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More Commandments in Combating Islamic Jihad

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Why it is so complicated to utter the issue clearly? Why do leaders prefer the politics of oblivion and permeability? Possible explanations are the following: There are 56 states defined as Arab and Muslim – a quarter of world’s countries, which constitute immense power in international relations.

In Fact, the OIC, the Organization of Islamic countries, is the second largest group, after the United Nations, and perhaps more important, it operates in the United Nation and moves it at will. That is the main reason why the United Nations has become unimportant and unreliable to handle the real issues of humanity. If Israel is the only cause to the problems of the world and humanity, than the United Nations turns to be ridiculous and pathetic.

However, not only there are 56 Arab-Muslim states, but they are located in important strategic-economic territories, and they yield an internationally influential force out of petrodollars and oil reserves. Moreover, the demography is stunning: in 1950, there were 250 million Muslims in the world. In 2005, there were 1.3 billion Muslims, and the forecast to 2030, there will be 2.4 billion Muslims in the world. These numbers have a deep political drive force to consider and to take into account.

On the other side, the global atmosphere, the intense era of Islamic terrorism and violence, has created a deep impact on Western Leaders and public opinion behavior. It must be admitted: we are afraid; we are frightened, intimidated and terrorized of Arab-Muslim violence, extremism and terrorism, which we cannot internalize culturally and cannot understand politically. As Arabs and Muslims are scattered all over the globe, and are found in almost all world states, and in some Western countries they comprise 7-15 percent of the overall population, this means a political electorate power that cannot be ignored. The Western answer to this situation is unfortunately a mixed policy of oblivion and appeasement. The ignorance of Arab-Islamic religious and political reality yields a policy of submissiveness and paying protection money.

But there are more. The disastrous politically correct approach inhibits the Western leaders to call a spade a spade, and to deal with the situation correctly. This situation is exacerbated by the sophisticated approach of the Arabs and Muslims. They really have identified the new moral code of the West, produced by the academia; disseminated by the media, and blindly endorsed by the political leaders: the slogans of “colonialism,” “racism,” and “Apartheid.” These are the most horrendous lethal words that are the essence of guilt remorse in Europe, and constitute a continuous reminder of the dark days of imperialist and colonialist history which nobody wishes to be connected with.

This “guilt complex,” mainly in Europe, and the contemporary social-economic gap between the first and the third worlds empowers Arabs and Muslims to externalize the guilt and to accuse others of their own problems. This situation becomes more complex as the Western media, the academia, and the cultural bohemia have turned criticism of Islamic terrorism into a taboo. Edward Said’s hideous ideas and heinous charges in Orientalism, continue to win over, and ‘Western guilt’ and ‘Zionist crimes’ are still the leading bon ton.

However, Western leaders must change their perceptions of Islamic terrorism and clearly identify their targets and the aims they use to achieve their objectives. That it an existential civilization threat, no less hazardous than World War II, but leaders do not yet grasp this to fight back. Moreover, although this is not a declared war between states, we are in the midst of third world war, its consequences are no less lethal to the Free World’s existence. That terrorism perpetrators are perhaps not the tyrants of the past, but the new tyranny World Jihad is no less existentially lethal. That not like the ideological wars of the past, World Jihad’s ideology is religiously fanatic and lack of the ability of compromise and appeasement. That the Western World is witnessing raids of terrorism and slaughter by Muslim fanatics determined to destroy Western culture and intended to bring our civilization back to their 7th century desert.

Islamic Jihad is winning just because the West does nothing meaningful to stop it. It means not only acting militarily to halt Jihad, but stopping every aspect of Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah being waged against the Western civilization. Unless and until Western leaders are willing to fight this war the way it must be fought, it is pathetic to watch the self-indulgent behavior and the pointless crocodile tears. Really combating Jihad means acknowledging some hard truths. Islam is a political religion, more political than a religion, being an all-encompassing ideological aggressive system that dictates everything from its believers with the clear aim to conquer and to subjugate the infidels by all means.

That is, fighting the war means the same way the Free World fought Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II and Soviet communists during the Cold War: a strategic war operated comprehensively, with every military, political, economic, ideological, and other forms and means. Many Islamists were born and raised in Europe, and others are coming in with the new wave of “refugees.” But they are all part of the relentless Hijrah. Islamic “immigration” has now reached a critical mass. It was only a matter of time before the chaos has erupted, and still Europe is intent on committing continental suicide, a willful surrender to those who clearly declare they come to occupy Europe for the sake of Islam.

