Showing posts with label terrorism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label terrorism. Show all posts

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Hunting Heads

Strange are the benefits of technology. And stranger still are the uses to which it’s being put.

Let me tell you what happened.

This morning, my assistant sent me, by WhatsApp (if you don’t know what that is, well, it’s a cellphone messaging service) two videos. One of my regular patients had sent them to him. And someone else had sent them to him

This is what the videos showed:

In the first, a plump young woman (who looks rather Filipino to my eyes) in a pink top and blue jeans is kneeling on the ground while a masked man with a knife stands behind her. He then, not to sugar-coat it, hacks off her head and holds it up to the camera.

I don’t know where the video is from. It certainly does not look as though it is from Iraq. I suppose there is a chance it could be a drug cartel at work in Mexico, los Zetas maybe. There is some talk in a language I don’t know. Could be Spanish. No habla Espaňol, seňores, Not Arabic, for sure. I don't speak Arabic either but if that is Arabic I'm Florence Nightingale. 

The other video is clearly ISIS – or, perhaps, one of the gangs of cannibal headhunters so beloved  of Barack Obama – at work in Iraq or Syria. It begins with masked men pouring bullets into the bodies of bound prisoners lying on the ground. And then a young man is pinned to the ground – facing up towards the camera – and his throat is hacked with a knife till his head comes off. 

Yes, both these people are alive while this procedure is being performed. The girl twists and writhes, and while the young man is pinned too securely to do any such thing, tears leak from his eyes and then – right at the end – his eyes open wide and look up at the camera while his blood bubbles in his throat.

Both videos are vomit-inducing, and it’s difficult to imagine just what kind of psychology – except, maybe, the utterly psychopathic – would benefit from watching them. If they are a recruiting tool, they would only be of use in weeding out those who aren’t dribbling sociopathic monsters.

Ronald Thomas West, who was once a US Special Forces soldier, has this to say about the Mexican drug cartels:

the Zetas international drug cartel have sometimes introduced themselves with rolling severed heads into nightclubs frequented by their rivals .. oh, and have decapitated a ‘bakers two dozen...”[Source]

The cannibal headhunters of the so-called Free Syrian Army were doing this kind of thing long before the Islamic State began hogging the attention of horrified Western TV addicts.

But, actually, it goes back a while before even that.

Just in the allegedly enlightened 20th Century, as far as I know:

In the Second World War, the Gorkha mercenaries serving in the British Indian Army would raid Japanese positions across the quiescent Myanmar (then Burma) front in 1942-3, cut off the soldiers’ heads, and bring them back (vide Field Marshal William Slim, Defeat Into Victory). Later on, in the First Chechen War of 1995, Chechen “freedom fighters” – beloved of the Western media, and whose commanders are now sheltered in Britain and the US – would routinely decapitate teenage Russian conscripts they captured. In 1995, too, Pakistani Al Faran terrorists cut off the head of Norwegian hostage Hans Christian Ostrǿ in Kashmir. And in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, EUNazi stormtroopers from the Azov brigade have been known to cut off people’s heads. At least one account I read claimed the some of the units of the Novorussian resistance retaliated by chopping off the heads of Ukrainian soldiers they captured.

Headhunting is hardly anyone’s monopoly.

I suppose it is possible that the videos I watched were meant as some kind of recruitment tool. If so, they certainly would work excellently as a filter to weed out anyone who isn’t a full-blown psychopath. But for any normal human, they would be what West calls “the art of intimidation”.

It’s hardly surprising that the Wahhabi form of Islam, on which the jihad state of Saudi Arabia is based, grew out of intimidation of conquered peoples; they were given a choice of being massacred or converting to Wahhabism. A few gruesome massacres had a salutary effect on everyone. The Wahhabis, and their modern proxies the Islamic State, knew exactly what they were doing.

If the rest of us find it merely vomit-inducing, that’s just too bad for us, as far as they’re concerned.

Note: 1. I could have posted the videos on this article, or other headhunting images. I chose not to. If that disappoints anyone, I am not sorry.

2. Both videos show that actual decapitation by knife is a messy affair and produces ragged, uneven neck stumps. If anyone still believes the James Foley video is genuine, a look at these would be a good lesson.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Don't Lose Your Head

So – let me tell you a couple of things about the Great Big Islamic State Threat du jour.

For the purposes of this show’n’tell, I’ll pretend that the Islamic State (which I’ll call ISIS for convenience’s sake) is not an American creation and tool (which of course it totally is). For the current purpose I’ll pretend that it is exactly what it is claimed to be – a radical Islamic insurgency carving out a jihadist terrorist state in Syria and Iraq, which it intends to expand into a caliphate stretching from India to North Africa.

Where does that get us? Doesn’t it justify the extermination of this sadistic, ultraviolent movement by any and all means possible before it overwhelms us all?

 Um...not exactly.

Let’s look at what ISIS is. It’s a conglomeration of disparate groups with wildly varying ideologies, which are fighting under a black flag of convenience. Few of the “ISIS” who allegedly overwhelmed the best the farcical American-trained Iraqi army had to offer were actually ISIS. A lot of them were (and are) Baathist militia comprising battle-hardened trained soldiers from the days of Saddam Hussein – the Naqshbandi Army and the misnamed Islamic Army. Others are groups from Syria which were given the Hobson’s choice of signing on with ISIS or being eliminated. And the rest are disaffected Sunni tribal militia, alienated by the systematic anti-Sunni policies followed by the Washington-installed “government” in Baghdad.

What do these people want? Some of the Baathists long for a return to the enforced secularism of the Saddam era, and these are the same people – the hard-drinking, rigidly secular generals of the old Iraq Army – who are in charge of the military campaign. Many of these officers actually offered to join the new Iraqi army and were rebuffed, whereupon they went over to the insurgency. Two of these generals, Azhar al Obeidi and Ahmed Abdul Rashid, have in fact been appointed the governors of Mosul and Tikrit respectively by the Baathists.

Some other Baathists, undoubtedly, would be satisfied with some kind of diluted Sunni Islamism – the top commander of the Naqshbandi Army, Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, was one of the few practising Muslims in Saddam’s inner circle. The Sunni tribal militias, on the other hand, are divided among those who demand a partition of Iraq and those who want equality between the sects. And as for the Syrians, a lot of them have no greater desire than to gather arms, money and experience to return and fight the Syrian government.  

