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Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, warns that South Asian militant groups threaten to destabilize the entire region and could trigger a war between "nuclear armed Pakistan and India."

(Just for the record, India is also "nuclear armed.")

Watch Mr. Gates reflect anxiety, set expectations, and proactively absolve India for whatever it might do in response to "some provocative act:"

Reflecting anxiety in the region about New Delhi's reaction if it were attacked by a militant group with roots in Pakistan, Mr Gates said restraint by India could not be counted on. He added that militants under Al-Qaeda's 'syndicate' - which includes the Taleban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan-based Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba - posed a danger to the region as a whole.

They are trying 'to destabilise not just Afghanistan, not just Pakistan, but potentially the whole region by provoking a conflict perhaps between India and Pakistan through some provocative act,' Mr Gates said during a visit to New Delhi. 'It's important to recognise the magnitude of the threat that the entire region faces,' he said following talks with his Indian counterpart, A.K. Antony.

...'I think it's not unreasonable to assume India's patience would be limited were there to be further attacks,' Mr Gates warned.

New Delhi suspects the Pakistani intelligence service of supporting terror groups that target India and has consistently called on Islamabad to crack down on militants operating on its soil. Mr Gates described India as a vital partner in the struggle against extremist threats, expressed appreciation for its economic aid to Afghanistan and said that he had discussed how to bolster US-India military cooperation.

It appears that whatever happens, Pakistan will be blamed. If India retaliates -- even out of proportion -- it sounds like that will be overlooked by the US, given that it's not "unreasonable to assume India's patience would be limited were there to be further attacks."

Interesting. Which country has suffered more from terrorism in recent memory? India, or Pakistan?

India had the Mumbai attack in 2008 (173 deaths). India blames Pakistan for Mumbai.

Meanwhile, in 2009 alone, over 3,500 people have died from terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

And who is responsible for all the terrorism in Pakistan? Good question.
The Pakistan government has been provided a variety of proofs of involvement of Indian government and especially the Indian intelligence agency behind the continuous chaos in various parts of Pakistan, particularly NWFP province's Malakand division and tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan where Pakistan army is fighting a war against terrorists.

...These investigations indicate that the Pakistani law enforcing agencies found highly credible evidence proving that the Indians were not only giving comprehensive financial support to terrorists in Balochistan but were also providing them with huge caches of all sorts of weapons and other military equipment.

The Daily Mail's [of Pakistan -- ed.] findings indicate that not only this but the Pakistani security forces also seized a large amount of Indian currency and Indian medicines from the deserted or conquered hideouts of militants in different operations in Swat and Waziristan.

... In addition, the security forces also seized huge amount of currency bills of Indian currency either from the arrested militants or from the captured hideouts. The investigations reveal that trade in Indian currency in all parts of Afghanistan is quite open and normal and one can buy anything at anywhere with Indian currency in any part of Afghanistan. According to some reports, the Indian currency is more acceptable than the US Dollar in Afghani business markets.


Over the last several weeks the contrived Clash of Civilizations has flared up in Malaysia over the use of the word Allah in Christian churches. After a week or two of that, the US Embassy in Malaysia warned that tourists to the Sabah state were at risk of attack by criminal and terrorist groups.

This warning precipitated a prompt response. The Malaysian government tightened security and quickly dismissed the warning. The Malaysian government then summoned the US envoy for an explanation of the misleading advisory.

This is the explanation:
The US advisory did not give details of the possible threat, but noted that Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants based in the southern Philippines - a short boat ride from Sabah - have kidnapped foreigners from Sabah's secluded resort areas in the past.

Abu Sayyaf has an outstanding terrorist pedigree. It can be linked back to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, 911, the CIA, ISI, etc.

In particular, for the purposes of this thread, the Abu Sayyaf can be linked back to Pakistan.

