America remains the main target, not the aggressor, in the conflict with radical Islam.1:40 PM, May 17, 2010 • By IRFAN AL-ALAWI and STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
In the aftermath of the failed Times Square bombing, the world appears--not for the first time--to be catching on about Pakistan. That country’s reality is simple: Radical Islamist movements have a choke-hold over the military and intelligence services, and blackmail Islamabad into subsidizing jihadist activities across South Asia, from Afghanistan to Burma, the latter with a small Muslim community. In addition, the large Pakistani diaspora, mainly in the UK and U.S., shelters numerous active agents of and contributors to terrorist efforts.
Many Pakistanis and other Muslim South Asians despise and oppose jihadist agitators. Yet even the opponents of Pakistani Muslim radicalism often live in a convoluted world of conspiracies, in which nothing is what it seems. Muslim South Asians in America note a rising tone of belligerence among doctors and other professionals, directed both at Islamist terrorists and at the U.S. The image of a hegemonic America is transformed, for them, into that of a power capable of, and bent on, destruction of the Muslim world through financing of the very terrorists against whom America is fighting.
In this world-view, members of the Pakistani elite proclaim their long-time attachment to universal, liberal values and their opposition to the Taliban in Afghanistan and its penetration of Pakistan. They argue that they have fought Islamists through the civil institutions of their country, and that they never defended such crimes as are charged against the New York bomb suspect, Faisal Shahzad. In many instances, their claims are correct.
But some among Pakistan’s liberal elite also see America in the distorting mirror of Machiavellian manipulation. While they express fear and hatred for radical Islam, they blame its rise on U.S. support for the Afghans in expelling the Russians two decades ago. According to them, the anti-Moscow campaign produced the Taliban regime, although seven years passed between the withdrawal of then-Soviet troops in 1989 and the Taliban seizure of Kabul in 1996. And Pakistanis of this ilk point with rage at the American energy alliance with Saudi Arabia, progenitor of the most radical sect to claim the mantle of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism. Pakistani secularists, like many of their peers now heard in Turkey, combine “progressivism” in politics, a declared resistance to jihadists, and visceral loathing of American power.
Criticism of blinkered U.S. relations with radical and radicalizing powers like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan is certainly appropriate, and the issue has become more acute under the Obama administration, which pretends there is no such thing as radical Islam. But the Western links to Riyadh and Islamabad are pragmatic and empirical, founded on energy economics in the Saudi case and military necessity in that of Pakistan. Wahhabism was the ideological foundation of the Saudi state before oil was found on Arabian territory and America began to pay attention to politics there. Jihadism emerged in today’s Pakistan when the territory was still part of British India and America played no role in the region. Historically, Pakistanis have unresolved grievances against their former colonial masters in London, and have only become anti-American as a deranging consequence of their dangerous situation.
American leaders have been hesitant to name radical Islam as the enemy in the current global confrontation, out of reluctance to become involved in religious matters and lack of on-the-ground expertise, rather than because of scheming calculation. American policy is not and never has been aimed at destroying Muslim societies from within by supporting fundamentalism and jihadism. It is absurd and dismaying that anyone should have to state such a thing. But such distorted arguments are now frequently expressed among South Asian Muslims. In a column for the Daily Times of Lahore, one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers, a professor of medicine at the University of Florida, Dr. Mohammad Taqi, swung between rational admissions about the problem of extremist Islam in America and outrageous conspiratorialism.
The secretary of state takes notice of a dangerous link. 12:33 PM, May 11, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
On 60 Minutes Sunday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made what CBS News rightly called a “remarkable” allegation. Secretary Clinton was first asked if the would-be Times Square bomber had ties to terrorists operating out of Pakistan. “There are connections,” Clinton responded before expressing some ambiguity as to the precise nature of those connections. (Other senior Obama administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor John Brennan clarified those connections earlier in the day.)
