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Manmohan: no dilution of our position on terrorism

Posted by :) on July 30, 2009

Sandeep Dikshit

“Offered to discuss Balochistan as our hands are clean”

— Photo: PTI/Courtesy Lok Sabha TV

MUCH-AWAITED INTERVENTION: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh clarifying the government’s position on the India-Pakistan joint statement, in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday asserted that the government had not diluted its position on terrorism by issuing a joint statement with Pakistan earlier this month but left the door open for dialogue provided Pakistan fulfilled its commitment in “letter and spirit” to root out anti-India terrorist activity from its soil.

Intervening in a debate in the Lok Sabha on issues arising from his recent visits abroad, the Prime Minister underlined the need for engagement with Pakistan to achieve enduring peace in the subcontinent and slammed the “enemies of peace” for trying to make alienation between the two countries permanent and the divide unbridgeable.

Speaking to a packed House for nearly 45 minutes — his longest speech in recent memory — and backed by animated party members and allies, the Prime Minister rejected third party involvement in talks with Pakistan because of its limited effectiveness. It could also lead to longer-term involvement of foreign powers in South Asia which is “not something to our liking.”

Tracing the highs and lows of India-Pakistan ties during his much-awaited intervention, the Prime Minister said India would follow a policy of “trust and verify” on commitments by Pakistan and revealed that the impetus to the joint statement came from the dossier submitted by Islamabad a few days before he left for France and Egypt. The dossier showed some progress had been made by Pakistan but India did not think it was “adequate” for resumption of full-fledged dialogue. The joint statement also took a step forward by committing both countries to share real time, credible information to prevent any attacks in future.

At the same time, the Pakistani leadership was told to ensure that Mumbai-type attacks should not be repeated and another such attack would put an “intolerable strain on our relationship.” Dr. Singh thought the current Pakistani leadership understood the need for action against terrorists of all hues and cautioned that Pakistan would be “consumed” if it did not resolutely counter terror.

The dialogue would now be limited to Foreign Secretary-level capped in the near term by a meeting between the two Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He acknowledged the statesmanship of the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee for pursuing the course of dialogue despite several setbacks. But he pointed out that despite the National Democratic Alliance government’s “tall talk” it was unable to get Pakistan to probe the involvement of its nationals in previous terror attacks. “So the UPA government needs no lessons from the Opposition on how to conduct foreign affairs or secure our nation from terrorist attacks,” he said to the accompaniment of enthusiastic thumping of desks from the ruling alliance benches.

Responding to criticism over the incorporation of Balochistan in the joint statement, Dr. Singh said New Delhi was willing to discuss strife in the Pakistani province because it had clean hands and was willing to remove any misgivings. Far from being engaged in egging on discontent in Pakistan, Indian consulates in Afghanistan were focusing on the large-scale reconstruction work being carried out in the country. “But we were willing to discuss all these issues because we are doing nothing wrong,” he maintained.

Source : The Hindu – eNews Paper


Posted in 26/11, Govt of India, Pakistani terrorists, Past terrorist attacks, Taliban, Terror Camps, Terrorism, Terrorist attack | Leave a Comment »

US gives Pakistan two weeks time to eliminate Taliban

Posted by :) on May 2, 2009

Washington, May 1 (IANS) Stepping up pressure on Pakistan to take concrete action against the Taliban, the US has given Islamabad two weeks time to eliminate the insurgents from its soil before Washington determines what it will do next.

General David Petraeus, who heads the US Central Command, has told US officials that the coming two weeks would be ‘critical to determining whether the Pakistani government will survive’, Fox News reported.

‘The Pakistanis have run out of excuses’ and are ‘finally getting serious’ about combating the threat from Taliban and Al Qaeda extremists operating out of the country’s northwest, the general said.

Criticising Pakistan’s attitude towards fighting the insurgents, Petraeus said ‘we have heard it all before’ that Pakistan was doing its best to eliminate the Taliban threat.

He said that he is looking forward to see concrete action by Islamabad in the next two weeks before determining the US’ next course of action, which is presently set on propping up the Pakistani government and military with counter-insurgency training and aid.

Petraeus made these assessment in talks with lawmakers and Obama administration officials this week, the news channel reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

The sources also told the channel that no one in Washington has an ‘understanding of Taliban’s true objective’.