Even the core of ISIS is hardly homogeneous. It comprises jihadists from tens of countries, including at least some Indians, who have absolutely nothing in common with each other (including language, culture or military training) except an adherence to an ideology. And that ideology, itself, has nothing more to offer but the setting up of a tenth-century political establishment completely out of touch with the requirements of the modern world.

Obviously, then, ISIS isn’t a group so much as a fiction of a group. It isn’t even an idea like al Qaeda, because it has no goal besides the setting up of the “caliphate” which it has already declared – and, therefore, its primary goal has already been achieved. And its “allies” – the Baathists and the Sunni militia, not to mention the Syrians – are fighting for completely different reasons, most of which are actually completely contradictory to ISIS’ own aims.

So what is the outlook for ISIS? In the short term, it’s attracting recruits for one reason, and one only – it’s the new, dynamic kid on the block, the street thug who’s charismatic, covered with bling and with plenty of money to throw around. Such street thugs usually collect a following in short order, but they also have a short lifespan because they overreach themselves very quickly.

On the other hand, the far from charismatic and very sclerotic leadership of al Qaeda’s core group are like the capos of la Cosa Nostra – well-established, cautious, thinking in the long term and careful about the risks they take. These mafia bosses don’t attract attention as far as possible, and they end up living much longer and making much more money than the young kid on the block.

In other words, from the jihadist point of view, ISIS is the equivalent of a sprinter, say, a hundred-metre runner who will leave everyone else in the dust but run out of steam embarrassingly quickly. Al Qaeda – building up influence slowly and patiently by a system of franchises and subsidiaries worldwide – is the marathon runner who waits for the opponent to exhaust themselves, whereupon a last burst of speed will win him victory. But the TV cameras love the sprinters, and nobody even remembers the marathoners’ names.

It’s when the opposition exhausts itself – that is, when the Americans and Europeans run out of finances and ability to continue their endless Global War Of Terror – that al Qaeda will make its move. Not before. Until then, it’s willing to just keep itself in existence, while setting up launchpads in areas like Yemen and Mali from which to conduct future operations.

But how great is the jihadist threat, actually? If you look at it, not very. Sure, the jihadists can cut off heads on camera and blow up car bombs in photogenic balls of fire, but in all these years of endless jihad, have they been able to control even one single country? Even the Taliban – which is not a jihadist organisation, just a Pashtun tribal fundamentalist militia – at the height of their power could not control all of Afghanistan. The prospects of jihadists taking over anything of any substance are dim unless one looks into the very, very remote future. And long before that future arrives, global warming, resource depletion and the new imperialism of NATO will create problems which will make jihad look like a non sequitur.

Currently, ISIS occupies a space in West Asia which, for convenience’s sake, we might call Syriraq. It has not, after its initial gains, shown any great ability to conduct further advances – and that’s without the airstrikes currently being conducted on it by the United States.  

For all practical purposes, therefore, ISIS has been boxed in and contained. As such, as long as it is left in its box, it will not last long. Its components will soon disintegrate into different mutually warring factions, which will simultaneously, and increasingly ineffectually, fight the external foes. These factions will swiftly draw funding from different power rivals – from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar for sure, and probably from other sources as well. Some of these funds will be in the form of protection money, and the rest as a means of using the factions as proxies against the factions run by the others. The quantum of violence will increase in the short to medium term, but will be restricted to Syriraq; and in the long term it will die out, not with a bang but with a whimper.

And that is if the Syrian and Iraqi armies, the latter under Iranian leadership and with the help of Shia militias, don’t finish it off first.

But all that will happen only if ISIS is left boxed in Syriraq and allowed to autodestruct.  Fortunately for it, the Nobel Peace Prizident has other ideas.  As everyone knows by now, he’s decided to “degrade and destroy” it by simultaneously bombing it and by arming the other, “moderate”, Syrian militias to fight it.

Naturally, ISIS must have broken out the non-alcoholic champagne when it heard that news. For one thing, it’s been given a purpose greater than the already-achieved goal of setting up its “Caliphate”. The evidence shows clearly that ISIS got a massive “shot in the arm” when America decided to name it its Global Enemy Number One. The United States is hated worldwide by a lot of people for quite excellent reasons, and being identified as its enemy increases the acceptability of virtually any group, anywhere. Besides, the usual American tendency to drone-murder schools and weddings, bomb funerals and target random “military age males” on suspicion alone, will flood ISIS with new recruits.

And, as everyone knows well enough, and as the Evil Emperor himself admitted, there are no “moderate” Syrian rebels. Those that are receiving American largesse have either defected immediately to ISIS or else declared that they will not fight the Islamic State – but that didn’t stop the US Congress from authorising a military aid package for them anyway.

Directly arming and funding your enemy so that he has the wherewithal to fight you, while simultaneously increasing his support base and recruitment by ineffectually bombing him, has to be one of the least effective military strategies in human history.

All this, of course, is if you truly believe the tales about ISIS being the unstoppable juggernaut jihadist monster it’s claimed to be. If you accept that it’s an American tool to be used to oust Iranian influence from Syriraq, it all makes sense, though. Until America completely loses control of the situation, as it is in the act of doing.

I titled this article Don’t Lose Your Head. That’s generally good advice.  

It doesn’t work when you’re holding a knife to your own throat making sawing motions, does it?    

Friday, 12 September 2014

Evil Empire versus Evil Caliphate: an analysis of the lies of the Nobel Peace Prizident

This article will probably not be for the admirers – insofar as there are still any – of Barack Hussein Obama, also known in these pages as the Nobel Peace Prizident or Drone Man.

I repeat: supporters of the blood-soaked war criminal Barack Hussein Obama should not read this article. If you are offended, you have only yourself to blame.

Rather than watch the spectacle of Drone Man actually speaking, I’ve read the transcripts of his speech to the American people regarding the absolute and urgent necessity of declaring an immediate jihad-cum-crusade against the Islamic State, or Caliphate, or whatever it chooses to call itself on any given day of the week. If you have a strong stomach for lies, you can read it here.

Now, of course I wouldn’t trust Drone Man as far as I could throw him (always assuming one of his drones didn’t blow me away while I was in the act of throwing him). But, though I made allowance for the fact that Drone Man is (a) a politician and (b) even for a politician, an inveterate liar, I was struck not so much by what he said as what he didn’t say in announcing what Justin Raimondo of called Operation Doubletalk. I took away at least ten different points where he stayed silent – because silence, of course, was his only way of avoiding the clear facts.

