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.
Terrorism and FATF’s Sword of Damocles
Pakistan is struggling hard to wriggle out of the Financial-Action –Task-Force grey. Pakistan needs 15 out of 39 votes to get rid of being listed. But, it may remain on grey list if it gets only three votes.
The whole listing procedure looks biased as it does not accommodate Pakistan’s perception. The main allegation is that Pakistan harborus UN-designated terrorists. But, the yardstick with which the US measures its allegation is lopsided. The UN views ongoing freedom movement in the Jammu and Kashmir State, a dispute d territory under UN resolutions, `terrorism’, aided by Pakistan.
In the historical context, the term meant different things to different individuals and communities. The oldest ‘terrorists’ were holy warriors who killed civilians. Recent examples of religious terrorists are Aum Shinrikyo (Japanese), Rabbi Meir Kahane and Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir (Jews).The Jewish-controlled media describes Hezbollah and Hamas as ‘religious terrorists’. In the first century A.D Palestine, the Jews publicly slit the Romans’ throats, in the seventh century India, the thugs strangulated gullible passersby to please the Hindu Devi Kali, and the 19th century adherents of Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will) mercilessly killed their pro-Tsar rivals.
`Terrorist’ and `freedom fighter’ had been interchangeable labels subject to expediency. Not long ago the US treated the taliban as freedom fighters. Ronald Reagan accorded red carpeted welcome to Jalluddin Haqqani. Cuban terrorists were decorated in US gallery as freedom fighters.
The term ‘terrorism’ received international publicity during the French reign of terror in 1793-94. It is now common to dub one’s adversary a ‘terrorist’. Doing so forecloses possibility of political negotiation, and gives the powerful definer the right to eliminate the ‘terrorist’, an individual or a country. FATF is employed as a Sword of Damoclese in case of Pakistan.
Doval doctrine: In line with India’s security Czar Ajit Doval’s Doctrine, RAW aims at fomenting insurgency in Pakistan’s sensitive provinces. Doval is inspired by India’s nefarious efforts which resulted in the secession of East Pakistan. Naila Baloch’s `free Balochistan’ office has been working in New Delhi since 23 June 2018. BJP MLAs and RAW officers attended its inauguration.
B Raman in his books admitted that not only India’s then prime minister Indra Gandhi but also the heads of RAW and IB created and trained Mukti Bahini. Doval publicly claims that he acted as a spy under a pseudonym in Pakistan for 11 years.
`Free Balochistan’: It sponsored offensive posters on taxi cabs and buses in Switzerland and Britain. The USA has recently outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army. However, earlier, in 2012, a handful of Republican had moved a pro-separatist bill in US Congress. It demanded `the right to self-determination’.
Aid to Afghan insurgents: India’s ambassador Bharath Raj Muthu Kumar, with the consent of then foreign minister Jaswant Singh, `coordinated military and medical assistance that India was secretly giving to Massoud and his forces’… `helicopters, uniforms, ordnance, mortars, small armaments, refurbished Kalashnikovs seized in Kashmir, combat and winter clothes, packaged food, medicines, and funds through his brother in London, Wali Massoud’, delivered circuitously with the help of other countries who helped this outreach’. When New Delhi queried about the benefit of costly support to Northern Alliance chief Massoud, Kumar explained, “He is battling someone we should be battling. When Massoud fights the Taliban, he fights Pakistan.”
Pushtun Tahafuz Movement: Pushtun Tahafuz Movement is apparently being backed byA India. In their over-ebullient speeches, PTM’s leaders openly scold Pakistan’s national security institutions. For instance, Manzoor Pashteen, in an interview, berates Pak army operations and extols drone strikes. He says, ‘The army did not eliminate even a single Taliban leader. All the 87 Taliban commanders killed in the last 18 years were eliminated in drone strikes’. At a PTM meeting in Britain, even Malala Yusafzai’s father (Ziauddin), like His Master’s Voice, echoed anti-Army sentiments. He said, “Pakistan army and intelligence agencies knew that Fazalullah was a terrorist who continued to operate a radio station in Swat.”
RAW officers Raman’s and RK Yadav’s self-incriminating disclosures: In a published letter, Yadav made startling revelation that India’s prime minister Indira Gandhi, parliament, RAW and armed forces acted in tandem to dismember Pakistan. The confessions in his letter are corroborated by B. Raman’s book The Kaoboys of R&AW. He reminds `Indian parliament passed resolution on March 31, 1971 to support insurgency. Indira Gandhi had then confided with Kao that in case Mujib was prevented , from ruling Pakistan, she would liberate East Pakistan from the clutches of the military junta. Kao, through one RAW agent, got hijacked a Fokker Friendship, the Ganga, of Indian Airlines hijacked from Srinagar to Lahore.
