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Pakistan trying to have it both ways : Washington Post

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    Pakistan trying to have it both ways : Washington Post

    Who Aids Terror?

    Tuesday, January 4, 2000; Page A14

    THE AFTERMATH of the Indian Airlines hijacking presents something of a puzzle. The governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan have condemned terrorism and publicly refused asylum to the hijackers. Yet the hijackers are thought to have escaped from Afghanistan, the scene of their piracy, and into Pakistan.

    Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia tried to use the hijacking to appear responsible, and so to soften the consensus behind U.N. sanctions imposed on their regime. To that end, they warned the hijackers that the execution of hostages would trigger an assault on the aircraft. But once the hostages were safely released, the Afghans could have done more to prevent the hijackers from escaping. They allowed them to drive off, with one Afghan official accompanying them as a hostage. That hostage has now returned, but seemingly without information about the hijackers' identity or whereabouts.

    The Pakistanis, for their part, rightly refused to receive the hijackers at their consulate in Afghanistan. They protest that the terrorists may not be in Pakistan, and add that they will be arrested if they are. But Indian and Afghan officials say the hijackers have crossed into Pakistan near the city of Quetta, about two hours' drive from Kandahar. Although this is a sparsely guarded border, Pakistan had ample time to prepare for the hijackers' arrival. There is no evidence of a serious effort to capture them.

    Afghanistan and Pakistan are trying to have it both ways on terrorism. They play host to terrorist groups, yet wax indignant when terrorists hijack an aircraft--or, as in the case of Osama bin Laden, resident of Afghanistan, blow up U.S. embassies. This limp ambivalence will encourage more hijackings and bombings. Both governments need to catch and deport offenders if they want their anti-terrorist rhetoric to be taken seriously.

    Meanwhile, India's government must resist the temptation to exploit its neighbors' misbehavior. In the wake of the hijacking, India is denouncing Pakistan as a terrorist state and lobbing shells across the border; the Pakistanis claim five civilians were killed on Monday. The hijacking has already brought the terrorizing of more than 150 hostages, the murder of one, and the release of three of the hijackers' extremist comrades. It must not be allowed to trigger another war on the subcontinent.

    Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

    Terrorism will dog us forever

    The Indian Government's capitulation to hijackers is a huge setback that will encourage similar crimes, writes GERARD HENDERSON.

    IT WAS a huge relief for the survivors of Indian Airlines Flight 184 from Kathmandu to New Delhi, including Australian Peter Ward, but a significant setback in the war against terrorism.

    Let there be no equivocation. The last plane hijack of the 20th century ended in almost total surrender to the terrorists' demands. The hijackers set free 155 hostages (one passenger had already been murdered) only after the Indian Government agreed to release three militants it was holding - Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtag Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Umar Saeed Sheikh.

    The Indian Government had reason to be deeply concerned that passengers and crew on Flight 184 would be killed if it did not give in to the demands to release Masood Azhar. He is a Pakistan-born leader of the Harkut ul Mujaheddin organisation, which is attempting to establish Islamic rule in India-administered Kashmir.

    The passengers' stories indicate that the hijackers were cool-headed and fanatical. In other words, revolutionary ideologues. India was in no position to overfly one unfriendly Islamic nation (Pakistan) in order to storm an aircraft on the ground in another (Afghanistan). Consequently there was little option but to negotiate. The essential problem turned on the fact that the cave-in was so absolute.

    India is not the first nation to surrender to terrorist demands and it will not be the last. It is just that victory by Harkut ul Mujaheddin's militants in this instance is likely to encourage others, including those who wish to drive India out of Kashmir, but in no sense limited to them.

    The hijack was a favoured terrorist method of the 1970s and 1980s. Due primarily to increased airport security, it diminished somewhat in the 1990s as a revolutionary tactic in favour of the bomb. This led some to believe that hijackers were a phenomenon of the past. The events of December in Nepal have changed this (false) perception.

    There is really nothing new about terrorism, except that strategies change from time to time. As Walter Laqueur demonstrated in his book Terrorism (1977), terrorists were active in Russia at the end of the 19th century. The Russian Social Revolutionary Party rationalised violence as one legitimate means of opposing Tzarist rule.

    The assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 was the spark that ignited World War I. The principal actor in this terrorist attack was the 20-year-old Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip. He and his (even younger) co-conspirators were members of the Serbian Black Hand and dedicated to the cause that Bosnia should become part of Serbia. Sounds familiar.