[Privilege speech of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel at the Senate, July 31, 2000]

In the early 1980s, the CIA actively recruited, "armed and supported" moujahideens or volunteer Muslim warriors to fight the CIA sponsored-US proxy war in Afghanistan against the Russians who had invaded the country in 1979 and had put up a puppet regime there. Chalmers Johnson, Blowback, p. 13 et

Thousands of Muslim fighters from many parts of the world, including many young men from the Muslim-dominated areas in Mindanao, enlisted to fight in Afghanistan. After all, the dollar-denominated monthly pay plus incentives of $100 to $300 a month was certainly attractive enough for the jobless and impoverished Muslim youths. John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars, p. 107

These young warriors were, then, trained to – and many did - fight in Afghanistan supported with funds and equipment by the CIA and its network of friendly foreign funders which at that time included Osama bin Ladin, a highly successful Arab business man in the construction industry. Bin Ladin subsequently fell out of grace with the CIA which has since been trying to get him either literally or extradited to the US for his complicity in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993.

...In the case of the Filipino Muslim Moujahideens, most came back to various parts of Mindanao from their base in Peshawar, Pakistan.

In the words of John K. Cooley in his book, Unholy Wars, "This group (of Filipino Muslim Moujahideens) was the core of an armed guerilla band of several hundred men who xxx moved from its Peshawar, Pakistan base to the southern Philippine Islands after the end of the Afghan war. Under the name of the Abu Sayyaf group, it operated on the fringe of the Moros Muslim insurgency."

Thus was the Abu Sayyaf born.

The Abu Sayyaf took its name from Professor Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan intellectual, who had preached an ultra-conservative Islamic ideology called Wahabi.

Cooley calls the Abu Sayyaf in the 1990s as "the most violent and radical Islamist group in the Far East, using its CIA and ISI (Pakistan’s intra-military directorate for intelligence services) training to harass, attack and murder Christian priests, wealthy non-Muslim plantation-owners and merchants and local government in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao." [p. 63]
Thus we can see that the CIA and ISI created this problem, the Abu Sayyaf, with an assist from Saudi Arabia, which spawned Wahhabism.

According to Senator Aquilino Pimentel, military and police personnel then cultivated informers within the Abu Sayyaf, and some members received military intelligence services IDs, safe-houses, safe-conduct passes, firearms, cell phones and financial support. In his speech, he demanded that these traitors to the Philippines be held accountable for their corruption.

Since that speech in 2000, the Abu Sayyaf has certainly not been contained. They operate from the island of Jolo. It appears they stepped up their attacks in 2009.
In 2000, Abu Sayyaf took about 20 people – most of them Western tourists – captive from an island resort across the Malaysian border. They were all released within three months after the Libyan government paid a ransom of around $10 million, media reports said at the time.

...Last year [2008], Muslim rebels generated more than 22 million pesos (SFr528,000) in ransom payments from at least six kidnappings, including the high-profile abduction of three members of a local television network, according to the Philippines military.

...About two dozen people have been kidnapped in 12 incidents on two restive southern islands since January [2009], authorities say.
In September 2009, two US Navy men and one Filipino Marine were killed in a roadside bomb.

Abu Sayyaf is believed to have about 400 fighters, to have received funds from al-Qaida and is suspected of sheltering militants from the larger Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. An estimated 600 U.S. troops are currently stationed in the Philippines, mostly in the southern front lines of the Philippine military's operations against the Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiyah.

In November 2009, the group beheaded a teacher.

In December 2009, they burst through a jail wall and freed 31 inmates.


In July of 2009, the Philippine government deployed hundreds of troops on Jolo and Basilan islands to finish off the 400 member Abu Sayyaf.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro ordered the military last week to launch new assaults against the militants on Jolo and Basilan islands after the militants freed Italian hostage Eugenio Vagni — the last of three Red Cross aid workers who were kidnapped on Jolo in January. Without any hostages to worry about, government forces can now carry out more offensives, regional military commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said.

