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Author Topic: Other fronts on the clash between cultures  (Read 9914 times)
Power User
Posts: 7833

« on: January 06, 2007, 12:50:50 PM »

Let us not forget or ignore the Horn of Africa and Europe:
Power User
Posts: 42483

« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2007, 09:34:42 PM »


By B. Raman

The Thai counter-terrorism agencies have not yet been able to arrest the inexorable Waziristanisation of the four Muslim-majority provinces of Southern Thailand. Targeted attacks with small arms and ammunition on individuals with extreme cruelty, multiple explosions with minimum casualties and attacks on places considered anti-Islam such as places of entertainment continue to be reported almost every day. The individuals targeted are not only Buddhists, but also public servants, including Muslims, viewed as collaborators of the Government. The ground situation resembles partly that in the  the Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan and partly that in Bangladesh. There are no similarities with the ground situation in the rest of South-East Asia.

2. The targeted attacks with extreme cruelty on individuals viewed as collaborators of the Government and the attacks on places such as Karoke bars viewed as symbols of non-Islamic decadence call to mind what has been happening in South and North Waziristan almost every day. Very often, the Pakistani authorities have no clue as to who is behind the continuing violence in the Waziristan area. Al Qaeda, the Neo Taliban, the local Taliban, tribal militant groups of various hues, followers of individual tribal leaders, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Chechens from Russia and  the Uighurs from the Xinjiang region of China have all been blamed on different occasions by the Pakistani authorities with no conclusive evidence. Unidentifiable jihadi forces orchestrated by an invisible command and control have been keeping the security forces at bay. So too in Southern Thailand.

3. At least in Waziristan some individual leaders and the organisations to which they belong have been identified---such as Baitullah Mehsud and Abdullah Mehsud of the local Taliban, Tohir Yuldashev of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Ayman al-Zawahiri of Al Qaeda and Jalaluddin Haqqani of the Neo Taliban. They are as invisible as the jihadi leaders in Southern Thailand, but they are at least audible. They keep disseminating audio messages, issuing statements, talking to the media over satellite phones etc. In Waziristan, human intelligence is as scanty as in Southern Thailand, but technical intelligence has been forthcoming from the US agencies operating in the area.

4. In Southern Thailand, the jihadi leaders are neither visible nor audible. No recorded messages, no statements, no TECHINT intercepts, no HUMINT derived either from sources or during the interrogation of arrested suspects. There are hardly any arrests----not even accidental. Counter-terrorism agencies often get a lucky break in the form of suspects accidentally intercepted and detained, failed attacks due to human error on the part of the terrorists or malfunctioning of their improvised explosive devices. One hears of hardly any such lucky-break in Southern Thailand. There is evidently no satisfactory data-base which could enable analysts to quantify the threat and assess the results of the counter-terrorism efforts.

5. There are two major differences from Waziristan, though.An increasing number of terrorist strikes in the Waziristan area are by suicide bombers. Suicide bombers are yet to make their appearance in Southern Thailand. Suicide bombers are normally used to kill high-profile targets and for mass casualty terrorism. The second major difference is that in Waziristan there is evidence of complicity of some serving and retired officers of the Pakistan army and intelligence with the jihadis. There is so far no evidence of such complicity in Southern Thailand.

6.  The Thai jihadis seem content for the time being with attacking low profile targets such as teachers, Buddhist monks, junior public servants etc. They continue to avoid mass casualty terrorism like the jihadis in Bangladesh. Multiple explosions with minimum public casualties have been a defining characteristic of the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM) of Bangladesh. Demonstrating its presence and reach with widespread multiple explosions with calibrated low-level lethality in order not to antagonise public opinion is the JUM's modus operandi. So too in Southern Thailand.

7. The Thai jihadis seem to be graduating to spectacular economic terrorism, which would cause serious economic damage with minimum human casualties as illustrated by their latest arson attack on a major rubber godown of Southland Rubber Co's branch in Yala town on February 21,2007. Attacks on tourist spots cause large human casualties as one saw in Bali twice, Mombasa and other places. Hence, their avoidance of attacks on tourism spots. Attacks on foreign targets bring international pressure and strengthen international intelligence co-operation. Hence avoidance of attacks on foreign targets so far.

8. Considerable intelligence and thinking have gone into the planning of  the jihad in southern Thailand. It is a low intensity conflict with low-intensity, but continuous bleeding. Counter-terrorism operations in Southern Thailand are like fighting an invisible enemy in the dark. One can neither fight effectively nor talk productively.  The Government's expression of regrets for past deaths of jihadi cadres and innocent civilians and its readiness for a dialogue have remained unreciprocated. Malaysia's offer of co-operation with the Thai authorities is unlikely to make a difference to the situation unless it co-operates through intelligence sharing..

9. When the terrorists are not known and they are not prepared to talk, one has to start talking to the community from which the jihadis have arisen. This is where police-community relations count. They seem to hardly exist in Southern Thailand. Apart from strengthening the intelligence capability and physical security, building up effective police-community relations has to be an important component of the counter-terrorism strategy. The Government has to encourage local non-Governmental initiatives to make  the police and the community interact with each other. Announcement of very handsome rewards for actionable intelligence and a safe channel for communicating such intelligence which will safeguard the anonymity and life of the source is another important requirement.

10. The Government has two options: Either remain in a state of helplessness on the ground that the identities of the jihadi leaders are not known and they are not willing to talk; or find new ways of coming out of the present darkness. The first option would mean more and more bleeding. With some imagination and luck, the second option could produce results. There appears to be no third option.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:
Power User
Posts: 7833

« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 10:04:50 AM »

We didn't mind sharing our nation.  But giving it all away to people and peoples who don't share our beliefs and values?
"With black voters going 24 to 1 for Obama, he almost surely won more votes than he lost because of his race."