1. The Nobel Peace Prizident didn't say that the American Empire still can't control Afghanistan, and, in fact, is retreating in defeat. In fact, this used to be a Western joke – repeated even in the sitcom Yes Minister – once upon a time; “The Russians can’t even control Afghanistan!” Well, the Americans have proved unable to control Afghanistan, or Iraq, or anywhere, really, though they pretend to a global empire. Going by the actually record of American force of arms since the Korean War against any determined and motivated enemy, the prospects for America’s Third Iraq War are pretty dismal.

2. Our favourite war criminal crowed about the “killing” of Osama bin Laden. What he avoided talking of, naturally, was that it was after bin Laden's alleged "killing" that al Qaeda underwent a hitherto unprecedented expansion in territory and power. In May 2011 it was still a series of cells scattered through a few backwaters. Today it controls important territory in Libya, Mali and Yemen, not to mention in Syria, and is still expanding in places like Lebanon.

3. Talking about Yemen, Drone Man did mention that unhappy country, where as we all know his eponymous flying killer robots have been active. What he didn't say was that his drone attacks, which include the murder of people who go merely to help the victims of his first strikes, have drastically increased support for al Qaeda in that part of the world. 

4. The Evil Emperor spoke approvingly about "killing the leader of al Shabaab". Actually, as I’ve said here, the killed man, Godane was a factional boss of a divided movement, and had had several of his rivals murdered in the past. In fact, Godane’s extremism had alienated a lot of Somalis who might have had a better opinion of al Shabaab but for him, and murdering him could very easily increase the appeal of the movement. Such a nuance, of course, is far too much for all but a miniscule minority of Americans to even begin to comprehend, and I’m not faulting the Prizident for not mentioning something which would fly far above the heads of almost all his listeners anyway.

What I noticed, though, is that the Dronemaster avoided talking of how al Shabaab arose only because of the American and Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 in the name of "fighting al Qaeda". In fact, but for that invasion, Somalia would never have had a radical Islamic insurgency. And, of course, even then, al Shabaab had nothing at all to do with al Qaeda until much later when the latter had established itself in Yemen, which again was facilitated by American support to the venal government and its drone campaign.

5. As for Syria, the Dictator of the United States said that he had

“... ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition.”

and would

...strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL (sic)”.

He avoided mentioning two interesting facts. First, that his "moderate opposition" is just as much a collection of cannibal headhunters, rapists, child-killers and slavers as ISIS itself, and in many ways worse. And, secondly, said “moderate opposition” – such of it that still exists – now makes no attempt to hide the fact that it is, actually, allied with ISIS and shares weapons and finances with it. 

Talking about killing children, can one swallow the instinctive nausea rush over Dronester’s silence over his Zionistani allies murdering the children of Gaza? Can even Americans ignore that?

6. Still on Syria, according to the Warmonger in Chief, Assad has “lost legitimacy”. This statement, of course, is nothing new as far as Washington is concerned, but makes two fascinating omissions. The first one is that ISIS didn’t exactly appear out of thin air. The conditions for its rise were created precisely by the American Empire itself, by stoking the embers of the terrorist campaign in Syria, by arming and training the so-called opposition. And we’ve seen in Libya – which the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize was careful not to mention – what happens when the “moderate opposition” takes over.

The other omission he makes is the clear fact that the only force capable of beating ISIS is the Syrian Arab Army, the same government army which he claims has “lost legitimacy” and “terrorises its citizens”. The ultimate aim of the Empire is the overthrow of the government of Syria and the disintegration of that country into a Libya-like conglomeration of bitterly opposed ministates, which can be exploited or ignored as convenient.

Since the American Empire intends to bomb Syria – again, something I predicted months ago – without the Syrian government’s permission, it’s only a matter of time before it moves over to bombing Syrian military targets. The groundwork is already being laid. One justification will be that Assad must not be allowed to “grow too strong” and so must be attacked. The other justification will be that if Syrian army installations on the front line are not destroyed, they will be overrun and their equipment captured by ISIS, so they have to be bombed and obliterated in advance.

If Syria refuses to allow unilateral American bombing of its territory, it will be bombed anyway, and directly – because it’s stopping America from bombing ISIS. In other words, the Nobel Peace Prize Awardee’s final plan is to bomb Syria, whatever happens.

7. The Emperor of Evil spoke of how ISIS

...In acts of barbarism... took the lives of two American journalists - Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

I wonder if the hypocrisy meter – even by Drone Man standards – broke on that point. Even if we assume the beheading videos of Foley and Sotloff are genuine, something which is very far from a foregone conclusion, neither of these two was exactly a journalist in the traditional sense; they were, as I mentioned here, just combatants under another name. Both had embedded themselves with the so-called “opposition” (in the case of Foley in Libya earlier as well), and Sotloff, for one, was photographed playing around with a DShK heavy machine gun on the back of a “rebel” truck. 

Sotloff’s own family has stated that he was sold to ISIS by the same “moderate opposition” Drone Man is so eager to arm, train and fund even more than he already is; the same “moderate opposition” whose “vetted members” go straight from CIA camps to join ISIS. As for Foley's mother, she said she was threatened with prosecution if she attempted to pay a ransom to get her son freed.

You'd almost think the Empire wanted these two men beheaded.

8. If the hypocrisy meter wasn’t broken by that statement, it surely must have taken another hit from the Nobel Peace Prizident’s claim that

we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding

 I’d love to see him start by cutting off his own funding of the “moderate opposition”, and by, say, attacking the primary source of jihadist funds in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Want to bet when that’s going to happen?

9. Though it didn’t feature in his speech, it seems from other sources that apparently the Owner of the Planet Earth intends to launch a three year war against ISIS. This figure interested me. Why "three years"? Who came up with this time frame? I could think up only one answer. This: in two years, unless the law is changed in some manner to allow him to continue (far from a remote possibility in today’s Amerikastan), the Emperor will have to demit office. So –  whatever mess is left after that in the War on ISIS will be his successor's fault. 

10. There were a few other lies along the way, of course, because if Barack Hussein Obama can find an opportunity to tell a lie he can’t possibly pass it up. So, we have:

“It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples' right to determine their own destiny.”

