Another Thread

There is considerable speculation taking place at the moment about the nature of the connections (if any) between the British born bombers and militant jihadists in Pakistan. One of the names which keeps appearing is that of the group Jaish-e-Mohammad. Now this name should remind us that this is not the first time British-born Pakistani terrorists have caught the headlines: there is – for example – the case of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who attended English public school Forest School Snaresbroke, and then the London School of Economics, before graduating to assasination and, in particular the horrendous killing of Daniel Pearl. Saeed Sheikh is a member of Jaish-e-Mohammad. Pakistani police are claiming that Shehzad Tanweer met with convicted Church bomber and terrorist Osama Nazir. Nazir is in custody in Pakistan, and according to sources there has allegedly confirmed the meeting:

“Nazir, a member of the al-Qaida-linked Sunni militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, told authorities from jail Thursday that he met with Tanweer in Faisalabad, 75 miles southwest of Lahore, before his arrest.

It was not clear what the men discussed, or whether there was any connection between that meeting and the July 7 attacks against three trains and a double-decker bus.”

Rather chillingly, the above link on Jaish-e-Mohammad has the following under operational strategies: “Most Jaish-e-Mohammed attacks have been described as fidayeen (suicide terrorist) attacks”.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Terrorism and tagged , , , by Edward Hugh. Bookmark the permalink.

About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

21 thoughts on “Another Thread

  1. you seam a bit over obsessed with this string of bombing 😉

    keep cool, it s not the end of the world, it s not the first time that this kind of event happen, i.e France 88,89,93,95, since our anti terrorism judges/police done their job to reduce the threat, not a big deal, it will be the same in UK.

    And do not forget Uk is in war since 2003, and is making a butchery abroad.

  2. “since our anti terrorism judges/police done their job to reduce the threat, not a big deal”

    This isn’t what Sarkozy thinks.

    “and is making a butchery abroad.”

    While I don’t agree with much that has taken place since the end of the Iraq invasion I certainly wouldn’t accept this.

    That people dying – wherever they are – is something which matters to me is why I put the ‘Human Costs of War’ post which you can see a few below this one.

    That the Iraq war is an important factor in the minds of the young people now attracted to terrorism I am sure (so apparently is the CIA). That it has resulted in *more* not less terrorism I am also sure. But make no mistake, when the US and UK troops are long gone from Iraq this problem will continue (and of course we may well see civil war in Iraq).

  3. ” I certainly wouldn’t accept this.”

    ????

    why ? are you in deniing or it s just because they are not wasp ? or because there are not pictures/videos ?

    frankly, victims in irak of the anglosaxon butchery (and now of consequencies of it), did not have any defenses when they were attacked and did not have any legitimate government that made a war abroad in their name !!!

    but no pictures no reality, just number but for me their are far more significants (and in quantity, thousands time more) that the very very few who died at London.

    All death are not equal, you can see that on your favorite news paper, you can see that on this post as well.

  4. “You should check the latest”

    Yep, I agree, I have also posted on this under the heading (blowing the mole). There really is a need for an Inquiry in the UK on a variety of topics. This one obviously, including the phone link with Sadique from the earlier people arrested wasn’t picked up. The report on Sky from a local (Leeds) muslim leader that the three were already banned from local mosques, what sort of cooperation and coordination exists with the muslim community? These two details alone, the banning, and the phone link should have set off some alarm bells. What was the coordination between Scotland yard and MI5 over the alleged Pakistani ‘mastermind’ who eneterd and left the UK without surveillance? Why wasn’t the ‘Al Masri Brigades’ ‘clearance’ webposting on 29 May as reported in El Mundo picked up (assuming it existed)? What is the level of cooperation between British and Spanish security? There are lots of issues.

    I think when things have calmed down a bit there is every reason for a long hard look at all this, not to ‘score points’, but to see what can really be learned.

  5. @Fredouil
    I appreciate the effort required to post in a language not your own, but I recall reading that you’re based in Australia. How do you survive there with such poor English?

  6. @salf and all

    I am really sorry (and worry) about my poor English.

    You are true, my poor english is an issue for me, the life (from a language point of view) is not so easy for me, I?m still learning English but after 30 years old, it s not an easy task to do.

    But I have to apologise as well because I do not write properly on a blog, I react quickly (and in a provocative way;-) ), I talk, but do not really ?write?, it?s a bit ?phonetic?.

    I will try to write more carefully for my next posts.

    Really sorry

  7. @ Freddy

    Personally I understand about the problem of writing for second language users. Probably there are a lot of readers of this blog who know about that only too well.

    I can’t speak for Saif, but I imagine he is a pretty understanding person too. I guess it wasn’t that he was getting at.

    I think you have understood the message, and your apology is accepted, by me at least.

    I think debate is about mutual respect, and trying to convince. I think we all also need to respect the feelings of others when we phrase remarks.

