By Brig Asif Haroon Raja
Going over the sequence of events that led to detection of smoking SUV at Times Square (TS) on 1 May and arrest of Faisal Shahzad from Dubai bound plane on 3 May, that is two days after the botched attempt, and speedy linkage of Faisal with Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) in North Waziristan (NW), coincidental reincarnation of declared dead Hakimullah Mehsud in January and his offensive statements to burn down cities of USA, his spokesman Azam Tariq claiming responsibility of failed TS incident, arrest of a Pakistani in Santiago and some others in USA and their alleged connections with Faisal, one has reason to believe that something fishy is going on. Possibility that Faisal was framed in order to maximize pressure on Pakistan at a time when it is not agreeing to start an operation in NW cannot be ruled out.
30-year old Faisal is neither an illiterate person nor an immature youngster or unemployed living under squalid conditions to have taken such a huge risk in a place where every moving thing is under microscopic scrutiny and surveillance. Born with a silver spoon, he had best of everything and was enjoying happy married life with his American naturalized wife and two children. After receiving higher education in USA, he too had earned US citizenship. With this background, should he have risked his life, his family and honor of his ancestral family?
Why should he have left behind a long trail to ease the job of security men to nab him? The fizzler locked his keys inside the car, including his apartment keys which don’t make sense. Somehow he made his way to TS undetected. Surprisingly, he made 16 trips to Pakistan and each time he successfully evaded airport security. Logically he should have kept the interval between bomb blast and time of his departure from New York as short as possible rather than idling for two days even after having learnt that his attempt had turned into a fizzle and the SUV he had purchased had been impounded. Suchlike attempts are made by maverick desperados who seldom get handcuffed submissively.
The Taliban have nearly seven years of experience in training suicide and car bombers and have used their trainees with almost 100% success rate. Crude method used by Faisal to detonate the car with the help of petrol, propane, urea fertilizer and firecrackers was different to techniques used by Taliban trainers. Taliban trainers train their students to kill and get killed and not to get nabbed under any circumstances. More so, it has now been established that Faisal never visited NW.
Once the FBI learnt about Faisal and his location, rationality demanded that they should have kept him under close watch and followed him up to Pakistan to learn about his future doings and his contacts in Pakistan. With the help of Pakistan intelligence, his movements and cell/telephonic conversations should have been monitored so as to nab the whole gang including the mastermind. Strangely, no such thing happened; instead the FBI goons pounced upon him in the aircraft, isolated him and then started feeding the world one-sided story.
One may hazard to ask as to how the US has responded to accusations of activities of Blackwater in Pakistan, which is an extension of CIA; misuse of Shamsi airbase for drones; arrest of five Americans charged with planning terrorist attacks in Pakistan; involvement of US diplomats in shady activities and some caught carrying weapons and explosives in Islamabad; the US giving full support to India and Afghanistan to carryout subversive activities in Pakistan; US media and think tanks unleashing poisonous propaganda to undermine institutions of Pakistan.
Notwithstanding that the US needs Pakistan when it is reaching endgame in Afghanistan, arrest of Faisal Shahzad and his alleged connection with Pakistani Taliban and Hillary Clinton’s outburst and soon after arrest of Saifur Rahman from Santiago, Maj Adnan, his brother and four others from Pakistan at the behest of USA are likely to put a damper on next round of strategic dialogue due in September.
CIA Director and security adviser James Jones were here to find a connection of Faisal with persons arrested in Pakistan and their connection with NW. Major Adnan had been sacked on grounds of discipline but he has been connected with TS incident by LA Times. This connection is being calculatingly created through a false flag operation in which CIA, Mossad and RAW are champions, to multiply pressure on Pakistan to mount another major operation in NW and thus ease pressure on ISAF contemplated offensive in Qandahar. They had also come to assess the internal political situation and position of Zardari in the wake of judiciary’s desire to open up Swiss cases and to haul up his corrupt cronies. They wanted to see how the military was viewing things. Current compliant leadership suits Washington but it would not mind if there is a change in Army leadership. This time it will be purely Zardari’s choice duly cleared by Washington.
