our counter-terrorism machinery unless we enquire into the terrorist strikes?

16. The National Commission in the US, which went into the 9/11 terrorist strikes, pointed out that there was no culture of joint action in the US counter-terrorism community. We have no culture of joint action either. The basic principle underlying the concept of joint action is that every organisation in the counter-terrorism community is individually and jointly responsible for preventing an act of terrorism. Had we developed this culture of joint action, we would not be seeing the unedifying spectacle of the intelligence agencies, the Navy and the Mumbai Police blaming each other for not preventing the Mumbai strike.

17. Terrorists calculate that repeated and sustained successful terrorist strikes against capabilities would make the States more amenable to pressure and intimidation from them than successful terrorist strikes against human beings. Their calculations are not far wrong. In the case of terrorism against capabilities, even fears or rumours of a possible terrorist strike against them can have a negative effect on the economy.

18. Protection of capabilities against terrorist strikes has, therefore, become an important component of counter-terrorism. Protection of the capabilities of the State is the exclusive responsibility of the State for which it has a preventive intelligence capability and specially trained physical security agencies or forces.

19. Protection of the capabilities in the private sector is basically the responsibility of the physical security set-ups of the companies concerned, but the State too has an important responsibility for guiding them and helping them to improve their physical security set-ups through appropriate advice. There may be sensitive industries in the private sector, where the State's role extends beyond guidance and advice to actually buttressing the physical security set-up of the company through its (the Government's) own trained and armed personnel.

20. Effective physical security rests on a strong information base. The security set-ups of private companies and other establishments suffer from a major handicap in this regard. Their ability to collect intelligence is confined to the interior of the company or establishment. They will have no means of collecting intelligence about threats, which could arise from outside the company or establishment.

21. For this awareness of likely external threats they are dependent on the media, the police and the governmental intelligence agencies. The media reporting often tends to be sensational and over-dramatised. The reliability of their reports is often questionable. While open source information from the media is important for increasing awareness of likely threats, the ability to have it verified, analysed and assessed is equally important. Otherwise, physical security set-ups will be groping in the dark.

22. Such verification, analysis and assessment have to come from the Police and the intelligence agencies and the results of this process have to be shared promptly with the companies or establishments, which are likely to face a threat, with appropriate suggestions for follow-up action. It should not be left to the security set-ups of private companies to take the initiative to contact the police and other counter-terrorism agencies to find out if there are any external threats to them---particularly after reading media reports in this regard.

23. The police and other counter-terrorism agencies should play a proactive role in creating and strengthening credible information awareness among the heads of the security set-ups of vulnerable private companies and their CEOs. This has to be constantly achieved through periodic interactions organised by the police in the form of brain-storming sessions, round-table discussions etc. Such interactions at the initiative of the governmental agencies seem to be more sporadic than regular----often triggered only by an actual crisis than by the anticipation of a possible crisis.

24. Heads of the security set-ups of private companies should have easy access, when warranted, to senior officers of the police and other counter-terrorism agencies. One gets an impression that such access is often restricted to officers at the middle or lower levels, who do not have the required degree of professionalism and self-confidence to be able to interact meaningfully and satisfactorily with senior officers of the private sector.

25. The effective physical security of any establishment---sensitive or non-sensitive, private or public--- depends on effective access control. Access control is ensured through means such as renewable identity cards for the permanent members of the staff; temporary identity cards to outsiders coming on legitimate work; numbered invitation cards to those invited to conferences, meetings etc; restrictions on the entry of vehicles of outsiders into the campus; restricting the number of entry points and exits to the minimum unavoidable; identity checking at doors; checking for weapons and explosives through door-frame detectors; checking of vehicles for explosives; installation of closed circuit TV at the points of entry and exit and at sensitive points in the establishment; a central control room to monitor all happenings at the entry points and exits and inside the premises through the CCTV etc. Better access control by the security staff is facilitated through the advance sharing of information with them about the outsiders, who are expected to visit the premises for meetings, conferences, seminars etc.

