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Thread: Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

    I have posted links to articles by Stephen Tankel, ex-Kings War Studies and now back in the USA @ the Carneigie Endowment for Intl Peace - as IMHO he is one of the few experts on LeT.

    LeT have appeared elsewhere on SWC, notably in the Mumbai thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=6345and in Confronting AQ:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9360

    Stephen Tankel recently published a new, thirty page paper entitled 'Lashkar-e-Taiba: Past Operations and Future Prospects', which I will read later:http://newamerica.net/sites/newameri...nkel_LeT_0.pdf

    Close to the start he writes:
    This paper seeks to explain how LeT became so powerful, as well as to address the evolving nature of the threat that LeT poses and, more broadly, to provide a general overview of the group. It argues that to understand LeT, one must recognize the two dualities that define it. The first is that it is a missionary and a militant organization that for most of its history has placed an equivalent emphasis on reshaping society at home (through preaching and social welfare) and on waging violent jihad abroad. The second is that its military activities are informed both by its pan-Islamist rationale for jihad and its role as a proxy for the Pakistani state.
    Traditionally concerns over LeT have been on its role within Pakistan, largely due to its links to ISI and whether it is directed by them. Plus its apparent capability to launch spectacular attacks on India and the less clear capability to attack far beyond the region.

    So he concludes in his final sentence:
    In the meantime, LeT and the threats it poses continue to evolve.
    davidbfpo

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    Headley testimony details ISI handling of LeT on 26/11
    Chicago - A key co-plotter of the Mumbai attacks, David Coleman
    Headley testified in the trial of Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana describing how he gave frequent updates about his progress to his two Pakistani handlers -- one from a militant group and the other from the country's main intelligence agency.

    The federal terrorism trial of businessman Tahawwur Rana is being
    closely watched around the world for what the attack's scout --
    Rana's longtime friend David Coleman Headley -- might reveal about possible links between the anti-India militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, known as the ISI.
    http://groups.google.com/group/soc.c...fc57155be0eb6a

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Storming the World Stage: The Story of LeT

    Hat tip to Abu M for carrying a review of a new book on LeT by Stephen Tankel:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawam...r-e-taiba.html

    The last sentence:
    Tankel has produced one of the definitive accounts of Lashkar’s rise as well as the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and his book should be the go-to-guide for those looking to understand Pakistan’s reliance on proxies against India and its attached baggage.
    Link to:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/023...SIN=0231701527
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default LeT evolves

    Stratfor have published a summary briefing 'The Evolution of a Pakistani Militant Network' and it is republished with their permission.

    Link:http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20110...itant-networks
    davidbfpo

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    Default Understanding LeT

    This morning, while doing some other research, I came across this paper from the Indian Center for Land Warfare Studies. It might be of Interest for you.

    Singh, Rohit, Understanding the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Center for Land Warfare Studies, Manekshaw Paper No 26, 2011

    http://www.claws.in/download.php?act...13258MP_26.pdf

    Regards PB

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    Default LeT and the Pakistani State

    The current issue of the "Survival" magazine contains an article from Georgetown professor and AfPak expert C. Christine Fair. Therein she tries to revise the widely accepted opinion that Pakistan relies on terrorist groups like LeT to solve its external security needs especially vis-a-vis India. For Fair this view "overlooks the domestic significance of militant groups. In fact, LeT plays an important role within Pakistan, countering other militants that have begun attacking the state and citizens alike, especially since 2002."
    This means that solving the Indian-Pakistani rivalry is only one part of the solution and will not motivate Pakistan to cut its ties to these radical groups.

    C. Christine Fair, Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Pakistani state, Survival 53, 4, 29-52
    Last edited by Polarbear; 09-18-2011 at 01:15 PM.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Stephen Tankel's book reviewed

    By none other than Zenpundit, albeit in an Indian magazine, pg.26-28 on the PDF link:http://zenpundit.com/wp-content/uplo...ommunityed.pdf

    His review ends:
    Storming the World Stage is a solidly researched book by Stephen Tankel that is apt to become the mandatory reference on Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and a useful resource on the general subject of Pakistan’s historical resort to proxy warfare. With his examination of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tankel has made a worthy contribution to our understanding of terrorism and jihad in South Asia.
    We have elsewhere discussed the Mumbai attack in 2008 and Zen comments, if not qualifies his review:
    LeT also demonstrated in Mumbai a fluid tactical excellence in its use of off-the-shelf technology, small arms and mobility to reap an enormous return-on-investment by attacking soft targets, much along the asymmetric lines advocated by warfare theorist John Robb. Tactics that are a critical threat to any open society by forcing it to take preventive measures which are ruinously expensive and contraindicated to keeping society free and democratic. This is another topic that might have received greater analytical exploration.
    davidbfpo