That must have gone down very well with the Eastern Ukrainians who were being shelled by Obama’s Nazis, and with the Western Ukrainians who have seen their pensions cut in half under the oligarch regime installed in the EU/US organised coup in February. Of course, it also fails to mention that the Evil Empire has, actually lost, and lost hugely, in Ukraine.

Like it or not, though, the Dronemaster gambled in Ukraine, and lost. He needs a war to appease his military-industrial complex backers, and also distract his people's attention. Since the latter, in any case, have the attention span of a mayfly with ADHD, in three months' time they won't even remember Ukraine exists...until it’s time to remind them.

Another lie-in-passing was this:

‘ When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here's what one of them said. "We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people."

Quite naturally, the truth was somewhat different. There were only a few people on “that mountain” and, far from falling over themselves praising Amerikastan, they said they had no intention of moving, thanks.

Let me issue another warning: the "war against ISIS" can be used to cook up invasions elsewhere in the globe against other groups which can be called ISIS. Like, say, Boko Haram, for instance, in Nigeria; and Ebola, which Obama also threw in a mention of, is a handy excuse for sending forces to “protect personnel” in Africa. 

And once they are there, they’ll stay there as long as the resources to be exploited last.

Of course Drone Man’s war plans will not succeed. But they are not meant to succeed. In the schemes of the Warstate, it’s only a perpetual war that matters.

That’s where the money lies, and money is the only thing ideologically blank war criminals like Barack Obama follow.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The World's Most Dangerous Place

I’ve recently finished reading a highly interesting book – The World’s Most Dangerous Place – by James Fergusson.

So where is this “world’s most dangerous place”, you ask? Syria? Iraq? Gaza, which would get my vote? Well, not according to the book. The subtitle says it all: Inside the Outlaw State of Somalia.

[The author admits that the title is controversial and that the Somalis he’d talked to don’t like it. I wouldn’t, too, if I were a Somali. I wouldn’t even though I am not a Somali, because to anyone except the blind and deaf, there are far more dangerous places to be right now.]

Not all that long ago, most of the world had never heard of Somalia, an amazing feat for possibly the single most strategically positioned nation on earth. That changed in 1992, when an American raid on Mogadishu ended with US soldiers’ corpses being dragged through the streets.

I won’t rehash what I’ve already said on that episode, or the racist and militarist film Hollywood made on it, Black Hawk Down. You can read all about it here if you want. This piece begins where that article leaves off – what happened after the “heroic” Marines and soldiers left Somalia, at the end of their murderous “humanitarian” mission.

After decades of dictatorship, outside meddling and civil war, Somalia had essentially fragmented into three parts. To the extreme north-west was the self-declared independent state of Somaliland. South-east of that was Puntland, which had declared itself autonomous but not independent. And to the south was Somalia proper, which had had no government since 1991, and which shall be referred to as “Somalia” for convenience for the purposes of this article. What it had was warlords leading clan armies which carved out areas of influence and fought each other bitterly for control.

But in 2006, Somalia finally got a measure of government, by a loose coalition of mullahs and other fundamentalist Muslim factions, known collectively as the Islamic Courts Union, which drove out the warlords. Though the ICU had imported Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia, a form of Islam hitherto unknown to the mystical Sufi religion of Somalia, they actually provided some good governance, at least compared to the warlord hell that had gone before. So they had popular support, and might have stabilised the situation – but for one factor.

That factor was George W Bush.

On the pretext that Somalia was sheltering Al Qaeda, something which was at that time a complete fantasy, Bush encouraged Ethiopia – Somalia’s traditional enemy – to invade Somalia and overthrow the Islamic Courts Union. Now, as stated, the ICU was a combination of disparate groups, with the moderates under Sheikh Sharif Ahmed in charge. They had kept the radicals under control, but once ousted from power, that restraint was removed. The most radical of the radical groups was Al Shabaab, an outfit remarkably similar in its modus operandi to Boko Haram in Nigeria – a group with which it later developed linkages. Unlike Sheikh Sharif, who decided to cooperate with the Ethiopian invaders and their American masters and was rewarded by being reinstated in – carefully supervised – power, Al Shabaab fought an increasingly effective campaign against Ethiopia, and by 2008 had successfully driven out the proxy troops and recaptured Mogadishu and most of Somalia.

At this stage, Al Shabaab faced an existential crisis. Its stated raison d’être – the war against the hated Ethiopian invaders – had been won. It could either disband itself, thus losing the ample sources of revenue it had secured over the years of struggle, or it could continue the fight, now against the “government” headed by Sheikh Sharif. Not too surprisingly, it chose the latter.

In order to protect the “government”, and its “army” of militias, a multinational African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) army entered the country. This chiefly comprised Ugandan and Burundian troops; Uganda, of course, is one of the US’ most complete vassals in Central Africa. By 2011 they were fighting Al Shabaab in vicious trench battles in Mogadishu, adding more layers of ruins to the already many-times destroyed city.

That’s the point where the book I was reading begins – as the AMISOM troops fought their way slowly across Mogadishu towards the main market, and while wounded, sick and starving Somalis flocked to a camp at the fringe of the airport where doctors tried their best to give them what help they could.

Al Shabaab responded to its attackers with its own peculiar brand of viciousness. One of its staples was child soldiers, whom it recruited from the hordes of refugees criss-crossing what was left of the nation. Unlike West African warlords, who typically conscripted child soldiers after murdering their parents, it preferred to recruit children by promising them food and glory, along with a promised salary; a promise rarely kept. Much like ISIS today in Iraq and Syria, it also attracted recruits in fair numbers from abroad, especially from the Somali diaspora – this is something that I will be talking about in more detail later.

Its cruelty to the people under its own control, too, rather like that of ISIS, beggars belief. In one instance the book describes, it amputated the right hands and left legs of some people it decided were thieves – before the stumps had a chance to heal, it then decided it had cut too far down, and cut the limbs all over again. All this was without anaesthetic, of course. And as a crippling drought ravaged Somalia, causing famine, it not only did not provide any relief, it denied that there even was a drought. It tried to stop Somalis from crossing the lines to the side of the “government” or across the border to Kenya or Ethiopia where there was at least something to eat. It literally preferred to starve the population over which it ruled rather than let them get access to relief supplies. If it caught a civilian with medical papers from the aid agencies, it would murder  them on the spot. And it painted all its opponents, even those who had formerly been allies and mentors from the days of the ICU, as “infidels”.