Clinton was asked what message she would deliver to the Pakistanis in the wake of the Times Square attack. She answered:
Eight hours after the failed bombing, an email arrived claiming ‘responsibility of recent Attack on Times Square Newyork USA.’May 17, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 33 • By BILL ROGGIO
Early Sunday morning, May 2, I awoke and followed my usual routine: Grabbed a cup of coffee, logged onto my computer, scanned the news for major developments in the war, and checked my email. It was no ordinary morning, though, as the evening before someone had attempted to set off a car bomb in Times Square in New York City.
The absurd battle to use terror to further the anti-Second Amendment agenda. 1:49 PM, May 7, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
Mayor Mike is coming for your guns, but not even this administration -- and this Congress -- is naive enough to play along. Bloomberg appealed to Congress this week to address what is oddly being called the "terror gap," but which supporters of Second Amendment rights better describe as "secret government lists." The question is this: Should U.S. citizens on terror watch lists be allowed to purchase firearms? The answer from Congress is yes (though the Huffington Post and the New York Times would have you believe it's just Republicans obstructing Bloomberg's "common sense" proposal).
11:00 AM, May 5, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
Byron York notices an alarming paragraph deep inside a New York Times profile of Faisal Shahzad:
George LaMonica, a 35-year-old computer consultant, said he bought his two-bedroom condominium in Norwalk, Conn., from Mr. Shahzad for $261,000 in May 2004. A few weeks after he moved in, Mr. LaMonica said, investigators from the national Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed him, asking for details of the transaction and for information about Mr. Shahzad. It struck Mr. LaMonica as unusual, but he said detectives told him they were simply “checking everything out.
We were lucky Shahzad’s bomb fizzled. Next time we might not be as lucky.5:50 PM, May 4, 2010 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES and THOMAS JOSCELYN
On Sunday morning, Janet Napolitano twice suggested that the attempted attack in Times Square was a "one-off" event during an interview with ABC News. ABC's Jake Tapper had asked Napolitano directly about the possibility of international involvement, given the similarities (superficial, at least) between the crude bomb discovered in the Nissan Pathfinder in New York City and those used in attempted bombings in London and Glasgow in 2007. "Well, right now, we have no evidence that it is anything other than a one-off, but we are alerting state, local officials around the country, letting them know what is going on."
Calling the attempted attack a "one-off" wasn't directly responsive to Tapper's question. But it's clear that Napolitano, who also described the bomb as "amateurish," wanted to downplay the seriousness of the attack.
We can’t keep relying on Lady Luck.12:48 PM, May 4, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Faisal Shahzad, a 30 year-old naturalized American citizen from Pakistan, has been arrested as the chief suspect behind the failed car bomb attack on Times Square this past Saturday. The good news is, of course, that the bomb was fairly unsophisticated (showing a low-level of expertise), it failed to detonate (sparing the lives of New Yorkers and tourists), and the man believed to be responsible for assembling and deploying the car bomb was apprehended in short order. Authorities were able to pinpoint the would-be terrorist in impressively little time.
It is not all good news, however. Law enforcement and intelligence officials failed to stop the perpetrator from placing his bomb in the first place. We were simply lucky that onlookers weren’t killed. If this was truly the work of a rogue individual, a “one-off” event as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano suggested on Sunday, then that failure would be somewhat understandable. As law enforcement and intelligence professionals have repeatedly lamented, it is exceedingly difficult to stop a “lone wolf” terrorist.
Following the TTP link. 11:50 AM, May 4, 2010 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
As noted by the New York Times early this morning, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin named Faisal Shahzad, aged 30, was arrested by federal authorities in the attempted car-bombing in Times Square, thwarted on May 1. Shahzad was apprehended on a flight to Dubai that was about to take off from Kennedy Airport. The Los Angeles Times reported that more arrests are to come.
Shahzad was caught by tracing the purchase of the SUV filled with explosives and left on a Manhattan street. He had recently visited his country of birth, and his arrest lends credibility to the claim by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the branch of the Afghan terrorist movement operating there, that they planted the unsuccessful car-bomb. TTP has threatened a campaign of attacks in American cities.
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