Saturday, March 8, 2014

Article for Publication - Are We Prepared for Counter Terrorism

Article for Publication

March 6th, 2014







Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)


"I say with full responsibility that Islamabad is a safe and secure city", so declared the Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan in a press conference and ironically, only three days later the terrorists devastated his hollow claim by striking at the District Courts Complex Islamabad killing at least 11 people, including an Additional Sessions Judge Rafaqat Ahmed Awan and a 25 year old young lady lawyer Fiza apart from wounding 25 others some seriously with three lawyers also critically wounded amongst them .

The one sided gun and grenade carnage lasted for nearly 45 minutes and the killers were at leisure to enter any office, court room or chamber – at places even asking the hapless victims to recite Kalima before killing them!  Apparently no serious effort seems to have been made by the Police to stop the killing spree of the terrorists who made their escape good in the vehicles they had come to the courts. Strangely, there are conflicting reports about the exact number of the terrorists that played havoc at the courts.  This is what the Honourable Interior Minister had to say of the incident in the National Assembly. He said  that there was a huge difference between the intelligence provided by intelligence agencies and the police.

According to the police two men entered a side lane of the district courts where they first fired into the air and then shot everyone who came their way. On the other hand, the intelligence agencies informed him that three men entered the premises; all had Kalashnikovs while the two of them wore suicide jackets also who blew themselves up while the third one ran away. However, according to an initial report of the police and intelligence agencies there were four armed men who entered the courts complex and two suicide attacks took place. Firing broke out after the blasts and the other two attackers fled the scene.  What a confusion and what an intelligence shemozzle ?!!   A force of 60 policemen are said to be deputed for the security of the Islamabad courts, out of which  47 were present on the day of occurrence. However, only one is reported to have fired at the terrorists and that too without any effect. Most others are alleged to have had defective w! eapons. Some policemen confided to the news reporters that they had orders not to open fire at their own.  There were no CCTV cameras around, which had been incidentally ordered by the previous CJ Iftikhar Ch. about a year ago to cover all the courts premises.  Surprisingly, they have been installed so promptly within two days of the incident!  Where have these cameras come from?  Anybody's guess!  One thing is for sure that these could not been possibly procured and installed too at such a short notice unless all government procurement rules, regulations and procedures were flouted. The Secretary Interior informed the apex court that a police contingent was rushed to the scene of occurrence in 7 to 10 minutes from the nearby Margalla Police Station, which was scoffed at by the honourable court with the  remarks that had they arrived that quickly the terrorists could not have done what they did.


Now the question arises that were these 60 policemen or the contingent rushed from the nearby police station trained in any way to counter a well planned and executed terrorist suicidal attack or were they simply there just as a "show of force"?

Were they to act (react) individually on their own or had they been organized and divided into various groups, sections and platoons etc. each with a specific task assigned to it? Did they have their specific 'Stations' to occupy during the operation, such as some vantage or high points affording good visibility and cover from terrorist fire or were they just to run around in the open exposing themselves fully to the enemy fire?  Did they have any means of communications (wireless sets, Walkie/Talkies etc.) between themselves for effective Command and Control? Did they have any body armour (bullet proof vests) for their protection?  Was there ever any exercise or rehearsal carried out against a mock terrorist attack? In short did they know what to do and how to do it?  If not, then how do we expect such an untrained and ill-equipped force to counter any terrorist attack effectively? They will simply act like the cannon fodder and for that only the! ir senior officers are to be blamed. There is an old saying , "The greatest disloyalty a commander can do to his men is to launch them into a battle without proper training for it".


Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

NIC# 37405- 9122353-5


Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
30 Westridge 1
Rawalpindi 46000
Tel: (051) 5158033

Shahzad Afzal

Zionist Extremists Have Stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound

 by: Ahmed Hammuda

Zionist Extremists Have Stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound

"Glorified be He (Allāh) Who took His slave (Muhammad salla Allāhu 'alayh wasalam) for a journey by night from al-Masjid al-Harām (at Makkah) to Al-Masjid-al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him of Our signs. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer."[1]

Few of us stop to ponder over the circumstance this blessed chapter was revealed in and the implications of the Prophet's great journey (salla Allāhu 'alayh wasalam). This chapter, having been revealed in Makkah contains topics that are inherent to Islamic 'Aqīdah, central to our focus and concern. The gathering of every Prophet in al-Aqsa Mosque, led by the final Messenger (salla Allāhu 'alayhi wasalam) indicates his position as their great Imam and leader[2]. It signifies the relationship between their messages and emphasises the final divine designation of the land to the monotheistic nation of the descendant of Ibrahim ('alayhi al-Salām): Muhammad, (salla Allāhu 'alayh wasalam)[3].