Obviously, all this did not make it popular with the Somalis. Even those who despised the so-called “government” and the foreign AMISOM army preferred them to al Shabaab, and the group would probably have collapsed handily – but for factors that I’ll be talking about later in this article.

This book, basically, is in two parts; the first set in Somalia (all three parts of it) and the second in the West, primarily in Britain and the US. I’ll discuss them separately.

Part I:

James Fergusson is a good author, and while reading his travels in Somalia – crouching along trenches interviewing AMISOM soldiers with Al Shabaab fighters just fifty metres away; driving through the Somaliland desert to a historic fort bombed by the British in 1920 to put down a nationalist rebellion; talking to politicians who gave up comfortable jobs in the west to come back and try and help the people as much as they could; trying to find pirates to interview – it’s easy to become so carried away by what he says, well-researched and presented as it is, that one fails to notice what he doesn’t say. For example, his silence over the US role in destabilising Somalia, and essentially destroying it, is almost total. He hardly even alludes to the Black Hawk Down episode, and any criticism of American actions he makes is muted to the point of being toothless. He’s quite willing to criticise his British compatriots, especially in Part II of his book; but his reluctance to confront the crimes of the United States borders on the farcical.

[Let me repeat something here, which I said in greater detail in my article on Black Hawk Down (linked above): the United States is more responsible than anyone else for the situation in Somalia. First, it propped up the Siad Barre dictatorship during the period of its worst repression; then, it devastated what was left of Somalia during its “humanitarian” intervention in the early 1990s; and then, when Somalia was finally approaching something like a stable government in 2006, it had its puppet, the Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi (inexplicably spelt “Zeles Menawi” by Fergusson on the one instance he refers to this war criminal, on Page 81 of his book) invade and destroy the country all over again; something which the Somalis now call Burburki, “the destruction”.]

Also, for a book which takes extreme pains to give the viewpoint of people on various sides of the conflict – from AMISOM officers to aid workers, from Somaliland politicians to Puntland warlords, and which describes the phenomenon of Somali piracy briefly but almost with sympathy – there is one glaring hole. There is nothing in it from the viewpoint of al Shabaab. We only get to see the organisation through the eyes of others, all of whom have it in their interest to paint it as black as possible.

This is not to say that al Shabaab are saints, of course. Their bloody record proves them to be anything but. Fergusson does say that unlike the Taliban, which always goes to great lengths to put out its viewpoint to the world, al Shabaab does no such thing, and it’s remarkably difficult to contact them. Even if that is true, some actual documented attempts to make such contact would have helped the book, especially since – unlike the conglomeration of disparate entities on one side – al Shabaab is one of just two villains on the other. (The only al Shabaab he talks to are members of a camp for defectors from the group, whose inmates are – according to Fergusson himself – so thoroughly infiltrated by al Shabaab agents that they don’t trust their own shadows anyway, so their testimonies are suspect.)

I’ll come to which the second villain is in a bit.

Fergusson does make some very valid points about al Shabaab, even given his one-sided point of view. He says that the movement was hardly a unified one; there were multiple factions, one of which, headed by Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, was much more moderate than that controlled by Ali Godane Zubeyr. Robow’s forces, in fact, had been known to protect aid convoys from Godane’s men, and the two nearly fought an internecine war over whether civilians should be given food aid in the midst of a famine.

The point of that division in the ranks – which Fergusson, regrettably, fails to discuss – is that if, instead of attacking al Shabaab as a unitary movement, the “other side” had engaged with Robow’s faction, they could have easily split the rebel ranks and ended the insurgency quickly. Instead, by attacking al Shabaab indiscriminately, they drove the insurgents together to make common cause against the enemy and caused it to metamorphose into a transnational insurgency – much like its ally Boko Haram in West Africa is in the process of doing.

There’s also the important factor of Somali Islam. Now, until very, very recently – till the 2000s, in fact – Islam in Somalia was more a notional quantity. The Somalis were – apart from a few who, Fergusson says, went to Yemen or Saudi Arabia to ‘better themselves’ – not interested in religion as a fact of daily life. The Islam they had was heavily influenced by the Barelvi Sufi tradition of South Asia, very akin to Hinduism, with its mysticism and reverence for saints. Even this Islam had been targeted by the old Siad Barre dictatorship, which had attempted but signally failed to erase it; instead, there had been a backlash, with women who had never before worn anything but Western clothes adopting the abaya and veil as a mark of their Muslim identity. But, even then, the religion stayed very muted in the lives of ordinary Somalis until the civil war destroyed society in the 90s and early 2000s.

Today, a different sort of Islam has taken root in all parts of Somalia, one influenced heavily by Saudi Wahhabism, though without its most extreme elements. Fergusson quotes extensively from Western-educated, liberal diaspora politicians and technocrats in Mogadishu and Hargeisa, people who might be assumed to be completely on the side of liberalism, who however make the point that Islam is now an indelible part of Somali identity, and some form of Sharia has to play a part in any durable political setup in future. Exactly how much, and what kind, of influence this has to play is what is up for debate; not the fact itself.

Al Shabaab, of course, has been neck-deep in its own version of Islam as well, one in which children in the areas it controlled were allegedly rewarded with AK series rifles and rocket propelled grenade launchers for excellence in Koran-recitation competitions. But, as I’ll discuss in a moment, the rest of Somalia dismisses the al Shabaab version of the religion as “not Islam”.

In Hargeisa, up in “independent” Somaliland, a city once bombed to knee-high rubble by Siad Barre, a council of Muslim Ulema now keeps order well enough that money changers can leave their boxes of cash on the pavement unattended without fear of theft. It’s hardly the only place this kind of thing has happened, and there is a reason.

All through Somalia, the civil war has devastated society. The modern state – with its constitution and legal system – collapsed with Siad Barre. The civil war, by killing and displacing adults in huge numbers, by putting guns in the hands of children, destroyed the traditional clan law, called xeer. What on earth was left except Islam? And, given that traditional Somali Islam hardly had any influence on anyone, what was left except Sharia?

It’s not, perhaps, an irrefutable agreement, but it’s a compelling one. The only alternative I can think of (it’s not something Fergusson suggests) would be recolonisation with the white man’s justice being reimposed until the (already failed) Siad Barre style state could be rebuilt from the ground up.