It remains unclear to policymakers here whether the Taliban wants to overthrow the Zardari government or merely to carve out territory within Pakistan in which it can establish safe haven, impose Sharia law, and plot attacks against external targets.

Indo Asian News Service

Posted in Pakistan ISI, Pakistani ARMY, Pakistani Identity, Pakistani terrorists, Past terrorist attacks, plan to tackle terror, Suicide Bomber, Taliban, Terror Camps, Terrorism, Terrorist attack, Terrosist Organizations | Leave a Comment »

PAKISTAN – “Taliban a Nuclear Nightmare “

Posted by :) on May 1, 2009

Nuclear-armed Pakistan is unraveling at a frightening pace and if it doesn’t worry you, it should.  Imagine al Qaeda having it’s finger on the button of up to one  hundred nuclear missiles and you quickly get an idea of the mortal danger (as Hilary Clinton called it earler this week) the world is facing should Pakistan fall. Amazingly, most Americans seem unaware or simply unconcerned.

UPDATE: The Taleban say they will withdraw from a Pakistani district where their consolidation of power this week has caused deep concern in the US. A Taleban spokesman said commander Maulana Fazlullah had issued the order for fighters to pull back from the north-western district of Buner.
The US has accused officials in Pakistan of abdicating to the Taleban.

The Taleban have agreed a peace deal bringing Sharia law to some districts in return for ending their insurgency. Taleban spokesman Muslim Khan said: “Our leader has ordered that Taleban should immediately be called back from Buner.”

Will the Taliban pull out? Probably. Will this be the end of their drive for power over Pakistan? Probably not. In fact, the pullout is probably more strategic than anything else, but time will tell.

Equally alarming, Pakistan’s leaders appear far less concerned than their American counterparts.

You have to wonder what they’re thinking in Islamabad, the capital. Rather than fighting back against Taliban militants, the government of Asif Ali Zardari (who became president after his wife, Benazir Bhutto, was murdered by extremists) has been acquiescing, in a deluded belief it can appease its way to peace.

It can’t. Recent evidence ought to be a jolting, 11th-hour wake-up call. After gaining control of the Swat Valley, a once-prosperous tourist haven 100 miles from the capital, and getting government permission to impose harsh Islamic law, the Taliban is on the move. It is newly in charge of the Buner region, just 60 miles from Islamabad.

The Taliban’s ambitions are no secret. Two prominent clerics have broadcast their intent to spread Islamic rule throughout the country. The implications of that are captured on an Internet video showing the public flogging in Swat of a woman suspected of adultery.

The stakes for the United States are enormous. Taliban forces attack U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan from their havens along the Pakistan border. That is where Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders behind 9/11 are thought to have refuge and be plotting new attacks. The ultimate nightmare is that extremists will gain access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

The United States is stepping up efforts to prod official Pakistan out of its denial. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday that Pakistan’s government is “basically abdicating to the Taliban.” Some Pakistaniofficials are belatedly beginning to acknowledge that appeasement does not work. But saying the right things under U.S. pressure falls short of effective action.

Source – USA Today

3 a.m Wake Up Call

The failure of Pakistani political leadership to stem the Taliban’s tide now brings Washington’s 3 a.m. wake-up call – nuclear weapons in the hands of extremists – closer than ever to becoming reality. The United States has given its allies in Islamabad political and financial assistance in every way possible for far too long with too few meaningful constraints, only to watch Pakistan destroy itself.

Source CSN

Does Pakistan’s Taliban Surge Raise a Nuclear Threat?

The prospect of turmoil in Pakistan sends shivers up the spines of those U.S. officials charged with keeping tabs on foreign nuclear weapons. Pakistan is thought to possess about 100 — the U.S. isn’t sure of the total, and may not know where all of them are. Still, if Pakistan collapses, the U.S. military is primed to enter the country and secure as many of those weapons as it can, according to U.S. officials.


