February 12, 2010

Mollah Omar and ben Laden ; Taleban and Al Qaeda

Below is a revealing and important piece on relationship between ben Laden and Mollah Omar the Afghan Taleban leader by Gareth Porter , whom I consider a serious and well informed journalist.

Can any one be sure if ben Laden is even alive .Benazir said that he was dead .Never mind she did not always tell the truth .But is he alive .Can any one say with any certainty .I believe he may not be alive . Whether on Laden or other matters ,by now , even excluding the charade of Chilcot Iraq inquiry in London ,it is clear that Western leaders specially the Americans and their poodles the British and their media are shameless liars .

It should be clear that the invasion of Afghanistan , in spite of attempts by the Taleban leadership to find a solution and of Iraq , in spite of Saddam fulfilling all the conditions of the weapons inspectors were just excuses to control Afghanistan and central Asia for its strategic location and transfer of energy resources from central Asia and even Caspian to Asia and loot Iraq’s energy resources and control the region by what were once called lillipods /bases .The construction of the bases goes on .

Ben Laden and Al Qaeda and its exaggerated threats have been used to turn US into 1984 big brother controlled polity .The US corporate oligopoly has destroyed many countries of the world and US finances and industry . US is in no position to control the situation in Afghanistan and the Afghans know it .The Afghan surge can not be used to frighten the local resistance as was done by the criminal bombings by Nixon, Kissinger et al in Vietnam . To bring them to negotiations.

After Vietnam disaster US was still the most dominant power , but not now post Iraq and Afghanistan .Its army in Iraq is broken , in the words of Congressman Murtha , a much decorated Marine Col. No body is giving much of a chance of success in Afghanistan .The Pushtuns are fighting for their land as they have always done and as the Iraqis have done and fought GIs to standstill ( We will see how US troops are evacuated from Iraq later )

Post Nato departure , the pre 2001 situation would return in Afghanistan .Pushtuns supported by Pakistan against Tajiks , Hazaras, Ozbeks and others , with almost the same neighbouring countries and big powers ranged against each other indirectly .. Calling all Pushtuns Taleban and bad and good Taleban and Pakistani Taleban and Punjabi Taleban are just labels . There is little possibility of a peaceful settlement under US leadership ( if end 2001 Bonn agreement has failed when US was hyperpower , why now it would succeed when it is fast declining since end 2006 and many knew except the info- challanged Indians and misinformed American public ).

Perhaps the most ill-informed or misinformed are the Indian policemen trained at Mount Abu , recruited for their aptitude as darogas ( Indian police head constable ), trained as policeman in India and then from the IB and RAW by UK and US ( and Israelis - Mossad ) intelligence agencies . In a piece in Indian Express of 8 Feb 10 , a former Raw Chief Hormis Thakran not once mentions any other service or the Security apparatus or organization or the chief except mostly the American . India has perhaps little relationship now with Russia , Iran or even China ( e;g regarding Uighurs of Xinxiang) .With the internecine warfare between Sunnis and Shias in Pakistan ( incidentally Jinnah and Bhuttos and Zardaris are Shias) , supported by Saudi Arabia and Iran , Iran should be an automatic source for sharing info on Pakistan .Bt we have put all our eggs in a sinking US basket .Washington will pass on to India what ever info suits its objectives and policies . Let India perish.

But the so called Indian policemen and security experts in India keep on regurgitating what their friends and instructors from the West tell them . The list also includes a few former diplomats , who should know better .

The last policeman catapulted as NSA was disaster on all fronts ( as I wrote repeatedly )He might have looked after the security of the first family before 2004 and later but look at his terrible record , even on internal security . Thank God we now have an informed person on international environment , security and diplomacy in the new National Security Advisor , who was courageous enough to ‘protest’ when Baluchistan was added in Sharmel Shaikh as another handle for Pakistan propaganda .The Gujarals and Kohlis are so obsessed at being nice to Punjabi Mussalman , not much thought of by the Pushtuns , as would one day come out in the open.

With Washington consensus calling the shots in New Delhi , we have annoyed Tehran and distanced ourselves away from Moscow . We have few real friends we can rely upon .Look at out foreign affairs team !