...The government has opened peace talks with a bigger Muslim separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but the Abu Sayyaf is not covered by the talks. A report by the US Pacific Command describes the Abu Sayyaf as "a cross between a chilling gang of bandits and a franchise operation of al-Qaida." "Since the early 1990s, it has terrorized the southern Philippines with kidnappings, bombs and outright massacres; it has also been linked to several international terrorist plots and militants," the report noted. More recent reports said the Abu Sayyaf, under new leadership, has been able to link up with the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah, said to be behind a regional Islamist terror campaign, including two recent bombings in Jakarta.

By November, after the beheaded school-teacher incident, hopes faded. The Abu Sayyaf would (miraculously) defy the sustained US-backed campaign to finish them off.
The beheading of a kidnap victim is the latest proof that a small number of Islamic militants in the Philippines are defying a sustained US-backed military campaign to extinguish them, observers said. The grisly development this week came just ahead of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Southeast Asian nation, throwing the spotlight on joint efforts by Filipino and American forces to crush the Abu Sayyaf.
It's always very helpful when they "throw the spotlight on." In any case, regrettable.

And then Hillary Clinton arrived, and the kidnapped priest from Ireland, Michael Sinnot, was released by the MILF. MILF is another long-standing and much larger terrorist group in the Philippines, originally accused of abducting the priest, but later cleared and thanked for securing his release.
The release of the 79-year-old missionary coincided with the arrival in Manila of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, prompting speculation that it was timed to coincide with her visit, the way the release of a kidnapped Red Cross worker was made on the day US Central Intelligence Agency head Leon Edward Panetta flew to Manila.
Although the Asia Times reported that the US Embassy held clandestine meetings with MILF a month earlier, at their camp. Evidently the US Embassy personnel do not fear the MILF. In fact, they have warm and friendly relations. Everyone wants peace, evidently.
Despite the row over Sinnot's kidnapping, senior US Embassy officials in Manila have held clandestine meetings with MILF leaders in their Maguindanao camp. The US Embassy has kept mum on the meetings, but on its website, the MILF confirmed in a statement that it had held talks with a visiting group of American diplomats led by the US Embassy charge d'affaires, Leslie Basset, on October 16.

Lasting for two hours, the meeting "was warm and forthright", the MILF said and quoted Basset as saying that the US was willing to play a role in the peace talks. "Helping attain and sustain peace, security and development in Mindanao is a priority concern of our government," the MILF quoted Bassett as saying.

In August 2009, GMANews.TV reported the statements of Lt. Senior Grade Nancy Gadian at a press conference held before an inquiry by the Senate oversight committee on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) into the activities of US troops in the Philippines.

Gadian, a whistleblower, was invited to the hearing.
Gadian earlier this year exposed the alleged misuse of the P42-million fund allotted for the joint military exercises between the Philippines and the US by high ranking military officials.
Gadian made the following statements:
  • US soldiers have joined Philippine troops in actual combat against Muslim rebels.
  • The American soldiers were embedded in local units.
  • About 500 US soldiers were assigned in Mindanao as "the first line of defense against the enemy."
  • US troops usually engaged in operations in Mindanao without informing heads of the Philippine military in the area.
  • Philippine forces are fighting the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and other armed groups in Sulu.
  • American troops are stationed in Mindanao even without any Balikatan exercises going on.
  • The Philippine government does not monitor the deployment and movement of these troops in the country's southern region.
  • Americans in Mindanao usually have programs or projects which they do not tell the leadership of the Southern Command. They just go to areas where they want to go.
Gadian's affadavit also states:
  • The US military of building permanent structures in different military camps in the country. She said US forces have established "permanent" and "continuous" presence in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the south.
  • The Philippine military has no access to the camps built by the US soldiers in these areas since they are "fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines."
  • These structures are indications the US troops had no intention of leaving the country, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution.
  • The "arrogant" behavior of many US military officers toward Filipinos.
  • Some US military men bringing Filipino women prostitutes to different areas in the camp.
  • "On the whole, their assertions of power and authority appear like they rule over us and the country."