That is why Europe is likely already at the point of no return, as Islam cannot be contained and turned back. This is according to the almost prophecy of Bat Ye’or, in her Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, in which she described in 1985, the deliberate Islamization of the continent with the encouragement of European leaders. Clint Watts has put the situation correctly, after the Brussels massacre: Belgium, like most other European countries, suffers from a counterterrorism capacity problem. Failing to anticipate the growth of the Islamic Caliphate State in Europe ultimately speaks to incompetence. The situation appears as terrorists without borders and counter-terrorism with all borders.

Western leaders must put great efforts as to understanding the essence of the threat. Terrorism is most cowardly and despicable form of combat. But make no mistake. It is just a means to an end. Brutal, inhuman, sinister and horrific, it is still a means to an end. The global Islamic Jihad groups are the enemy of the Free World. It is a cultural system of religious, political and behavioral principles, which manifest the epitome of evil. Terrorism today is mainly an Arab-Muslim occupation of fanatical Jihadi groups fighting against the free world.

The real issue is that leaders wake up only after disasters are here. They have not learn the Biblical example: “Noah built the Ark before the deluge.” Before the deluge and nor after the deluge was here. This was the case in the 1930s, with the appeasement policy to Hitler, in distressing repulsive processes of yielding to his demands time and again that had only intensified his aggressiveness. The oblivion and the march of stupidity came to its climax, when in December 1938, the Times of London accused Churchill and his ‘war-mongering shadow government’ that lead the world to an unnecessary war, while there is a successful alternative, embodied with the Munich agreement.

Indeed, this is the fate of peoples along history. Leaders’ march of folly according to Barbara Tuchman is pervasive and consecutive. She quotes the biographer of Philip the Second, king of Spain, who was the most ‘narrow-minded empty-headed of all the kings of Europe, so that nothing could have changed his mind that his policy is not perfect.’ Tennessee Williams has noticed: ‘if people were to behave like their leaders and their governments, they would have been put to a lunatic garment.’ And Sigmund Freud has put it: ‘when it comes to stupidity human beings are geniuses.

However, the most acute problem facing the Free World today is the deep breach of basic norms and values. The Free World believes in democracy, the rule of law, civil rights and human freedoms. These do not exist among the World Jihad Groups. For them to achieve their targets everything is allowed and legitimate. They slit throats; they send homicide bombers; they blast and murder innocent people, and that is exactly the problem.

Throughout the history of war, the international community has managed to legislate on warfare laws. Moral norms were created, which determined what is permitted and what is prohibited. However, the problem is that the free world is still suffering from the delusions of the existence of the rules of law, as if these also suit the struggle against the Apocalyptic Global Jihad Groups.

The international community assesses and judges Islamic terrorism by the same standards of the laws of war, since it has not succeeded in creating a normative system appropriate to the new reality. There is not yet an international consensus regarding the definition of terrorism; It is totally impossible, even unforgivable, to confront terrorism with irrelevant laws and norms; It is not possible to deal with it, to prevent its substantive threat with the existing legal tools.

Seemingly, one cannot combat terrorism through legalistic means with the existing general and civil law. Terrorism is not a sin, or a crime, or a felony. Therefore it is imperative to establish special judicial procedures and to empanel special military tribunals in order to judge terrorists. The war on terrorists, the struggle must be total and uncompromising.

Professor Alan Dershowitz explains:

The rules of war enable terror: the Geneva conventions are so outdated, and are written so broadly that they have become a sword used by terrorists to kill civilians, rather than a shield to protect civilians from terrorists. International laws have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, and human rights are being used to promote human evils. The terrorists use suicide bombers, who believe that their reward awaits them in another world, without a “return address”. The terrorists deliberately hide among civilians. They don’t wear military uniforms; they use ambulances and women to execute terrorist acts, and children as carriers of lethal explosives. At the same time they accuse Israel and the United States of killing civilians and violation of international law. Time has come to revisit the laws of war and make them relevant to the new lethal realities.    

Ted Lapkin asks: “Does human rights law applies to terrorists?

Islamic zealots draw no distinction between combatants and non-combatants. Jihadists target women, children and the elderly, without the pretense of discrimination. These Jihadists neither wore uniforms nor respected the Geneva conventions. They are illegal hideous terrorists rather than prisoners of war. Academics and human rights activists insist that the Geneva Conventions must be universally applied. Yet, the third Convention explicitly states that parties need not apply it to all conflicts, especially when the foes are not parties and the enemies do not abide by its terms. By violating every tenet of international law, terrorist groups forfeit any entitlement to protection under the Geneva Conventions.    

