Is Lashkar e Toiba the new Al Qaeda? - New America Foundation

Discussion in 'China' started by ejazr, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    A very interesting discussion with Stephen Tankel who has been looking and researching LeT for a long time now.

    The short answer to the questions is No, not in its current form.

    But for those who want a brief summary, here are some of the important points discussed.

    (1) LeT can be divided on the basis of two things. Its Secretarian view which is Salafi/Ahle-Hadees. In the overall schemes of things that doesn't play a major role in its operations. The other basis is its area of operations which is Kashmir and India and more recently extending to Afghanistan. This is important because its actions are decidedly anti-Indian and hence it has never attacked the Pakistani state unlike say TTP or other militant groups within Pakistan.

    Its front the JuD gets support and funding to keep a check on other anti-Pakistan militant groups like TTP, LeJ, JeM e.t.c. which are Deobandi in secretarian view and who have increasingly targeted the Pakistani state as it has tried to crack down on them.

    (2)A comparison between AQ and LeT was done as well
    * Both are salafist in their secretarian view
    * AQ's area of operation is western countries primarily the US/UK as well as "near enemies" like Arab govt. including the Pakistani govt. which is considered to be in alliance with the west. LeT on the other hand is focused primarily on Indian targets.
    * Hence, AQ priorities attacks or "Jihad" against near enemy govt.s like Pakistan / Arab monarchies e.t.c. while LeT prioritises attacks on India
    * And ofcourse, ISI pressure on LeT does work and because of that they are less likely to launch a global "Jihad" against the US/UK/Arab monarchies. And this also reduces respectability of LeT in the eyes of other militant groups as its relationship of PakMil is seen to be hypocritical

    (3) Ideological Competition between LeT and AQ
    An interesting section of the talks discusses an ideological competition and debate between LeT and AQ affiliate ideologues on different strategies they have adopted.
    * LeT says that militant groups should not attack Muslim regimes or govt. headed by Muslims i.e. Pakistan. - AQ responds that this is hypocrticial because LeT has been involved in killing Kashmiri muslims politicians and attacking the J&K govt. despite it being headed by a Muslim
    * LeT says that fighting the Pakistani govt. is distracting from the bigger "goal" of liberating Afghanistan and Kashmir where the main focus should be. AQ says that fight against the PakMil/Govt. is part of the larger goal and weakening the hypocritical leadership in PakMil strengthens the fight in Afghanistan because these govt. provide support to the US
    *:LeT in cases has also charged AQ and anti-Pakistani govt. to be working for profit and as being India/American or Israeli agents and doing their bidding. AQ have responded by exposing that LeT functionaries are directly getting money from PakMil. Examples have been cited where Hafiz Saeed was payed in dollars for helping in capturing and sending AQ and other militant groups members to Guantanamo bay. And this is despite the fact that PakMil is primarily responsible for allowing Drone attacks and NATO supplies to occur via Pakistan.

    (4) He also mentions that in his opinion, Pak govt. will not be going against LeT anytime soon
    Reasons include:
    * Close relationship between the two
    * Provide intelligence/targets to attack anti-Pakistan militant groups. In many cases, it has been ex-LeT members who have joined TTP e.t.c. that have started attacking PakMil and hence LeT can provide intelligence directly
    *ISI is able to restrain LeT from attacking US interests if it wants to and is able to maintain its focus on India

    In the views of the Pakistani security establishment: Militant groups are considered not an existential threat but a serious one that can be tackled in due course. Steps they use include
    * Playing one militant group against another so that they fight and weaken among themselves
    * Extra judicial killings and arrests
    * Arbitration and "peace deals"
    * LeT can play a check on anti-Pakistan militant groups both in terms of ideology and militarily

    In affect, LeJ, JeM HuJI and TTP have been seriously cracked down upon or shutdown while LeT has been given a wide berth

    (5)And finally in Q&A and important question on the funding came about
    He mentions that according to his research, 80-90% is local funding through donations including "forced donations" (like extortion) and actual businesses that are run by JuD which contribute massively to its cofferes. Cash infusions by ISI/PakMil are hard to specify but that has been available along with military training and equipment by "ex-ISI" members
    On overseas financing, there is very little evidence of large amounts of Salafi/Gulf funding. He did mention that there are 22 countries where JuD maintains charitable fronts and it does receive funding from Europe, US and the Gulf almost equally if not more from Pakistani diaspora. Particularly in EU and US. Although again, this is very small as compared to the domestic sources it has.
     
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  3. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    the most intriguing part for me was the admission on part of a LeT operative on having some sort of a coordination with the maoists, not that we didnt know or something that has not been highlighted earlier but here you have it coming from an american (who i might add has a good grasp on stuff he is talking about) who claims to have it coming from the horses mouth and one can be reasonably sure this must have come from someone who is at a higher up level within LeT.

    the other thing, one gets a good sense as to why the US is not as concerned about LeT, and why it will always be india's war and others will only pay a lip service from time to time and no more.
     
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  4. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Americans have finally realized this fact which has said by INDIA for the last 5 decades or so. Well, better late than never.
     
  5. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Dont hold your breath.
     
  6. Nagraj

    Nagraj Regular Member

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    lol they haven't .............
    it's still only our problem .
    in their view it's more piece on chess board.
     
  7. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    american policy is simple- wait till things go out of proportion, wait till it become big enough so that hollywood actually consider making movie on it, wait tilLeT become as big as AQ.

    its frustrating to see people not living upto globalization when they themselve had coined it. globalization is really globalization, be it terror or tycoon
     
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  8. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    ctrl+x

    forget
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  9. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Doing a ctrl+x on pakistan is not possible b'cos doing something like that will create tremors in all the Muslim populated countries around the world.
     
  10. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

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    Well since LeT has its roots deep inside Pakland , all America can do now is cut the $700 million aid to $695 million and ask Pak to cooperate or "Do more".
     
  11. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    From the Indian pov,

    I think the most interesting aspect was how other militant groups have almost turned against LeT. I have seen pamphelts and recordings where groups like HuJI, LeJ, SSP and other TTP affliliated groups have been calling Hafiz Saeed an American agent and an ISI agent. He is bad mouthed for literally getting even his own LeT foot soldiers arrested and put in Guantanamo in the early years to get paid money by the CIA alongwith the Mush govt.

    If India wanted to do a covert assasination on him, it would be very easy to knock him off and then "claim" the assasination in the name of the former LeT members how had turned anti-state. Just Like we had Khalid Kwaja and Col. Imam killed by Asian Tigers.



    I think the realization by the Americans is more that we should not push the PA/ISI too much on the LeT as it allows them an advantage in keeping a check on anti-Pakistan groups. And that it is not a major threat against America and hence it will NOT be the next AQ.

    Something that is good for the US obviously but not for us.
     

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