Kulbushan Jadhav unmasked: Jadhav was an Indian Navy officer, attached to RAW. His mission was to covertly carry out espionage and terrorism in Pakistan. Pakistan also alleged there were Indian markings on arms deliveries to Baloch rebels pushed by Jadhav. To India’s chagrin, India’s investigative journalists confirmed from Gazettes of India that he was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1987 with the service ID of 41558Z Kulbhushan Sudhir. A later edition of the Gazette showed his promotion to the rank of commander after 13 years of service in 2000. His passport, E6934766, indicated he traveled to Iran from Pune as Hussein Mubarak Patel in December 2003. Another of his Passports, No. L9630722 (issued from Thane in 2014), inadvertently exposed his correct address: Jasdanwala Complex, old Mumbai-Pune Road, cutting through Navi Mumbai. The municipal records confirmed that the flat he lived in was owned by his mother, Avanti Jadhav. Furthermore, in his testimony before a Karachi magistrate, Karachi underworld figure Uzair Baloch confessed he had links with Jadhav. India’s prestigious Frontline surmised that Jadhav still served with the Indian Navy. Gazette of India files bore no record of Jadhav’s retirement. India told the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Jadhav was a retired naval officer. But, it refrained from stating exactly when he retired. The spy initially worked for Naval Intelligence, but later moved on to the Intelligence Bureau. He came in contact with RAW in 2010.
Unexplained contradiction: It is not understood why freedom movement in disputed Kashmir is terrorism while India-sponsored insurgency, followed by armed intervention, in erstwhile East Pakistan isn’t. B. Raman, in his book The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane makes no bones about India’s involvement up to the level of prime minister in Bangladesh’s insurgency. One is shocked to read accounts of former diplomats and RAW officers about executing insurgencies in some other neighbouring countries also.
Conclusion: India portrays the freedom movement in Kashmir as `terrorism’. What about India’s terrorism in neighbouring countries? Will the world take notice of confessions by India’s former intelligence officers and diplomats? Pakistani outfits sdympathising with kashmiri freedom fighters are dubbed as terrorists. But, Indians abetting terrorism in Sri Lanka, or supplying IED components to ISIS go scot free.
B Raman ‘s book, and RK Yadav’s letter of 14 August 2015 published in Indian and Nepalese media confirms India’s involvement in terrorism against Pakistan. Kalbushan Jhadav wanted to replay the Mukti Bahini experience in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The conduct of Indian diplomats amounts to state-sponsored terrorism. For one thing, India should close the `Free Balochistan’ office on her soil, and stop resuscitating propaganda skeletons of pre-Bangladesh days.
Why FATF treats India as a protégé and Pakistan as a bête noire?
Indian media is never tired of describing Pakistan as hub of money laundering and terror financing in the world. Indian representatives echoed their babble in recent United Nations’ meeting also.
India makes no bones in declaring its intention to link Pulwama blasts with money trail to Pakistan. By doing so India hopes to get Pakistan blacklisted by Financial Action Task Force.
Little focus on money laundering and terror financing by India: Nowadays, Major powers’ geo-political and economic interests have forced them to ignore suspicious financial transactions by India. However, not long ago, the world was more concerned about money laundering in India than in Pakistan.
Even the USA called upon India to do more to prevent financing of terror networks. USA’s Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Anthony Wayne told the Senate Banking Committee, ‘In India, two accounts belonging to terrorist individuals/entities have been identified, but the Government of India has not frozen any assets to date. It is aware of the UN 1267 Committee List, however’, Wayne noted that India’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act `criminalises money laundering and requires banks and other financial institutions and intermediaries to report individual transactions valued over US$ 23,000 to the financial-investigation unit’. Wayne added, ‘India has also indicated it wants to join the Financial Action Task on Money Laundering. However, at a recent FATF plenary meeting in Paris, concerns were raised regarding its ability to provide effective international cooperation in a timely manner and to extend mutual legal assistance’.
Here is a glimpse of corrupt India. World Bank estimated that capital flight of Rs 50 to 100 crore took place in four fertilizer plants projects via Italian firm Snam Projetti. Minimum commission of seven percent was charged on imports of the public sector. Indian government paid no regard to the recommendations adopted by the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering, set up in July 1989 by the Paris summit of the seven most-developed countries. The conventional money-laundering techniques (smurfing, cover companies, etc.) are used to the hilt in India. The average amount stashed away from India during 2002-06 is US$27.3 billion (about 136,466 crore). It means that during the 2007-2018 period, the amount stashed away is 27.3×15=US$ 4, 095 billion. Just imagine the volume of money stashed abroad since 1947, including Nehruvian era when Birlas and Tatas gave blank cheque to Congress.
Lid on laundered money lifted: To what end, the laundered money is put is anyone’s guess. However, a recent document-based report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has blown the lid off the suspicious financial transactions by Indian banks, public and private sector companies.
