At one point in time bringing back the Indians from Iraq looked like an impossible task considering the mentality of the ISIS. The ISIS was in fact thinking of taking into their fold as many Indians as possible not with an intent of killing them, but to use them as shields and also for the sake of global publicity. However with militant you never know and what could trigger off a brutal assault.
Time was running out for the Indians and the Union Government realised that they needed to act quick. The Ministry of External Affairs which was tasked with the job of ensuring the safe return of the Indians accelerated its efforts and the man they roped in for this crucial job was the National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval. He made a secret visit to Iraq between June 23 and 25 along with the chief of the Intelligence Bureau, Asif Ibrahim and RaW chief Alok Joshi and this proved to be the icing on the cake for the operation that ensured that the Indians returned to their homes.
One of his many responsibilities during the Iraq war was to watch the beheading videos and track al-Qaeda in Iraq’s media output for the CIA. Aki Peritz co-author of the excellent book “Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism Campaigns that Killed bin Laden and Devastated Al Qaeda,” is also a former CIA counterterrorism analyst.
Today Iraq is on the boil and accroding to Peritz ISIS is merely following a decade old playbook. In this interview with rediff.com, Aki Peritz says sadly, the government under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki decided to pursue a sectarian agenda, alienating the Sunnis and driving the current conflict.
You have captured the evolution of counter terrorism post 9/11. How effective has it been? Has it helped only America or even the rest of the world.
The U.S. has become a lot more sensitive to the threat of terrorism, and the US government has taken some pretty radical steps over the past 13 years to restructure itself in order to fight this menace. Prior to 2001, we were still structured to fight large nation-states such as the Soviet Union, and 9/11 undid much of that.
Generally I think it has been a pretty effective process– while the US made some bad missteps at the very beginning, and then made a terrible, terrible blunder by invading Iraq, American counterterrorism efforts have been good at hunting down terrorists that threaten this country.
The conflict in Iraq has brought to the limelight a major tussle between two sects of Muslims. The ISIS has been trying to impose the most orthodox form of Islam known as Wahabism and the effects of this are being seen in several parts of the world. The Indian Muslim who subscribe to the moderate Hanafi form of Islam are caught in a cross fire as some sects who subscribe to the Wahabi form of Islam are trying to impose this faith in a big way.
In a bid to impose the Wahabi culture those who preach this faith have devised a two pronged strategy. First they preach the faith and try and convince as many people as possible and then they take over the Mosque and ensure that those who come to pray there follow this style of Islam.
According to a report of the Intelligence Bureau this problem of trying to impose the Wahabi faith in India started in the year 2010. Although there were signs of this faith trying to be imposed in a big way, the real sign of a Mosque being taken over was seen in the year 2010 at Kandivilli. The neighbouring Pathanwadi area has around 1300 persons who subscribe to the Wahabi school of thought. They had virtually laid seige on the Mosque and even prevented many who visited that Mosque from entering.
Similar incidents was reported in Mosques in Lucknow, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and also Bihar. The Wahabi scholars come down to India in large numbers and last year alone as per the report of the Intelligence Bureau there were nearly 25000 of them who had come to India and 12 lakh took part in these events. Continue reading “Wahabi take over of India, how they are doing it?”
It is like chosing between the devil and the deep sea. Even as Indians from Iraq continue to return, the Ministry for External Affairs has said that 2200 more have expressed their desire to leave Iraq. While several persons have already returned and ensured their safety, they now deal with another kind of problem- Debt.
The problem is immense especially in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Some 80 persons returned to India day before yesterday and today the reality of huge debts stares into their faces. Debts range anything between Rs 1 and Rs 2 lakh and their only hope of clearing it was by working in Iraq where the pay scale is better when compared to the rest of the countries. Continue reading “Back from Iraq, now debts to clear”
The nurses are on their way back home and many of them say that getting back to Iraq is a big no. The situation is bad there one of the nurses who did not want to be named told rediff.com.
