Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Pakistani Connection Continues...

Newsweek is reporting rising concerns among Western terrorist experts that at least a dozen "Westerners" (Muslims from Western nations) are completing an al Qaeda training program somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistan border and will soon be dispatched back to their home countries to advance al Qaeda recruitment and training there. Nine of the 12 "Westerners" are said to be British, including a set of brothers.

U.S. and British security agencies have known this threat would come sooner or later. While saying he could not confirm the English brothers' case specifically, a spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office (unnamed as a matter of standard policy) calls it "common knowledge" that jihadist recruits have been traveling from Britain to Pakistan for indoctrination and training. The existence of a Qaeda pipeline between those two countries has grown harder to deny with every new terrorism story that has broken since the suicide bombings in London that killed 52 subway and bus passengers on July 7, 2005. Each new case that emerges features at least one or two suspects with ties to Pakistan—such as an alleged plot that began before 9/11 to bomb financial buildings in New York, Newark, N.J., and Washington, and this past summer's alleged plot to blow up airline flights from Britain to the United States.

A few weeks ago Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, director-general of the British security service M.I.5, publicly disclosed that British authorities are monitoring 200 networks and 1,600 individuals "actively engaged in plotting or facilitating terrorist acts here and overseas." A "substantial" fraction of those 1,600 people have connections to Pakistan, says a British official, declining to be named because the subject is sensitive. The M.I.5 chief added that her investigators had identified nearly 30 separate plots "that often have links back to Al Qaeda in Pakistan, and through those links Al Qaeda gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here."

With Islamabad no longer intimidated by Washington's threats (which have lost all credibility in light of the fiasco in Iraq), Musharref has eased off the vehemently anit-American, pro-Islamist elements in his security services and the Islamists are quickly rebuilding their strenght in northern Pakistan and carrying that fight across the border into Afghanistan, which as noted in posts below, explains the growing resurgence of the Taliban. Washington is too preoccupied with the mess in Baghdad to crack down on Pakistan, or pay serious attention to the escalating problems with the Afghan mission. That Pakistan is the fountainhead and primary training ground for jihadis is not open to debate, virtually every Western intelligence service understands that.

Within the past year, M.I.5 has produced detailed reports about a group of British men, ethnic Pakistanis, who traveled to jihadist training camps in Pakistan by way of Saudi Arabia, Syria and Afghanistan, according to a counter-terrorism official in London who requested anonymity because of the sensitive subject. And the scariest part is not what M.I.5 knows but what it doesn't know: there's no way the authorities can watch more than a tiny percentage of the 400,000 British residents who visit Pakistan every year.

U.S. security agencies are no less worried. American intelligence officials tell NEWSWEEK that their people are definitely concerned about terror suspects and operatives shuttling back and forth between Britain and Pakistan. One particular worry is that under current practice, British visitors to the States are not required to apply in advance for temporary visas, which are routinely granted to any British passport holder who is not on a watch list. In other words, the door is wide open for Britain's growing ranks of young jihadists, even those who have attended Qaeda training camps, if they are unknown to intelligence agencies. U.S. officials are discussing how the visa system could be tightened. "For the most effective background checks on passengers, the United States needs information and assistance from the country where the traveler resides," says Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke, adding that such help should be "routine."

Understand what is being said here. The British and American governments know that Pakistan is the source of training, support and recruitment for jihadi terrorists who are infiltrating Western nations (with the goal of destroying Western societies), and both countries know that potentially hundreds of terrorists are slipping into the West through tourism and immigration between Britain and Pakistan (and then onto the US). None of this is disputed by British or American intelligence services. And yet, no one - NO ONE - in Britain or America is discussing the single most obvious solution to this problem: cut off tourism and immigration between Pakistan and the West. Fifty or a hundred years ago, such a policy would have been implemented as soon as the connection between Pakistan and Islamist terror in the West became obvious. But today, political correctness and multiculturalism prevent Western leaders from stating the obvious (that Islam is a threat to the West and the immigration from Pakistan is dangerous) and taking the appropriate action. Consider the reverse. If Christians in Britain were recruiting Pakistani Christians to commit acts of terror in the streets of Islamabad, do you think Pakistan would continue to permit immigration and tourism from Britain? Of course not. The Pakistanis are neither stupid, nor are they engaged in national suicide. Worse for Britain, the more Pakistani immigrants there are in Britain, the harder it will be, politically, to halt further immigration from Pakistan, since Pakistanis living in Britain will maintain an ethnic/religious loyalty to their homeland and Islamic culture rather than Britain and its Western culture. The more Pakistanis living in Britain, the more political clout they will have and the less able British officials will be to take the actions needed to save Britain from attack.

Ultimately, Muslim - and in particular, Pakistani - immigration to Britain may ultimately do what Hitler and Stalin couldn't: scuttle the special relationship between Britain and the US. If Britain continues to admit Pakistan-trained and funded jihadis, the US may have to start imposing travel restrictions of Britons in the US, to protect itself from British passport holding terrorists. Thus the West will have been divided from within, needlessly, and entirely due to the fecklessness of Western leaders.