The ICIJ report based on Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) files “represent less than 0.02% of the more than 12 million suspicious activity reports that financial institutions filed with FinCEN between 2011 and 2017.”
Earlier a 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 Islamic State to construct improvised explosive devices .Even the Sri Lanka blasts were linked to terrorists hiding in Indian Southern States. As an eye wash, India arrested Islamic State moles. To bypass banking channels, even gold and diamond are `legal tender’ for money laundering.
How the FATF favoured India: In both India and Pakistan, money laundering is popularly known as hawala, or hand –to-hand-transaction. The Financial Action Task Force was scheduled to review India’s money laundering and terrorist financing regime, a ten year cycle, in September-October 2020. But, it has been tentatively postponed to January February 2021 ostensibly `in view of COVID19 pandemic in India. The year-long review evaluates `Indian legal system against financial crimes at its plenary meeting in February 2022 and subsequently issue a statement and recommendation about the country.
The FATF happily agreed with India that `it is impossible for assessed jurisdictions and asssessories alike to conduct on-site visits and in-person meetings’ (no relaxation for Pakistan).
How India hoodwinked the 2013 FATF team: In the 2013 review, India managed to hoodwink the FATF by pleading that `it has set up a joint working group comprising 22 central investigation, intelligence-gathering and regulatory agencies to check illegal financial transactions. The agencies include the Central Bureau of Investigation. Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax Department, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Financial Intelligence Unit, Customs, Market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India, banking regulator and insurance regulator TRDAL.
The 2013 review team was much impressed by Rahul Navin, a 1993-batch Indian Revenue Service Officer of the Income Tax Department deputed with the Enforcement Directorate. Navin who had earlier worked with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development had authored a book Information Exchange and Tax Transparency: Tackling Global Tax Evasion and Avoidance.
How the ICIJ blew lid off India’s US$ 2 trillion money laundering and terror financing: The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based its report on two million Suspicious Activity Reports filed by prestigious banks with Financial and Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The ICIJ report is just tip of the iceberg. Its revelations are based on `only 0.02% of the more than 12 million suspicious activity reports that financial institutions filed with FinCEN between 2011 and 2017’. The US banks who filed reports include Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, BNY Mellello, Citibank, Standard-Chartered and JP Morgan. The reasons mentioned in the reports include `high-risk jurisdiction for money laundering or other financial crimes, adverse media or public information on the client’, unidentified parties, and the fact that source of funds and purpose of transaction could not be ascertained’. Not only the banks but also the public and private sector companies were the culprits. They include Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bhushan Steel Limited, Bharti Airtel and Essar. Heretofore is a bird’s-eye view of the findings.
Indian banks figure in over 2000 transactions, linked to Indian entities, valued at over US$ 1 billion (Rs. 7, 369 crore) between 2011 to 2017. These banks include State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, and Indus Ind Bank.
Open Question: While the ICIJ has shared the information with Buzzword and 108 other media outfits, India’s `Special Investigation Team on Black Money’ stays mum. The SIT was formed on the directions of India’s Supreme Court.
Inference: The FATF should undertake an even handed investigation to India’s multi-facetred money laundering and terror financing.
Stateless and Leftover ISIS Brides
While the World is busy fighting the pandemic and the economic devastation caused by it, one of the important problem that has been pushed to dormancy, is the status of the ISIS(Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) brides. The Pandemic has crippled the capacity of the law enforcement and exploiting this the ISIS executed attacks in Maldives, Iraq, and the Philippines. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that terrorists are exploiting the COVID-19 Pandemic. Albeit the ISIS has been defeated, approximately ten thousand of them are in ISIS detention centres in Northern Syria under Kurds. Most of these detention centres are filled by women and children, who are relatives or widows of the ISIS fighters. With their native states denouncing them, the status of the stateless women and children is unclear.
As it stands today states’ counter-terrorism approach has been primarily targeting male militants but women also have played a role in strengthening these terrorist organizations. Women involvement in militant organizations has increased as they perform several activities like birthing next-generation militants/jihadists, managing the logistics and recruiting the new members to the organizations. The world did not recognize women as key players in terrorist organizations until the 1980s when females held major roles in guerilla wars of southern America. Women have either willingly or unwillingly held a variety of roles in these extremist organizations and Islamist terrorist organizations like Hamas and al-Qaeda women do simply provide moral support.
According to the media reports since the US withdrawal from Iraq in 2006 female suicide attacks have been increased and they have been extensively part of ISIS. The ISIS had a female brigade which they called as Al-Khansaa which was established to perform search activities in the state. Both foreign and domestic recruits in the Islamic state have participated in brutal torture. A recently acquired logbook from a guesthouse in Syria provides important information about 1100 females who joined the organization, the western women who are called as ‘the muhajirat’.