Daniel Greenfield is correct stressing  

On the face of it, banning Islam is difficult in the United States because of the First Amendment. However, here is exactly the solution: the separation of church and state was meant to protect the integrity of both, and avoid power struggles between religious groups. There was to be no state religion and the government could not leverage religious authority, and this is exactly what Islam demand to impose, the Shari’ah as a state law. This is what domestic advocates, such as Noah Feldman, are pushing for. Judicially, Islam as an Established Religion in the US, is itself a violation of the First Amendment. Furthermore, Islam abridges the remaining portions of the First Amendment, which protect Freedom of Speech and the Press. Islam rejects both of these. Islam and the Constitution of the US are totally incompatible, like Communism and Nazism. There are numerous verses in the Qur’an which similarly call for Muslims to subjugate non-Muslims and to butcher them. Participation in any Muslim organization therefore becomes the equivalent of participating in a Communist organization, and can be banned. So, while we cannot ban an individual from personally believing in Islam, we can ban Islamic practices and organizations. Thus we can ban Islam from the public sphere, ban Muslim organizations as criminal organizations, criminalize Muslim practices and deport Muslims citizens.

If one accepts these premises, than the winning slogan has to be: fighting terrorism; not negotiating with it. This is perhaps the most important principle: never surrender to terrorism; never yield to its demands. Although they say ‘never say never,’ this is the right place to say ‘never.’ Even a weak state could overcome its own terrorist organizations, provided it is resolute and committed to the security of its citizens.

The terrorists are a collection of violent murderers without any trace of humanity and morality. They operate through dehumanization of citizens to employ indiscriminate terrorism to topple down states and government and to destroy institutions. At the same time, they are assisted by irresoluteness of Western society, supported by the media and the academia which disseminates the tidings of violence, and distort the realities of the issues.

Terrorism is thus magnified as victorious, compare to its true ability. Western public opinion must sober up to face reality, and the media must internalize that the bombastic publications it gives them is disastrous. The media is too important in democracy and it must take responsibility on what it publishes.

‘Abd al-Rahman al-Rashed, director-general of the al-Arabiya:

Most terrorist crimes are linked to the Internet. One terrorist group murders and a group of extremists justify it and recruit others. The Internet has become an effective tool for terrorists. The sources of intellectual danger today are the media that must take responsibility, and the Internet, that must be censored.

Mamoun Fandy, an Egyptian intellectual called upon the media to take responsibility:

It is regrettable that Western media channels, particularly CNN and the BBC, host Islamist activists who support terrorism and treat them as experts and analysts. Only two things can stop terrorism: issuing fatwas removing bin Laden and his supporters from the fold of Islam, and the West ceasing to be naïve about the existence of ‘moderate Islamists.”

What are the practical implications? Acquaintance with Arab-Islamic political culture leads to the conclusions that the results are just the opposite: more appeasement brings more aggression; more tolerance brings more violence; more peace declarations brings terrorist actions; more lowering the profile brings more audacity in demands; more disregard of closing the eyes brings more externalization and aggressive demands; more assumption of the guilt brings more intensification of the counter-accusations; more desire to understand and coming to terms with them brings more claims of “I deserve getting it all”; more financial aid and support brings more corruption and deepening of the masses’ poverty.

The Egyptian liberal intellectual ‘Amr Isma’il comments and criticizes Arab behavior and political culture:

Why can’t the Arabs see things as the rest of the world? Why do we always feel that someone is conspiring against us, and that he is the cause of our problems and our cultural and economic backwardness? Why are we not able to criticize ourselves and see anyone outside as an enemy of our interests? Why do we talk by means of bullets, car bombs, and violence of suicide bombing? Why do we kill and slit throats in the name of Allah, and at the same time protest angrily when others depict Muslims as terrorists? Why are we the only nation that still uses religion, Islam, and the name of Allah in everything? We kill in the name of Allah, we blow up people in the name of Allah, and we slit throats in the name of Islam. Why we do not ask ourselves why no other religious group perpetrates these acts of atrocity? Why we do not ask ourselves what the roots of our extremist thinking are, and who should be blame for? Why we always blame others of intervening in our internal affairs, and we do not look at our deeds?

That is, states must prepare a strategy of pre-emption, not retaliation. The only way to overcome terrorism is to combat and liquidate it with no vacillation. The war against terrorism must be an all-out war. It is the absolute obligation of governments to act resolutely to remove the threats of terrorism. The preferred method is a strategy of pre-emption and not a policy of retaliation.

