October 27, 2004


Osama and his Shi'ite nemesis: The Shi'ites of Pakistan and Afghanistan are on the hunt for their sworn enemies and they are unlikely to rest until they get them. At the top of their list are Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, whom they have mounted their own hunt against. If bin Laden is still alive, the Shi'ites, not the US, may prove to be his greatest nemesis. (B Raman, 10/27/04, Asia Times)

Since the beginning of 2003, there have been indications that sections of the Shi'ite community have been doing their own hunt for bin Laden and his No 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri. It was reported that the arrest at Rawalpindi, Pakistan in March 2003 of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who had allegedly orchestrated the September 11 terrorist strikes in the United States, was made possible by intelligence provided by some Shi'ites in Quetta, Balochistan province, where Khalid was living before fleeing to Rawalpindi.

After hearing these reports, the SSP and the LEJ, both members of bin Laden's International Islamic Front, retaliated by massacring a large number of Hazara Shi'ites in the Quetta area in July 2003. This was followed by many anti-Shi'ite incidents in Karachi and other parts of Pakistan.

The Shi'ites struck back by helping the Pakistani authorities arrest Massob Arooshi, described as Khalid's nephew, on June 13 this year following an unsuccessful attempt to kill the corps commander of Karachi on June 10. Arooshi was arrested at the house of one Abbas Khan, a former divisional engineer of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, and reportedly the father of Javed Abbas, a serving deputy superintendent of police of Sindh.

According to the Daily Times, the prestigious Lahore daily, a Shi'ite cleric from Gilgit working in Karachi tipped off the police about Arooshi's presence in the house of Abbas Khan. The paper said it was another Shi'ite cleric who had tipped off the police in March last year about Khalid's presence in Rawalpindi.

Arooshi's arrest led to the arrest on July 12 of 25-year-old Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a Pakistani national described as an al-Qaeda computer expert; the arrest on July 25 at the home of an LEJ member in Punjab of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian national born in Zanzibar and wanted by the US's Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the explosions near the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in 1998, and his Uzbeck wife; the arrest on August 6 of Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the amir of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and his subsequent deportation to Pakistan; and the death in an alleged encounter at Nawabshah in Sindh on September 26 of Amjad Hussain Farooqi, alias Mansur Hasnain, who, according to Pakistani authorities, was the mastermind behind two abortive attempts to kill President General Pervez Musharraf last December and in the kidnapping and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

One of the reasons some folks can't process the fact that we're winning the war on terror is that they haven't figured out yet that the Shi'ites are our allies.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 27, 2004 9:41 AM

Why do you think some of us are such difficulty recognizing them as our allies?

Posted by: h-man at October 27, 2004 9:45 AM

Immaturity. Some people still think the hostage crisis worse than anything we did to Iran.

Posted by: oj at October 27, 2004 9:50 AM

I was thinking it might be because Shia Iran is actively trying to build nuclear weapons to use on perhaps the US.

Or maybe because Shia Mookie thought it appropriate to start shooting us in the back, while we were attempting to put down a Sunni revolt.

Posted by: h-man at October 27, 2004 10:01 AM

Mookie built political credibility so he can do better in the elections fighting against unpopular occupation forces. It's perfectly sensible for the mullahs to want nukes, even if unacceptable.. The argument that they're acting like we would seems a strange way of saying they're different.

Posted by: oj at October 27, 2004 10:09 AM

The issue is whether they are our ally. Yes if we are threatened by another country, then we will build weapons to defend ourselves, but we wouldn't call ourselves allies with that country.

Much more so in the case of Mookie. If Bush started shooting Frenchmen in an effort to gain political credibility, the French might not think of him as an ally.

Posted by: h-man at October 27, 2004 10:42 AM

We aren't allies of the French, our interests diverge. We are of the Shi'a, our interests converge. The mullahs won't be around for long.

Posted by: oj at October 27, 2004 10:49 AM

The Shi'a loyalties are in play and can't be counted as allies just yet. And if they do help us, we should be wary because it is only an alliance of convenience and only as long as we have a gun to their head.

OJ is right that we need to get past our previous encounters with them. Sadr does not represent all the Shi'a - only a small minority. It was our mistake not to have killed him when we had the chance, but now that we made the deal the most we can hope for is to leave the Shi'a in Iraq alone to keep him a marginal figure.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at October 27, 2004 11:41 AM

It's probably a severe mistake to believe the Shias are monolithic. There is a significant group of people in Iran and Iraq for whom America remains the 'Great Satan' and for whom it is profitable to keep it that way. Until recently, Mookie was one of them. Certainly, the people who run Iran's equivalent of the Red Guard are.

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Shias are our allies because the Taliban and the Sunni extremists of the ISI murder Shias. We could similarly gain a lot of support among Shias in Saudi Arabia(25% of the population) if we withdrew any and all support for that band of desert brigands who call themselves a 'royal family.'

Posted by: Bart at October 27, 2004 2:28 PM


That has nothing to do with our being allies though. They don't need to like us, just be more like us.

Posted by: oj at October 27, 2004 2:42 PM

Being allies relates to having common interests, and agreeing to work together to further those interests. That is why we should consider Old Europe to not be our allies and should be reticent about considering Shias as a group our allies as well.

The Iranian government and especially its most fervent supporters, the underemployed young men of their Red Guard, need America as the 'Great Satan.' Without us as a distant Orwellian enemy, the incompetence, venality, gratuitous cruelty and stupidity of the Islamic Republic would cause its immediate downfall.

Posted by: Bart at October 27, 2004 3:05 PM

Allies of convenience.

Posted by: Mikey at October 27, 2004 3:44 PM

We don't need to work with them, just have them work towards us. If they need us as a putative eneny to rally around that's fine.

Posted by: oj at October 27, 2004 3:49 PM

"If they need us as a putative eneny to rally around that's fine"

They blow the sh*t out of us with nuclear weapons, shoot us in the back, sponsor terrorism, all the while they are our allies. (symbionic allies?)

Heh,heh, you're a work of art OJ.

Posted by: h-man at October 27, 2004 5:10 PM

The Afghans were US "allies", by that definition, and look what happened there.

"Enemies of my enemy" is a notoriously volatile basis for a relationship.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 27, 2004 5:10 PM


The Iron Curtain fell and the Cold War?

Posted by: oj at October 27, 2004 7:00 PM

Oooh, run and hide, the Shia are coming!

Please. They've been doormats -- even according to you -- for 1,300 years.

They're not worth having as allies

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 28, 2004 12:12 AM