Thursday, June 17, 2010

His Jehad is His Very own

P.O. Rohilkhand University,
Bareilly-243006 (U.P.)
Tel. 0581-2526650
Mob.: 9999-722-636

Radical Islam
The World

Global peace is now threatened by western-educated, middle-class freelance soldiers who have bought into the Al Qaeda way of thinking. Is India immune?

His Jehad is His Very Own

Not a Pak-Afgan-bred radical, the new Islamic warrior could be a regular American guy, swayed by Al Qaeda, but not part of it.

When Faisal Sahzad parked his SUV at the Time Square in New York in the diabolic hope of exploding it, he joined the growing list of ‘normal dudes’ who inexplicably turn radical Islamists, willing to stake their lives or riches for waging Jehad against the world particularly America and its allies. Faisal had everything going for him: an MBA degree, a cushy job which he resigned from just a few months ago and a suburban lifestyle he shared with his wife and two kids. And then the madness, the rush of blood, leaving Americans gasping at the thought of the devastation the bomb could have wreaked had it exploded.
The New Faces of Jehad

Who they are whom they oppose

v Al Qaeda is now more a state of mind than a formidable terror organization. A state of mind shared by those Muslims who believe in violently opposing what they perceive as the injustices of the world.
v Primary directed against the West, particularly the United States. But it is also aimed against those countries seen to be oppressing Muslims-Russia, Israel and India, for example.
v Willing to target Muslim countries aligned to the West or fighting Musllim terror-Saudi Arabia, Egypt, even Pakistan.
v There is a war without boundaries-any country which is frequented by westerners, for instance, is considered a legitimate enough target.

What they seek to achieve

v No longer aims at establishing Islamic states. But wants a just world order, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
v Its anti-West agenda has been expanded to include the politics of environment. Osama bin Laden’s last speech accused the West of damaging environment.
v It’s also opposing globalization, portraying it as a ploy of the developed world to exploit underdeveloped nations.
v Primary impulse is to weaken sole superpower. All other changes will ensue on their own.
v Become an umbrella group for other militant groups fighting different governments. Provide moral support and ideological justification for violent action.

How the new recruit is different

v He’s a Muslim living in western societies. Also in non western countries where Muslims nurse grievances.
v Belongs to affluent, educated families, often a product of Western educations institutes.
v Bilingual. English is the preferred language of global jehad.
v Voracious reader. Sources info from Islamic literature and doctrines, and from western philosophers and political figures.
v Not religious. Adapted to western lifestyle, drinks, gambles, even has white partners.
v Gets indoctrinated through the net. Downloads bomb-making manuals. Or, if he can, heads to Pakistan’s badlands or yamen.

The worlds can changes, argues Al Qaeda, only if the West, particularly America, is brought down to its knees. This idea was mooted in the late ‘90s by Osama’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who cited the close link between the collapses of the Soviet empire to its defeat in Afghanistan. If one superpower could be defeated, he argued, why not the US?

To fight the US though, Al Qaeda has to first transform itself into a global organization. It did this through the twin attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es0Salaam in 1998, integrating it at once into the global security regime administered by America. With 9/11, the group carved out a space for Islam in the West.

The battle against radical Islam is complicated. With Al Qaeda stressing on ethical issues to justify its acts of violence, many desperate Muslims in the West of elsewhere are likely.

To find their inspiration and redemption in jehad. The West, in turn, is likely to strengthen its already stifling security apparatus at the cost or eroding ideas it is associated with: of freedom of speech, expression and free movement. Curtailment of these rights would be akin to an Al Qaeda win. The West is also expected to intensify the war in terror-and the ensuing bloodshed will only help bolster the Al Qaeda campaign. The best way out for Washington is to resolve the Palestine-Israel issue and cease supporting discredited Muslim regimes.


“To get radicalized, one doesn’t have to go to a madrassa or a training camp in the Pak-Afghan badlands. Internet chat room are good enough.”

Abdul Bari Atwan
Editor, Al Quds al Arabia, London

“They (the new radicals) are outliers, who can cause massive damage and get massive response. But they don’t belong to one group or movement.”