The classic military strategy was based on deterrence. The basis of world struggle against terrorism is the assumption that they will act “rationally” and will “play fair”. However, we do not take into consideration the possibility of inhuman terrorism or a non-conventional bomb in terrorists’ hands. We must bear in mind that containment defense does not constitute a strategic answer under these circumstances. The advisable strategy requires directed at military initiatives accompanied by political commitment and operational determination to win this battle over.

The consequences: war on the terrorists is symbolized by the phrase: “if you want to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.” It is impossible to reach accommodation with terrorists as one must not negotiate with them, and that a policy of appeasement leads directly to hell. Indeed, “Let the military win” is the vital winning strategy. Any compromise with terrorism, any attempt to appease or to understand it, any negotiation with it is doomed to failure. It is impossible to bring terrorism to realpolitik understanding. Only with determination, perseverance and commitment to the total elimination of terrorism it will be possible for the free world to survive.

The apocalyptic global Jihad groups persist with their horrific activity due to their assessment that the free world is exhausted and divided, and that its weak leadership and hedonist public opinion will eventually surrender. Those who continue to reiterate the mantra that there is no military solution but political accommodations guarantee that the march of victory of terrorism continues. It was Winston Churchill remarkably on target, in reacting to Chamberlain’s defeatist policy: ‘You have chosen shame out of fear of war, and you have received both the shame and the war.’

The slogan that ‘we are doing its best’ is totally out of place. What the Free World does, primarily, is a retaliatory policy to put out fires and respond to immediate challenges. There are no initiatives and no strategic planning. The onslaught against terrorism is not according to a planned policy based on long-term thinking, but attempted by quickly moving on from one to another experiment. There is no insight regarding the defending of national interests. A nation that lacks the desire to kill and be killed will not exist. Leaders must change their working strategy concerning terrorism to ‘worst case-analysis.’

Critical attention should be put on the significance of world public opinion, and shaping of the communication media as a strategic policy to a more responsible policy. The proper strategy is the one adopted by Winston Churchill: on the one hand the realism of “blood, sweat and tears” and on the other, commitment and resoluteness in war until the enemy is vanquished. The free world must consider the struggle against the apocalyptic global Jihad groups according to principles of “zero-sum-game”, which means no compromise, no concession, and no accommodation. If these perceptions are internalized, the free world will prevail, as the main fight is cultural.

Waffa Sultan, the Syrian Arab-American psychiatrist puts it:

The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, and the violation of these rights. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What is happening is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness, and ignorance of the Muslims.

Muhammad Mahfouz (Saudi Gazette December 30, 2004) declares:

It is cultural and religious factors that motivate to murder and beheadings of innocent people, carried out by brain-washed groups. Any delay in fighting this ideological cultural battle will drag society to an abyss of instability. Elimination of terrorism and violence are associated with uprooting the culture of violence which promotes killing, justifies and legitimize terrorism. This is the battle of culture.

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U.S.: From mass airstrikes to targeted terrorist attack

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The U.S.-led military operation “Inherent Resolve” has begun in August 2014. Its ostensible purpose was a struggle with the gaining ground ISIS at that moment. As the operation develops, Australia, France, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Belgium and other countries joined the American airstrikes.

United forces, with purposes to show power and strengthen its influence in the region carried out more than three thousand airstrikes in the first year, resulting in thousands of victims among civilians. It is worth to note that member states of the coalition didn’t try to hide the fact that their actions caused the death of thousands of people. In 2018, British authorities justified civilian deaths by the fact that militants used them as human shields and it was impossible task to minimize losses.

According to “Airwars”, the British non-government organization, from 2014 till 2019 up to 13,190 civilians were killed in Iraq and Syria as a result of the international coalition actions.

However, despite all the “efforts” and the Pentagon’s loud statements about the fight against international terrorism, the fact of the continuously growing territory controlled by the militants testifies the opposite. In addition, since 2015, facts of provided by Washington direct support to terrorists have begun to be revealed. U.S. and its allies produced weapons were repeatedly found in the territories liberated from jihadists. So, for example in 2017 during armed clashes with government troops militants used anti-tank TOW-2 and SAMS air defense systems of the U.S. production. Also, American medicines, communication tools and even component kits for UAVs were found in positions abandoned by terrorists.

The negative reaction of the international community began to rise in this context and Washington had no choice but to change the strategy of its activity in Syria. The practice of mass airstrikes was replaced by targeted terrorist attacks against government forces by their backed militants.