It therefore becomes extremely painful that we need to discuss the identity of an area that exemplifies the very core of Islamic belief. This is more and more typically becoming the Israeli Parliament's main point of debate in its quarters; extending its authority in Jerusalem to encompass al-Aqsa Sanctuary in replacement of Jordan. The latest episode of this Zionist fanaticism was led by Moshe Feiglin, a Jewish extremist member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far right Likud party. Unsatisfied with the current level of Israeli annexation of Palestinian land, Feiglin expressed resentment at why Israeli fanatics have no access to the sanctuary and are barred from unfurling on it the Israeli flag[4].

According to Feiglin: "Al-Aqsa belongs to the Jews and the Arabs should go back to Saudi Arabia where they belong. The golden dome is part of a Jewish temple and does not belong to the Muslims."[5] These claims have already been proven fictitious from religious, historical and geological grounds. Israeli and international archaeologists have been excavating tunnels under the Aqsa sanctuary extensively since 1967, confirming through rigorous exploration that claims to a Jewish temple in that area are baseless[6]. These fabrications have nonetheless led to significant damage to the structural integrity of al-Aqsa mosque, causing walls to crack, floors to cave in and others to completely give way[7]. Demands for sovereignty over the Mosque, however, are not purely driven by the dreams of 'extremist Zionists', they are the stepping stone to something more catastrophic. These demands should never be deemed in isolation of the surrounding, concurrent events in the Muslim world. As the Muslim world continues in turmoil Israel is pushing forth in the dark, realising its ambitions of uprooting and replacing what remains of Islamic endowments in the holy land. These simultaneous events have largely diverted the attention of Muslims around the world, allowing the Zionist regime to double its rate of settlement expansion in 2013 while demolishing 390 Palestinian homes in the West bank in the same year[8], 50% more than in the previous year amidst no international resistance[9].

On Wednesday the 19th of February, extremist Moshe Feiglin "ascended to the Temple Mount" and "toured all corners",[10] provocatively offering a 'prayer' in claim of al-Aqsa sanctuary and by full sanction of Israeli police. In essence, Feiglin's action while a member of the Israeli Knesset does not differ to when Ariel Sharon desecrated the holy sanctuary by intruding into it surrounded by hundreds of Israeli police. This symbolic attempt at declaring ownership to the sanctuary sparked the second Intifada, claiming around 5,500 Palestinian lives[11]. More recently, repercussions to Israel's debate on formal ownership has been lent dangerously less attention, besides the Jordanian Parliament's useless unanimity on expelling the Israeli Ambassador[12]. The Zionist regime, in fact, effectively controls access to the Mosque and persists in banning anyone under the age of 50 from entering it, all the while radical Jewish settlers storm the Mosque unimpeded[13].

The almost unconscious 'Palestinian President' Mahmoud Abbas and his negotiation team continue to demonstrate the pinnacle of naivety and absurdness in continuing negotiations, supposedly attempting to secure East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine as opposed to Beit Hanina[14]. Geopolitically, these negotiations are foolish as the Palestinian Authority is frail and ineffectual on the ground. As such, its presence as the main 'authority' is to the betterment of Israel. Evidence of this is its threats to disband itself if Israel continues in its settlement expansion in East Jerusalem (imagine if Hamas did the same). With more than 53,000 settlement homes in East Jerusalem[15], prospects for a state through negotiation have been eradicated. Religiously, Jerusalem being an endowment renders any negotiation over its ownership void and as thus "bargaining over Palestine means bargaining over our faith."[16]

The Zionist entity is actively utilising the events across the Muslim world to swiftly achieve its expansionist goals. Out of the spotlight, it is pressing forward in an attempt to uproot al-Aqsa while the Palestinians struggle to defend this collective endowment all alone. Israel is not oblivious to the impending danger in the Middle-East and understands that bringing its invasion to an end is in the scope and objective of some of its neighbours. Nonetheless, allowing oneself to be preoccupied by the means while disregarding the objective (the end) will lend Israel time to cause the objective to become more and more unreachable. Indeed the destruction of al-Aqsa, God forbid, is something that will cause the zeal and energy of many Muslims to fetter, even in making progress in the means. Keeping awareness and full recognition of the position of al-Aqsa, while embodying it like one embodies elements of his or her creed is vital for every Muslim. Every effort should be expended in defending it, emphasising its sanctity and embedding its status in the heart in this challenging time.