This is so totally ironic.  The blacks who are so proud to finally have one of their own in the White House.  So what does he do - give away everything that could be theirs!  This should and must be a political theme for Repubicans going forward.  I don't know if any let alone many Blacks will buy into it, but it certainly is the truth.

Traditional Americans are losing their nation

Posted: October 20, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

© 2009 

In the brief age of Obama, we have had "truthers," "birthers," tea party activists and town-hall dissenters.

Comes now, the "Oath Keepers." And who might they be?

Writes Alan Maimon in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Oath Keepers, depending on where one stands, are "either strident defenders of liberty or dangerous peddlers of paranoia."

Formed in March, they are ex-military and police who repledge themselves to defend the Constitution, even if it means disobeying orders. If the U.S. government ordered law enforcement agencies to violate Second Amendment rights by disarming the people, Oath Keepers will not obey.

"The whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here," says founding father Stewart Rhodes, an ex-Army paratrooper and Yale-trained lawyer. "My focus is on the guys with the guns, because they can't do it without them.

"We say if the American people decide it's time for a revolution, we'll fight with you."

Prediction: Brother Rhodes is headed for cable stardom.

And if the Pelosi-Reid progressives went postal over town-hall protesters, calling them "un-American," "Nazis" and "evil-mongers," one can imagine what they will do with the Oath Keepers.

It's not too late to rescue the nation! Read how in "Save America Now! The New Revolution to Save Freedom and Liberty"

As with Jimmy Carter's long-range psychoanalysis of Joe Wilson, the reflexive reaction of the mainstream media will likely be that these are militia types, driven to irrationality because America has a black president.

Yet, the establishment's reaction seems more problematic for the republic than anything the Oath Keepers are up to. For our political and media elite seem to have lost touch with the nation and to be wedded to a vision of America divorced from reality.

Progressives are the folks who, in the 1960s, could easily understand that urban riots that took scores of lives and destroyed billions in property were an inevitable reaction to racism, poverty and despair. They could empathize with the rage of campus radicals who burned down the ROTC building and bombed the Pentagon.

The "dirty, immoral war in Vietnam" explains why the "finest generation we have ever produced" is behaving like this, they said. We must deal with the "root causes" of social disorder.

Yet, they cannot comprehend what would motivate Middle America to distrust its government, for it surely does, as Ron Brownstein reports in the National Journal:

"Whites are not only more anxious, but also more alienated. Big majorities of whites say the past year's turmoil has diminished their confidence in government, corporations and the financial industry. ... Asked which institution they trust most to make economic decisions in their interest, a plurality of whites older than 30 pick 'none' – a grim statement."

Is all this due to Obama's race?

Even Obama laughs at that. As he told David Letterman, I was already black by the time I was elected. And he not only got a higher share of the white vote than Kerry or Gore, a third of white voters, who said in August 2008 that race was an important consideration in voting, said they were going to vote for Obama.

With black voters going 24 to 1 for Obama, he almost surely won more votes than he lost because of his race.

Moreover, the alienation and radicalization of white America began long before Obama arrived. He acknowledged as much when he explained Middle Pennsylvanians to puzzled progressives in that closed-door meeting in San Francisco.

Referring to the white working-class voters in the industrial towns decimated by job losses, Obama said: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Yet, we had seen these folks before. They were Perotistas in 1992, opposed NAFTA in 1993 and blocked the Bush-Kennedy McCain amnesty in 2007.

In their lifetimes, they have seen their Christian faith purged from schools their taxes paid for, and mocked in movies and on TV. They have seen their factories shuttered in the thousands and their jobs outsourced in the millions to Mexico and China. They have seen trillions of tax dollars go for Great Society programs, but have seen no Great Society, only rising crime, illegitimacy, drug use and dropout rates.

They watch on cable TV as illegal aliens walk into their country, are rewarded with free educations and health care and take jobs at lower pay than American families can live on – then carry Mexican flags in American cities and demand U.S. citizenship.

They see Wall Street banks bailed out as they sweat their next paycheck, then read that bank profits are soaring, and the big bonuses for the brilliant bankers are back. Neither they nor their kids ever benefited from affirmative action, unlike Barack and Michelle Obama.

They see a government in Washington that cannot balance its books, win our wars or protect our borders. The government shovels out trillions to Fortune 500 corporations and banks to rescue the country from a crisis created by the government and Fortune 500 corporations and banks.

America was once their country. They sense they are losing it. And they are right.

Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2011, 10:30:55 AM »

Hero's unwelcome
Wounded Iraq vet jeered at Columbia


Last Updated: 9:06 AM, February 20, 2011

Posted: 12:10 AM, February 20, 2011

Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.

"Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.

Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.

"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting," said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."
CLASH: Veteran Anthony Maschek (above, with fiancée Angela O'Neill) faced heckling from fellow Columbia students over ROTC (below).
Matthew McDermott
CLASH: Veteran Anthony Maschek (above, with fiancée Angela O'Neill) faced heckling from fellow Columbia students over ROTC (below).

Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.

Maschek, who is studying economics, miraculously survived the insurgent attack in Kirkuk. In the hail of gunfire, he broke both legs and suffered wounds to his abdomen, arm and chest.

He enrolled last August at the Ivy League school, where an increasingly ugly battle is unfolding over the 42-year military ban there.

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