26. These are the minimum measures considered necessary for any company or establishment, which is considered vulnerable to terrorist strikes. It is important for the Police to prepare and revise periodically lists of vulnerable companies/establishments in their jurisdiction and share their conclusions with the security set-ups concerned.

27. Similarly, it is important for each vulnerable company or establishment to prepare and revise periodically a list of vulnerable points/occasions, which would need the special attention of the security staff and brief the security staff on the follow-up action to be taken. It would also be necessary to discuss this list with the Police and seek their advice on the adequacy of the security measures, which the security set-up of the company or establishment proposes to take. The Police should not consider such consultations as unnecessary intrusions on their time. They should welcome such consultations or interactions as a necessary component of their counter-terrorism strategy.

28. IT companies and other establishments in South India often face work interruptions due to hoax telephone calls and E-mail and Fax messages regarding possible terrorist strikes. A basic principle in physical security is, "treat every information, hoax call etc as possibly correct unless and until it is proved to be false and take the necessary follow-up action. Never start on the presumption that the information is probably false or the message a hoax. This would be extremely inadvisable and even dangerous.

29. Even the best of intelligence cannot prevent a terrorist strike, if the physical security set-up is weak or inefficient. A competent physical security set-up can prevent a terrorist strike even in the absence of preventive intelligence.

30. Sometimes, despite the best of physical security, terrorists might succeed in staging an incident. That is where the role of the crisis management drill comes in to limit the damage. A well-prepared and frequently rehearsed crisis management drill is a very important part of the counter-terrorism strategy in any establishment---private or public.

31. Effective physical security is the outcome of constant enhancements in the security personnel of professionalism, self-confidence, information awareness, threat and vulnerability perceptions and protective capability. Achieving these enhancements is primarily the responsibility of the security set-up of the establishment, but the Police has an important role in facilitating this. This is a responsibility, which they should not evade. Well-structured police---security set-up interactions to enhance security in the private sector is the need of the hour.

32. Business resilience and business continuity management in terrorism-affected situations are two concepts increasingly figuring in discourses in the Western countries. They have also formed the subject of many studies by the business community and the counter-terrorism community----separately of each other as well as jointly. It is said that the best contribution that the business community can make to counter-terrorism is by staying in business despite terrorist strikes. They may not be able to do it alone. The Government has to help them by playing a proactive role.

33. New ideas and new institutions have come up in the West to promote partnership between the Government and the business community for ensuring their security and for keeping their resilence undamaged. One example is the Overseas Security Assistance Council established in 1985 by the U.S. State Department to facilitate the exchange of security related information between the U.S. Government and the American private sector operating abroad. Another example is the creation of posts of Counter-Terrorism Security Advisers in important police stations in the UK after the London blasts of July, 2005. One of their tasks is to keep in touch with the business establishments in their jurisdiction and advise them on security-related matters. 243 posts of Counter-Terrorism Security Advisers have been created since July 2005 and it has been reported that each important Police Station in London has at least two advisers attached to it. The London Police have established a programme called "London First" in which the Police and the private sector co-operate closely to ensure better security in London. The principle underlying it is that it is the joint responsibility of everyone in London to ensure its security from terrorist attacks. Let us have our own Delhi First, Mumbai First, Chennai First, Kolkata First, Bangalore First and Hyderabad First partnerships to ensure that November 26 will not be repeated again.

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

December 10, 2008


Raul Caruso
Istituto di Politica Economica
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano

Abstract: This short paper aims to find an empirical evidence that al Qaeda behaves as a
contest organizer rewarding an indivisible prize – namely, official membership and economic
rewards – to candidate extremists groups. Would-be terrorists must then compete with each
other to prove their commitment and ability. Hence to maximize their own probability of
winning the prize, each group (maximizes its effort) tries to make attacks at least equally
destructive as the foregoing attacks. The testable implication is that: the number of victims
must depend upon the number of victims of past attacks. Resulting evidence confirms the
hypothesis. At the same time, results show that al Qaeda-style terrorist activity depends also
upon grievance for poverty and socio-economic conditions.