Any way tell me if ben Laden is alive and is Al Qaeda what it is painted out to be .And who is responsible for that .Even US politician Larry Pressler , who came to India recently urged the worm to turn; would it ever –have heart ! He said ;

'We (the US) are creating a big problem for India... we have created a monster on steroids in Pakistan' Larry Pressler , former US Senator

Larry Pressler former US Senator known for the Pressler Amendment is disappointed and saddened over what he says is New Delhi not speaking up against the mistakes Washington is making in South Asia.
Recent US decisions such as ordering more troops to Afghanistan, continuing to pump billions of dollars worth military and development aid to Pakistan, entering into arms deals with India are perfect recipes for instability in the subcontinent, he says, and adds that he is puzzled why the Manmohan Singh government has not seen through this.
"I have been disappointed in India not raising a voice about what's happening in Afghanistan, what a mistake we are probably making," Pressler, who was in India on a speaking tour, told The Indian Express. "We are creating a big problem for India because at the end of the day India is going to have on its border a highly armed loose canon in Pakistan, a rogue state whose government is not what we espouse or support. A rogue Pakistan on steroids of US money," he said.
The evidence But look at what is happening in India ,for example in Mumbai .Goons in Mumbai or in Gujarat who ought to have been imprisoned for violating the unity of India and its Constitution are acting like terrorist and getting away with it .Why worry the political elite is well protected since the Parliament attack and 26/11.A former cabinet minister even after resignation had a security entourage of 200 .

What must be the foreign diplomats thinking about India and its pretensions of being a big power ! Not much after 26/11 and the follow up action.

Cheers and take care Gajendra 12 February, 2010.

How the Taliban pressed bin Laden - Inter Press Service ,13 February , 2010
By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON - Evidence now available from various sources, including recently declassified United States State Department documents, shows that the Taliban regime led by Mullah Mohammad Omar imposed strict isolation on Osama bin Laden after 1998 to prevent him from carrying out any plots against the United States.

The evidence contradicts claims by top officials of the Barack Obama administration that Mullah Omar was complicit in bin Laden's involvement in the al-Qaeda plot to carry out the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. It also bolsters the credibility of Taliban statements in recent monthsasserting that they have little interest in al-Qaeda's global jihadi aims.

A primary source on the relationship between bin Laden and Mullah Omar before 9/11 is a detailed personal account provided by Egyptian jihadi Abu'l Walid al-Masri and published on Arabic-language jihadist websites in 1997.

Al-Masri had a unique knowledge of the subject because he worked closely with both bin Laden and the Taliban during the period. He was a member of bin Laden's Arab entourage in Afghanistan, but became much more sympathetic to the Afghan cause than bin Laden and other al-Qaeda officials from 1998 through 2001.

The first published English-language report on al-Masri's account, however, was an article in the January issue of the CTC Sentinal, the journal of the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point, by Vahid Brown, a fellow at the CTC.

Mullah Omar's willingness to allow bin Laden to remain in Afghanistan was conditioned from the beginning, according to al-Masri's account, on two prohibitions on his activities: bin Laden was forbidden to talk to the media without the consent of the Taliban regime or to make plans to attack US targets.

Former Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil told Inter Press Service in an interview that the regime "put bin Laden in Kandahar to control him better". Kandahar remained the Taliban political headquarters after the organization seized power in 1996.
The August 1998 US cruise missile strikes against training camps in Afghanistan run by bin Laden in retaliation for the bombings of two US embassies in East Africa on August 7, 1998, appears to have had a dramatic impact on Mullah Omar and the Taliban regime's policy toward bin Laden.

Two days after the strike, Omar unexpectedly entered a phone conversation between a State Department official and one of his aides, and told the US official he was unaware of any evidence that bin Laden "had engaged in or planned terrorist acts while on Afghan soil". The Taliban leader said he was "open to dialogue" with the United States and asked for evidence of bin Laden's involvement, according to the State Department cable reporting the conversation.