The Taliban’s Nuclear Threat

As insurgents close in on Islamabad, The Daily Beast’s Gerald Posner reports that Taliban forces are on the verge of seizing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal—which has the capability to hit India, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

This morning, Taliban units took control of the Buner region of Pakistan, bringing their burgeoning insurgency within 60 miles of the capital city of Islamabad. The government called the advance a breach of a recently signed peace agreement. But what did they expect? Any store owner who has faced ever-increasing protection payments to local gangsters could have told the Pakistanis that their recent string of capitulations to the Taliban—striking peace deals and ceding territory—was doomed to failure.

You think the stock market looks bad over the last two years? Let a Taliban spokesman announce that Mullah Omar has his finger on the Islamic Bomb.

The Taliban advance should be causing high Richter-scale reactions inside the Obama White House. Counterterrorism officials have long warned that al Qaeda is desperate to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is in play if the Taliban insurgency should unseat the government of Asif Ali Zadari.

Pakistan has been a member of the nuclear club since in 1987. Intelligence estimates are that the country now has between 50 and 100 nuclear missiles that can travel 1,200 miles. That places much of India, Saudi Arabia, and eastern Iraq within range. With slight improvements in the rockets’ booster phase—not a difficult technological advance—Jerusalem could be hit.

The Daily Beast

Pakistan Paramilitary Force Routed as Taliban Militants Extend Control Towards Islamabad

The fall of Buner does not pose an immediate threat to Islamabad. The capital lies across a mountain range and the river Indus. But the speed and aggression of the latest advance has stoked a sense of panic among Pakistan’s western allies, and, increasingly, at home.

On Wednesday the US secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, accused President Asif Ali Zardari’s government of “basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists”. After an outcry from Pakistani officials, she modified her tone yesterday, conceding there was an “increasing awareness” of the threat within government circles.

Sam Zarifi of Amnesty International said the government had left the 650,000 residents of Buner, particularly women and children, “at the mercy” of the Taliban.


Israel: Pakistan Nukes Could Fall To Taliban

A day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that the Pakistani government was ceding ground to the Taliban, a top Israeli defense official expressed concern on Thursday that the country’s nuclear arsenal would fall into extremist hands and be used to threaten Israel.
Pakistan is believed to have several dozen nuclear warheads.

On Wednesday, in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Clinton said the Pakistani government was losing control of the country.

“I think we cannot underscore [enough] the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by the continuing [Islamist] advances,” Clinton said, adding that an unstable and nuclear-armed Pakistan would pose a “mortal threat” to the United States and other countries.

Israeli defense officials said that while Pakistan was farther away than Iran, Israel needed to be concerned with the political upset there.

Source :


Posted in AF-PAK, All Muslims are not terrorists, Pakistani ARMY, Pakistani Identity, Pakistani terrorists, Past terrorist attacks, PoK, Terror Camps, Terror Target, Terrorism, TERROSIST ATTACK, Terrosist Organizations | Leave a Comment »

Pakistan -A new resolve?

Posted by :) on April 25, 2009

Source: Dawn

The army has sensed panic among people and seen the militants’ determination to expand territorial control. We hope the amry’s resolve to defeat terrorism ‘at all costs’ will not melt in the days ahead. - APP photo

Politicians are at last beginning to agree on the seriousness of the threat of militancy as the PML-N, PML-Q and religious parties have finally voiced concerns about militants on the march. – APP photo

WITH districts around Swat seemingly falling like ninepins, the state has been shockingly ambivalent about it plans to restore its writ in northern Pakistan. But yesterday it appeared that the Pakistan Army has finally awoken from its slumber. The message from the chief himself, Gen Kayani: the militants will not be allowed to run amok and order will be restored. So far the army’s wait-and-watch policy in Malakand division has had dangerous consequences. Buner is now in the militants’ hands and IDPs are pouring into neighbouring districts, especially Swabi, Mardan and Haripur. Meanwhile, Shangla has been penetrated by the militants and Swabi and Mardan are the next likely targets. Shrewdly taking advantage of the cessation in hostilities in the valley, militants from Swat fanned out into neighbouring areas, expanding the theatre in which they will have to be taken on and ensuring that an even messier fight lies ahead.

