Sunday, January 15, 2012

On the jihadi threat from Pakistan

Anujan on BRF.

ramana wrote:
I beleive its the Indian demostration to use force in Kargil and in Op Parakram that deflected the jihadi wave inward. They couldn't go berserk inside India without paying consequences. This allowed the policy of showing a carrot for the stick is getting ever ready. The Running Start is now three days from 21 days.
All those jihadis all primed up had no where to go but stay inside TSP.

I wish to take a more nuanced view. I think the reason Pakistan is currently in pakistan is because the (Jihadi) export capability has grown in Pakistan at a far higher rate than the rate at which import capacity has grown in India.. And this is not due to Kargil and Parakram or Indian threat to retaliate. Let me explain:

As long as the rate at which Pakis trained terrorists matched the rate at which opportunity in India existed for terror, and as long as they trained "international terrorists" things were just fine. Now 2 things have happened. Political stability has been reached in Punjab, and political quasi-stability has been reached in JK. Terror opportunities have become low. Pakis on the other hand, instead of scaling back their Jihad machinery have increased it. Second reason is that they are training more "domestic terrorists". This is due to two reasons:

1. The infrastructure that they created for soviet jihad has become self-sustaining and a political force. For example, in increasing number of constituencies in Pakjab, nobody can win without SSP support. So you have major political parties currying favor with SSP and trying to act nice to them. Similarly, just like any corporation, organizations like LeT have innovated and gotten into the charity space and have started penetrating the education space, social services space, political space etc. So nobody in Pakistan has the spine (or the ability to take on the LeT).

2. A bridge has been created from the common people to the Jihadis. One does not simply grow up with a middle class progressive education and suddenly become a Jihadi. A bridge has to be created. In Pakistan, the religious parties and their agenda has created this bridge. This was because of Army wanting its own "democratic constituency". Remember MMA under Mushy anyone? These fellows, though not Jihadis themselves, are a quasi-Jihadis who dont train people for terror, but tell them that people of other religions are waji-bull-cutlet, take out processions against the Jews, burn effigies of the US, influence school curriculum.

Thus the nature of terrorists from Pakistan has changed. It is no longer the case of employing yahoos from select madrassas, taking them to a remote training facility in PoK and giving them a gun. It is now the case that terrorists are being produced right there in their schools and their society has become a terror training camp. If you are a kid in Pakistan, growing up reading in biology textbook that Hindus are to be exterminated, then attending a political rally supporting Aafiya, then donating to LeT during Eid, then volunteering for LeT's social activities, then talking to a mullah leading the effort, getting more radicalized and being trained for Jihad is one smooth affair.

Unfortunately (for Pakistan) these neo-Jihadis care more deeply about domestic politics. If Salman Taseer speaks out in favor of a Christian woman, they seethe. If someone tries to organize a dance performance, they fume. And who do they bomb? Pakistanis themselves. I do accept that if all these people were in India, Pakistan would be a peaceful place. But that is like arguing that if all these people were in the US, Pakistan would be a peaceful place.

The question remains: Why arent all these people in India? The answer is not Indian threats to retaliate. The answer is that Jihadi employment opportunities in India are low. Getting into India has become more difficult. There is a fence in JK now. There are thermal imagers, floodlights and aerostats and better patrolling now. People under-estimate the huge difference a simple fence has made in JK.

It is not easy to send, say 30,000 Pakis into India per-year on various terror assignments. Where will they stay? Who will conceal them? Who will pay them? Who will plan their attacks? It is easy on the other hand to send 500 Pakis into India per-year (which Pakis probably still do). As long as local mafia networks can be paid off, or as long as they have local sympathetic population in JK, and as long as they have a jihad to fight and die.

If Pakis hadn't expanded their capacity to more than 500 yahoos, Pakistan would have been peaceful, India would have continued to slowly boil as it always has. The current pakistan in Pakistan is due to the fact that Pakistan expanded production capacity without understanding market demand. Also their products are not export quality, it is more designed towards domestic demand.

Added later: Does that mean that India cold-start (or whatever it is called) has achieved nothing? Actually no. It has achieved something. It is not to prevent traditional terror attacks, but new form of terror attacks. Pakis now have better terrorists (now that the pool for choosing terrorists has become bigger), they probably have good logistics sleeper cells in India. Cell phones and internet and modern weapons have made these terrorists more deadly. Two decades ago, without cell phones and GPS to navigate from Karachi and without live 24x7 news networks, the Taj attack would have been impossible. But now it is. Future attacks will be deadlier. More importantly, its effects would be amplified through the media. More importantly (the political class understands this) it has the ability to influence domestic politics. Spain bombings did that. There was massive anger in India against the Maharashtra state govt. Contrast that with the '93 bombings. I heard about it on the radio. Next day read about it on the paper (we didnt have a TV then). A month later read about it in India today. Today everyone is pumped with live images and commentary.

To respond to the deadlier attacks and its political ramifications (both due to newer technologies) India needs newer options to retaliate. That is exactly what the Army is doing. OTOH, Pakistan is in pakistan not due to cold start or parakram. It is in pakistan purely due to product design and manufacturing reasons as mentioned earlier.

Last edited by Anujan on 14 Jan 2012 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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