[ by Charles Cameron — in which the “second shoe” of Islamist eschatology will land on India ]
Bill Roggio, over in Long Wars Journal a day or two ago, posted an article titled Pakistani jihadists form Ahrar-ul-Hind, vow to continue attacks. In it, he introduces the group, Ahrar-ul-Hind:
A new global jihadist group that is unwilling to negotiate with the Pakistani government has announced its formation and vowed to continue attacks in the country despite the outcome of ongoing peace talks. The group, which is calling itself Ahrar-ul-Hind, said its goal is the establishment of sharia, or Islamic law, and that the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan are still “our brothers” despite separation from the group.
Ahrar-ul-Hind emailed two statements to The Long War Journal on Feb. 9: one from its spokesman, and another that outlined its “aims and objectives,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which translated the communiques. Ahrar-ul-Hind has also posted both statements on its Facebook page.
He has much more to say about it, but what caught my eye was one observation in particular:
In the statement announcing its “aims and objectives,” Ahrar-ul-Hind threatened to wage war on the “Indian subcontinent” and beyond, with the ultimate goal of imposing sharia worldwide.
“We aim to carry an armed struggle on the Indian subcontinent with an aim to establish Islamic Shariah in the whole world,” one bullet announced.
A final, significant detail:
Mansour identified Ahrar-ul-Hind’s emir as Maulana Umar Qasmi
Readers of Zenpundit will be familiar with the idea of a Pakistani jihad aiming to take over India — the Ghazwa-e-Hind, about which we have written, among other posts:
One hadith, one plan, one video, and two warnings
So many browser tabs, so little time
Pakistan’s Strategic Mummery
Khorasan to al-Quds and the Ghazwa-e-Hind
In the last of those I quote from a discussion Ambassador Haqqani had with Bill Roggio:
And then the other part is this famous Ghazwa-e-Hind, and the Pakistani groups use it – actually, just as jihad is the war, a holy war or war for religious purposes, ghazwa is a battle — and there is ostensibly a saying of prophet Muhammad that before the end times, the final, biggest war between good and evil and between Islam and kufr is going to take place in Hind, which is India, which is the land east of the river Indus.
So Khorasan takes care of what is today Afghanistan and some parts of central Asia, and all of that – it means a lot to people who believe in it, these end times prophecies etcetera. So one of the unwritten books it has been my desire to write, I wrote a piece on it once, an article I think, which said, that, you know, Americans pay a lot of attention to their own end time prophecies, but getting into that whole theater, they have totally neglected this.
And so far as recruitment is concerned I am totally agreeing with you, that failure in Afghanistan is going to be a big boon for both. The TTP — the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan — and the Pakistani groups are going to start saying, Right, now is the time to start recruiting, and fighting in that famous Ghazwa-e-Hind –let’s get ready for that. And the Arab groups are going to say, Ah, salvation is coming by joining up with the folks who are fighting in Khorasan.
You might say there are two “shoes” to the end times jihad — one foot marching from Khorasan / Afghanistan with Jerusalem its objective, the other marching from Pakistan to take India. We have discussed the “army with Black Banners from Khorasan” theme, too, in these pages:
Iran or Afghanistan? The Black Flags of Khorasan…
Ali Soufan: AQ, Khorasan and the Black Banners
The matter of the Black Banners and Benghazi
Twitter combat, al-Shabaab, black banners, Tahrir and more
An army in Sham, an army in Yemen, and an army in Iraq
Those black banners / AQ flags, revisited
and pointed to Aaron Zelin, writing on al-Wasat:
On Flags, Islamic History, and al-Qa’ida
I am always on the alert for news of that second shoe…
Many people treat Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid, the loudest proponent of the Ghazwa, as a joke — there’s even a satirical blog attacking him — but our blog-friend Omar Ali put things in perspective in a comment here not so long ago:
The major mistake of Western (and Western educated Pakistani left-liberal academics) is to regard this nonsense as so nonsensical that no sane person could possibly take it seriously.
Manan Ahmed, a Pakistani historian blogging at Chapati Mystery, describes him as having:
from most accounts, secured a niche similar to Glenn Beck in Pakistani media – combining ultra-nationalism with a taste for finding Zionist or Hindu involvement in the Pakistani sphere.
And the “500 Most Influential Muslims” listing for 2013-14 includes him:
One of the most influential television personalities in Pakistan, Zaid Hamid is a security consultant and strategic defence analyst by profession. He is also a popular political commentator, and is the founder of Brass Tacks, a Pakistani think tank on global politics. Hamid also hosts ‘BrassTacks with Zaid Hamid’ on News1 Channel Although he has been deemed by some as a conspiracy theorist, he maintains a substantial audience.
It is unlikely that Zaid Hamid would be enthusiastic about Ahrar-ul-Hind, since they are a TTP offshoot and Hamid has decried the TTP as khwarijites, ie sectarian extremists — and also because Hamid clearly sees himself as the leader of the Ghazwa, and Maulana Umar Qasmi, the emir of Ahrar-ul-Hind, is not Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid.
Nevertheless, the appearance of a group specifically not affiliated with Hamid, but preaching the Ghazwa, may in fact represent a more serious and bdeadly version of Hamd’s vision — for as Omar Ali notes:
What Zaid Hamid is saying is just an extreme version of the mainstream Paknationalist framework.
Also of possible note in this context is the late, brilliant, not always reliable Syed Saleem Shahzad‘s interview with Ilyas Kashmiri in Asia Times [Note: 2 pp.], in which the following exchange took place:
“So should the world expect more Mumbai-like attacks?” I [Shahzad] asked.
“That was nothing compared to what has already been planned for the future,” Ilyas replied.
Once again, Bill Roggio noted this particular exchange (making this a triple hat-tip) — though his focus was more on Kashmiri’s interest in the American “far enemy” — in his report on LWJ, Asia Times interviews al Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri.
Tying Ilyas Kashmiri and AQ’s 313 Brigade more closely into the “Ghazwa e-Hind” context from an Indian perspective, we have this article from Rediff News in 2009:
Ilyas Kashmiri’s Ghazwa-e-Hind plans to spread terror in India
Last updated on: October 16, 2009 20:47 IST
Dreaded terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri runs Al Qaeda’s 313 Brigade. A few weeks ago the United States declared that Kashmiri had been killed in a drone attack. However, Kashmiri resurfaced with an interview to Asia Times this week, declaring he had survived the attack.
In the interview Kashmiri said the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were nothing compared to what was really planned. While India has maintained that the attacks were masterminded by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Kashmiri’s statement has come as a surprise.
Syed Saleem Shahzad, chief of Asia Times’s Pakistan bureau who interviewed Kashmiri, told rediff.com that the 313 Brigade is Al Qaeda’s commando force which trains youth for terrorist operations.
Indian Intelligence Bureau sources suspect Kashmiri is planning terror strikes on the lines of the Mumbai attacks, but much larger in scope.
Kashmiri’s statements indicates that the 313 Brigade was involved in the Mumbai attacks. Indian intelligence sources believe that while the Lashkar undertook a major part of the operation, including identifying the terrorists who participated in the attack, the 313 Brigade was also involved.