Faisal Devji
Author, ‘Landscape of the Jehad’

“The perception of occupation in Iraq, Afganistan, and Kashmir continues to be a catalyst exploited in terror organizations’ rhetoric/ideologies.”

John L. Esposito
Georgetown University, Washington

Adapted form Out Look May 24, 2010

Observations on Shahjad and Terror

This so called new trend of Jehad is really not new. The elite class joining the global terrorism has surfaced even in the mid and the later part of nineties. I am reminded of my visit to Israel in may-June 1997. The very departure to TelAviv from Mumbai can never be forgotten. Reporting time was four hours and the check in area at the airport was surrounded by Israeli security personnel and the sniffer dogs. I was interrogated for nearly 2 hrs as I was a criminal in spite of the fact that I was holding an official passport and was on the invitation of Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI). The experience was most horrendous.

After reaching TelAviv, the IAI chairman and MD had invited me for a dinner. I mentioned this extra ordinary security measure at the time of my departure from Mumbai to TelAviv. He narrated one incident One Palestinian Youngman educated in UK and settled, was married to a Jewish girl. This girl (wife of Palestinian boy) was flying from London to TelAviv for her first delivery. During security check at London airport a bomb was detected in the suitcase of the Jewish girl. Her husband had planted the Bomb. One can imagine the frame of mind of this Palestinian boy who was ready to kill his wife and the expected child. That was the height of mindset of these educated class of the people even at that time.

ü Even the event of 9/11, the nineteen pilots of different nationalities (All Muslims) had gathered and planned highjacking of four American airliners. Two of them had flown directly into the Twin Towers in New York, and other two had crashed deliberately. Causing biggest catastrophe of this century. All these nineteen pilots were well educated, highly trained and leading a fairly high quality standard life style.

ü There are innumerable cases of elite class of people indulging in such activities, Shahjad son of an Air Vice Marshal, western educated, well settled in life, married ,father of two children, indulging into a terror act should not surprise the world.

ü The US never took a serious note of the terror activity globally, or the cross border terrorism perpetuated by a country like Pakistan and bleeding India day and day out.

ü I am reminded of a visit of US defence team headed by a Mej Gen during Feb 2001 to Defence Services Staff College Wellington (DSSC). Where I was posted as Chief Instructor Air. The US defence team made a presentation on their (US), global engagements. During that time the security environment in Afghanistan was bad and getting worsened. During question hour one of the senior officers of the faculty asked a question “why US is not interfering in Afghanistan”. The head of the US team responded “how US is interested in Afghanistan”.

ü If 9/11 hadn’t happened US would not have declared a Global War on Terror. However, after 9-11 US launched a “global war on terror” by massive aerial bombing of Afghanistan (from 07 Oct. 2001). Nearly 9 years have lapsed with hardly any sign of “global war on terror” getting even contained. If 9/11 hadn’t happened US would have kept aloof of this so called War on Terror. If US had indulged in a serious thought to fight about 20 years back (late eighties), the terrorism wouldn’t have risen so whemently globally and specially so in South Asia.

Now is the time that we have to evolve new strategies globally, regionally, nationally, to contain and manage this greatest menace of Terrorism.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A “zhengyou” (serious & real) relationship with China

11, Silver Estate,
P.O. Rohilkhand University,
Bareilly-243006 (U.P.)
Tel. 0581-2526650
Mob.: 9999-722-636

A “zhengyou” (serious & real) relationship with China

During Pratibha Patil’s recent visit to China, both sides celebrated
the Copenhagen spirit and affirmed to take the relationship
beyond bilateral to global cooperation.

At the Asia Hotel in Beijing, Ma Jisheng, an official with the informa¬tion department of the Foreign Ministry, was declaiming on mil¬lennia-old India-China relations. Suddenly he flung aside the prepared text and an¬nounced that he would speak straight from the heart: "Would the media on both sides be please give India and China a chance to develop normal, relations?"

The official's point was simple. Attitudes' hardened when the media sensationalized to issues, and the events of 2009, when bilateral relations reached a precipitous low following media frenzy and scare-mongering, proved as much. "This constant harping on border, visa and other things, is it not like (eating the same food everyday?" Mr. Ma asked plaintively, adding, "I cannot help but think sometimes that China and India would solve their problems if only the media kept quiet a bit."