Why has the army waited? It claims the ‘operational pause’ was meant to give a chance to the forces of reconciliation and not as a concession to the militants. Now that the army has sensed the panic among the people and seen the militants’ determination to expand their territorial control, it has pledged to achieve ‘victory’ against terrorism and militancy ‘at all costs.’ We hope this resolve will not melt in the days ahead. But two points regarding the overall war against militancy need to be flagged. One, the army has been particularly agitated by the recent spate of foreign comments that Pakistan is on the verge of collapse and that the army is unwilling or unable to defeat militancy. Gen Kayani’s forceful statement that the army ‘never has and never will hesitate to sacrifice, whatever it may take, to ensure [the] safety and well-being’ of Pakistan’s people and its territorial integrity should be noted in foreign capitals. Whatever the suspicions, the Pakistan Army is an indispensable element in any successful strategy against militancy in Pakistan and the region generally, and riling the army high command to score a few public points cannot be part of a sound strategy.

The second point concerns the political component here in Pakistan. While the Pakistan Army isn’t under the full control of the civilians, it has made it clear that it will only fight when there is a political consensus for it to do so. Thus far the politicians have been woefully divided; whether the dissenters blame America as the root cause of militancy or harp on about fuzzy ideas of dialogue, they have not been able to unite on the need to take on the militants militarily. That discord may finally be changing. The PML-N, the PML-Q and the religious parties have voiced concerns about militants on the march, while the MQM has come out as the foremost critic of the peace deal in Swat. It is not clear yet whether they will support the military option, but the army cannot fail to note that the politicians are at last beginning to agree on the seriousness of the threat of militancy.

Posted in AF-PAK, All Muslims are not terrorists, Pakistani Identity, Past terrorist attacks, Taliban, Terrorism, Terrorist attack, TERRORIST ATTACK PICS | Leave a Comment »


Posted by :) on April 3, 2009

What Makes a Terrorist

Filed under: World Watch, Public Square

It’s not poverty and lack of education, according to economic research by Princeton’s ALAN KRUEGER. Look elsewhere.

What Makes a Terrorist

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, policymakers, scholars, and ordinary citizens asked a key question: What would make people willing to give up their lives to wreak mass destruction in a foreign land? In short, what makes a terrorist?

A popular explana­tion was that economic deprivation and a lack of education caused people to adopt extreme views and turn to terrorism. For example, in July 2005, after the bomb­ings of the London transit system, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, “Ultimately what we now know, if we did not before, is that where there is extremism, fanaticism or acute and appalling forms of poverty in one continent, the conse­quences no longer stay fixed in that continent.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, King Abdullah of Jordan, Elie Wiesel, and terrorism experts like Jessica Stern of Harvard’s Kennedy School also argued that poverty or lack of education were significant causes of terrorism.

Even President George W. Bush, who was ini­tially reluctant to associate terrorism with poverty after September 11, eventually argued, “We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror.” Laura Bush added, “A lasting victory in the war against terror depends on educating the world’s children.”

Despite these pronouncements, however, the available evidence is nearly unanimous in rejecting either material deprivation or inadequate educa­tion as important causes of support for terrorism or participation in terrorist activities. Such explana­tions have been embraced almost entirely on faith, not scientific evidence.

Why is an economist studying terrorism? I have two answers. First, participation in terrorism is just a special application of the economics of occupational choice. Some peo­ple choose to become doctors or lawyers, and others pursue careers in terrorism. Economics can help us understand why.

The second answer is that, together with Jörn-Steffen Pischke, now at the London School of Economics, I studied the outbreak of hate crimes against foreigners in Germany in the early 1990s. Through this work, I concluded that poor economic conditions do not seem to motivate people to par­ticipate in hate crimes.

Participation in terrorism is just a special application of the economics of occupational choice. Some people choose to become doctors or lawyers, and others pursue careers in terrorism. Economics can help us understand why.

The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower. A pair of psy­chologists at Yale, Carl Hovland and Robert Sears, cited Raper’s work in 1940 to argue that deprivation leads to aggres­sion. People take out their frustrations on others, the researchers hypothesized, when economic con­ditions are poor.

While this view seems intuitively plausible, the problem is that it lacks a strong empirical basis. In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data.

Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added.

In 1997, Pischke and I, writing in the Journal of Human Resources, studied the incidence of crimes against foreigners across the 543 coun­ties in Germany in 1992 and 1993. We found that the unemployment rate, the level of wages, wage growth, and average education were all unrelated to the incidence of crimes against foreigners.