    The limits of this blog are that anyone who wants to persuade with recourse to reason is welcome. The issues in themselves are complex enough, different views can only help, not hinder, an understanding. Noone has a monopoly on truth, and it is always best to remember that.

  8. Frankly speaking I do not understand the global fuss and all the hoopla about the 50 dead English in the recent London attack.

    The English and the Americans have been killing 50 Iraqis every single day for the last 3 years – some estimate that the English people and the Americans have killed up to 100,000 civilians in Iraq since the start of the war.

    Add to that the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children that died in the years prior to the war as a result of the English imposed UN sanctions during the government of Saddam Hussein.

    So lets not lose focus about who the real victims are- the English people brought this upon themselves and so far have gotten away very lightly considering the amount of killing the English government has launched upon the Iraqi civilian population.

    The English people should now do the sensible thing which is to have Tony Blair arrested for crimes against humanity in Iraq and for falsefying claims about the existence of WMD’s in Iraq.

    Tony Blair needs to be in a cell in Guantanamo Bay together with his partner in crime George W Bush.

    When the world is finally rid of these two criminals we will all live in much safer world.

  9. Jonas: “The English people should now do the sensible thing which is to have Tony Blair arrested for crimes against humanity in Iraq and for falsefying claims about the existence of WMD’s in Iraq.”

    It may perhaps surprise you but I agree with that but that is because I agree with a letter in The Guardian of 7 March 2003 from 16 eminent international lawyers:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,3604,909275,00.html

    And that is because I also agree with Mr Blair when he said in a keynote speech to the Chicago Economic Club in April 1999:

    “If we want a world ruled by law and by international co-operation then we have to support the UN as its central pillar.”
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/international/jan-june99/blair_doctrine4-23.html

  10. Update:

    “A controversial fly-on-the wall account of the Iraq war by one of Britain’s most senior former diplomats has been blocked by Downing Street and the Foreign Office. Publication of The Costs of War by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador to the UN during the build-up to the 2003 war and the Prime Minister’s special envoy to Iraq in its aftermath, has been halted. In an extract seen by The Observer, Greenstock describes the American decision to go to war as ‘politically illegitimate’ and says that UN negotiations ‘never rose over the level of awkward diversion for the US administration’. Although he admits that ‘honourable decisions’ were made to remove the threat of Saddam, the opportunities of the post-conflict period were ‘dissipated in poor policy analysis and narrow-minded execution’.

    “Regarded as a career diplomat of impeccable integrity, during his time in post-invasion Iraq, Greenstock became disillusioned with the Coalition Provisional Authority, led by Paul Bremer. Their relationship had deteriorated by the time Greenstock returned to Britain. . ”
    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5241143-111381,00.html

    Listen carefully and in the distance, I think you can just hear the quiet, steady tramp of the chickens marching home to roost.

  11. “arrested for crimes against humanity in Iraq”

    I don’t agree with this, but I do agree with this:

    “Listen carefully and in the distance, I think you can just hear the quiet, steady tramp of the chickens marching home to roost.”

    I don’t know whether the war in Iraq was legal or not. There are conflicting opinions, and I’m not a lawyer. What I do know is that had there been WMD’s and had Saddam been in the process of facilitating access to these to terrorists, I would still have supported the war. We now know that there weren’t. So how was it that we went to war? This is what I would like Bush and Blair investigated for, and if necessary charged accordingly.This is unlikely to be initiated in the UK, but who knows what is going to happen in the future in the US.

    This puts us in a quandry, since if Blair were to be pushed this far then the EU would be pushed even further into crisis in the wake, so there are once more, no free lunches.

    Incidentally, on WMD’s, recent reports suggest that the ex-USSR may be a much more important ‘murky area’ than Iraq ever was.

    On the question of whether Iraq was a ‘factor’ in the July 7 bombings, I again feel a bit in the situation of being shot at by both sides. Blair’s denial that it has anything to do with what happened is hardly credible, but equally, those like Clair Short who want to push the issue tend to say things like ‘involvement in places like Iraq and Afghanistan’ which really goes to another extreme, since while I have my doubts about the war in Iraq, I don’t about Afghanistan. Too many people are too busy trying to score political points, and insufficiently focused on the matter in hand, which is putting a stop to Al-qaeda.

    There is a second, if little explored area, which is highlighted by the election of Gallagher (who I certainly wouldn’t put my hand in the fire for) and this would be: with a large muslim minority still to be adequately integrated in UK society, was Britain in any position to take a leading role in the Iraq war? Here Blair is certainly more vulnerable for those who would go after him.