For implementing of such kind of actions, U.S. retained its military presence in Homs province where their military base Al-Tanf is deployed. A huge amount of evidence U.S. servicemen training armed groups fighters is widely accessible. Moreover it’s known that 55 km zone around Al-Tanf has been inaccessible to government troops for years and Syrian army attempts to enter the area were suppressed by the U.S. airstrikes.

At the same time, IS militants have been spotted moving in this region without encumbrance and used the base as a safe zone for regrouping. Terrorists slipped in Deir ez-Zor, Palmyra, as well as Daraa and As-Suwayda from this area. In addition, the U.S. has created the Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra group to fight government forces in the eastern section of the border between Syria and Iraq. Initially, the armed group was created to fight against government troops, but after a number of defeats they started to protect the area around the Al-Tanf.

Up to the date Washington continues to insist on Bashar al-Assad government “illegitimacy” and actively supports so-called moderate opposition. Pursuing its selfish economic and political goals, the United States counters to the international law, completely ignoring the tens of thousands victims among civilians and millions of refugees flooded Europe. Although the role of the White House and its allies in supporting terrorist groups is difficult to overestimate, the United States obviously will not consider it enough.

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FATF: A Sword of Damocles or a tool of financial discipline?

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Pakistan has been groaning under the Financial Action Task Force restrictions. There is marked contrast between Pakistan’s and India’s view of Pakistan’s current status, compliant or tardy with regard to most of the conditions. Pakistan oozes optimism that it has complied with most of the conditions.  India however is pessimistic about Pakistan’s ability to get over the bar anytime soon.

Anti-money-laundering legislation

One hurdle to meet the FATF conditionalities was to have a permanent mechanism to nab and prosecute the offenders. Pakistan’s federal cabinet has already approved a new set of rules to amend Anti-Money-Laundering (Forfeited Properties Management) Rules 2021 and the AML (Referral) Rules 2021. Thus, Pak government is now all set to set to introduce new rules on forfeiture, management and auction of properties and assets relating to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) cases and transfer of investigations and prosecution of AML cases from police, provincial anti-corruption establishments (ACEs) and other similar agencies to specialised agencies to achieve remaining benchmarks of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

These rules and related notifications for certain changes in existing schedule of Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 (AMLA) would come into force immediately to be followed by appointment of administrators and special public prosecutors for implementation.

These legislative steps would help the FATF determine whether Pakistan has complied with three outstanding benchmarks, out of 27, that blocked its exit from the so-called grey list in February this year. The FATF has planned several meetings in the second week of June, ending in the FATF plenary on June 21-25.

The three outstanding action points (out of total 27) include (i) demonstrating that terrorist financing (TF) investigations and prosecutions target persons and entities acting on behalf or at the directive of the designated persons or entities; (ii) demonstrating that TF prosecutions result in effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions; and (iii) demonstrating effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions against all designated terrorists, particularly those acting for them or on their behalf.

Within framework of the amended rules, the Pak government would appoint dozens of administrators with the powers to confiscate, receive, manage, rent out, auction, transfer or dispose of or take all other measures to preserve the value of the properties and perishable or non-perishable assets (including those at go downs, maalkhanas or any other place) to be confiscated under the AML 2010 rules or court orders pursuant to proceedings under AMLA 2010.

The regional directors of the Anti-Narcotics Force would be designated as administrators for the ANF, customs collectors for the Federal Board of Revenue, directors of directorates of intelligence and investigation of the Inland Revenue Service for the IRS, zonal directors for FIA and additional directors of recovery, disposal and assets management cells for National Accountability Bureau.

Valuation of inventories

The AML (Forfeited Properties Management) Rules 2021 specify how the inventories would be measured, described or defined, protected and evaluated for auction and how to complete all processes thereto, including constitution of auction committees and how properties would be quantified or classified like if a property is of residential, commercial or industrial nature and what should be its market value or sale price etc.

For example, the movable case property worth more than Rs100,000 would be kept in the locker or vault in the State Bank of Pakistan, district or tehsil treasury or any nationalised bank. For withdrawal of such movable properties, the agency concerned would designate two officers of grade-17 or above and prior written permission of next supervisory officer of the agency would be required.

Each agency would establish a central asset recovery office to ensure assets recovery and management of the forfeited property and keep a designated central account with the SBP maintained by the ministry of finance where proceeds of property would be remitted by all agencies after attainment of the finality of forfeiture order by a court. All investigating and prosecuting agencies would exchange financial intelligence and information about the properties with other stakeholders for expeditious confiscation and forfeiture under the AMLA 2010.

