Friday, September 19, 2003

Al-Qaeda turns against Pakistan, Saudi Arabia: "Among the 14,000 male members of the Saudi royal family there is a strong but sidelined lobby of princes who support bin Laden. They do not necessarily agree with his strict Wahhabi agenda, rather, they seek to use him as a means of getting at the ruling elite. In terms of its new mission, al-Qaeda will actively play along with this. After all, if nothing else, it still needs the funds that apparently flow from its supporters in the kingdom.

"In Pakistan, too, the knives, literally, are going to be drawn. From the early stages of the "war on terror", al-Qaeda and the Taliban were assured by Pakistan that the country would wear two faces - one acceptable to the US, the other friendly towards al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the latter, especially, having enjoyed long-time support from Pakistan... in time, whether through US insistence or for another agenda, Musharraf's crackdown has begun to bite. And it hurts.

"At present ... there is a realization in al-Qaeda that Musharraf is their only enemy in the country as he is the one now orchestrating the crackdown. Remove him, they argue, and the environment will once again be favorable to them. As a result, according to these same well-placed sources, Musharraf has been pencilled in at the top of al-Qaeda's hit list, and attempts on his life can be expected in the near future.

"Pakistani security agencies have made Musharraf fully aware of these developments. President House in the capital Islamabad is now offlimits as it is too difficult to secure. Musharraf spends most of his time in Army House in Rawalpindi, or in general headquarters there, even when performing his day-to-day civilian functions."

"We conducted a psychoanalysis of all prisoners who were arrested crossing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border after the US invasion [early 2002]. You will be surprised that many of them come from urban and cosmopolitan backgrounds. Their reason for fighting in Afghanistan was a kind of reaction. You know, everybody can view what is happening in Palestine and Chechnya, but nobody speaks against that terrorism. People's houses are demolished and missiles are fired on their populations, so they think that if they are going to die, why not make a suicide attack and kill their aggressors too. This is the thinking that is growing all over the Muslim world, it is a reaction. I think the real and long-term remedy is not suppression, but justice," [former Pakistani minister] Haider says."

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