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Indian Press (02 Nov 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

To Deal With Lone Wolf Attacks, Governments Need To Rethink Their Strategies: New Age Islam's Selection, November 2, 2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

 November 2, 2017

A Jihadist Halloween In New York: Islamic State May Have Imploded, But IS 2.0 Is Spreading Across The World

By Sreeram Sundar Chaulia

Thirty Three Years after The Sikh Riots, There Is Still No Closure For The Victims

By Hindustan Times

Europe-style terror in US

By Asian Age

Keep the Army Out Of It

By Sushant Singh

Why are men never to blame?

By Rafia Zakaria

Compiled by New Age Islam Edit Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/indian-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/to-deal-with-lone-wolf-attacks,-governments-need-to-rethink-their-strategies--new-age-islam-s-selection,-november-2,-2017/d/113101


To deal with lone wolf attacks, governments need to rethink their strategies

By Hindustan Times

Nov 01, 2017

The recent attack in New York City is a reminder that the world is now in a second and more difficult phase of countering terrorism. The New York City attack is the seventh lethal attack after 9/11 on US soil linked to the Al Qaeda or the Islamic State. Increasingly such terrorism is associated with “lone wolves,” radicalised individuals who do not have direct organisational connections to a terrorist group but are often motivated through the internet. This lack of a physical link has made preventing terrorism much harder. In Europe, for example, interception rates have fallen by half because of the difficulties posed by such terrorism.

After 9/11, a largely military strategy that deprived terrorists of safe havens and targeted the cell structure of groups like Al Qaeda had remarkable success. Terror attacks were few and far between on US soil. The number of jihadis arrested and plots uncovered in the country was in the single figures till 2009. That’s changed now.

The rise of the Islamic State and its use of the internet, encryption and social media has resulted in a significant surge in Islamicist terror attacks across the world, including the US. Studies show that most lone wolf terrorists consume a large amount of radical Islamicist propaganda online. A few have some form of direct communication with an Islamic State sympathiser. Many don’t. And very few have any deeper relationship with a terrorist organisation.

One saving grace, if it can be called that, is that lone wolves inflict far fewer casualties. The terrorist cell that carried out multiple attacks in Paris and Brussels was the work of trained terrorists. Its lethality and sophistication was correspondingly high. The New York City attack is more in line with what has become a more common occurence: the use of a vehicle to knock down people, minimal or no use of firearms or explosives, and the absence of any co-conspirators. Casualties in such attacks, while horrific, are far less than in terrorist attacks in the early 2000s. But the primitive nature of the attack also makes it much harder to detect beforehand.

Already a new wave of counterterrorism measures is being introduced. Tighter controls on vehicle rentals, greater electronic surveillance, limited censorship of the internet and, more controversially, a debate on the preventive detention of suspects and recommendations for laptops and mobile phones to have monitors at the time of manufacture. In considering such actions it is important to begin with the assumption that all terror cannot be stopped all the time. The alternative is an Orwellian police state.



A Jihadist Halloween In New York: Islamic State May Have Imploded, But IS 2.0 Is Spreading Across The World

By Sreeram Sundar Chaulia

The terrorist attack in New York city on Halloween day – in which a speeding pickup truck ploughed into pedestrians and killed 8 persons – is a reminder of how the threat of Islamic State (IS) is morphing. The assailant, an Uzbek apparently inspired by the IS command to use vehicles to strike at ‘infidels’ in Western cities, has conveyed a larger message through his diabolical act that the nature of the terrorist problem is shifting and so must the policy response to it.

Since IS declared its Caliphate in 2014 by capturing vast territorial tracts in Iraq and Syria, the prime focus of international attention has been on liberating those lands. And in this endeavour, the two broad military coalitions led by Russia and the US have succeeded through combat operations and intense bombing campaigns. From a peak of 90,800 sq km under its control in 2015, IS is down to ruling over a mere 3% of Iraq and 5% of Syria today.

The bulk of the IS leadership and rank and file have been killed, detained and scattered. The flow of foreign fighters to defend the rump Caliphate after the fall of major cities like Mosul and Raqqa has reduced drastically. So battered is IS on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria that its fighters are negotiating with the Iraqi or Syrian governments to escape alive. In defeat, the jihadists famed for a culture of martyrdom are showing pragmatic instincts to merely survive.

Yet, in spite of progress in the military realm, the ideological virus of IS thought and philosophy has penetrated many parts of the world and is nowhere close to being vanquished. The spate of attacks by IS-influenced jihadists in Europe and the US continues. Typically low-tech in modus operandi, the series of truck ramming, stabbing and shooting incidents carried out by Muslim immigrants with no direct training or funding from IS but radicalised over the internet or via religious networks has challenged national security across the Western world.