When the people from rest of the world joined organizations such as ISIS, they burnt their passports and rejected their national identity. Especially women from western countries who were radicalized online based on their phenomenon ‘ISIS brides/Jihadi brides’ to marry terrorists. Since Islamic State isnot recognized by the world these marriages are not legally valid, apart from this a number of these brides have experienced sexual torture and extreme violence.
While the erstwhile members of the extremist organizations like ISIS and others are left adrift the one challenging question remaining is should states and their societies keep them and reengage or rehabilitate or prosecute them. How firmly the idea of their erstwhile organization is stuck in their minds and especially the followers who crossed the world to join remains a concern to many. The U.S backed Kurdish forces across turkey border hold thousands of these left-behind women and children in their centre. Hundreds of foreign women and children who were once part of an aspirant state, The caliphate are now floating around the concentration camps in Syria, Turkey and Kurdish detention centres and prisons. Many are waiting to return to their origin countries. They pose a unique challenge to their native states like whether to include them or not and even if they include how to integrate adults who at least for a time part of these terrorist organizations and what to do with children who are too young to understand the politics and obstacles keeping them in camps and detention centres where resources are scarce. Women present a problem because its hard to know what kind of crimes they have committed beyond the membership of the terrorist organization.
It is no secret that women also have been part of insurgency across the world, like in ISIS,LTTE,PIRA and PFLP. The responsibility of women in ISIS includes wife to ISIS soldiers, birthing the next generation of jihad and advancing ISIS’ global reach through online recruiting. The International Center for Study of Radicalization (ICAR) estimates that out of 40000 people joined ISIS from 80 different countries nearly 8000 are women and children. After the defeat of ISIS and such extreme organization those who are left behind possess the ideological commitment and practical skills which again a threat upon return to home countries.
The states across the world are either revoking the citizenship or ignore their responsibility. The most famous case of Shamima Begum a UK citizen married to an ISIS fighter whose citizenship was revoked by the UK government. In other cases like HodaMuthana of the USA and Iman Osman of Tunisia have been the same case. As recently as Tooba Gondal an ISIS bride who now in a detention camp in northern Syria begged to go home in the UK in a public apology.
The American president Donald Trump issued a statement saying women who joined ISIS cannot return. The NATO deputy head said “…returning ISIS fighters and brides must face full rigours of the law”. Revoking the citizenship and making someone stateless is illegal under international law and it is also important to know how gendered these cases are because the UK have successfully prosecuted Mohammad Uddin and the USA has also done it so. Stripping off their citizenship itself a punishment before proper trail and the only good out of it would state can take their hands off in dealing with cases. Samantha Elhassani the only American who repatriated from Iraq so far and pleaded guilty for supporting ISIS. Meanwhile, France is trying to route its citizens who joined the ISIS and extradited few who are under trial in Bagdad.
As experts and political analysts say “countries should take responsibility for their own citizens” because failure to do so will also make the long term situation more dangerous as jihadists will try to a hideout and turn into militant groups for their protection. The children, the second-generation ISIS need cultural centres and rehabilitation centres and this is an international problem. These women known as jihadists brides suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder and many are pregnant or multiple children born in ISIS territory.
In some countries travelling abroad to join the insurgencies in North Africa and Syria was not always a criminal act, Sweden criminalized such act recently but to prosecute them proof of offences committed in the conflict zone is difficult to collect and most countries in the world do not allow the pre-trial detention for more than 14 days. With problems of different national Lawson extradition and capital punishment and to prosecute them in conflict countries is also a challenge for states. Since Kurdish forces have signalled that they cannot bring all the prisoners into justice the home countries will have to act or else it might create a long term dangerous situation. With the civil war in Syria is about to end it is time to address these issues because since there are more ISIS fighters in Kurdish prisons and detention centres they could be influenced to join rebels who are fighting the regime of Assad in last standing province of Idlib.
If the governments reject the repatriation applications then they will be signalling that their action is essential for national security and thus asserting that failed or poorly resourced states are better equipped to handle potential extremists. The criminal system in Iraq is corrupt and human rights violations have been reported and which creates the risk of further radicalization. One should not forget that even citizenship of Osama bin laden was also stripped but which did not stop him from forming al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. If the citizens commit crimes and forget their responsibility then the states must bring them to justice instead of stripping citizenship. The states must come with a solution for this problem before its too late, setting up an international tribunal to deal with these cases would be a great start but these tribunals are time-consuming and expensive.
States must act as a responsible actor in the international system. Jihadist terrorism is a global problem and states must act together to deal with it because with nearly 40000 fighters joining caliphate from across the world it only shows how global and deeply rooted the phenomenon is. Instead of stripping their citizens’ citizenship, states must find a way to act together for the peace and security of the international community.
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