Yet as the tour- organized to coincide with the landmark 60th anniversary of the establishment of India-China diplomatic re¬lations- progressed, it was evident that even at the highest level of the Chinese lead¬ership there was a degree of candour and responsiveness that took the Indian side by surprise.

It certainly helped that Ms Patil arrived in Beijing at a time when India-China relations were seen to be on the mend after a difficult year characterized by intense mistrust on both sides. The irritants seemed daunting enough on their own: China's angst over the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh, and the Indian unhappiness at stapled visas, not to mention apprehensions over Chinese-as-sisted construction in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). But aided by irresponsible speculation on an upcoming war, they began to look insurmountable. In July 2009, the editor of an Indian defence magazine proph¬esied that China would attack India by 2012. A month later, a so-called Chinese strategist posted a web article that argued that China with some effort could indeed balkanize India.

The summit revealed the humongous po¬tential of India-China cooperation on in¬ternational platforms. Given the size of either country's population and economy, India and China are intimidating enough individually. Together their might could be staggering. Not surprisingly, Copenhagen became a metaphor for forward movement at the 2010 India-China Beijing talks. Ms Patil and President Hu Jintao agreed that the Asian neighbours were now ready to beyond bilateral engagement to consider cooperation at International groupings and venues, among them G-20, Doha and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, Chins).

The enlarged scope of cooperation was brought up again on the last day of talks by Vice-President Xi Jinping, who made several, significant points. First, he declared that In¬dia and China were ripe for a "new start." Second, he reiterated the prospects for glob¬al cooperation between the Asian neigh¬bours. Third, he pointed out that between them China and India boasted a combined population of 2.6 billion. The imagery would overawe anyone: Two fastest growing econo¬mies with close to 40 per cent of the global population acting in tandem.
Inevitably India's growing trade with Chi¬na - China is India's largest trading partner with volumes targeted to reach $ 60 billion this year - figured prominently in the talks as did the fact that it was adversely balanced against India.

As against this, the media mood swing was overly positive on India's aspirations for a United Nations Security Council seat. Ms Patil did seek China's backing for it during her summit meeting with President Hu, and China did broadly indicate its support but the phraseology was far more nuanced than understood by the Indian media which drummed it up as "China backs India on UNSC seat." Indeed, the omission of the "promised" UNSC seat from the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement issued the same day underscored the pitfalls of overinter-preting what Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao described as "a gradually developing re¬lationship." What official sources did convey later was that on the UNSC seat, "the Chin¬ese were far more positive than they have been so far."

A top member of the Inian official delegation summed up India-China relations in terms of "pengyou" and "zhengyou." "Pen¬gyou" is a superficial friend. "Zhengyou" is a serious, real friend who will frankly admit to problems and work at overcoming them: ''We have a zhengyou relationship with China.

Adopted from “Hindu National Daily”

Observations on Sino indo relationship

 What intrigues China?

 Political asylum to Dalai Lama and fleeing Tibitians in the year 1959.

 Setting up of “Govt. in Exile” of Tibet in India in Dharamshala (HP) with the declared seat of power of Tibet.

 US setting up the security & intelligence agency DGS (Director General of Security) post 1962 to end Chinese hegemony in the area.

 This plan did not succeed in its primary and desired aim. But the US succeeded in establishing their roots to activate anti Chinese intelligence activities from Indian soil.

 All such events made China to adopt “enemies–enemy” Pakistan as their friend and provided them material & diplomatic support in world forum.

 The US never desires a close and friendly Sino-India. As that would dilute US position in the region.

 Are we really to follow old dictums “National Interests only” should decide our global and diplomatic initiative.

These observations are based on a discussion with the Chinese Ambassador to India in the year 2000 at DSSC Wellington. Where I was posted as CI (air) 2000-2001)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Air Crash in Russia on 10 April- A big disaster and lesson for Aviation/Aviators

Air Marshal Ashok K. Goel (Retd.)
11 Silver Estate,
Bareilly-243006 (U.P.)