Transfer of cases to competent authorities

The Anti-Money Laundering (Referral) Rules, 2021 are being introduced to enable transfer of the cases from one set of investigation agencies to another. If police, the ACEs or any other governmental organisations, other than investigating and prosecution agency under the AMLA, finds that an offence under the AMLA 2010 has been committed and such agency lacks jurisdiction to take cognizance of it, the head of such would refer the matter to the head of the agency concerned having jurisdiction to investigate.

Police, the ACEs or other governmental organisations would continue an inquiry or an investigation of the offence and would take necessary measures to preserve and retrieve the relevant information and evidence and case properties till formal acceptance by the investigating and prosecuting agency concerned as set out in the relevant clause of the AMLA and formal handing over and taking over of complete record.

After acceptance of the case by the competent investigating and prosecuting agency, police or ACEs etc would hand over complete record, including case files, record of proceedings and seizure memos along with relevant evidence, property and other material seized and the accused in custody, if any. Such investigating and prosecuting agencies would resume all the proceedings under the said act including to examine, re-examine persons concerned and other oral and documentary evidence and would expeditiously take steps as necessary for just finalisation of the proceedings.

Adequate number of special public prosecutors would be appointed for the Anti-Narcotics Force and Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) besides a separate panel of lawyers for customs and the Internal Revenue Service of the Federal board of Revenue. Also, law officers not below the rank of assistant director legal would be appointed for the Federal Investigating Agency and special public prosecutors for the National Accountability Bureau.

Pakistan also has to issue “National Policy Statement on Follow the Money (NPSFM)”. Through this statement and rules listed above, Pakistan’s compliance with FATF recommendations in Post Observation Period Report (POPR) would further improve with corresponding enhancement in the ratings or effectiveness of the FATF’s relevant Immediate Outcomes. Pakistan’s POPR would be reviewed by the FATF’s Asia-Pacific Joint Group (A-PJG), and based on the report of this group, the FATF would decide further course of action on Pakistan’s progress on the POPR in its plenary scheduled in June 21-25, 2021.

The NPSFM commits Pakistan to tackling money laundering and terrorist financing as a matter of priority during investigations, prosecutions, and subsequent confiscation in all money laundering, terrorism financing and high risk predicate crimes by adopting universal approach to combating money-laundering and terror-financing through generating sound and effective financial intelligence reports for the consumption of law enforcement agencies and maintaining risk-sensitive anti-money-laundering  regime to enhance cooperation and coordination amongst the such  stakeholders both domestically and internationally.

The government is also committed to protecting the financial system and the broader economy in Pakistan from criminality through a robust financial system to ensure that dirty money does not find its ways into the financial system. The government would ensure a robust beneficiary identification system, deterring financial crime as it deprives criminals of the proceeds of their crimes and removes financial support for terrorism and further ensures that targeted financial sanctions are implemented in letter and spirit.

Further, it would ensure a transparent, robust and efficient approach to investigating money laundering and terrorist financing and to the seizure, confiscation and management of criminal assets by supporting relevant agencies in cooperatively achieving this goal.

Compliance

 The Asia Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering has improved Pakistan’s rating on 21 of the 40 technical recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) against money laundering and terror financing, but retained it on ‘Enhanced Follow-up’ for sufficient outstanding requirements.

The second Follow-Up Report (FUR) on Mutual Evaluation of Pakistan released by the APG — a regional affiliate of the Paris-based FATF — also downgraded the country on one criterion. The report said Pakistan was re-rated to ‘compliant’ status on five counts and on 15 others to ‘largely compliant’ and on yet another count to ‘partially compliant’.

Overall, Pakistan is now fully ‘compliant’ with seven recommendations and ‘largely compliant’ with 24 others. The country is ‘partially compliant’ with seven recommendations and ‘non-compliant’ with two out of total 40 recommendations. All in all, Pakistan is now compliant or largely compliant with 31 out of 40 FATF recommendations.

The Asia Pacific Group announced,

“Overall, Pakistan has made notable progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) and has been re-rated on 22 recommendations,”.

It said recommendations 14, 19, 20, 21 and 27 had been re-rated to comply. These pertain to money or value transfer services, higher risk countries, reporting of suspicious transactions, tipping-off and confidentiality and powers of supervisors.

The APG said Pakistan was re-rated to largely compliant with 15 recommendations — 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, 32, 35 and 40. These include assessing risk and adopting a risk-based approach, targeted financial sanctions relating to terror and terror financing, targeted financial sanctions related to proliferation, non-profit organisation, politically exposed persons and reliance on third parties.

