Al Qaeda Shifts Funds From Iraq to Pakistan’s NWFP

al-qaida-schism.jpgIn a sign that their strategy might be refocusing, Al Qaida is shifting funds and Jihadis from Iraq to the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan. While this might indicate good things for Iraq, it creates a dire future for Pakistan. 

The strategy shift coupled with other efforts to destabilize Pakistan comes at a time when the country is in crisis. There are several things going on at once, and they all seem to have arisen just as the Pakistan Government was meeting with some success earlier in the year.

From The Daily Times (via LA Times and AFP:)

WASHINGTON: Al Qaeda’s command base in Pakistan’s tribal areas is being increasingly funded by cash coming from the organisation’s affiliate in Iraq, the Los Angeles Times reported on its website on Saturday.

Citing unnamed senior US intelligence officials, the newspaper said there had been a significant increase in the movement of Al Qaeda operatives and money from Iraq to Pakistan.

Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq are raising substantial sums from donations to the insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity, according to the paper.

Little more than a year ago, Al Qaeda’s core command was thought to be in a financial crunch. But US officials said cash shipped from Iraq has eased those troubles.

The report also said a major hunt for Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden launched by the CIA last year has produced no significant leads on his whereabouts. The CIA deployed 50 clandestine operatives to Pakistan and Afghanistan for the search, the paper said. afp

The list of Political dilemmas facing Musharaaf follows:

The Chief Justice Iftikhar suspension first raised tensions, many see it as a move by Musharaaf to stop investigations into the missing persons cases, which could implicate police and miltary in crimes. Others see it as a move to continue holding on to both military and political power by Musharaaf when the deadline comes for him to remove the uniform of Military commander.

In Karachi the MQM May Massacre has created a lot of dissent against the government, MQM is an ethnic party that supports Musharaaf, but they are rumored to be controlled by criminal and terrorist elements from afar. (Altaf Hussein in London.) The purposeful murders of peaceful demonstrators in Karachi are definitely acts of political terrorism, but it is un-aligned with any worldwide movement or groups such as Al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc. It seems to be more political, and about control of Karachi itself.

The Jamia Hafsa / Lal Masjid standoff continues, read more about this here.

In the Frontier Provinces, the Taleban continue to assert their strength by burning CD shops, beheading “spies”, threatening tribals, and blocking roads to ensure their personal vision of sharia is followed.

In Baluchistan talks with the militant Balochis have broken off, and the Bugti clan militants have retreated to mountain hideouts.

Border fighting with Afghanistan has calmed and talks there continue, but for a short period it appeared that the two countries were set to go to war near Parachinar.

The Bannu have tired of the Taleban terrorizing them, and say they will act on their own if the goverment fails to do so. Expect a Jirga and a call to arms from them soon. They have started an armed Lashkar composed of members from ten tribes, but it remains to be seen if the government has acted well enough. Expect more news on this Tuesday.

This is all happening in the run-up to elections later this year, and it appears some of it is well-coordinated to destabilize, indicating some outside influence.