“AS I Saw It”

Air Crash in Russia on 10 April
A big disaster and lesson for Aviation/Aviators

The Polish-AF-One crashed on 10 April near moscow. This was one of the biggest air disasters of this year. The “Polish Air Force One” was coming with Polish President and many cabinet ministers, top civilian officers, top military commanders for an official ceremony of the victory of 2nd world war.

The weather was bad and deteriorating. Pilot made four approaches and crashed killing all on board. 95 people were killed. Poland was in grief and turmoil nearly all top people were killed in one go.

From aviation point of view there are few serious flaws.

Firstly- A large no of important people should never be carried in a single aircraft. In the IAF strict norms are laid down. And similarly norms are laid down for VIP/VVIP flights and substantiated in the Blue Book for VVIP flights.

Secondly- A pilot making four approaches and insisting on landing is inviting disaster. ATC has also assisted and corroborated the end of several valuable lives. It is a well known fact that after two missed approaches pilots’ performance deteriorates. This is medically substantiated. This happens due to anxiety, fatigue and tension levels rising. Norms exist; a pilot is not to make more than two attempts. ATC is to direct the aircraft to divert.

Thirdly- Black Box analysis through media reports is revealing. 25 minutes before landing the weather had deteriorated. ATC advised captain of Polish Air Force-One weather is not advisable to land. A Russian Air Craft after having made two attempts is diverted to another Airport. In the mean time diplomatic head of protocol Mr. Kazana walked into the cockpit (against all professional ethics of the aviation.) Pilot intimated that very poor weather conditions exist, and suggested to circle around for 30 min and wait, weather would improve the chief of protocol walkout. In the mean time the head of the Polish Air Force also walked into the cockpit”. It is presumed that there was extra ordinary pressure on the pilot to make another attempt and the result was the Poland lost there top leadership in a matter of few minutes

The Lessons Learned

A large no. of important people should never be carried on one aircraft. The norms should be laid down and strictly followed.

International norms suggest that not more than two approaches should be made. ATC should not only play an advisory role, should instruct to divert and ensure the instructions are executed in the interest of flight safety.

The decision making during flight is only the pilot’s decision. It is not repeat not based on rank structure. Nobody regardless of his position or rank should walk into the cockpit to influence or pressurize the pilot. It would only lead to disaster.

Personal Experiences

To substantiate the about I narrate life experiences of flying:

We were on a trip to erstwhile USSR in Jan 1980. We were flying Antonov-12 Aircraft. Our flight was from Moscow to Odessa (A port city on Black Sea) now part of Ukraine. Actual weather forecasted at Odessa was low clouds and poor visibility conditions (500 Mtr cloud base and visibility 750 Mtrs.) It was also forecasted that weather will further deteriorate. Flying time from Mascow to Odessa was 3:30 hours. On arrival the ATC positioned the aircraft for an ILS approach on the main runway. However we came down to MDA (Minimum Descent Altitude) and couldn’t site the runway. We overshot; the ATC again made us try and position for the 2nd approach on the ILS. However due to poor visibility and low cloud base, we could not site the runway. ATC directed the aircraft to divert to “Simperofol”. Heading distance to diversion, flying time and the alternate to the diversion also was communicated by the ATC. Just imagine the relief in the cockpit. We set course to “Simperofol” and safely landed. One week stay, awaiting diplomatic clearances, was most memorable. In my 40 years of aviation with in India never heard such a confidence inspiring instructions from any ATC, whether civil or air force.

Having flown 13 types of aircraft in the IAF and ARC, had experience to fly as young and senior captain. Never there was an occasion when any senior officers (AOC in C, or the CAS) ever walked into the cockpit and pass instructions to influence the judgment or decision making of the captain of the aircraft.


I have always impressed the transport aircraft accident weather military or civil aviation or caused due to human error. When would we learn?

Air Marshal Ashok Goel served the IAF for 40 years and has more than 10,000 hrs of flying on 13 types of aircraft. His observations are all based on his personal experiences. His last appointment in the IAF was Director General Flight Safety and Inspection.