The Growing Importance of Civilians in Armed Conflict

This policy brief argues that civilians play an increasingly important and complex role in armed conflicts. At the same time, the author states, the lines between 'civilians' and 'combatants' are becoming blurred. The brief postulates that how states and multilateral institutions respond to these challenges is of great importance for the legitimacy and efficiency of their stabilization efforts in crisis areas.

© 2008 Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich
Download: English (PDF · 3 pages · 293 KB)
Author: Andreas Wenger
Series: CSS Analyses in Security Policy
Volume: 3
Issue: 45
Publisher: Center for Security Studies (CSS), Zurich, Switzerland

December 09, 2008

Mumbai attackers used sophisticated technology

International herald Tribune

By Jeremy Kahn Published: December 9, 2008

MUMBAI: The terrorists who struck this city in November stunned the authorities not only with their use of sophisticated weaponry but also with their comfort with modern technology.

The terrorists navigated across the Arabian Sea to Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan, with the help of a global positioning system handset. While under way, they communicated using a satellite phone with those in Pakistan believed to have coordinated the attacks. They recognized their targets and knew the most direct routes to reach them in part because they had studied satellite photos from Google Earth.

And, perhaps most significantly, throughout the three-day siege at two luxury hotels and a Jewish center, the Pakistani-based handlers communicated with the attackers using Internet phones that complicate efforts to trace and intercept calls.

Those handlers, who were apparently watching the attacks unfold live on television, were able to inform the attackers of the movement of security forces from news accounts and provide the gunmen with instructions and encouragement, the authorities said.

Hasan Gafoor, Mumbai's police commissioner, said Monday that as once-complicated technologies - including global positioning systems and satellite phones - have become simpler to operate, terrorists, like everyone else, have become adept at using them. "Well, whether terrorists or common criminals, they do try to be a step ahead in terms of technology," he said.

These sailors embrace risk for rewardCooperation with China critical for ObamaChinese petition for more rightsIndian security forces surrounding the buildings were able to monitor the terrorists' outgoing calls by intercepting their cellphone signals. But Indian police officials said those directing the attacks, who are believed to be from Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group based in Pakistan, were using a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service, which has complicated efforts to determine their whereabouts and identities.

VoIP services, in which conversations are carried over the Internet instead of conventional phone lines or cellphone towers, are popular with people looking to save money on long-distance and international calls. Many such services, like Skype and Vonage, allow a user to call another VoIP-enabled device anywhere in the world free of charge, or to call a standard telephone or cellphone at a deeply discounted rate.

But the same services are also increasingly popular with criminals and terrorists, a trend that worries some law enforcement and intelligence agencies. "It's a concern," said one Indian security official, who spoke anonymously because the investigation was continuing. "It's not something we have seen before."

In mid-October, a draft U.S. Army intelligence report highlighted the growing interest of Islamic militants in using VoIP, noting recent news reports of Taliban insurgents using Skype to communicate. The unclassified report, which examined discussions of emerging technologies on jihadist Web sites, was obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, a nonprofit group based in Washington that monitors the effect of science on national security.

VoIP calls pose an array of difficulties for intelligence and law enforcement services, according to communications experts. "It means the phone-tapping techniques that work for old traditional interception don't work," said Matt Blaze, a professor and computer security expert at the University of Pennsylvania.

An agency using conventional tracing techniques to track a call from a land line or cellphone to a VoIP subscriber would be able to get only as far as the switching station that converts the voice call into Internet data, communications experts said. The switch, usually owned and operated by the company providing the VoIP service, could be located thousands of miles from the subscriber.

The subscriber's phone number would also probably reveal no information about his location. For instance, someone in New York could dial a local phone number but actually be connected via the Internet to a person in Thailand.

In Mumbai, the authorities have declined to disclose the names of the VoIP companies whose services the Lashkar-e-Taiba handlers used, but reports in the Indian news media have said the calls have been traced to companies in New Jersey and Austria. Yet investigators have said they are convinced that the handlers who directed the attacks were actually sitting somewhere in Pakistan during the calls.

One senior Lashkar-e-Taiba leader who U.S. officials believe may have played a key role in planning the Mumbai attacks is Zarrar Shah.