IS’s so-called autonomous ‘provinces’ or Wilayat in countries as far apart as Afghanistan, the Philippines and Egypt are also perking up and demonstrating a resilience that is confounding states and drilling fear into affected populations. The massive civilian casualties being caused by attacks on Shia minorities while praying in mosques in Afghanistan and on Christian minorities in churches of Egypt are trademark symbols of IS branches getting bolder, not feebler, and wreaking havoc.

In the Philippines, IS-affiliated jihadists took over the southern city of Marawi this year and resisted a huge army assault using daredevil tactics for a record 154 days without caving in. In Bangladesh, IS-smitten groups have increased activity levels and displaced previously established jihadist movements.

All these instances are manifestations of IS’s fundamentalist beliefs which are thriving far away from its core base in the Middle East. Like its global predecessor Al Qaeda, IS is grafting itself on to pre-existing local conflicts and grievances in Asia and Africa and arising as a new force.

The big mistake that many governments are committing when faced with this IS 2.0 is to underestimate it or dismiss it as a smokescreen created by old, traditional terrorist groups. When IS was ascending in the Middle East in early 2014, then American president Barack Obama made light of the threat by comparing it to a ‘JV team’ with no main players. Late reaction instead of early preemption enabled IS to mushroom into a global menace.

Governments and societies in Asia and Africa must learn lessons from past errors of complacency and concentrate on tackling IS’s intolerant ideation system. The same holds for Western countries where migrant communities are being attracted to IS propaganda as a catharsis to solve identity crises and culture clashes.

Alongside conventional counter-terrorism methods like surveillance and intelligence-gathering about suspects, a heavier investment is required in de-radicalisation programmes among disaffected communities, especially isolated youth within them.

The IS idea and premise that non-Muslims and non-Sunnis are oppressors or sub-humans who deserve annihilation has to be overwritten with a liberal idea of the equality and shared humanity of all. Barring such a reformation in values, the Caliphate will reincarnate itself in its provincial avatar and keep draining state resources and undermining social fabrics. The war began in the mind and it will only end there.



Thirty Three Years after the Sikh Riots, There Is Still No Closure For The Victims

By Hindustan Times

Nov 01, 2017

The Sikh community has moved on. The ends of justice will not, however, be met unless those against whom there is clear evidence are brought to justice. That call should emanate from all self respecting citizens who place a premium on the rule of law.

We both joined the Indian Foreign Service on the same day, July 11, 1974. We were both serving in different European cities when the horrific events of 1984 took place. We shared the disgust at the developments that unfolded. Both our careers took different turns. One of us resigned after Operation Blue Star. Our thinking, however, converges with even greater clarity today.

Around 4,000 innocent Sikhs were massacred in early November 1984. The assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was tragic. The reprisal killings were no less condemnable.

Since the partition riots of 1947, there has not been carnage anywhere in India on the scale seen in 1984. This was a mass atrocity and could attract any of the four labels normally associated with such heinous crimes: genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Some riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji. We know the people were very angry and for a few days it seemed that India had been shaken. But when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little”- Rajiv Gandhi.

The insensitivity in the above statement soon turned into contempt in respect of those killed and their survivors.

Thirty three years and innumerable commissions later, not a single political leader has been brought to justice. To suggest that the killings were a spontaneous expression of anger against members of Sikh community defies comprehension.

By no means can the carnage of 1984 be described as a ‘riot’. A ‘riot’ presupposes countervailing action by the other side. In this case, Sikhs were disarmed. Marauding gangs, led by local leaders identified Sikh households, and their occupants were then subjected to looting, plundering, arson and killing.

Years after the SITs have closed a large number of cases, two political leaders are on the scanner. In one case, a former business partner of one of the accused stands ready to give evidence about the role of the erstwhile leader.



Europe-style terror in US

By Asian Age

Nov 2, 2017

The “lone wolf” terror attack on a bicycle path by the Hudson river in New York’s Manhattan will intensify the political debate over immigration and security in the US. America was subjected to its first European-style attack in which an ISIS-inspired terrorist drives a vehicle through a street running over people, as seen earlier in France, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Spain. As irony would have it, this Uzbek-born terror acolyte managed to kill five Argentinians and a Belgian visiting New York among his eight victims. The ISIS may have been soundly defeated in Iraq, driven out of their last bastions of Mosul and Raqqa, but those indoctrinated by the “caliphate” will continue such attacks, particularly against the West. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and society must find ways to cope with the anxieties of those attacked while just going about their daily activities.