    So was Iraq a prime mover in the case of the London bombings? I think we need to wait for the investigation to reach some sort of provisional conclusion, and for the findings of the Royal Commission or equivalent which I most enthusiastically think there ought to be. Given the ‘roads to Pakistan’ connection, it would seem that Afghanistan is an equal contender, with of course Bosnia, Chechnia, Israel/Palestine in hot pursuit. Does Iraq form part of the ‘environment’ for the attack, of course it does.

    On your Yorkshire material, This article seems to provide some useful background on life in Beeston. If we are going to tackle seriously tackle this problem, it will be important to try and understand all the dynamics. Yet again, I think this is an ideal problem for some sort of ‘systems’ approach.

  12. On motivations for the attack, don’t forget the G8. This piece is also worth a read in that context, and especially:

    For Hani al-Sibai, an Egyptian radical Islamist dissident resident in the United Kingdom, the London subway bombings were more particularly focused, and designed rather to steal the thunder from the G8 Conference in Scotland. Speaking during a combative interview with the Qatari satellite channel Al-Jazeera, al-Sibai declared it “a great victory for al-Qaeda; it rubbed the noses of the world’s eight most powerful countries in the mud.”

    and

    If in further investigations of the British suicide bombers there fails to emerge an identified ?trigger’ for the operation ? which would indicate al-Qaeda methodology ? and it turns out to be an entirely UK-organized operation, the issue of the timing and purpose of the attack will have to be sought in developments indigenous to Britain. Jihadi commentators on the forums have already mused on the bombings coming two days after the commencement of the trial of Abu Hamza on charges including inciting racial hatred and encouraging the murder of non-Muslims. If there is a connection, the question to be resolved is whether the extremist, radical wing of Islamists in exile have come to feel that their unilateral ?compact’ is being eroded and that there is now nothing to lose. Failing that, the possibility always remains that questions of timing are irrelevant, and that the motivation was ongoing jihad against the infidel, pure and simple.

  13. The English and American politicians that voted for the war and for the confiscation of Iraq’s oil resources should now be sent to the streets of Iraq to go and patrol the massive mess they have created there.

    We need to have Tony Blair, George Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and all the other anglo and neocon criminals patrolling the streets of Fallujah and Tikrit.

    Hopefully a roadside bomb would then explode in the face of these above mentioned criminals- these lying deceitful political criminals must be punished for the massive mess they have created in Iraq.

    Bring the English and American soldiers home and send the English and American politicians and establishment types to Iraq- hopefully the Iraqis would then have the good sense to hang them from some bridge like they did to the other American mercenaries that were torched and hung from the Fallujah bridge.

  14. @Jonas

    The daily deaths in Iraq are largely caused by one lot muslims murdering another lot of muslims – often while the victims were at prayer.

    The hatred between one branch of Islam and another is no less fanatical than between ‘Islam’ and the rest of the world.

    Do try to keep things in perspective.

  15. There is a interesting article in the National Review today that suggest that maybe the bombers weren’t suicidal, but rather, were duped.

    He makes some interesting points:

    Why did the bomber on the bus, according to eyewitness reports, get frantic and start rummaging through his bag, moments before the bomb went off?

    The timing of the blasts suggest timers. When do suicide bombers need timers to set off their blasts?

    Up to this point, there has been no video, audio, or documentory evidence of them explaining what they did.

  16. “maybe the bombers weren’t suicidal, but rather, were duped.”

    Yes, there have been suggestions of this in the British press generally. The Mirror ran the story, and the source is an ‘unnamed’ security op. The evidence cited is the car park tickets, return train tickets, and the fact that there were more, unused explosives in the car.

    All of this just tells us how little we know. Whether the 09/11 were all suicides has also long been discussed. It is very effective for someone that the whole trail just ends in dead bodies. As they say, dead men tell no tales.

    On the ‘bus’ bomber, understanding what happened to him during that missing hour would presumeably help clarify all this.

    “The timing of the blasts suggest timers.”

    Initially this was the theory, but then the forensics, you would have thought would answer this. The police did subsequently suggest there were no timers. Did the last bomber have doubts? This certainly happened in the case in Israel which Sadique Kahn is allegedly associated with. It also happened in the case of a person associated with Richard Reid (who would have been a suicide bomber if he hadn’t been stopped).

    So the idea that the bus guy backed off from boarding the Northern Line (which was irregular, but wasn’t in fact closed), then found himself in a corner when he saw the others had gone off, boarded a bus and blew himself to paradise, this also is consistent with the facts. All that frantic movement can be to do with connection as well as disconnection I suppose.

    Bottomline: we really *know* very little, and maybe many things we will never know. Unfortunately we may be dependent on whether there is another group, and whether they make another attempt. The Luton overnight stop is still an unknown quantity (as P O’neill was suggesting here from the very early days).

    Well, nice to see we are finally talking Rupert, which doesn’t mean we have to agree on what we talk about.

  17. @ Rupert

    In the ‘hope’ thread, you said this:

    “The Muslim immigrants of the 50’s and 60’s came from a time of great European influence on Muslim thought, hence their greater willingness to become European.”