Shah, known to be a specialist in communications technology, may have been aware of the difficulties in tracing VoIP.

To determine the location of a VoIP caller, an investigating agency has to access a database kept by the service provider. The database logs the unique numerical identifier, known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address, of whatever device the subscriber was using to connect to the Internet. This could be a computer equipped with a microphone, a special VoIP phone, or even a cellphone with software that routes calls over the Internet using wireless connections as opposed to cellular signals.

It would then take additional electronic sleuthing to determine where the device was located. The customer's identity could be obtained from the service provider as well, but it might prove fraudulent, experts said.

Getting the IP address and then determining its location can take days longer than a standard phone trace, particularly if service providers involved are in a foreign country.

"Ultimately, we can trace them," said Gafoor, referring to VoIP calls. "It takes a little longer, but we will trace them."

Washington is assisting the Indian authorities in obtaining this information, according to another Indian police official who also spoke anonymously because of the continuing investigation.

Further complicating this task is the fact that IP addresses change frequently and are less tied to a specific location than phone numbers.

Computer experts said that while these challenges were formidable, none were insurmountable. And they cautioned that security services and police forces might be disingenuous when they complain about terrorists' use of new technologies, including VoIP.

The experts said that VoIP calls left a far richer data trail for investigators to mine than someone calling from an old-fashioned pay phone.

Blaze, the computer security expert at the University of Pennsylvania, also noted that 15 years ago the Mumbai attackers would probably not have had the capacity to make calls to their handlers during the course of their attacks, depriving investigators of vital clues to their identities.

"As one door closes - traditional wire line tapping - all these other doors have opened," Blaze said

World blind to nurseries of terror

Barry Rubin

The shame is not India’s but the world’s that a democratic, law-abiding country can be attacked by a neighbour with terrorism and receive no strong international support

India’s Government faces difficult choices and no one should interfere in that hard process. Still, it is worth describing the alternatives New Delhi must ponder and what it might ask the rest of the world to do.

First, of course, no one should criticise India or draw conclusions too quickly. The Indian Government will investigate and confer with friendly states. An official conclusion will be reached. Rumours and newspaper articles are not sufficient: The security and intelligence forces must examine the evidence; Government must speak.

What is most interesting is the conclusion that elements in Pakistan were involved. This does not necessarily mean that the Pakistani Government officially ordered the attack or knew about it. The Indian Government, however, has made the following points:

# Pakistan hosts terrorist groups that carried out the attack.

# Pakistani intelligence knew the attack was being planned.

# Some Pakistani agencies or officials helped the terrorists obtain weapons, training, equipment, and to travel freely in and out of the country.

So, what can India do? It has asked Pakistan to cooperate fully in the investigation, to respond to specific questions, to expel Indian nationals involved and to punish any Pakistanis involved. The Pakistani response has been lukewarm. In such circumstances, India has several normal options given world history, political reality, and diplomatic practice:

# Make threats and carry out sanctions. This is relatively easy but India does not have much leverage over Pakistan. These may be necessary but will change nothing.

# India goes to the international community and asks for help. This should be the solution. The Indian Government presents evidence, the international community is appalled, and Pakistan is not only denounced but faces sanctions and pressures.

The problem here is that the international community is not exactly courageous. There are those who sympathise with the terrorists, those who apologise for the terrorists, and those who are afraid of the terrorists.

What is truly frightening is how much the world is afraid of the terrorists. An example: In 2006 the Israel-Hizbullah war ended with a UN ceasefire resolution. The UN, meaning more than 180 countries, pledged to patrol southern Lebanon and keep Hizbullah forces from returning there. It also promised to help stop arms smuggling from Iran and Syria to Hizbullah. In fact, after two years the UN armed soldiers in Lebanon have done nothing. Hizbullah has returned and rearmed. What happened? Hizbullah, and Syria, hinted that if the UN forces did their job they would be attacked. The entire world surrendered to Hizbullah.

But India does have some interesting options here:

# It can present evidence to the new US Administration and ask Pakistan be added to the State Department list of terrorism-supporting states, which automatically incurs certain sanctions.