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    Mishandling by the dominant post-imperial powers (?driven in part by individual official's guilty conscience about having supported multiple evil proxies of their own? I am always curious if such psychodynamics plays any significant role in world affairs? or is it just grist for novelist's mills and can be ignored? I am never sure..) has allowed this threat to grow. I know colonel Roberts and many others will disagree, but I think some critical skill sets and organizations nurtured by the Pakistani state COULD have been shut down or pushed into small-scale criminality if the international community had been clear about its own objectives. That chance may now be lost.
    In short, I continue to push the theory that ruinous expensive countermeasures are not the only option. The weak spot on the terrorist side was the state apparatus, not the clandestine networks themselves. By focusing on street level criminals, the operation as a whole was allowed to get away in what may have been a limited "window of opportunity".
    I continue to believe that the PEOPLE of Pakistan would have been much better off it the STATE of Pakistan had faced some more pressure on this account. I genuinely believe that my obsessive carping about this issue is driven by a sincere desire to see the people of Pakistan and the Indian subcontinent leave stupid zero-sum games behind and grab a chance to transform living standards for one fourth of the world. But even I can see that I probably come across as some kind of pakiphobic monomaniac. I do try to step back and re-examine my assumptions. Maybe not hard enough?
    It seems genuinely hard to know our own motives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    By none other than Zenpundit, albeit in an Indian magazine, pg.26-28 on the PDF link:http://zenpundit.com/wp-content/uplo...ommunityed.pdf

    His review ends:

    We have elsewhere discussed the Mumbai attack in 2008 and Zen comments, if not qualifies his review:
    Hi David

    Thank you for linking. I would give Tankel's book a strong recommendation, I learned a lot about LeT from it, but his thrust is predominantly a political-historical narrative. The subject could use a theological drill-down as well as a critical assessment from a security threat perspective

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    Default 'Storming the stage' or an 'Entry, exit' move: LeT

    It took time to fully read Dr. Stephen Tankel's book and here is my review.

    'Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba' by Dr. Stephen Tankel is a superb piece of scholarship, notably in the access gained to insiders, observers and members of the group (commonly referred to as LeT).

    Yes it contains some puzzles, many of which pre-date the Mumbai attacks in 2008 and he answers nearly all in detail.

    The relationship between LeT, ISI, and the Pakistani Army is made stark, which will reinforce much of the despair many in the Western governments feel about dealings with those institutions. What I think is more important is the description and evaluation of how LeT, as a civil and religious organisation has grown to a point where the Pakistani civil state cannot confront them.

    We know that militant and extremist groups fractionate by their very nature, what Dr. Tankel repeatedly observes is that LeT whilst disciplined it is also un-disciplined. Key members, often acting as cadres or direct action / paramilitary advisers leave and pursue their own objectives for the ‘cause’ often returning to the group. Given the reported skills of LeT this aspect should not be overlooked and one issue is how much attention should be given to the international movement of possible members, many of whom will be “clean skins” and have Western passports?

    The ‘exit, entry’ aspect begs a simple question, are LeT a new version of Conan Doyle’s ‘White Company’, skilled mercenaries who will fight (or today facilitate) well for any part of the ‘cause’. With their trans-national network it is surprising we’ve seen LeT on the world stage so little; reflecting in plots in Australia and Denmark notably.

    Given that LeT’s origins lie in Kashmir and the now intermittent violence in the Indian-ruled part, in which LeT can play a role I am surprised that Dr. Tankel does not consider the contemporary support for this primarily nationalist cause beyond Pakistan. In the UK there are those who argue the Kashmiri cause resonates far less today and is reflected in the lack of any type of support for LeT. The callous shootings in Mumbai, notably at the main railway terminus, which included Muslims, undermined their legitimacy – ‘Not in my name’ comes to mind and something I've heard here in the UK amongst South Asian Muslims.

    Making an assessment of LeT who entered ‘the stage’ in 2008 is made harder by the simple fact that it appears to have exited the stage since then. Was the response so negative after the media spotlight shifted, perhaps the attack a ‘one off’ and are LeT just a capable reserve option for it’s Pakistani partners?