With evidence from hate crimes as a background, next turn to terrorism. Terrorism does not occur in a vacuum. So to start, I considered evidence from public opin­ion polls, which can help identify the values and views of those in communities from which terror­ism arises.

The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project conducted public opinion surveys in February 2004 in Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey, involving about 1,000 respondents in each country. One of the questions asked was, “What about suicide bombing carried out against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq? Do you personally believe that this is justifiable or not justifiable?” Pew kindly provided me with tab­ulations of these data by respondents’ personal characteristics.

The clear finding was that people with a higher level of education are in general more likely to say that suicide attacks against Westerners in Iraq are justified. I have also broken this pattern down by income level. There is no indication that people with higher incomes are less likely to say that sui­cide-bombing attacks are justified.

Another source of opinion data is the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, headquar­tered in Ramallah. The center collects data in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. One question, asked in December 2001 of 1,300 adults, addressed attitudes toward armed attacks on Israeli tar­gets. Options were “strongly support,” “support,” “oppose,” “strongly oppose,” or “no opinion.”

Support turned out to be stronger among those with a higher level of education. For exam­ple, while 26 percent of illiterates and 18 per­cent of those with only an elementary education opposed or strongly opposed armed attacks, the figure for those with a high school education was just 12 percent. The least supportive group turned out to be the unemployed, 74 percent of whom said they support or strongly back armed attacks. By comparison, the support level for merchants and professionals was 87 percent.

Related findings have been around for a long time. Daniel Lerner, a professor at MIT at the time, published a book in 1958 called The Passing of Traditional Society in which he collected and analyzed data on extremism in six Middle Eastern countries. He concluded that “the data obviate the conventional assumption that the extremists are simply the have-nots. Poverty prevails only among the apolitical masses.”

Finally, the Palestinian survey included ques­tions about whether people were optimistic for the future. Responses suggested that, just before the outbreak of the second intifada, the Palestinian people believed that the economic situation was improving—a judgment consistent with the fall­ing unemployment rate at the time. The intifada, then, did not appear to be following dashed expec­tations for future economic conditions.

Public opinion is one thing; actual participation in terrorism is another. There is striking anecdotal evidence from Nasra Hassan, a United Nations relief worker in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who described interviews with 250 militants and their associates who were involved in the Palestinian cause in the late 1990s. Hassan concluded that “none of them were uneducated, desperately poor, simple-minded, or depressed. Many were middle class and, unless they were fugitives, held paying jobs. Two were the sons of millionaires.”

In the 1930s, Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He found an inverse relationship: when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower. Raper’s work was influential, but it turned out to be flawed.

Claude Berrebi, now of the RAND Corporation’s Institute for Civil Justice, wrote his dissertation at Princeton on the characteristics of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who were involved in terrorist activities. For example, he compared suicide bombers to the whole male pop­ulation aged 16 to 50 and found that the suicide bombers were less than half as likely to come from families that were below the poverty line. In addi­tion, almost 60 percent of the suicide bombers had more than a high school education, compared with less than 15 percent of the general population.

Jitka Malecková and I performed a similar study of militant members of Hezbollah, a multifaceted organization in Lebanon that has been labeled a ter­rorist organization by the U.S. State Department. We were able to obtain information on the biogra­phies of 129 deceased shahids (martyrs) who had been honored in the group’s newsletter, “Al-Ahd.” We turned translations by Eli Hurvitz at Tel Aviv University into a data­set and then combined it with information on the Lebanese popu­lation from the 1996 Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs Housing Survey of 120,000 peo­ple aged 15 to 38.

These deceased mem­bers of Hezbollah had a lower poverty rate than the Lebanese population: 28 percent versus 33 percent. And Hezbollah members were better educated: 47 percent had a secondary or higher education ver­sus 38 percent of adult Lebanese.

This is also the case, apparently, with al-Qaeda. Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) case officer, has written a book titled Understanding Terror Networks. He found that a high proportion of mem­bers of al-Qaeda were college educated (close to 35 percent) and drawn from skilled professions (almost 45 percent). Research on members of the Israeli extremist group, Gush Emunim, that Malecková and I conducted, also pointed in the same direc­tion. Perhaps most definitively, the Library of Congress produced a summary report for an advi­sory group to the CIA titled, “The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?” which also reached this conclusion—two years before 9/11.

