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Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Terror Group Suspected of This Week's Plot

For your pleasure, and in brief, courtesy of FAS.ORG.

Lashkar I Jhangvi (LJ)
(Army of Jhangvi)
Description
Lashkar I Jhangvi (LJ) is the militant offshoot of the Sunni sectarian group Sipah-i- Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The group focuses primarily on anti-Shia attacks and was banned by Pakistani President Musharraf in August 2001 as part of an effort to rein in sectarian violence. Many of its members then sought refuge with the Taliban in Afghanistan, with whom they had existing ties. After the collapse of the Taliban, LJ members became active in aiding other terrorists with safehouses, false identities, and protection in Pakistani cities, including Karachi, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. In January 2003, the United States added LJ to the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Activities

LJ specializes in armed attacks and bombings. The group attempted to assassinate former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shabaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab Province, in January 1999. Pakistani authorities have publicly linked LJ members to the kidnap and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in early 2002. Police officials initially suspected LJ members were involved in the two suicide car-bombings in Karachi in 2002—against a French shuttle bus in May and the US Consulate in June—but their subsequent investigations have not led to any LJ members being charged in the attacks. Similarly, press reports have linked LJ to attacks on Christian targets in Pakistan, including a grenade assault on the Protestant International Church in Islamabad in March 2002 that killed two US citizens, but no formal charges have been fi led against the group. Pakistani authorities believe LJ was responsible for the bombing in July 2003 of a Shiite mosque in Quetta, Pakistan.

Strength

Probably fewer than 100.

Location/Area of Operation

LJ is active primarily in Punjab and Karachi. Some members travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

External Aid

Unknown.

5 Posts From Readers:

The Beltway B@stard said...

Interesting stuff and I liked the FAS site.

Also, thanks for figuring me out - or at least telling the good folks that I really don't drink the kool-aid ;)

I have a professional question for you - of sorts: What have the Brits done to actually gain access to the cell(s) they broke up last week and how can that be morphed/applied in enemy territory, i.e., to find Osama among other things?

Robert said...

First, let me say that I have no idea how it was done. Second, if I did, I probably wouldn't tell. But I really don't know. Some things are kept incredibly close...after all, it might work again so we neither need, nor want to know.

I have heard that it was an arrest that netted information. I have also heard that it was a phone intercept that gave them the first indication. I am pretty sure it was a phone intercept that indicated the day of the attack (Aug 16) so based on that the raids were conducted. I have also heard that it was human intell type pentration of the cell. I always put this one aside, will explain in a minute. But no matter how it was done, it is smart to let it out that we penetrated with human sources, thereby creating, at least for a short time, distrust and some chaos within the organization as they try to figure out who and how.

Now about human assets - It isn't really that hard to penetrate domestic criminal gangs and groups. I am of English/Irish ancestory, but I look remarkably Italian or Puerto Rican. Dark skin, dark eyes...I could pass for many nationalities, just not Irish...lol. It is hard, indeed, virtually impossible for westerners to infiltrate Muslim organizations. One would need to be middle eastern, Muslim, and understand the entire crazy culture. It is just extremely difficult. And to infiltrate from a country where we have people who actually belive that the President of the U.S. worked with Pakistanis, Brits, and Americans to falsify this terror plot....Geesh...one little slip up and the agent is dead - quickly and terribly dead.

This is one of the reasons that techonology, i.e., Patriot Act and NSA programs, are essential. Modern society requires modern technology. Did you know that al-Qaeda uses PORN sites to mask messages to their cells? With high tech encryption programs, the images are stripped away to reveal messages. Everything isn't done by donkeys and farmers.

For the sake of argument, lets say this message to execute the plot was a phone intercept. How many people really had any rights trampled by finding it? And with Airbus predicting that the average numbers of seats is 215, then at a minimum, 1260 people were saved with the phone intercept (215 x 6, maybe as many as 20 planes targeted - 215 x 20 = 4300 lives saved.) And that is average..transatlantic flights are often pretty full, with loads of 75-90%.

So, to specifically answer your question. The tactics used for this cannot be used to catch OBL. He has a SMALL core of bodyguards and advisors. No one will penetrate them. They are isolated, and never use cell phones (The New York Times took care of that about 5 years ago). It will be plain old police type work, and assembling clues from locals. The problem at the moment is that we can't go in to Pakistan (at least officially) so that is hampering the efforts.

We will catch him one day. A special forces unit will come across him and we will have a new prisoner, or a cool head on the evening news. Either way, I am ok with it.

Until then, be happy that we have relegated him to irrelevance, other than being a figurehead.

The Beltway B@stard said...

I probably asked too much, but your response was concise and well put. Thanks.

Robert said...

You didn't ask too much. I wish I knew the answer myself.

Forgive me when I ramble and lecture...I teach criminal justice, so I have a bad habit of answering questions with dissertation type responses. My wife gets on to me all the time for it.

The Beltway B@stard said...

You were starting to sound like my first year CJ Prof...oddly enough from "Montgomery" Jr. College in "Montgomery" County Maryland. ;p

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