I just talked about clan law, xeer. Now, the other villain of the piece I’d mentioned is the clan nature of Somali society. Like tribalism in the rest of Africa, clannishness is the bane of Somalia. The clans had to find a way to coexist with each other, with mechanisms for redressal of grievances so that they didn’t tear each other to pieces. Xeer provided that mechanism. Once it vanished, the clans were set free to fight each against the rest, while inside each clan, the sub-clans fought each other, and no group – not even al Shabaab – was free of the old Somali proverb:

I against my brother
I and my brother against my family
I and my family against the clan
I and the clan against Somalia
I and Somalia against the world.

Part II:

The second part of the book, and one I found significantly more important, is set in the West, primarily among the Somali diaspora. Normally, I steer very clear of diaspora tales, especially since I know – from my own experience regarding my relatives living abroad – that the diaspora usually have little to no clue about what is actually going on in the “old country”. However, the vast majority of the Somali diaspora are actually extremely recent migrants, dating back to the civil war; and a significant part of the war continues abroad, in the form of a battle of ideas among the young.

And it is from among these young that al Shabaab draws many of its suicide bombers, who go off to blow themselves up in Somalia and elsewhere in East Africa.

Fergusson goes into some detail in his interactions with the members of the diaspora, in the UK and the US in particular. This diaspora, which – relative to the size of the “mother country” – is huge, is of growing importance as a “second Somalia” abroad, dispersed among the nations of the west, and elsewhere in Africa, too, primarily Kenya.

The diaspora is important in three respects. The first is the politicians it sends back, truly dedicated men (and a few women) who give up comfortable lives in France or Britain, the US or Norway, to try and bring a semblance of order to their native land. But they, too, suffer from two insuperable handicaps: first, they’re  almost all of the older wave of emigrants, from the 1970s or even earlier, who had grown up in the Somalia before the civil war, and therefore completely out of touch with the local realities of today. The second handicap is the clan rivalries and corruption of today’s Somali society, which would make it virtually impossible to govern without imposing yet another crushing dictatorship. Most of them rapidly found themselves sidelined, rendered irrelevant, and forced to return to their jobs and lives in the west with nothing to show for their efforts.

The second respect is the money that the diaspora sends back to Somalia. After the destruction of the decades of war, virtually ceaseless from the 1980s to today, the economy of the country is almost at a standstill. Apart from livestock exports from Puntland and Somaliland to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and the temporary boom of piracy, nothing is left of the nation in terms of economical prospects. The money sent back by the diaspora, primarily by hawala channels, is what keeps the country (barely) afloat. The diaspora has even pooled cash to ransom pirate captives; unlike a lot of other countries’ expatriates, they haven’t shaken the dust of the motherland from their shoes and never looked back again.

The third, and in terms of the book, most important, respect in which the diaspora is important is the young, who, as I said, comprise a very significant recruiting pool for al Shabaab. As I’ll point out, like several other jihadist groups, western intervention designed to “destroy” it has merely forced it out of its formerly restricted area of operations and made it a diffuse, but significantly more resilient, group. The illiterate child soldiers who were mowed down by AMISOM in the trenches of Mogadishu have been replaced by an entirely different breed of recruit; tech-savvy, educated young men with Western passports, who can provide significantly more “bang for the buck” where al Shabaab is concerned.

(I’ll resist the temptation to compare al Shabaab to the jihad gangs in Syria and Iraq, particularly ISIS, which has similarly gained recruits from educated Westerners, including converts; the parallels are tempting but not within the scope of discussion of a book whose timeline ends at the autumn of 2013.)

The young Somali diaspora, actually, are a quite fascinating mix of the modern and the traditional. Very few of the young, for example, have any patience for the clan structure which still rules many of their parents’ lives. A lot of them can hardly even speak Somali. Almost none of them chew qat, the addictive leaf whose use is endemic in Somalia and even more in Yemen, and which is banned almost universally in the West except for Britain. But at the same time, very few of them have any respect for the family or for xeer; educational success is rare among them, and they tend to congregate in ultra-violent gangs (so violent that in some areas they have forced out the white, South Asian and Jamaican gangs which formerly ruled the streets). In the absence of parental authority – especially since so many of them are from single-parent households, one parent having been killed in the Burburki or having stayed back in Somalia – they look for authority in the gangs. And a lot of them “find god” as a way out of their “lives of sin”, a process which not infrequently sends them right into the arms of al Shabaab recruiting agents.

Some of Fergusson’s interlocutors make a fascinating observation; the less knowledgeable one of these young people is about Islam, the more easily can he or she be radicalised. Those who have no idea what the Koran or Hadith actually says, and lack the motivation or education to find out for themselves, can be easily brainwashed by mullahs with an agenda. Fergusson talks about young Somali women who aren’t even aware that the Koran does not prescribe either the veil or female genital mutilation, both traditional practices long predating Islam; when a mullah pointed out that these weren’t obligatory under Islam, he was called an “infidel”.

The situation isn’t helped by official attitudes. While on the one hand the authorities try to “’engage with the youth” to prevent their radicalisation, they do such monumentally stupid things as to undo any good they might otherwise achieve. One young Somali, for instance, in Britain, was the target of a coercion attempt by MI6 to spy on his fellow expatriates, on the threat that otherwise any country he tried to visit would be told that he was a suspected terrorist. On another occasion, a scuffle in a mosque over whether the Somalis or the gaalos (foreigners) were responsible for the Burburki was presented to the world by officialdom as jihadism. In America – and this is just about the only occasion Fergusson can bring himself to criticise the United States – Somalis were racially profiled on one occasion to the extent that a visitor to a mall was detained for hours on the grounds that he wasn’t “holding his video camera the way a typical tourist would.”

[This brings me to a point that I have repeatedly made while addressing the idiocy of antitheism. Religions are not going to disappear just because Richard Dawkins or his Zionistophilic acolyte Sam Harris inveigh against them; in fact, by attacking religions without taking into account the differences between strains of thought or ideas in competition, all that these people do is drive the moderates into the arms of the hardliners. It’s more knowledge of religion – not less – which will lead to moderation and the ultimate discrediting of wars on the basis of religious belief.]

