Al Qaeda’s desperate move
After Osama-bin-Laden (OBL) was killed by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Al Qaeda has unleashed propaganda against Pak Army.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published a study in May 2012 titled ‘Emerging Al Qaeda strategy targeted at damaging Pakistan Army in Muslim eyes, assassinating its senior officers, annihilating it after US drawdown from Afghanistan in 2014’. Author Tufail Ahmed Director of MEMRI has referred to audio/video statements of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants that tend to allegedly prove that Pak Army is an apostate force having historical links with anti-Muslim crusaders, and therefore is symbolically anti-Muslim force. In March 2012, a video was posted on jihadist forums in which Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Pakistanis to join the Arab Spring uprisings and revolt against their government, saying the country’s leaders were slaves of America.
He went on to say: ?Cannot a million free and noble people rise from amongst the Muslims of Pakistan to stage a protest against the generals of Pakistan army so as to force them to stop their treachery of participating with America in its war against Islam, compel them to stop drone strikes and pressurize them to bring an end to army operations in the tribal areas?” The video was not dated, but al-Zawahiri made a reference to a U.S. air strike in late November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the border with Afghanistan. He lauded the Arab Spring, the pro-democracy movement that swept through North Africa and the Middle East in 2011, toppling longtime rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. But what Al Qaeda is going to gain from the Arab Spring? They are devout Muslims but abhor terrorism.
Anyhow, anti-Pak Army propaganda campaign by Al Qaeda is aimed at (a) damaging the image of Pak Army not only in the eyes of Muslims worldwide but also among the Pakistani masses; (b) dividing the loyalties of Pakistani soldiers to their commanders; (c) creating mistrust in the minds of Pakistani masses and soldiers that Army Officers get inspiration from non-Muslim crusaders while Muslims draw their inspiration from great heroes of Islam only. The objective is to sow the seeds of dissent and disloyalty in the minds of Pak Army soldiers with a view to recruiting them for the cause of what they call jihad and Islam. In propaganda, there is a divisive message for the masses to abandon their loyalty to the idea of Pakistan. In order to accomplish their nefarious designs Al Qaeda has prepared its strategy to target Pak Army through terrorist attacks, assassination of senior officers through selective killing and executing Pak Army personnel for collaborating with the US once US/NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
It is the considered opinion of Pakistan’s civil and military leadership that Al Qaeda poses real threat to Pak Army and hence must be taken seriously. The style, tone and tenor of propaganda by Al Qaeda indicate that it has come from a defeated and exhausted mind as a result of the inner disorganization and structurally damaged outfit. Pak Army has braved numerous terrorist attacks and has the will and capability to destroy cowardly outfits of terrorists. A neutral observer or analyst wonders the way Pak army has fought the militants in Swat, Bajaur, Malakand and in the most difficult terrains in Waziristan and other agencies of FATA. In a similar terrain in Afghanistan, 90000 American troops, more than 60000 NATO troops armed with the most sophisticated weapons and Afghan army consisting of 150000 have not been able to achieve what Pakistan army has achieved. Of course, Pak army has been able to decimate the infrastructure of the terrorists with the support of the people of Pakistan, who came out in droves to fight shoulder to shoulder with the terrorists.
Al Qaeda in its propaganda against Pakistan military has been claiming that all jihadi factions were preparing to inflict damage on Pakistan army, which is not true. Taliban factions including Maulvi Nazir, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Haqqani network have recently agreed under the directions of Mulla Omer to avoid kidnapping for ransom, killing innocent people, stop suicide attacks in Pakistan and discontinue violent operations against security forces of Pakistan. Before Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack, Mullah Omer had reportedly told Baitullah Mehsud to focus on fighting the American and NATO forces, because fighting the Pak army is not a priority. But he did not pay heed to his advice; hence he was removed from Majlis-e-Shura. However, Maulvi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur, bitter opponents of Baitulla Mehsud had reportedly sent their fighters to Afghanistan to fight shoulder to shoulder with the Taliban that were offering resistance to the occupied forces. It has to be mentioned that after 9/11, Mulla Omer had offered to hand over Osama bin Laden to a Muslim country where trial could be held, as the US and its allies are not trustworthy.
Al Qaeda has done a great disservice to Pakistan by stirring sectarian conflict. In the first week of September 2010, a terror attack on Al Quds rally in Quetta killed 43 participants. Rumours were rife that militants of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi having link with the Taliban and Al Qaeda were behind this heinous act. However, Gordon Duff, staff writer/senior editor of ‘Veterans Today’ was of the view that Israel’s Mossad has punished Pakistanis for supporting Palestinians’ cause. He had expressed this view in his article which he concluded with these words: ?Is Al Qaeda another Mossad front”. In fact, there are quite a few analysts and writers who consider 9/11 terror attacks were planned by Mossad and the CIA to justify invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Many believe that Israeli agents had made inroads in Al Qaeda who influenced the decisions by Al Qaeda such as hijacking of the planes and crashing with the twin-tower. It is strange that the leadership had not taken into consideration the fall out of 9/11 events, which have created insurmountable problems for the Muslims the world over.