More evidence that all our enemies are al Qaeda

In the great spirit of UK tabloid journalism, the Telegraph gives us this headline:

 “Al-Qaeda allies build huge Pakistan base” — “A banned terrorist group which counts British-born al-Qaeda suspect Rashid Rauf as a member is setting up a huge new base in Pakistan’s most heavily populated province.

The background for these allegations — unstated in the article — is a shadowy web of leaks and unsupported statements from various intelligence organizations (mostly Pakistan’s).    All of which lie as SOP.  So, despite the Telegraph’s confident words, we (the public) do not know if the key assertions in this article are correct.

  • About the involvement of Rashid Rauf with terrorism; courts in the UK and Pakistan took no action against him.
  • If Rashid Rauf is or was a member of Jaish-e-Mohammad (“army of Mohammad”) — or even still alive.
  • To what degree Jaish-e-Mohammad is an ally of al Qaeda. 
  • If al Qaeda (or perhaps we should say “the original al Qaeda”) still exists as significant entity. 

But it’s in the interest of the war’s supporters to convince that these things are true.

Although giving no evidence for the opening statements, the Telegraph does describe this terrifying new base (emphasis added):

Bahawalpur is a backwater, a dusty, dirt-poor town which is swelteringly hot in summer. Its isolation allows it to function quietly as a centre for ideological indoctrination and terrorist planning, a jihadist oasis surrounded by parched fields. … Bahawalpur and the surrounding districts also serve as a safe resting place for jihadists battling in Afghanistan, including, it is believed, for British-born Muslims who go to fight there.

… Jaish’s new site, about 5km (3 miles) out of Bahawalpur at Chowk Azam, on the main road to Karachi, is much larger, with evidence that it could contain underground bunkers or tunnels. Surrounded by a high brick and mud wall, little can be seen from the road.

However, The Sunday Telegraph discovered that it has a fully-tiled swimming pool, stabling for over a dozen horses, an ornamental fountain and even swings and a slide for children – all belying claims by the group and Pakistani officials that the facility is simply a small farm to keep cattle. There were signs of construction activity.

The article does not give any evidence that “it could contain underground bunkers or tunnels.”  Since any plot could contain these things, what would be evidence that it did not contain bunkers and tunnels?

Hat tip on this to Joshua Foust’s excellent new post “Strategic Incoherence Watch“, Registan, 13 September 2009.

The inspiration for this Telegraph headline, and all tabloids everywhere

Bedfellow:  “Hello!? Bloom Beacon?! This is Senator Bedfellow! What’s with this *@#! HEADLINE?”
Milo:  “Headline?”
Bedfellow:  “Yes! There’s no story … just a headline!”
Milo:  “Which headline?”
Bedfellow:  “The *BIG* Headline on the front page!”
Mile:  “Read it to me, Senator.”
Mile:  “Oh, that’s just a typo.”

— From an episode of “Bloom County”, Berke Breathed’s great comic strip

For more about Rashid Rauf


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5 thoughts on “More evidence that all our enemies are al Qaeda”

  1. >Saeed Shah in Bahawalpur

    I guess “Al Qaeda builds huge base in Pakistan and English journalist just walks right in” is too long.

    The War on Terror is really the US getting involved in everyones domestic disputes. Have a simmering civil war or vague secession movement that needs a lift, call Uncle Sam who will do a 5 minute analysis of your 20 year problem and then pump money and men cluelessly into the mess.

    The result of a stupid geopolitical strategy is rarely defeat, much more often it is exploitation. And countries and exile groups are lining up to ruthlessly exploit the War on Terror.

  2. “The Sunday Telegraph discovered that it has a fully-tiled swimming pool, stabling for over a dozen horses, an ornamental fountain and even swings and a slide for children”

    This is a terrifying development. If Al Qaeda is allowed to fill that swimming pool . . . well, I shudder to think of the consequences for all freedom-loving people. I’m sure Obama’s national security team is in around the clock meetings as we speak to deal with this new threat . . .

  3. indeed… if they have pools now, how long before they start stealing our women and Michael Phelps’ gold medals. Someone ought to send a drone in to make sure this doesn’t happen.

  4. Drone attack those horses and you will lose the support of Telegraph readers . And if his book gets damaged , UK leader Mandelson will cry Blasphemy ! and cause plagues of boils to afflict you .

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