Not that this helped stop the flow of potential suicide bombers flying to Africa; most of those young men were, in fact, by no means “typical” Muslim radicals. In most cases even their immediate families had no idea that they had been recruited, until it was too late. And despite the best efforts of the Somali diaspora itself, whose members have no wish to see their children vanish into the jaws of the war they had fled, Fergusson says, the recruitment still continues.


In 2012 the Ethiopians, who had been driven out of Somalia by al Shabaab back in 2008, reinvaded that hapless country. Kenya, which had grown increasingly worried about the influence of al Shabaab on its not insubstantial ethnic Somali population, also launched a – laughably inept – expedition into Somalia. These forces, along with the warlord “army” of Somalia and AMISOM, finally expelled al Shabaab from the areas it had occupied, including the vital port city of Kismayo.

Was that the end of al Shabaab? Of course not.

Even before the fall of Kismayo, al Shabaab had begun to scatter. A lot of its members moved north to Somaliland and Puntland, which all this time had their own episodes of internecine fighting. Some crossed the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, there to find welcome in the ranks of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). And a lot crossed over into Kenya, into the very suburbs of Nairobi itself.

Just as the net result of the invasion of Afghanistan was the internationalisation of Al Qaeda, the net result of AMISOM’s venture in Somalia has been to turn al Shabaab into a branch of the international terror system.

The result was not long in coming. On 21st September 2013, a squad of al Shabaab Fidayeen attackers stormed the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. By the time – spectacularly incompetent – Kenyan forces ended the attack by blowing down the building’s roof, al Shabaab had emphatically made its presence felt in Kenya. And they said, clearly, that it was only the beginning.

In Somalia, too, things are not going as AMISOM’s backers would have liked. The warlord factions in the “army” are still fighting amongst themselves, and corruption remains a serious problem. Puntland and Somaliland are yet to be integrated back into the nation. Xeer still has not been re-established. The role Islam is to play in the future of Somalia is yet to be decided. And, of course, two forces remain waiting, to raise their heads again at the first opportunity.

One is al Shabaab. The other, the gaalos whose actions gave it birth in the first place.

The Burburki isn’t quite finished yet, and it could all too easily begin all over again.

Somali government "soldier"

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Rukhsana Kausar: Terrorising the Terrorists

There was once a man named Abu Osama.

This would not be a significant thing, except that his name wasn’t really Abu Osama. I don’t know what his real name was, though I assume he must have been issued one by his parents at some point after being born. But, after becoming a terrorist, he abandoned it, so it probably doesn’t matter so much what it was, anyway.

Terrorist, did I say? Why, yes. Abu Osama was a member of the Pakistani jihadist terrorist group, the Lashkar e Toiba, and in accordance with the rules of his outfit would have abandoned his birth name during training and taken on a quniat, or nom de guerre. This quniat, for Lashkar men, usually comprises two parts, Abu (literally “father of”) and the name of one or the other “revered” Islamic warrior. In this case, unless I am much mistaken, said Islamic warrior would’ve been the bin Laden himself.

Some random South Asian Islamic terrorists, maybe even Lashkar. They don't exactly wear uniforms.

Anyway, after finishing his training, probably in one of the Lashkar training camps in the hills north-west of Islamabad, the newly-minted Abu Osama was sent, like others of his ilk, across the so-called Line of Control in Kashmir (the actual border between India and Pakistan, though neither country is willing to admit it). By 2009 he was the commander of his own lashkar (sub-unit) operating in Jammu, just south of the Kashmir valley, and had made himself notorious enough to have a price on his head. How much that price was depends on which website you believe – the equivalent in Indian rupees of between US$ 4000 to 6000, a considerable sum even at the exchange rate at the time.

Now, by 2009 the original insurgency in Kashmir was long since over. It had been stamped out by the mid-to-late 1990s, with all the insurgents who took up arms in 1988-89 either dead, captured, or surrendered and turned into politicians. After that, the vast majority of insurgents in Kashmir were foreigners: some Afghans, a few from further afield (including Chechens and even the odd East African), but mostly Pakistani Kashmiris – or Pakistanis like Abu Osama. The remaining Indian Kashmiri insurgents were mostly restricted to one, and increasingly marginalised, group, the Hizbul Mujahideen. Unlike the original insurgents of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, the Hizb are Islamists, but not nearly hardline enough to suit the likes of the Lashkar, who think the Indian Kashmiri version of Sunni Islam tantamount to heresy and idolatry.

This isn’t the place to examine the reasons for the decline and fall of the Kashmir insurgency, a fascinating topic which I’ll talk about in future in case anyone’s interested. But two of the reasons came together in the person of Abu Osama.

First was the fact of his being a foreigner, a Mehman Mujahid, or “guest freedom fighter”, as the foreign jihadis were called by the Kashmiris when they first appeared in the early nineties. The foreigners had neither the family ties and local support the native insurgents had; nor did they have any sympathy for the Kashmiris, whom they considered contemptible idolatrous mushriks  who needed to be taught True Islamic Values and who were too weak and cowardly to fight for their own freedom anyway.

The second reason actually predated the appearance of the Mehman Mujahideen. When the rebellion began in 1988-89, the authority of the state vanished almost overnight. A huge number of criminals joined the rebellion along with students, unemployed young men, and others. These criminals, of course, used their newly acquired training and weapons for less “honourable” pursuits than the insurgency. One of the things they did was force their way into village homes and demand food and shelter. Soon enough, this extended to forcing themselves on the women of the house, especially if they were young and pretty. Even those who weren’t criminals, corrupted with their new power, soon joined in. A former army officer I know personally, who fought both against the LTTE in Sri Lanka and in Kashmir, told me of how the terrorists would force the men of the house to act as lookouts while they spent the night with their daughters and sisters.

Obviously, these things did not make for good relations between the “freedom fighters” and the people for whose freedom they were allegedly fighting. The Mehman Mujahideen proved no less susceptible to the Kashmiri damsels, no matter how much they detested their version of the Muslim faith, and were as prone to forcing their way into their homes in the dead of night. Abu Osama was no exception.

Now, in a little village about 30 kilometres from the Line of Control, there was a girl named Rukhsana Kausar. In 2009 she was 19 going on 20, and Abu Osama was taken by her charms. (Let’s take time to point out that Indian Kashmiri women don’t wear the hijab and aren’t veiled, so our Abu wasn’t exactly unable to see her face. Also, Rukhsana Kausar is a Gujjar, not an ethnic Kashmiri, reinforcing a point I’ve often made, that the ethnic complexities of Kashmir make it a far less simple issue than “Indian versus Kashmiri”) In July 2009, some local goons had abducted her and her aunt, though they had subsequently been released. As is usual in these cases in India, the police had done nothing about her complaint.