Islamist attacks aren’t the only type of terror to hit the US, whose gun laws are so lax that it takes only a brief loss of mental balance over an itchy trigger finger to rain death on people, as Las Vegas showed recently. The Trump administration has decided to tighten immigrant screening in its “extreme vetting” programme, with Donald Trump tweeting: “Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!” Each Islamist terror attack will only harden Mr Trump’s stand. While fighting terrorism, there can’t be any compromises, even if it means some peaceful refugees from the killing fields of West Asia are denied their dream of reaching the “land of opportunity”. One can only sympathise with the innocent who are killed amid this pointless rage against humanity.



Keep the Army Out Of It

By Sushant Singh

November 2, 2017 12:15 am

In 1953, following riots against Ahmadiyyas, martial law was imposed in Lahore. After bringing the law and order situation under control, the Pakistan army proceeded to launch the "Cleaner Lahore Campaign". This initiative created a positive image of army efficiency, besides reinforcing its ability to restore a situation caused by the failure of civil administration. The civilian set-up, including the beleaguered politicians and bureaucrats, further coalesced around the Pakistan army, while keeping an illusion of democracy. By 1958, even that illusion had been shattered as Ayub Khan became the military dictator of Pakistan.

Around the same time, in India, 4 Infantry Division under the command of Major General B.M. Kaul was undertaking the construction of 1,450 barracks and family accommodation in Ambala using troop labour. The proposal had been turned down by then army chief, General Thimayya, when it was first raised but Kaul managed a go-ahead from then defence minister, V.K. Krishna Menon. Christened "Project Amar", the construction was completed in a record seven months which led to Kaul becoming the first recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal in 1960. By end-1959, 4 Infantry Division was moved to NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh) and when India and China went to war in October-November 1962, it faced the brunt of Chinese assault and suffered a humiliating loss. The 4 Corps was commanded by Kaul.

These two incidents are not directly linked but both hold lessons to be kept in mind while employing soldiers for routine civilian tasks. Tuesday's announcement of using army engineers to construct three railway footbridges in Mumbai has brought the issue into the spotlight. This is, however, not the first time the army has been used for such tasks. In 2016, the government had asked army engineers to make a pontoon bridge in the Yamuna flood plains for a mega event of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In 2010, when a foot-bridge fell days before the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the army engineers came in to erect a bridge in double-quick time. The army also makes pontoon bridges during the Kumbh mela, and to restore communication in inaccessible areas after natural disasters.

The situation in Mumbai is different: One, it is not a far-flung area where civilian agencies are unavailable. The Railways in Mumbai have the engineering resources, technical expertise, funds and experience of constructing such a bridge. Even private infrastructure creation agencies are available in India's biggest megacity. Two, this is a permanent infrastructure while the army is employed to make bridges which are needed temporarily, say for Kumbh. Three, the army comes in a public emergency where relief is needed in days, if not hours. A month has already passed since the incident at Elphinstone Bridge.

Notwithstanding these significant deviations from the norm, a democratic government is within its rights to employ soldiers in the manner it deems fit. As the armed forces seem to be doing nothing urgent when no fighting is on, it is tempting to employ them in other routine duties. Before the 1962 war, soldiers were growing crops in vast swathes of military lands and recently, the army was asked to clean the trash left behind by civilian tourists as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign. But this violates a fundamental premise of a modern military that during peace-time, it must be left free to prepare for war. Or as the armed forces put it: The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.

The government must also realise the institutional dangers inherent in employing soldiers in non-emergency civilian duties. Such employment is an acknowledgement of civilian institutional failure to the larger public, and reinforces the belief that only the army can provide an effective substitute. Besides forestalling a badly needed reappraisal of civilian institutions, it is a trend which holds potentially negative consequences for the delicate balance of civil-military relations, if extended to other spheres of governance. That India is not Pakistan and Indian Army is no Praetorian Guard needs no reiteration. But a recent Pew Survey shows that 53 per cent of Indians believe that military rule would be a good thing, with younger people more supportive of the idea.

An unthinking diversion of the armed forces for routine civilian tasks seems highly affordable but has long-term costs for the country. The government should remember the lessons from the 1950s.



Why are men never to blame?

Rafia Zakaria

November 2, 2017

On 24 October, a British-Pakistani woman appeared at the Old Bailey Court in London. Twenty-seven-year-old Sabah Khan was accused of murdering her sister Saima Khan. But there would be no trial in the case.