    Obviously I think there is something in this. This article discusses the evolution of Wahhabism and Salafism is Saudi Arabia. I couldn’t help being struck by the following points:

    The official ?Wahhabi? religion of Saudi Arabia has essentially merged with certain segments of Salafism. There is now intense competition between groups and individual scholars over the ‘true’ Salafism, with the scholars who support the Saudi regime attacking groups such as al-Qaeda as ?Qutbists? (following Sayyid Qutb) or takfiris (excommunicators).

    The early Salafis admired the technological and social advancement of Europe?s Enlightenment, and tried to reconcile it with the belief that their own society was the heir to a divinely guided Golden Age of Islam that had followed the Prophet Muhammad?s Revelations.

    In terms of their respective formation, Wahhabism and Salafism were quite distinct. Wahhabism was a pared-down Islam that rejected modern influences, while Salafism sought to reconcile Islam with modernism. What they had in common is that both rejected traditional teachings on Islam in favor of direct, ?fundamentalist? reinterpretation.

    During the late 1950s and the 1960s, the Middle East was gripped by a struggle between the traditional monarchies and the secular pan-Arab radicals, led by Nasser?s Egypt, with the pan-Islamist Salafis an important third force. [3] By embracing pan-Islamism, Faisal countered the idea of pan-Arab loyalty centered on Egypt with a larger transnational loyalty centered on Saudi Arabia. During the 1960s, members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots, many of them teachers, were given sanctuary in Saudi Arabia, in a move that undermined Nasser while also relieving the Saudi education crisis.

    Saudi Arabia?s foreign policy concerns eased in 1970 with Nasser?s death. But in the 1970s, the Saudi education system was awash with Egyptian Muslim Brothers and other Salafis, much as Berkeley was awash with Marxists. Under King Khaled (r.1975-1982), some of the most important proponents of Qutbist terrorism, including Abdullah Azzam, Omar Abd al-Rahman and Muhammad Qutb, served as academics in the Kingdom. Qutb, an important proponent of his late brother Sayyid?s theory, wrote several texts on tawhid for the Saudi school curriculum.

    Today, a profusion of self-proclaimed Salafi groups exist, each accusing the others of deviating from ‘true’ Salafism. Since the 1970s, the Saudis have wisely stopped funding those Salafis that excommunicate nominally Muslim governments (or at least the Saudi government), condemning al-Qaeda as ?the deviant sect?. The pro-Saudis correctly trace al-Qaeda?s ideological roots to Qutb and al-Banna. Less accurately, they accuse these groups of insidiously ‘entering’ Salafism. In fact, Salafism was imported into Saudi Arabia in its Ikhwani and Qutbist forms.

    The Middle East today is clearly in need of alternative models of political change to counter takfiri Salafism. In the West, education has been a major factor in social integration. But as the Saudi case study indicates, we need to be aware of not only the quantity, but also the nature of education. Saudi students in the 1970s learned engineering and administration alongside an ideology of xenophobic alienation. In the long run, the battle against violent Salafism will be fought not only on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in the universities of the Middle East.

  18. When your country is occupied it is makes more sense to kill the collaborators than it is to kill the occuping forces. Not only are they easier to kill but the enemy will decide to leave.

  19. @ Rupert,

    Thinking a bit more about the NR article, I don’t buy it. There is one detail they miss: the train to Kings Cross was late. The specultion is they wanted to hit the rush hour, and it was already subsiding when the explosions occurred since their train arrived twenty minutes late. So it is difficult to see how they could have had so much leeway in the timers. The farther they are out of Kings X the less people, twenty minutes further out in each case and there is virtually no-one.

    It doesn’t work.

    Nor does their bus bomber theory, at least for me. He didn’t get on the Northern line. We don’t know why, but following the burning cross theory (which comes from the claim) he should have. If he wanted out, he wouldn’t get on a bus with a bomb which might go off, he would just junk it, get as far away from it as possible, not sit on a bus with it pondering. The claustrophobia would ‘do’ you.

    Also, I think you need to be careful. I have no prejudice one way or another about whether they are suicides or not. (Had Richard Reid prepared a video BTW?). But my reading of the NR article makes me feel that they may have a prejudice away from the ‘suicide theory’. It somehow makes terrorists seem more stupid if they are ‘duped’. I think this may be a dangerous error, underestimating your enemy. The difficulties the British security forces are having getting to the bottom of this suggests to me that this is a well planned op. The Egyptian end seems well calculated too, forcing a diplomatic issue because the guy ‘seems harmless’ (which maybe he is, but there is one hell of a lot of circumstancial there).

    Also the Palestinian suicides are not Qaeda. How much do we really know about Qaeda? Questions, questions, questions. I think it’s best to keep an open mind at this stage.

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