[ by Charles Cameron — expecting the unexpected — transcribing Bill Roggio on “something that everyone is overlooking” and Ambassador Haqqani on “one of the unwritten books it has been my desire to write” ]
I’ve talked about the “Black Banners” hadith and the Mahdi‘s victorious army marching from (roughly) Afghanistan to Jerusalem more than once, and perhaps less frequently, the other prong of the jihad, the Ghazwa-e-Hind, which flows from Pakistan into India. In the video that follows, Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal talks with Husain Haqqani, one-time Pakistani Ambassador to the US — and both have some striking things to say.
We pick up the conversation close to the end of the first half of a two-tape session at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies — and I’ve provided a transcript after the video, for easier quotation and annotation.
One of Al-Qaida’s propaganda since it took a beating in Iraq was, that they made the Khorasan, which is an old Islamic empire basically in central Asia and South Asia, they said that this is where we are going to beat them, and once we win in the Khorasan, we’re going to move towards the Levant. So this has become a key part of AQ’s propaganda. What do we think is going to happen when we lose in Afghanistan, when the second superpower loses? That is going to be a huge recruiting boom for foreign terrorists operating in Afghanistan. I think this is something that everyone is overlooking as we’re running for the doors in Afghanistan.
That’s a pretty powerful prediction, though prediction itself is a high risk enterprise. And it bears repeating that the Khorasan hadith is explicitly an “end times” prophecy. Ambassador Haqqani then doubles up on Bill Roggio’s concern, adding in the Ghazwa-e-Hind, which he describes as both “famous” and “the final, biggest war between good and evil and between Islam and kufr”…
A lot of people make fun of the Pakistani analyst and Youtube personality, Zaid Hamid, who seems to be the main public proponent of the Ghazwa — take a look here to see a wild sampler! — which is why I find Ambassador Haqqani’s response particularly impactful.
You know, there are days when I think I should have stayed in the scholarship business and written some of that stuff I was writing at that time. This was one of the things, even before Iraq, I had pointed out. For example, bin Laden had given a statement at that time about Americans being the new Mongols, and nobody could understand what he was talking about, and I said he’s talking about the 1258 conquest of Baghdad, and he’s playing on Islamic history and Islamic mythology.
And so Khorasan was an important element in that because, if you remember, the Abbasids rose to power through Khorasan, because that was an important element, they overthrew the Umayyads based on the argument that there is a hadith – which in my opinion is of relatively weak significance, but I am taking off my hat of a theologian since I never completed my religious training – but anyway, they used that, that there is a hadith, that the people from Khorasan will come and save the people of the Levant or whatever. And so that was used, and that was used again, and that has been part of the Al-Qaeda thing.
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.
And both those fronts are going to be a source of a lot of problems.
Increased jihadist recruitment, and India as a second major front for the jihad — that’s quite a left lead and right cross combo…
Do you recall the opening of Aldous Huxley‘s final novel, Island?
“Attention,” a voice began to call, and it was as though an oboe had suddenly become articulate. “Attention,” it repeated in the same high, nasal monotone. “Attention.”