Also, re-rating was done on designated non-financial business & professions (DNFBP) in terms of due diligence and other measures, transparency in beneficial ownership of legal persons and related legal arrangements, responsibilities of law enforcement and investigation authorities, cash couriers, sanctions and other forms of international cooperation.

Another re-rating to partially compliant status was done on recommendation 28 that pertained to regulation and supervision of DNFBPs. The two recommendations on which Pakistan was downgraded to ‘non-complaint’ were 37 and 38 due to insufficient progress and pertained to mutual legal assistance (MLA) with other countries and freezing and confiscation of assets and accounts.

Negative impact of rigorous compliance

The managers of financial institutions in Pakistan are implementing the FATF conditions  without understanding their purpose. They are harassing honest investors. For instance, the manager of the national Saving Centre Poonch house Rawalpindi refuses to issue an investment certificate  unless the applicant submits a host of documents. These documents include a current bank statement, source-of-income certificate besides biodata along with a passport-size photograph. They call for the documents even if the applicant submits a cheque on his 40-year-old bank account.

Deviation from objectives

The financial Action Task Force has ostensibly noble objectives. It provides a `legal’, regulatory, framework for muzzling the hydra-headed monster of money-laundering. It aims at identifying loopholes in the prevailing financial system and plugging them. But, it has deviated from its declared objectives. It has became a tool to coerce countries, accused of financing terrorism or facilitating money-laundering. The FATF is more interested in disciplining a state like Pakistan, not toeing US policies, than in checking money-laundering. The tacit message is that if Pakistan does not toe USA’s  Afghan policy, and lease out air bases for drone attacks, then it will remain on FATF grey list.  

The consequences of being in the grey list may entail economic sanctions and difficulties in obtaining loans from international donors like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The trade-and-aid difficulties may retard economic progress of a country.

Favoritism towards India: India has a much larger Gross Domestic Product (US$2875 billion , 2019),  than Pakistan’s paltry US$ 264 billion (2020).Similarly India has a much larger and wealthier Diaspora than Pakistan particularly in the Middle East and the USA.

The hawala (hand to hand transactions) and other money transfer practices among Indians and Pakistanis are similar. Yet the FATF keeps Pakistan always in focus and looks the other way when it comes to India.

Pakistan is a bête noire and India a protégé at the FATF only because of stark geo-political interests. Otherwise the money laundering situation in India is no less gruesome in India than in Pakistan. India has even been a conduit of ammunition to the Islamic State study conducted by Conflict Armament Research had confirmed that seven Indian companies were involved in the supply chain of over 700 components, including fuses or detonating cords used by the so-called Islamic State to construct improvised explosive devices.

Concluding remark

Political considerations, not primary objectives, override voting behavior at the FATF.

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The Autopsy of Jihadism in the United States

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The American counter-terrorism establishment is shocked to know that its current terrorist threat, contrary to conventional wisdom, is not foreign but “a large majority of jihadist terrorists in the United States have been American citizens or legal residents”.

A terror threat assessment by NewAmerica, a think tank comprehensive, up-to-date source of online information about terrorist activity in the United States and by Americans overseas since 9/11, 20 years after 9/11 reported: “…while a range of citizenship statuses are represented, every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident except one who was in the United States as part of the U.S.-Saudi military training partnership”.

The ultimate irony is NewAmerica quoting a terrorist to underline the seriousness of the threat: “Yet today, as Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born cleric who became a leader in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, put it in a 2010 post, ‘Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie’.”

Since 9/11 and today, the United States faced just “one case of a jihadist foreign terrorist organization directing a deadly attack inside the United States since 9/11, or of a deadly jihadist attacker receiving training or support from groups abroad”. The report recalls: “That case is the attack at the Naval Air Station Pensacola on December 6, 2019, when Mohammed Al-Shamrani shot and killed three people. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed the attack and according to the FBI, evidence from Al-Shamrani’s phone  he was in contact with an AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula) militant and AQAP prior to his entry to the United States…”

In the last two decades, “jihadists” have killed 107 people inside the United States. Compare this with deaths occurring due to major crimes: 114 people were killed by far-right terrorism (consisting of anti-government, militia, white supremacist, and anti-abortion violence), 12 and nine people, respectively, killed in attacks “inspired by black separatist/nationalist ideology and ideological misogyny”. Attacks by people with Far-Left views have killed one person. It just goes to show that terrorism inside the United States is no longer the handiwork of foreign or “jihadi” ideologies, but is “homegrown”, the report points out.