Pak-US relations are so tenuous and fragile that slightest hesitancy on part of Pakistan to obey its commands brings instant frowns on foreheads of US leaders and they begin to huff and puff. A small incident like the one in TS in which no damage occurred, they start howling like mad wolves; not realizing that every second day 9/11s occur in Pakistan. Proud pursed Hillary Clinton in a fit of uncontrolled anger purred like a wild cat. She could not digest as to how come a Pakistani origin person could dare attempt a terror strike against mighty USA. She belligerently stated that God forbid the bomb planted in a vehicle had exploded all hell would have been let loose on Pakistan. Assurances and promises made to Pakistan by all the US leaders to treat Pakistan with respect and dignity went for a six. There were some belated efforts to mellow down her unpalatable diatribe, but her tantrums gave a wake up call to Pakistan that all was not well under the guise of new round of so-called friendship. Earlier the US gets rid of its dual faced unjust policies better it will be for the world.
Jeff Gates says that TS was a provocative operation designed to manipulate the thoughts and emotions of Americans. Gen Petraeus rejected Attorney General Eric Holder’s claim, saying Faisal was acting as a ‘lone wolf’. It is being opined by many that Faisal was tempted, lured and blackmailed. According to Gordon Duff, Jeff Gates, Wayne Madsen and some others, TS incident was CIA’s false flag. If it was real, it was a close shave. As I had dilated upon the threat to the US from within in one of my articles, such a scenario has begun to unfurl.
The US under Bush Junior had sent thousands of US forces all the way to Afghanistan and Iraq to make US homeland safe. It has spent trillions of dollars to keep the flames of terrorism it ignited well away from USA. It projected Al-Qaeda as a monster threatening world peace in order to muster the support of the world. After nine years of bloodshed, the US lost a lot and gained nothing; yet it felt contented that homeland had been kept out of the reach of terrorists. It took little notice of random incidents of terrorism at home since it was too engrossed in killing Muslim extremists.
Sniper attacks occurred around Washington DC in October 2002 in which 10 died and 3 received injuries. Major Nidal Hasan went on a shooting spree in Fort Hood massacre in November 2009. Crotch Bomber went past Amsterdam airport security without passport and boarded US plane. He tried to blow up the airliner on 25 December. It was TS which jolted US leaders out of their complacency. While agencies were busy piecing together shreds of evidence, fire bomb explosion took place outside Jacksonville’s biggest mosque ten days after TS.
Faisal’s case should give a food for thought to American think tanks. They should dispassionately ponder over this phenomenon which has shattered the established myth that militancy is confined to the oppressed poor class only. In 7/7 bombings in London, young educated persons were involved. So was the case with several cases in USA and western countries. If they genuinely try to find answers as to why Muslims residing in USA and western countries are getting radicalized, they will have to admit that this trend is the outcome of harsh and humiliating treatment meted out to them after 9/11 under flawed discriminatory homeland security concept.
Maj Nidal went berserk after he was repeatedly humiliated and provoked in the hospital he was working. His act was not spontaneous or without a cause. He was taunted for being a Muslim and his self esteem was callously injured. Surprisingly, none counseled the provokers and none sympathized with him. All had ganged up against him and kept needling him till he could take no more and he decided to take law in his own hand to avenge his oppressors.
Like Nidal, Faisal could have been treated unjustly, humiliated and denied his rights by his employer Company Apollo. This Company carries poor reputation of mistreating its employees. It is a known fact that American employers as a whole have been harsh and insensitive towards Muslims, particularly Pakistanis after 9/11. Hailing from a respectable family, Faisal might have got provoked by the discriminatory attitude of his employer and other Americans officials and also could have got emotionally moved by their cruelties towards Pashtuns. It is only under emotional stresses that slip ups occur, leaving behind so many conspicuous leads. One doesn’t goof up in a deliberately planned operation as the one attributed to Faisal. Possibility of luring him into an already laid trap also seems a distinct possibility.
Obama has failed to douse anti-Americanism since he is following his predecessor’s policies. Muslims are still being discriminated against and their religious sentiments hurt through willful publication of blasphemous caricatures and adopting anti-Islamic policies. Until and unless the American and western elite classes get rid of superiority complex, insolent and domineering attitude, dual-faced unjust policies, deceit and falsehood, trend of radicalization in the west will continue.
Brig Asif Haroon Raja is a Member Board of Advisors, Opinion Maker. He has been Defence Attache to Egypt and Sudan. He is Massters in War Studies, a former Directing Staff, Command and Staff College Quetta.