# It can do the same with the EU and ask that the groups attacking India, now and in the past, be found to be terrorist organisations, which means their assets can be confiscated and their members refused entry or deported.

In each case, India could lobby with the US Congress and EU Parliament to press for action.

Obviously, India would prefer strong sanctions and diplomatic pressures. In Israel’s case, however, the United States has pushed Syria to close terrorism offices there for more than 20 years with no success. America keeps getting either sidetracked or fooled by the Syrians. Now, it is Syria’s pretended moderation that will perhaps make Washington forget about the fact that Damascus is daily sponsoring terrorism!

The shame is not India’s but the world’s that a democratic, law-abiding country can be attacked by a neighbour with terrorism and receive no strong material international support, as opposed to condolences. What signal does this send to radical regimes and to terrorist groups? That they can attack and get away with it! And so they will attack, again and again.

Should we be surprised, then, that there is so much international terrorism.

# The third option is military and yet that is difficult enough even without the fact that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And note that Pakistan is setting a precedent for what Iran can do when it has nuclear weapons: Anything it wants without paying a price in retaliation or real international pressure.

This is truly tragic. For if Pakistan can blatantly allow or encourage a terrorist attack on India, then ignore complaints and threats; if Syria and Iran can sponsor terrorism on Israel; if Russia can invade Georgia and face no international response, what kind of a world is the 21st century giving us?

-- The writer is director of GLORIA Center, Jerusalem, and the acclaimed author of The Truth About Syria and A Chronological History of Terrorism.

China And The Mumbai Bloodshed

By Bhaskar Roy

In unison with the leaders of the international community, the Chinese leaders – President, Premier and Foreign Minister condoled the awful hurt suffered by the people of Mumbai in a 60 hour ordeal starting November 26 night. The line was clear. Each of the leaders from President Hu Jintao down words reiterated that China condemned all forms of terrorism. Some indications are, however, now coming out of China that the Beijing leaders are also trying to play the Mumbai massacre to political, diplomatic and strategic advantage against India.

In the last several years China formed the doctrine opposing the “Three Evils”, that is, “terrorism, extremism, separatism”. Of course, the Chinese leaders have their problems in these areas. Muslim Uighur separatists in Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region (XAR) have never accepted Chinese sovereignty. They have retaliated with militant attacks against Chinese forces.

The Tibetans are not demanding independence or a separate state. They are asking for greater autonomy under China’s constitution and Chinese sovereignty to protect their religion, culture, language and history. But Beijing is still apprehensive that the Dalai Lama’s autonomy proposal is actually “independence” cloaked in other words.

“Separatism” is a much wider concept for China. Apart from Xinjiang and Tibet, the concerns focus on Taiwan which is a de facto independent country. It still remains under China’s claims because of international politics, but functions independently in all matters from Beijing. Only, it has lost its membership of the United Nations. China’s fear is if Taiwan becomes an UN recognized independent country the break up of China’s territory will start.

China has, therefore, amalgamated the issue of terrorism in a much larger, domestic political issue. Certainly, domestic issues including domestic terrorism, is of primary importance to any country. At the same time playing dangerously with international terrorism simultaneously is far more dangerous. The international demon can also turn back on China.

It is time, therefore, that China’s contribution to contain international terrorism as a specific issue be examined.

Following the Mumbai bloodshed in which not only Indians but many foreigners died and were injured, it appears the powerful Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reviewed the incident and procured sanction from the party’s Political Bureau to unleash an anti-India campaign.

For example, the Beijing-controlled Hong Kong daily Wen Wai Po (December 02) wrote the following: “The Indian government’s eagerness to declare the Mumbai terror attacks were carried out by foreign forces was an attempt to cover up internal contradictions”.

The China Radio International (CRI), an official radio station under the Ministry of Radio and Television and also the Party Propaganda Department, blamed the attack on India’s failure to resolve social problems left over by the British. The CRI’s charter resembles USA’s cold war propaganda apparatus like the Radio Free Europe, and the ongoing Voice of Tibet. The CCP mouth piece, the People’s Daily, the most authentic newspaper which projects the position of the CCP and the Chinese government, highlighted (December 02) that the attack was a “major blow to India’s big power ambition”.

