Editor’s note: By special, exclusive arrangement with Courcy’s Intelligence Review, WorldNetDaily publishes excerpts of the latest reports of the world’s most prestigious intelligence newsletter.
There’s good news and bad news in the arrest in Pakistan of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network, says a top intelligence analyst.
While there is no disputing the importance of Mohammed as a top figure in Osama bin Laden’s organization and that he was an organizer of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, Joe deCourcy writes in the latest issue of his weekly intelligence newsletter that the arrest took place in the home of a leader of a major Pakistani political party.
Thus, he suggests, the arrest once again raises questions about the reliability of Pakistan as a partner in the war against Islamist terrorism.
Mohammed was nabbed in the house of the son of a local leader of Pakistan’s Jamaat-e-Islami, a group that is part of the Islamist-orientated Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, or MMA.
The MMA made big gains in Pakistan’s Oct. 10 general election and now holds 63 seats in the 342-seat lower house of Parliament and 18 out of 100 in the upper house, compared with just two seats won by Islamist parties in the previous election. It also controls the North West Frontier Province and forms a coalition government with the pro-regime Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam, or PML-QA, in Baluchistan.
“So Mohammed, one of al-Qaida’s most-important leaders, was found in the house of a leader of a major Pakistani political party that has growing public support and which shares power with the ruling party in a key province while controlling another province outright,” writes deCourcy. “Furthermore, the house where he was arrested was not an isolated refuge in North West Frontier Province or Baluchistan, but in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistan army and the home of President Musharraf himself.”
DeCourcy suggests this shows how close the links are between al-Qaida and radical Pakistani groups and how far it has penetrated into elements of Pakistani society.
“Of course, it is one thing for al-Qaida to be close to radical elements within Pakistan if those elements are being actively marginalized by the regime, but it is a more serious thing entirely if those radical elements are not being marginalized by the Pakistani authorities,” he writes.
Nearly all the groups that were banned in Pakistan in the post-Sept. 11 crackdown are still operating under different names, deCourcy says. The Lashkar-e-Toiba, for example, is now operating as Pasban-e-Ahle-Hadith, while the Jaish-e-Mohammad, or JeM, has become Al Furqan, the Markaz-ad-Dawa-wal-Irshad has become Jamaat-ad-Dawa, and the Tehrik-e-Jafaria Pakistan, or TJP, has become Tehrik-e-Islami.