Why are better educated, more advan­taged individuals more likely than others to join terrorist groups? I think of terrorism as a market, with a supply side and a demand side. Individuals, either in small groups or on their own, supply their services to terrorist organizations.

On the supply side, the economics of crime suggests that people with low opportunity costs will become involved in terrorism. Their costs of involvement are lower—that is, they sacrifice less because their prospects of living a rich life are less. In other domains of life, it is those with few oppor­tunities who are more likely to commit property crime and resort to suicide.

Among Palestinians, almost 60 percent of the suicide bombers had more than a high school education, compared with less than 15 percent of the general population.

However, in the case of the supply of terrorists, while consideration of opportunity cost is not irrel­evant, it is outweighed by other factors, such as a commitment to the goals of the terrorist organi­zation and a desire to make a statement. Political involvement requires some understanding of the issues, and learning about those issues is a less costly endeavor for those who are better educated. I argue that better analogies than crime are vot­ing and political protest. Indeed, better educated, employed people are more likely to vote.

On the demand side, terrorist organizations want to succeed. The costs of failure are high. So the organizations select more able participants—which again points to those who are better educated and better off economically.

One of the conclusions from the work of Laurence Iannaccone—whose paper, “The Market for Martyrs,” is supported by my own research—is that it is very difficult to effect change on the supply side. People who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause have diverse motivations. Some are motivated by nationalism, some by religious fanati­cism, some by historical grievances, and so on. If we address one motivation and thus reduce one source on the supply side, there remain other motivations that will incite other people to terror.

That suggests to me that it makes sense to focus on the demand side, such as by degrading terrorist organizations’ financial and technical capabili­ties, and by vigorously protecting and promoting peaceful means of protest, so there is less demand for pursuing grievances through violent means. Policies intended to dampen the flow of people willing to join terrorist organizations, by contrast, strike me as less likely to succeed.

The evidence we have seen thus far does not foreclose the possibility that members of the elite become terrorists because they are outraged by the economic conditions of their countrymen. This is a more difficult hypothesis to test, but, it turns out, there is little empirical sup­port for it.

To investigate the role of societal factors, I assembled data on the country of origin and tar­get of hundreds of significant international terrorist attacks from 1997 to 2003, using infor­mation from the State Department. I found that many socioeconomic indicators—including illiteracy, infant mor­tality, and GDP per capita—are unrelated to whether people from one country become involved in terrorism. Indeed, if anything, measures of economic deprivation, at a country level, have the opposite effect from what the popular stereotype would predict: international terrorists are more likely to come from moderate-income countries than poor ones.

One set of factors that I examined did consis­tently raise the likelihood that people from a given country will participate in terrorism—namely, the suppression of civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble, and democratic rights. Using data from the Freedom House Index, for example, I found that countries with low levels of civil liberties are more likely to be the countries of origin of the perpetra­tors of terrorist attacks. In addition, terrorists tend to attack nearby targets. Even international terror­ism tends to be motivated by local concerns.

Additional support for these conclusions comes from research I conducted on the nationalities of foreign insurgents in Iraq. Specifically, I studied 311 combatants, representing 27 countries, who were captured in Iraq. Although the vast majority of insurgents are native Iraqis, motivated by domestic issues, foreigners are alleged to have been involved in several significant attacks. I looked at the char­acteristics of the countries insurgents came from, and, importantly, of the countries with no citizens captured in Iraq. It turned out that countries with a higher GDP per capita were actually more likely to have their citizens involved in the insurgency than were poorer countries.

Consistent with the work on international terrorist incidents, countries with fewer civil lib­erties and political rights were more likely to be the birthplaces of foreign insurgents. Distance also mattered, with most foreign insurgents com­ing from nearby nations. The model predicted that the largest number of insurgents—44 percent—would have emanated from Saudi Arabia, a nation not known for its protection of civil liberties but with a high GDP per capita.