When it was her turn to plead, Sabah Khan chose to enter a guilty plea. When she reappeared in the same courtroom two days later, the judge sentenced her to life in prison, with a minimum of 22 years to be served. The sordid saga of jealousy, manipulation and exploitation that took one Khan sister’s life and led to the imprisonment of the other began not last May, when Saima Khan was murdered, but four years ago, when Saima’s husband, 37-year-old Hafeez Rehman, began an affair with Sabah, his unmarried sisterin-law.

Rehman kept the affair secret, routinely breaking it off and then starting it again. A father of four children, one of whom was born a little over a year before the murder, Rehman used WhatsApp to exchange messages with Sabah even while he lived with her sister and the girl’s parents. Unlike the sisters, who were of Pakistani origin but largely grew up in the UK, Rehman had migrated from Pakistan. His marriage to Saima allowed him to obtain a British passport.

In the years that the affair continued, Sabah became increasingly obsessed with Rehman. At one point in time, she became pregnant with his child. Because the affair was secret (or at least everyone involved pretended not to know about it), she was forced to have an abortion. It was alleged that at one point Rehman inquired whether he could be married to both sisters at the same time. When he learned that this was forbidden in Islam, he chose to continue with the affair.

Even though he claimed he tried to end the relationship, there seems to be evidence to the contrary. Long before then, tensions between the sisters had risen to the point that Sabah was living separately from the rest of the family. In March 2016, the increasingly desperate Sabah, seeing little hope for a change, even contacted a ‘practitioner’ of the ‘black arts’ in Pakistan.

Speaking in the third person on the messages exchanged, she asked for assistance in getting rid of her sister. It is alleged that she paid the person £5,000 to make this happen. But Saima did not die and everything came to a head on the night of 26 May 2016 at around 11 pm. Saima, who worked as a healthcare aide for an elderly lady, was at work. The four children, the eldest of whom was a daughter about seven years old, slept upstairs. Sabah was home taking care of them. Her parents and Rehman had gone out.

At this time, Sabah texted her sister, asking her to come home. Her youngest daughter, only a year or so old at the time, was crying for her, she said. Not long after, Saima returned home, entirely unaware of any danger at all. CCTV footage released to the media shows that Sabah had already purchased a sharp knife from a supermarket. As soon as Saima’s key turned in the lock and she entered the hallway, Sabah attacked her. Post-mortem reports show that Sabah stabbed her sister 68 times.

One of the wounds was so deep that it nearly decapitated the victim. At least one of the children woke up because of the commotion and asked her aunt if she was killing her mother. Sabah broke a window and threw the black and bloody clothes she had worn to carry out the attack into plastic bags and out of the window. She hid the murder weapon in a bedroom.

Then she called emergency services and alleged that a robbery had taken place in the house and her sister had been murdered. When the ambulance arrived, Saima was, of course, already dead. The sad and gruesome story of the murder of an innocent woman by her sister is in a sense an illustration of the many complex ills plaguing the British-Pakistani community in towns like Luton. Hailing largely from rural areas of Punjab, many in these communities still follow the stunted dictates of a culture frozen on the date of their migration.

The desirability of a British passport in Pakistan and the desire to marry daughters within a circle of close relatives has led to increasing problems. Apart from the current instance, marriages built on the need of one party to migrate are rife with the potential for exploitation. Furthermore, marriage between cousins, as is very common in these communities, is often solemnised under the pressure of parents and family.

The statistics are telling: out of more than 1,400 cases of forced marriage reported in the UK in 2016, almost half involved the Pakistani community. In addition to this scourge, Islamophobia among many segments of British society appears to be on the rise. This together with the constant scrutiny by security services creates a high-pressure environment that is highly combustible.

In this case it was Sabah Khan who killed her sister and Sabah Khan who will spend the rest of her life in jail. And while the woman who committed the crime must rightly be punished for it, some anger and attention should also be directed at the man at the heart of it, a man who seems to have evaded any kind of punishment.

If Sabah Khan wielded the knife and stabbed her sister, it was Rehman who drove her to it. In love triangles it is often the women who blame each other.

While there are no lessons that can be drawn from such a heartbreaking tragedy, perhaps we can pause and wonder why men are hardly ever the ones to blame.

URL: http://newageislam.com/indian-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/to-deal-with-lone-wolf-attacks,-governments-need-to-rethink-their-strategies--new-age-islam-s-selection,-november-2,-2017/d/113101


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