When we were stranded in the hospital at Tikrit it seemed like an impossible situation. We never thought we would get out of there. All we heard were gun shots and bombs and never actually understand what was happening Mareena one of the nursed informed. We did not understand what was happening when around 8 people came and told us to get into the bus. Some of us tried to resist realised it was not worth it. They just told us to get into the bus and not protest. We did like wise.
We were however surprised when they treated us well. They never spoke rudely. They asked if we wanted water and food. Whether I would return to Iraq is something I havent thought about as yet. I will speak with my family about it.
The rise of the ISIS has worried the Al-Qaeda which has been not in terms of combat but also in terms of money. The Al-Qaeda and the Taliban had 200 million dollars 70 million dollars in cash respectively during their peak years. The ISIS on the other hand took with it 450 million dollars in just one raid that it conducted at Mosul. Apart from this the ISIS which has also taken control of Oil fields is estimated to be worth around 4 billion dollars in assets.
This is a large number and one could say that in terms of wealth and fighting skills the Al-Qaeda is no match at least today for the ISIS. The Al-Qaeda will look to make a come back and there are signs of desperation especially when one hears about the US intelligence alerts of this group trying to bomb airports in large numbers. The think tank in the United States of America says that the Al-Qaeda will be looking for a spectacular attack on the lines of 9/11 to regain what it lost to the ISIS. Moreover the coffers of the Al-Qaeda too are drying up and the free flow of funds that generated into their coffers from Saudi Arabia has dried up following the death of Osama Bin Laden.
All the 46 nurses who were in the custody of the ISIS will return to India by 7 AM tomorrow and this could be considered to be a major achivement for the Indian government. There are several questions being asked about what suddenly changed the mind of the ISIS and a decision to release them so soon was taken. None of the nurses sounded confident yesterday and many were shaky and were unable to tell what exactly was happening.
Was there a deal or was it plain negotiating skills with the help of the Red Crescent and some authorities from Saudi Arabia or was there money involved? Sources tell rediff.com that there was no money involved. It must be noted that the ISIS does not need money as it has an ample load of it. After all they are worth 4 billion dollars. Moreover on certain fronts like the Taliban, even the ISIS considers taking money after holding people ransom as un-Islamic. The same was found during the IC-814 hijack when one of the negotiators was told that Mullah Omar has not approved the demand for money. The case is same with the ISIS.
The families of the 46 nurses say that their prayers have been answered while also adding that the real happiness will come when they see them personally tomorrow. We are relieved says Jose, whose daughter Marina is one among the 46 nurses.
We were told that a special aircraft will fly them out of Erbil by tomorrow. Some formalities remain and my daughter said that they were safe and will return to India tomorrow. She also told is that the ISIS treated her and the others well and they did not harm them. They gave them water and food she also told us. She also told us that they were kept in an old house in Mosul where they were treated well.
A special aircraft has been arranged to bring the nurses back. The flight will take off from Erbil and is expected to leave tomorrow. The documentation process is underway.
The violence in Iraq is being watched by one and all. While there appears to be no end to the violence in sight, the world faces a major danger and that is more and more people turning to the dreaded Wahabi school of thought. How big is the threat of a Wahabi school of thought being implemented in India? No doubt the moderate Hanafi school of thought is present in larger numbers in India, but then there is an attempt that is gradually being made to implement the Wahabi thought in a big way. S Q R Ilyas, a prominent member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board says that in India there exists a certain group of people who subscribe to the Wahabi school of thought. In this interview with rediff.com, he says that these persons subscribing to the Wahabi school of thought are unfortunately getting support from Saudi Arabia.
There is some encouraging news for the Indian nurses. Marina one of the nurses has managed to touch base with her father Jose and told him that the ISIS is ready to release them.
Jose informed that his daughter told him that ISIS told the nurses to keep their bags ready and they will be dropped to Tikrit airport soon. She however did not reveal anymore details even as the Government of India is examining this.