The evidence suggests that terrorists care about influencing political outcomes. They are often motivated by geopolitical grievances. To under­stand who joins terrorist organizations, instead of asking who has a low salary and few opportunities, we should ask: Who holds strong political views and is confident enough to try to impose an extrem­ist vision by violent means? Most terrorists are not so desperately poor that they have nothing to live for. Instead, they are people who care so fervently about a cause that they are willing to die for it.

Alan Krueger is the Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Princeton and has been an adviser to the National Counterterrorism Center. This article is adapted from his new book, “What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism,” which is based on the Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures he gave at the London School of Economics in 2006. Copyright © 2007 by Princeton University Press. All rights reserved.

Image credit: illustration by Shout.

Posted in Channelise Energy, Expert's opinion, Future terrorism, Mumbai Terror in Pictures, MUMBAI- ATTACK IN PICTURES PART-A, Pakistan based terrorism, Past terrorist attacks, Terror Target, Terrorism, Terrorist attack | Leave a Comment »

Targeting the real problem

Posted by :) on March 31, 2009

The direct consequence of Taliban rule of Afghanistan for India was Kashmir’s highest levels of insurgency. There is no greater strategic threat to India than the struggle that today encompasses southern Afghanistan and, increasingly, swathes of northwestern Pakistan. Islamabad’s severe allergy to an Indian presence in Afghanistan and New Delhi’s normal incoherence about its foreign policy interests mean that India’s primary influence on Afghan events is via Washington. India is, thus, among the countries that has the greatest stake in the Afghan policy review announced by US President Barack Obama on Friday. Despite the concerns expressed over the past few weeks, much of the policy echoes what India has long argued about Afghanistan. First, the review recognises that the troubles in Afghanistan and Pakistan are two sides of the same coin. More specifically, that the Taliban resurgence is a direct product of cross-border safe havens. Second, no player in the ‘Afpak’ region should assume the US will leave the region in a hurry. Mr Obama has appeased his party’s left by mentioning a 2011 departure date for US troops but has conditioned it on the elimination of al-Qaeda. Third, the review outlined a stepped-up civilian reconstruction programme, having more Afghan hands take over the country’s security and broaden Afpak diplomacy to include even non-neighbouring States like India and Turkey. This is sensible. Afghanistan is and must be more than a US problem. But ultimately the military and diplomatic burden of stabilising Afghanistan can only be borne by the US. Finally, there is no mention of allowing elements of the Taliban to share power in Kabul. The Afghans will decide their rulers by ballots alone. The weakest leg of the policy must surely be Pakistan. Many elements in Islamabad still believe that defeating the Taliban is more about getting Americans out of Afghanistan than it is about tackling the militant cancer inside Pakistan. The Pakistani military has proven unwilling or simply incapable of taking on the Taliban groups inside its borders. The review speaks of increasing aid to Pakistan and encouraging Indo-Pakistan “constructive diplomacy”. Indians can take umbrage at one sop to Pakistan – the failure to mention 26/11. But there was a time this was a reason for India to worry. Today, New Delhi needs to accept that this sort of language is increasingly less policy than it is therapy – for a nuclear-armed neighbour increasingly unsettled in mind and body.

Courtesy : Hindustan Times

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India faced 4,100 terror attacks from 1970 to 2004

Posted by :) on December 3, 2008

Wed, Dec 3 10:21 AM

Washington, Dec 3 (IANS) India faced more than 4,100 terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2004, accounting for more than 12,000 fatalities, according to the Global Terrorism Database.

The database is maintained by the University of Maryland and the US National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

START’s Terrorist Organisation Profiles (TOPs) collection has information on 56 groups known to have engaged in terrorism in India, including the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

About 12,540 terrorist-related fatalities in India between 1970 and 2004 – an average of almost 360 fatalities per year from terrorism in India. These fatalities peaked in 1991 and 1992, when 1,184 and 1,132 individuals (respectively) were killed in such incidents, a University of Maryland statement said.

These figures are on the lower side as official figures in India put the toll at around 70,000 deaths.

Terrorists in India have employed a variety of attack types over time, 38.7 percent of terrorist events were facility attacks, 29.7 percent were bombings (in which the intent was to destroy a specific facility), and 25.5 percent were assassinations. Last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai, which left at least 183 dead, would be classified as a series of coordinated facility attacks.

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