Only three weeks after Omar asked for evidence against bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader sought to allay Taliban suspicions by appearing to accept the prohibition by Mullah Omar against planning any actions against the United States.

"There is an opinion among the Taliban that we should not move from within Afghanistan against any other state," bin Laden said in an interview with al-Jazeera. "This was the decision of the Commander of the Faithful, as is known."

Mullah Omar had taken the title "Commander of the Faithful", the term used by some Muslim caliphs in the past to claim to be "leader of the Muslims", in April 1996, five months before Kabul fell to Taliban forces.

During September and October 1998, the Taliban regime apparently sought to position itself to turn bin Laden over to the Saudi government as part of a deal by getting a ruling by the Afghan Supreme Court that he was guilty of the embassy bombings.

In a conversation with the US charge in Islamabad on November 28, 1998, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, Omar's spokesman and chief adviser on foreign affairs, referred to a previous Taliban request to the United States for evidence of bin Laden's guilt to be examined by the Afghan Supreme Court, according to the US diplomat's report to the State Department.

Muttawakil said the United States had provided "some papers and a video cassette". but he complained that the video had contained nothing new and had therefore not been submitted to the Supreme Court. He told the charge that the court had ruled that none of the evidence that had been presented warranted the conviction of bin Laden.

Muttawakil said the court trial approach had "not worked" but suggested that the Taliban regime was now carrying out a strategy to "restrict [bin Laden's] activities in such a way that he would decide to leave of his own volition."

On February 10, 1999, the Taliban sent a group of 10 officers to replace bin Laden's own bodyguards, touching off an exchange of gunfire, according to a New York Times story of March 4, 1999. Three days later, bodyguards working for Taliban intelligence and Foreign Affairs Ministry personnel took control of bin Laden's compound near Kandahar and took away his satellite telephone, according to the US and Taliban sources cited by the Times.

Taliban official Abdul Hakeem Mujahid, who was then in the Taliban embassy in Pakistan, confirmed that the 10 Taliban bodyguards had been provided to bin Laden to "supervise him and observe that he will not contact any foreigner or use any communication system in Afghanistan", according to the Times story.

The pressure on bin Laden in 1999 also extended to threats to eliminate al-Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan. An e-mail to bin Laden from two leading Arab jihadis in Afghanistan in July 1999, later found on a laptop previously belonging to al-Qaeda and purchased by the Wall Street Journal, referred to "problems between you and the Leader of the Faithful" as a "crisis".

The e-mail, published in an article by Alan Cullison in the September 2004 issue of The Atlantic, said: "Talk about closing down the camps has spread." The message even suggested that the jihadis feared the Taliban regime could go so far as to "kick them out" of Afghanistan.

In the face of new Taliban hostility, bin Laden sought to convince Mullah Omar that he had given his personal allegiance to Omar as a Muslim. In April 2001, bin Laden referred publicly to having sworn allegiance to Mullah Omar as the "Commander of the Faithful".

But al-Masri recalls that bin Laden had refused to personally swear such an oath of allegiance to Omar in 1998-99, and had asked al-Masri himself to give the oath to Omar in his stead. Al-Masri suggests that bin Laden deliberately avoided giving the oath of allegiance to Omar personally so that he would be able to argue within the Arab jihadi community that he was not bound by Omar's strictures on his activities.

Even in summer 2001, as the Taliban regime became increasingly dependent on foreign jihadi troop contingents, including Arabs trained in bin Laden's camps, for its defense against the military advances of the Northern Alliance, Mullah Omar found yet another way to express his unhappiness with bin Laden's presence.

After a series of clashes between al-Qaeda forces and those of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the Taliban leader intervened to give overall control of foreign volunteer forces to Tahir Yuldash of the IMU, according to a blog post last October by Leah Farrall, an Australian specialist on jihadi politics in Afghanistan.

In late January, Geoff Morrell, the spokesman for US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, suggested that the United States could not negotiate with Mullah Omar because he has "the blood of thousands of Americans on his hands", implying that he had knowingly allowed bin Laden's planning of the 9/11 attacks.

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specializing in US national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.

(Inter Press Service)

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