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27/ 11 & Hadley

27/ 11 & Hadley

Author: N.V.Subramanian.
Publication: Newsinsight.net
Date: December 11, 2009
URL: http://www.newsinsight.net/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=1923

India has to ask tough questions of the US on the Bombay carnage, and cannot withdraw troops from J and K, says N.V.Subramanian.

The troubling questions raised by David Coleman Hadley's arrest for the 26/ 11 terrorism are further interrogated by the Manmohan Singh government's decision to drawdown troops in Jammu and Kashmir. While announcing the drawdown in the Rajya Sabha earlier this month, the Union home minister, P.Chidambaram, refused to specify the number of battalions to be withdrawn, but latter reports suggested that the Union home secretary, G.K. Pillai, due to visit Jammu today, was slated to discuss paramilitary pullouts, keeping the army's strength intact. This was in line with J and K chief minister Omar Abdullah's 24 November statement where he said, "The army wants to do its primary duty, but the time is not conducive for its withdrawal from the state." But the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has indeed raised the disconcerting possibility that India might be withdrawing some army formations from J and K, welcoming it as a "de-tensioning" measure on Pakistan's border, and congratulating the Manmohan Singh government for it.

In March 2007, the Opposition BJP alleged that massive troops' withdrawal from J and K were secretly underway to placate its then coalition partner in the state government, the PDP. The allegation was that as much as a division was ordered out of Rajourie and that troops were cleared from hilly areas and especially from notorious Pakistani terrorists' infiltration and fighting zones like Hillikaka and Mendhar. The Centre did not convincingly rebut the allegation and the opposition and the army has since resisted troops' withdrawal moves arising either from internal J and K political compulsions or from external US pressure at the behest of Pakistan. This writer fears that under cover of paramilitary withdrawal, army formations may also be significantly relocated outside the state, and the US may present "evidence" of this to the Pakistan army to get it seriously to attack Al-Qaeda/ Afghan Taliban/ Haqqani network strongholds in Quetta and North Waziristan without fearing an Indian military strike. The point is that this whole military trade-off stinks, and the Manmohan Singh government is completely cognizant of the stench. At the risk of repetition, it must be stated that the Pakistan army has nurtured (and continues to nurture) the Al-Qaeda/ Afghan Taliban (whose terrorist leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, was recently lodged in an ISI Karachi safehouse away from US drone attacks)/ Haqqani network/ Lashkar-e-Toiba/ Jaish-e-Mohammed. While all these groups have put aside their ideological Wahabi/ Salafi differences and united under the general leadership of Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda, they still retain their separate terroristic objectives. The Al-Qaeda is undiminished in its hatred for the US and the West and their defeat would make an Al-Qaeda-led Islamic Caliphate unstoppable not only in the Muslim world but in the other so-called Crusader/ Brahminical/ Talmudic infidel states, including India, the US, Western Europe and Israel. On the other hand, the Afghan Taliban/ Haqqani network have a nationalistic aim to capture power in Afghanistan which will give the Al-Qaeda proximity to state power which was denied by the post-9/ 11 US invasion of that country. The Pakistan army/ ISI share this objective of the Afghan Taliban/ Haqqani network/ Al-Qaeda because an Afghanistan under their domination gives strategic depth to Pakistan against a historic and nuclear rival India. The Lashkar-e-Toiba/ Jaish-e-Mohammed, for their part, have the minimum aim of separating J and K from India and the maximum objective of Balkanizing India if Islamic rule cannot be established there. There is all the evidence for this in their attack pattern and published fanatical vision.

As the lead player in the region, the US baulks from taking decisive steps to terminate Pakistani-encouraged terrorism against its own continental territories, Europe, Afghanistan and India. The root of the problem is the nuclearized Pakistan army and an ISI feeding on an unlimited flow of US secret service funds and on congressionally-sanctioned public monies. The Pakistan army needs to be cut to a sixth of its present size, denuked and armed and trained solely for counter-terrorism roles against the Al-Qaeda/ Afghan Taliban/ Haqqani network/ LeT/ JeM. Its leadership and middle-level officers with Islamist links need to be purged. The ISI needs to be severely downsized and its pro-terror departments and front organizations must be shut down. US administrations although presented the opportunity after 9/ 11 to take these steps have fought shy of them, and are relying on the Pakistan military/ intelligence establishments to act against their own terrorist allies, which they signally haven't in the past and advertize no intent to do so now or in the future. On the other hand, the US is leaning on India to make the concessions demanded of by Pakistan, which is to recommence the stalled Kashmir dialogue and to thin out the military in J and K, despite the treacherous Pakistani prosecution of three wars in that territory in 1947-48, 1965 and 1999, and the waging of a low-intensity conflict since 1987. Under US pressure also, India has been forced to exercise military restraint despite the growing violence of Pakistani terrorist attacks, the last during 26/ 11. Which brings to the latest Indian troops' withdrawal moves in J and K coming in the midst of the shocking unraveling of Hadley's terroristic enterprise against India. From published accounts, it is apparent that Hadley became a rogue US agent (not unlike the Daniel Pearl murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who worked for MI-6), and it appears that American intelligence agencies were monitoring him during his extensive reconnaissances conducted for the Bombay carnage and for subsequent attacks on Jewish prayer institutions in five Indian cities, besides the National Defence College in Delhi and boarding schools in Doon Valley. Is it possible that during this intensive phase of US monitoring of Hadley's movements and conversations, which stretched over some years since 2006, he let out no plans, inadvertently, of the impending Bombay carnage? We are told US intelligence prevented a Bombay-like carnage earlier in 2008 by warning Indian authorities, but the fact is that that didn't prevent 26/ 11 from happening. If Hadley through his indiscretion had blown the 26/ 11 plot, it would never have happened. The alternative is that he was never indiscreet, and that the US picked up the Bombay scent from other sources, both of which possibilities seem doubtful. If any which way the Bombay operation had been compromised and the US had tipped off India, it would not have happened. So, unless there is strong evidence to the contrary, it appears that the US let 26/ 11 happen, and only when Hadley's other project to blow up the Danish newspaper that published the Prophet's cartoons became threateningly possible, the FBI net closed in on him.

This writer is not suggesting that events took this course, but the Hadley arrest and his links to 26/ 11 raise these troubling questions. Without resolving these doubts, how can India blindly commit to a US rehyphenation of India and Pakistan, and to acquiesce in troops' reduction in J and K? The US hopes against hope that Pakistan will eliminate the scourge of terrorism, but this hope has proved time and again to be misplaced. So why is India encouraging the US on this perilous course by making those troops' withdrawals from J and K? If the US cannot take hard steps against Pakistan (drastically downsizing the Pakistan army/ ISI; denuking Pakistan; purging the Islamists from the military-intelligence establishment; and commencing special forces operations against terrorists holed out in Quetta, North Waziristan), India must take its own countermeasures, timed to coincide with president Barack Obama's withdrawal plans from Afghanistan in eighteen months' time. And meanwhile, instead of ordering a military drawdown in J and K (the Opposition must watch out against a secret withdrawal like in 2007), the Manmohan Singh government should commence asking tough questions on Hadley's terrorism. Most important is to investigate if the US had foreknowledge of 26/ 11 but let it happen. N.V.Subramanian is Editor, NewsInsight.net.

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