Counter-Terrorism: House Terrorists Turn Traitor

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August 25, 2006: The recent "liquid bomb" scare in Britain brought out some interesting news from Pakistan. It seems that talks with people in " acceptable" Islamic terror groups (those that go fight the Indians in Kashmir) have revealed a disturbing trend. Many Islamic terrorists are switching from "Free Kashmir" (where the Indians have been gaining the upper hand) groups, to al Qaeda. That worries the Pakistani government, because, in response to public opinion, they have made it easier, and safer, for the "Free Kashmir" terrorists to exist in Pakistan. But al Qaeda has publicly declared war on Pakistan.
The irony in all this is that it was government support, back in the 1970s and 80s, that enabled the Islamic radicals to grow and recruit thousands of eager operatives. Many of these Islamic hotheads got involved with the Taliban in the 1990s. That backfired when al Qaeda set up shop in Afghanistan in the late 90s. Then came September 11, 2001, and the Pakistani government had to decide if they were for, or against, al Qaeda. Not wanting to go to war with the United States, the Pakistanis turned on al Qaeda. Al Qaeda returned the favor, and dozens of attacks on government officials followed. While the Pakistani killed or arrested nearly a thousand al Qaeda members since September 11, 2001, they have not been able to wipe out the organization in Pakistan. And that has given al Qaeda street cred in Pakistani Islamic radical circles.
As a result, ambitious Pakistani Islamic radicals are increasingly aligning themselves with al Qaeda. Part of it is the tendency to be "more holt (or radical) than thou." Part of it is the search for some kind of Islamic radicalism that works. The campaign in Kashmir is faltering. Signing up with the Taliban is also a bad bet, as the high Taliban losses this Summer demonstrate. But al Qaeda has the best propaganda, and track record. If you can't find a winner to run with, find someone who most impressively preaches that they are a contender. That would be al Qaeda, and they get the recruits even though it means taking on the world. These lads are looking for glory, not an understanding of logic, math or history.

 


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