    History will be the judge of this actor, Dr. Tankel thank you; now the audience can know them better and so judge them far better.
    davidbfpo

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    Since many of my casual friends and acquaintances (mostly left of center or left wing Pakistani civilians with no access to "classified" information) have been aware of all this for years (many years), so I propose a new intelligence gathering system in which the CIA simply asks average pakistanis on the street about such things. You can see a lot by just looking...
    I realize that the problem of sifting the wheat from the chaff makes this cheap intelligence agency alternative less impressive than my snarky statement would suggest, but at least in this case, looking would probably have been a good idea..

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    Default Bounty on "information leading to arrest"..

    The US government has made an interesting announcement: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...TL&type=health

    Since Hafiz Saeed lives openly in Pakistan, addresses huge public meetings, and has appeared on live TV several times since this "bounty" was announced, its not clear what the point of the bounty is.
    Is this a bargaining chip? to be shelved if Pakistan cooperates with a face-saving exit from Afghanistan?
    Is it to buy Indian cooperation against Iran?
    Is it a colossal bureaucratic SNAFU?
    Or is it real? and what does it mean if it is real? What if Pakistan doesnt arrest him or just asks him to pipe down for a few weeks (as has been done in the past) under "house arrest"?
    Inquiring minds want to know..
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-04-2012 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Moved from Mumbai thread to here, fits better!

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    Omar:

    The purpose is two fold.

    The first is to send a signal to the Pakistani government that we are really serious about things this time, not like the last time. We perfected the art of signaling hostile governments during the war in Vietnam

    The second is so people in DC can have something stern to put into a powerpoint presentation when they brief each other about the tough measures they are taking.

    You just don't understand how sophisticated nuanced minds work.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-04-2012 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Moved from Mumbai thread to here, fits better!
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    In my un-nuanced leftist past, I would have been thrilled with how this is making the US a laughingstock (Hafiz Saeed appeared at a press conference half a mile from GHQ yesterday..not hard to find). The entertainment value is huge. My Twitter feed is ablaze with jokes about Hafiz Saeed revealing his location and asking for the ten million to be sent to him as a reward.
    But now that I am "nuanced", I am a bit more "conflicted".
    I mean sure, the US should just leave the region and stop making an ass of themselves. Maybe the ruling elite's in India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan are all adults and will do a better job without "help" from Uncle Sam. Or who knows, maybe the anarchists are right. I am rooting for healthy Chomskyan Anarchy.
    In principle it sounds good. But in practice, I think the transition may not go smoothly. Anyway, that is a moot point. The big white sahib may soon make enough of an ass of himself to make the whole debate irrelevant.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-04-2012 at 05:23 PM. Reason: Moved from Mumbai thread to here, fits better!

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    Omar:

    The inability of the DCenians to see what the rest of the world can see is a wonderment. I guess that is what an education at the best schools gives you, an impenetrable supercilious arrogance.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-04-2012 at 05:22 PM. Reason: Moved from Mumbai thread to here, fits better!
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    It is given Hafiz the scare of his life.

    Poor Joe!

    India maybe wimpish, but Osama and what the US did does scare this heroes in their own territory!

    When one is running scared, one tries to head off with the irrelevant.

    Remember the Icon and Guru of Islamic fundamentalist - Osama - and what the US did to him.

    And what is most important is that they could get their man defying the complete Pakistani infrastructure, defence, ISI and otherwise!

    It sure will give one who has been declared a target by the US, many, many sleepless nights and visits to the toilet!

    The big white sahib seems to be making friends with many browns and yellows around the Indian sub continent and SE Asia!

    Latest report indicates 2500 of these sahibs landing in Darwin!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-04-2012 at 05:22 PM. Reason: Moved from Mumbai thread to here, fits better!

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    I dont see him scared at all. In fact, the blessed state department has just clarified that the reward is for "information linking him to attacks", not on his head. So it seems the US is basically saying, we dont have any proof and the pesky Indians keep asking us to do something, so here is a reward for anyone who can find some proof...good hunting.
    If I was not American, I would be rolling on the floor laughing my ass off...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    Remember the Icon and Guru of Islamic fundamentalist - Osama - and what the US did to him.

    And what is most important is that they could get their man defying the complete Pakistani infrastructure, defence, ISI and otherwise!
    I think that was an inside job. They knew we were coming because we told them and they decided to take the heat. Either they had to or we gave them something. No proof beyond the reports that the police set up perimeters before the hit but that is what I will forever think.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    I think that was an inside job. They knew we were coming because we told them and they decided to take the heat. Either they had to or we gave them something. No proof beyond the reports that the police set up perimeters before the hit but that is what I will forever think.
    If it is an inside job, then Pakistanis are as good as the Afghans - sold to the highest bidder!

    Pakistanis claim to be wedded to their nation and their cause.

    Therefore, would they sell themselves and their 'guest'?

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