Statements from the Chinese Foreign Ministry and other editorial articles in the People’s Daily, also conveyed serious concerns about the possibility of an India-Pakistan military conflict. There were strong suggestions that the US restrain India, and jointly focus with Pakistan in their counter-terrorism efforts in Pakistan’s northern areas bordering Afghanistan.

The Chinese thrust has been multi-pronged and at different levels. The most important was the allusion that unable to put its own house in order, giving a raw deal to its Muslims, India was falsely trying to implicate Pakistan for a major internal terrorist implosion. This is a very devious strategy, suggesting India has willingly kept its Muslim citizens disenfranchised both socially and economically. The message absolves Pakistan-based terrorist organizations like the LET, its mother body the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), and even the Al Qaeda ensconced in Pakistan’s FATA area. It is also an effort to placate these organizations that China has nothing against them. A look at the media organs used for this propaganda by the Chinese government, also tells both the Chinese people and smaller countries that India has become a fractious and weak country.

A thread of very high concern for India that runs through the Chinese media manipulations is that Muslims in India remain sanctioned by the Indian government. The aim is that this view be surreptitiously carried through Muslim countries by discussions and gossip. Gossip of this kind, as is known, is highly infections in developing countries. Most people in Arab streets still think that “9/11” was an internal conspiracy by the CIA!

The Chinese leadership does not want an open war between Pakistan and India. That would challenge their position on a number of issues including on terrorism and their strategy in South Asia. If China does not deploy in favour of Pakistan and against India, their South Asian dominos may lose faith in the Chinese power vis-√†-vis India. A war of attrition against India from Pakistan through terrorism suits China’s policy admirably.

An India-Pakistan conflict would draw the US more into the Indian subcontinent, a development contrary to China’s security perspective, and an impediment to Pakistan-based terrorist penetration in India. What suits China is that the USA and its partners fight the terrorist strongholds in Pakistan which have links with the Uighur separatist militants. Two objectives are taken care of without involvement.

China’s cooperation with international terrorism has still been in doubt. Their focus remains on countering the Muslim Uighurs. To do this, they have interlocuted with the Pakistani authorities over more than a decade to stop training of Uighur militants in camps run in Pakistan, not close down these camps. Earlier this year, in the run up to the Beijing Olympics, high level Chinese officials disclosed that Uighur terrorists were being trained in camps in Pakistan. The Chinese dialogue with Pakistan had started at least as early as 1992 between Chinese Premier Li Peng and Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Yet, when the USA launched attacks against the Al Qaeda and Taliban in October 2001 in Afghanistan following “9/11”, the Chinese leaders from the highest level openly expressed doubts over US evidence of terrorism against these two organizations. At that time, Chinese government entities were involved with the Taliban through the good offices of Pakistan in strategic projects in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Highly significant is the fact that when the discussions came up in the UN Security Council in 2006 to designate the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the mother organization of the LET, as a terrorist organization China opposed it. It supported Pakistan’s plea that the Jammat-ud-Dawa was an Islamic social organization and worked in rescue and rehabilitation efforts after the 2005 earthquake. It would be childish to accept the Chinese explanation that the JUD was a social non-government organization (NGO). But the Chinese can create a farce and expect the world to believe it. It is no secret the world over that Prof. Hafeez Mohammad Saeed is the head of both the LET and the JUD, and is patronized by Pakistan’s ISI to counter India.

China has obviously put terrorism into two compartments. One is internal, in which the totality of Chinese territorial perspective is involved. The other is international, which is, if terrorism can debilitate its perceived adversaries then it should be quietly abetted.

Taking into account the Chinese propaganda manipulations adopted on the Mumbai terrorist mayhem, and its track record as briefly recounted, it would not be unwise to conclude that the Chinese leadership has some interest, whether by omission or commission, in the terrorist attacks in India.

(The author is an eminent China analyst with many years of experience of study on the developments in China. He can be reached at