Given that the CIA helped create Abu Sayyaf; and given the US military's unrestrained access to the very areas of the Philippines where Abu Sayyaf allegedly operates from; and given the history of connections between Abu Sayyaf militants and their military handlers; and given the warm and friendly relations between US Embassy personnel and MILF leaders...

Can we not imagine that Robert Gates' foreshadowing remarks about provocative actions might, perhaps, have something to do with Abu Sayyaf?


aferrismoon said…
Read a copy of Jane's Defence Weekly after the Mumbai attacks and the magazine made it quite plain that most terrorism in India is carried out by Marxist groups , attacking far more frequently than 'Islamic' groups.

A. Peasant said…
hiya ferris. thanks for that tip. ya know somehow that doesn't surprise me... i haven't really kept tabs on those groups but i guess i should. so many terrorist groups, so little time. i'm sure this is also part of "the plan." a bounteous harvest.
Peter said…
A Peasant,
you are a blogging "animal"!!
Really excellent stuff.
Gates,in India,is a big story.Kudos to you for fleshin' that sucker out.
nobody said…
Hey AP, I'm on a pedantic roll today (following on from Aangirfan's). Can I pick you up on Chalmers Johnson Blowback quote? He's being a tad disingenuous there. The funding of the Mujihadeen came first and was directed against the Najibullah regime. This well before the Soviet response which came a proper second. I recall Pilger dealing with this recently.

Without knowing for sure, I suspect one could argue that whilst the Soviet response was hoped for and subsequently greeted with glee, even if the Soviets had resisted the bait and let Najibullah fall the whole exercise would still have been viewed as a success. Can you dig it?
A. Peasant said…
thanks peter...

nobs, yes, thanks for the clarification. i was just thinking yesterday about the various complexities of problems like the cyprus issue, palestine, etc. and there are always these matters left to the historians, about the order of events and the motives of people.

but if you just took a couple of fair strangers who knew nothing about that and said, hey here would you please resolve this problem, they could do it. you and i could do it. and who is to say that our resolution, made without the benefit of deep historical knowledge, would not be just as good if not better than anything experts could dream up? because it seems to me that the people in charge use complexity to *avoid* resolutions. that's my beef with experts. they say well we can't fix this you don't understand blah blah blah it's complicated. excuses. oh really? give it to me i'll fucking fix it. it's like dealing with kindergartners, you know what i'm saying? at some point you just cut off "the past" and you go forward. you use what you have. it's called surviving. and this is what the ordinary people could do and *would do* -- naturally, it's a perfectly normal human instinct -- if it weren't for our useless experts always finding obscure reasons why it's not possible to move forward.

sorry to rant.... i was thinking of this yesterday as i said and you just jiggled the door knob! my agitation is not directed at you, which seems obvious to me but just in case it's not...
Anonymous said…
Peasant has been impressing me for sometime now. I think we can describe most of this by the term Hegelian didactics. This school of thought is thoroughly understood by most Americans and described as "getting them over there so we don't have to git them here!"
A. Peasant said…
thank you dubs. yes the hegelian dialectic, or as i prefer to call it, the hegelian mindfuck. basically tptb run both sides of the conflict, except of course they only admit to one side, or, preferably, neither side. patsies and proxies are always useful. my friend Zahir Ebrahim has collected a tutorial of it here in this faq. he sees the ones that i miss...
nobody said…
'Jiggling my doorknob'?! Ha ha ha ha. What an excellent phrase. At first it had me looking for my keys but then I fiddled with the latch and finally it just went 'click'. Very good.
A. Peasant said…
yeah, trouble is it's the doorknob to a messy closet so the second you open it all kinds of stuff jammed in there falls on your head. sorry bout that! ;D
Dublinmick said…
Now that a typhoon just leveled the Philappines like a flat rock, ... might be a nifty place for the evacuation of Tokyo which some drs. there are calling for. It would be easy to rebuild the islands into a giant military base and the locals would be so grateful to the military who were bringing in bags of rice.