    The Irish revolutionary Michael Collins perfected the tactic of urban guerilla warfare which the Irish Republican Army (IRA) used with considerable effect against the British during the Irish War of Independence. Collins later signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and, for his troubles, was assassinated by that section of the IRA which favoured the continuation of political violence over the compromise that was on offer.

    Terrorism was not all that prevalent from the 1920s until the 1960s. It then re-emerged in Northern Ireland as a tactic engaged in by the Provisional IRA and, later, Protestant militias, and also in the Middle East as an initiative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and like-minded groups. Today surviving IRA and Palestinian leaders are negotiating cease-fires leading to possible peace deals.

    In the West in the 1960s and 1970s, political terrorism had its roots in left-wing organisations. More notably the Weathermen, Symbionese Liberation Army and Black Panthers in the United States; the Baader-Meinhof Gang in Germany; the Red Brigades in Italy and ETA in the Basque area of Spain.

    In the 1980s and 1990s, home-grown terrorists in Western nations tended to belong to extreme right-wing organisations. This description fits Timothy McVeigh, the Gulf War hero who was convicted of the Oklahoma City bombing. It appears that McVeigh acted almost alone and not on the instructions of any identified right-wing organisation. Even so, some US right-wing militias are involved in terrorism against the state, which they regard as the enemy of the people.

    The US, as the only world super power in the post-Cold War era, is under constant threat from internationally motivated terrorism. The 1993 bombing of Manhattan's World Trade Centre and the destruction of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Nairobi (Kenya) in the late 1990s demonstrate that Washington has real reason to express concern about the safety of its citizens inside and outside the United States.

    The Clinton Administration has evidence to indicate that Osama bin Laden, the Saudi Arabian-born and Afghanistan-based terrorist, is behind many of the attacks on US citizens and property. It is probable, but not proven, that bin Laden backs the Harkut ul Mujaheddin.

    In its political usage, terrorism is war by other means. No nation can seriously threaten US security but an individual with gun or bomb or biochemical weapon can make parts of American society dysfunctional, for a while at least. Terrorism can be controlled to some extent and, possibly, reduced. This will take resources and money. It also requires that military, police, security and intelligence operatives should be well trained and properly rewarded for the important work which they do.

    Then there is the bigger picture. Should nations strike at states which they believe are instigating or protecting terrorists? Richard Perle (assistant defence secretary in President Reagan's administration) says "yes". He maintains that the US "should adopt a policy of retaliating against statessupporting terrorism whenever terrorists strike against us and those strikes should do real damage to military and intelligence facilities".

    Robert Gates (CIA director during the Bush Administration) holds a different view. He doubts whether "President Ronald Reagan's attack on Libya in 1986 chastened Muammar Gaddafi and essentially ended Libyan terrorism". And gives credence to the view that "the Libyan bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988 was, in fact, in retaliation for the 1986 bombing attack on Libya".

    Gates advocates the use of force, at times, "against the sponsors of terrorism". But he also favours promoting human rights by pursuing "policies and strategies that in the long run weaken terrorism's roots". Fair enough, in theory at least. Yet, as Walter Laqueur observed in the mid-1970s, "there were no terrorist movements in Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy nor are there any in the communist regimes".

    Sometimes today's terrorist can be tomorrow's liberator. But, also, a contemporary terrorist can be a latter-day totalitarian or authoritarian despot. Michael Collins came to preside (albeit briefly) over the democratic Irish Free State which, in time, became Ireland. Vladimir Lenin favoured political murder before the Russian Revolution of 1917. As a Soviet despot, he made political murder part of state policy. Joseph Stalin continued in this tradition.

    Terrorists may come and terrorists may go. But terrorism is likely to be with us forever. Regrettably, it is but one of the risks of life.

    Gerard Henderson is the executive director of The Sydney Institute.


      Can you guys at least try to SUMMARIZE the long newspaper cut-and-pastes, which you search for throughout your mundane days, in your obsession to find obscure evidence to convince us that WE (read Pakistanis and Muslims) are all terrorists!




        Fata Morgana


          US has stated it is not going to take sides in this dispute.


            Not so tough to search, Achtung, even on my 'mundane days'. Just check Yahoo's full coverage.


              No, not the yahoo or anyone's else opinion. Our own opinions go first and rest is 2nd hand. In other words, Pakistan goes first and the world comes later! Comprendo?

              Fata Morgana