For more of the latest news surrounding al-Aqsa please visit


[1] Al-Qur'ān 17:1

[2] Tafsīr b. Kathīr, Sūrat al-Isrā'

[3] Sayyid Qutub, in the Shade of the Qur'ān, Sūrat al-Isrā'




[7] The Holy al-Aqsa Sanctuary under Threat – Friends of al-Aqsa. Available here:









[16] quote by Muhammad Hamid Abu al-Nasr


Obama Worse Than Reagan

Nukes Now


Heads-up, veterans of the nuclear freeze movement in the US, the anti-Euromissile campaigns in Western Europe, and the various anti-nuclear weapons efforts in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Incoming.

We spent much of the eighties resisting Ronald Reagan's new Cold War, and his new nuclear weapons of all shapes and sizes. We pushed back against his giant 'defense' budgets and countered his harrowing rhetoric. We knew Star Wars was a scam, and the MX missile a danger. We grimaced at his appointments to key policymaking positions, and scoffed at his insincere arms control efforts.

In the end, we prevailed (after a sort). We get much of the credit for preventing planetary incineration that seemed frighteningly close at the time (Gorbachev deserves some too). Professional activists, Plowshares heroes, and a handful of stalwart others stayed in the anti-nuclear weapons movement trenches. Although nukes were not abolished with the end of the Cold War, most of the rest of us nonetheless moved on to fight other evils, and to work on one or more better world construction projects.

It's time to return. President Obama released his FY 2015 budget on Tuesday, March 4. Ready for this? It asks for considerably more money (in constant dollars) for nuclear weapons maintenance, design and production than Reagan spent in 1985, the historical peak of spending on nukes: $8.608 billion dollars, not counting administrative costs (see graph below). The Los Alamos Study Group crunched the numbers for us.
Next year's request tops this year's by 7%. Should the President's new Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative be approved, yet $504 million more would be available for warhead spending. The OGSI is $56 billion over and above the spending agreed to in the December 2013 two-year budget (unlikely to pass given that it's an election year, would be paid for by increased taxes on the retirement funds of the rich, and reduced spending in politically dicey areas like crop insurance).

Increased lucre for the nuclear weapons complex maintains Obama's inconsistency on the Bomb. He wrote his senior thesis at Columbia on the arms race and the nuclear freeze campaign. Two months after his first inauguration, he uttered these words in Prague: "So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons."

The Pentagon's 2010 Nuclear Posture Review promised to avoid "new military missions or . . . new military capabilities" for nuclear weapons (don't laugh, you'd be surprised how imaginative those guys can be). 2011 was even better: Obama signed the New START Treaty. It limits the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to 1550, a 30% decrease from the previous START Treaty, signed in 2002. New START also lowered limits on the number of launch platforms — ICBMs, ballistic missile launching subs, and nuke-equipped bombers.

At the same time, his State Department refuses—under first Hilary Clinton and now John Kerry—to present the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to the Senate for ratification out of timidity over expected resistance (never mind that the US has essentially figured out ways to circumvent the Treaty's spirit if not letter; the CTB was once the 'holy grail' for arms control and disarmament advoates).

That same State Department refrains—under both Hilary Clinton and John Kerry—from getting tough with Pakistan over its years-long obstruction of United Nations-sponsored negotiations over a global ban on the stuff needed to make bombs. (Pakistan is the country building them faster than any other; how about: 'we'll ground the killer drones in exchange for a fissile material cut-off?'). And Obama now wants to outspend Reagan on nuclear weapons maintenance, design and production.

Winding down nuclear weapons spending, and eventually abolishing the things (for which no negotiations are underway) has been the right thing to do since the first bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert in 1945. State Department support for the coup in Ukraine and the resultant saber rattling (echoes of August 1914?) make it as urgent as ever.

Steve Breyman was 2011-12 William C. Foster Visiting Scholar Fellow in the Euro-Atlantic Security Affairs Office of the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance at the US Department of State where he worked fruitlessly on reforming nuclear weapons policy. He is author of Movement Genesis: Social Movement Theory and the West German Peace Movement and Why Movements Matter: The West German Peace Movement and US Arms Control Policy. Reach him at

Shahzad Afzal