Then Abu Osama decided that he’d like to “marry” her, which didn’t exactly thrill her, because no sane woman, of course, would actually want to go with a psycho killer with a rapidly shortening expected lifespan. Apparently the fact that she wasn’t enthusiastic made him somewhat unhappy, because he asked her to “beware”. What he threatened her to beware of, I have been unable to discover, but I can imagine, can’t you?

So could she.

 Then, on the night of 27th September, 2009, Abu the not bin Laden decided that enough was enough, and he was going to get his hands on this woman, come what may. Taking two, three, or five of his men with him – depending on whom you believe – he went off to her village, arriving there at about half past nine in the evening. Apparently he wasn’t sure which her house was, because he went first to her uncle’s home. At gunpoint, he then forced the uncle to take them to Rukhsana’s parents’ home, which was next door. The commotion was enough to tip off Rukhsana’s parents, Noor Hussain and Rashida Begum, who stuffed her and her eighteen-year-old brother under the bed before the terrorists could break in.

And what happened when they broke in? Well, brave Abu Osama came in with two of his men and began beating the hell out of them with sticks, because apparently that passed for asking for their daughter’s hand, and also because that’s what you do if you’re a tough armed militant and you want to show some defenceless villagers who’s the boss. While this was going on, Rukhsana Kausar and her brother, Aijaz, were under the bed, watching.

They didn’t watch too long. There comes a point in some people’s lives when they have to make a fundamental choice; and that point arrived in the lives of Kausar and her brother. They could keep watching and hope the Abu would leave after expending his pent-up anger, merely beating their parents to a pulp instead of killing them. Or they could do something about it.

They decided to do something about it.

By “decide”, I don’t suppose they held some kind of confabulation there on the floor under the bed. No, the “decision” would have been on the spur of the moment, and Kausar’s own words after the incident give the idea that she was the prime mover in what happened next:

"I couldn’t bear my father’s humiliation...I thought I should try the bold act of encountering militants before dying."

The word “encounter” in this sentence may be difficult for the uninitiated to understand. After all, hadn’t Kausar already “encountered” the militants? Well, actually, this word has a special meaning in India. “Encountered”, in Indian police and military lexicon, means “had a firefight with”. There’s a whole deeper layer of meaning to it, because you can take it almost for granted that when the cops claim to have eliminated a gangster or terrorist in an “encounter”, what they actually mean is that they arrested him and then shot him in a staged gunfight. It’s so much part of the Indian culture that the word has even become shorthand for “kill with legal impunity.”

Also, Kausar obviously had no illusions about what her fate would be; she’d obviously decided that being killed was inevitable – and preferable – to watching this home invasion any longer. She felt she had no choice in the matter.

Here’s a bit of advice, gratis: If you’re set on a course of violence against someone, never, ever, leave them no way out. Once you leave them with no alternatives, you’ve pretty much cooked your own goose.

If Abu Osama had ever known that, he’d forgotten it by that time. Too bad.

Because this is what Rukhsana’s decision to “encounter” her uninvited guests led to: she and her brother rushed out from under the bed, grabbed an axe which happened to be in the room, and gave Abu Osama an almighty whack across the back of the head with it. As he – not unexpectedly – collapsed from this sudden and unexpected assault from the rear, she grabbed his AK 47, hit him with the stock, turned it on him, and pumped him full of bullets.

The great Lashkar e Toiba commander with a price on his head had been smoked by an outraged teenage girl who had never held a gun before in her life.

Yes, you read that right. Rukhsana Kausar had never before touched a firearm in her life, had never fired a thing. How did she know how to shoot it?

She had watched movies.

I’m not joking. Her words:

"I had never touched a rifle before this, let alone fired one -
but I had seen heroes firing in films and I tried the same way.  Somehow I gathered courage."

Somehow I get the idea that Rukhsana Kausar is a young woman it wouldn’t be a good idea to cross.

At this point it would be appropriate to mention that if Abu Osama had taken the elementary precaution to, you know, keep his safety catch on, he might have survived with nothing worse than a cracked skull (do you recall the last action movie to show anyone taking off a safety before blasting away? I don’t). I don’t know if they left out that little detail in Lashkar training camp or he thought it was macho to wander around with his safety off. I suspect the former, because...

...having gunned down Abu Osama, Kausar turned her gun on the other two, and shot and wounded one of them. The two formerly brave freedom fighters promptly ran for their lives, dropping one of their guns, which Kausar then tossed to Aijaz. Apparently this gun also had its safety off. The brother and sister then began a brisk firefight with the two to five (depending on whom you believe) terrorists outside, which lasted – according to some accounts – up to four hours.  I find that somewhat hard to believe because I don’t see how two AK magazines, even full, could last that long, and I don’t recall the last action movie which showed anyone changing magazines, either. I have, however, no problem believing that the gunfight seemed to last four hours to the people inside the house. At some point in the proceedings, Kausar’s uncle took a bullet in the arm, but that was the only casualty on the side of the good guys. As for the terrorists, later on the police found blood trails, in the plural.

Never, ever, thoroughly piss off someone and then leave them with nothing to lose, is the message I’ll keep repeating.

Having finally had enough, Abu Osama’s thoroughly defeated men withdrew, and Kausar and her brother shepherded her family to the nearest police outpost, Aijaz firing into the air at intervals to keep away the terrorists. I think they’d had enough for one night anyway.

(Later on, there were revenge attacks on Kausar’s family home, including grenade attacks. But nobody was hurt because they had been relocated by the government to accommodation in a protected area, and besides, the grenades missed the house. The Lashkar’s grenade-throwing training also needs work,)

Rukhsana and her brother went on to get medals for bravery, which is actually...not quite enough recognition for what they did, come to think of it. Rukhsana was appointed a constable in the Jammu police, which means that now she has legal licence to blow away terrorists if they come calling, and presumably knows a little more about guns, too. The siblings also got some money for Abu Osama’s by now cracked and very dead head. 

They also taught the Lashkar a lesson: for the third time, never push someone to the point where they have nothing to lose.

I doubt the Lashkar took it, though.

She has that gun to remind them.