The report points out a poor understanding of the terror threat and its roots by the Trump administration. A week into his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order banning entry of citizens of seven Muslim countries into the United States. The countries were: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. Th order cited “national security” as the reason, but gave no real justification.

Trump’s aides tried to find some justification for the order claiming that in the administration’s assessment the United States was and will be the prime target of terrorist organisations from these countries. The same report clarifies how wrong this assessment was: “None of the deadly attackers since 9/11 emigrated or came from a family that emigrated from one of these countries nor were any of the 9/11 attackers from the listed countries. Nine of the lethal attackers were born American citizens. One of the attackers was in the United States on a non-immigrant visa as part of the U.S.-Saudi military training partnership.”

President Trump had to swallow his pride and gradually revoke his order. In early March of 2017, he revised the order excluding Iraq from the ban list. That September, he dropped Sudan too, but added North Korea, Venezuela and Chad.

In the last two decades since 9/11, there have been 16 “lethal jihadist terrorists in the United States”. Of them, “three are African-Americans, three are from families that hailed originally from Pakistan, one was born in Virginia to Palestinian immigrant parents, one was born in Kuwait to Palestinian-Jordanian parents, one was born in New York to a family from Afghanistan, two are white converts – one born in Texas, another in Florida, two came from Russia as youth, one emigrated from Egypt and conducted his attack a decade after coming to the United States, one emigrated from Uzbekistan and one was a Saudi Air Force officer in the United States for military training”. Nobody from the banned countries, nobody foreign citizens; all were American citizens.

What is more embarrassing for the Trump administration is the report saying: “When the data is extended to include individuals who conducted attacks inside the United States that were foiled or otherwise failed to kill anyone, there are only four cases that the travel ban could have applied to. However, in at least two of those cases, the individual entered the United States as a child. In a third case the individual had a history of mental illness and assault not related to jihadist terrorism. In a fifth, non-lethal attack Adam al-Sahli, who conducted a shooting at a military base in Corpus Christi on May 21, 2020, was born in Syria but was a citizen because his father was an American citizen and thus would not have been subject to the travel ban.”

The NewAmerica assessment, in contrast to the executive order, finds concrete evidence to suggest that the terror threat is “homegrown”. It gives the example of Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar, “a naturalised citizen from Iran”, who on March 3, 2006 drove a car into a group of students at the University of North Carolina, injuring nine people. “Taheri-Azar, though born in Iran, came to the United States at the age of two” and “his radicalization was homegrown inside the United States”. On September 17, 2016 Dahir Adan, a naturalized citizen from Somalia, injured 10 people while wielding a knife at a mall in Minnesota. He too had come to the United States as a young child.

There are more such instances: “On November 28, 2016 Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 18-year-old legal permanent resident who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia in 2014 — having left Somalia for Pakistan in 2007 — injured eleven people when he rammed a car into his fellow students on the campus of Ohio State University…However, it is not clear that the attack provides support for Trump’s travel ban.

In Artan’s case, he left Somalia as a pre-teen, and “if he was radicalized abroad, it most likely occurred while in Pakistan”, which is not included on the travel ban. The report says the chances of him being radicalised inside the United States are more. This is based on the fact that “in a Facebook posting prior to his attack, he cited Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric born in the United States, whose work — which draws largely upon American culture and history — has helped radicalize a wide range of extremists in the United States including those born in the United States”.

There are several other pointers to the “homegrown” theory. For one, a “large proportion of jihadists in the United States since 9/11 have been converts”. There are “jihadists” who are non-Muslims. These facts “challenge visions of counterterrorism policy that rely on immigration restrictions or focus almost entirely on second generation immigrant populations”, the report says, debunking the Trump executive order.

The NewAmerica report debunks the assumption that only “hot headed” people are attracted to jihadist extremism. It finds that “participation in jihadist terrorism has appealed to individuals ranging from young teenagers to those in their advanced years (and) many of those involved have been married and even had kids – far from the stereotype of the lone, angry youngster”.

Women have broken the glass ceiling of jihadist terrorism as “more women have been accused of jihadist terrorism crimes in recent years” inside the United States.

The expansion of the social media world has played a singular role in radicalising American youth. “Many extremists today either maintain public social media profiles displaying jihadist rhetoric or imagery or have communicated online using encrypted messaging apps. The percentage of cases involving such online activity has increased over time.” Al Qaeda terrorists became key figures in this proliferation. They “fine-tuned the message and the distribution apparatus” and “put out extremist propaganda via websites and YouTube videos”.

America’s jihadists were never an immigration problem, the biggest jihadist terror threat U.S faces today is “homegrown”.

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