Published in Kashmir Herald, Vol 4/No. 8, by DR. K. N. PANDITA.

May 13, 2005 witnessed a massive orgy of death and destruction in the eastern Uzbekistan town of Andijan.

Andijan is located in Ferghana valley, which stands on the confluence of three republics of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It is important to note that the bloody event in Ferghana Valley happened close at the heels of March event in which Askar Akayev, the former President of Kyrgyzstan, had to flee his post and country.

Andijan, the home town of Babur, and situated 25 miles from Namanghan where the Saudi-funded Wahhabis have been very active ever since the implosion of the soviet Union, could not escape the impact of the Islamic extremist movement launched by late Namanghani and his lieutenant Tahir Yuldashev.

A conspicuous change in the region of Ferghana Valley with a population of nearly seven million people is that following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it sought integration with the “free world”, a process which turned Central Asia into a hotbed of transnational Islamic militants. Their logistics and control rested in the hands of external planners and supervisors. Kyrgyz media reported the personnel of country’s border control services stating infiltration of foreign nationals without any citizenship into Kyrgyzstan. Evidently these militants moved through Afghanistan and Pakistan and their movement must have been known to the local authorities.

In addition to other, two major Islamic groups have been active in Ferghana Valley. Their common objective is to topple the regimes in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. These are the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and Hizbu’t-Tahrir (HT). The former openly preaches the use of force as its means and method. But in the case of HT, it is headquartered in UK and called “peaceful”. However, there is evidence to show that the two organizations collaborate and cooperate to further their common agenda. Most of the IMU recruits are from HT. According to Gunaratna, a Sri Lankan expert on international terrorism, Khaled Sheikh Muhammad, the alleged mastermind of 9/11 terror attack in the US, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were both once members of the HT.

It will be reminded that the formation of IMU was announced by two of its founding fathers, Juma Namanghani (killed in a fighting) and Tahir Yuldashev in a press conference in Kabul after the Taliban captured the town in 1996. The aim was to topple Uzbek President Islam Karimov and turn Uzbekistan and ultimately the whole of Central Asia into an Islamic state. Taliban lent them full support. In Afghanistan, Yuldashev is reported to have developed contacts with Osama bin Laden also. Sources close to President Karimov hold HT leadership responsible for violence in the region.

HT is reported to have an international structure with its headquarter in London with a strong organizational presence in the cities of Birmingham, Bradford and Liverpool. The UK group was co-founded by Omar Bakri Muhammad, the Saudi Arabian citizen expelled from his country in 1986. Interestingly, HT’s present leader is an informational technology professional named Jalalu’d-Din Patel from the Indian subcontinent.

The British authorities portrayed Bakri as non-violent yet his links to Bin Laden are widely known. The Los Angeles Times published excerpts of a letter faxed by Bin Laden to Bakri in summer 1998. It mentioned four specific objectives of a jihad against the US, Namely “Bring down their airliners, prevent the safe passage of heir ships, occupy their embassies and force the closure of their companies and banks.

Writing for the Jamestown Journal (vol. 2, issue 4), Stephan Ulph says, ”London is also a center for Islamist politics. You could say that London has become, for the exponents of radical zeal, the most important city in the Middle East. A framework of lenient asylum laws has allowed the development of the largest and most overt concentration of Islamist political activists since Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Any of Bin Laden’s fetwas (verdicts) were first published in London.” A commentator notes, ” Britain is no longer a military or economic power of substance. In order to be an almost-equal partner in the Atlantic alliance, Britain has two important ingredients to offer to the US: first, its ability to undo the Middle East , North Africa, Central Asia and parts of the Indian sub-continent through the use of people living in London’s Alladin’s Cave, and second, its control of world currency movements through the City of London.”

We need to tell our readers that the Anglo-American policy towards the Middle East has long been formulated by Bernard Lewis, a Briton who started his career as an intelligence officer and has remained part of British intelligence ever since. Avowedly anti-Russian and pro-Israel, Lewis had a good time with the US academia and policy planers. One may read his statement made in Canada recently and quoted by Foreign Affairs in May/June 2004 issue. He said,” Winston Churchill was asked in the House of Commons about Britain’s new ally Russia (during World War II).He replied that if Hitler would invade hell, “I would find occasion to support the devil”.

When Khumeini revolution succeeded in Iran in 1979, Lewis sucked the US foreign secretary Brezezinski into his notion that “Koranic evangelism” could be a very useful political tool against Russia in the long run. His made the following telling observation in The Times magazines under the title The Crescent of Crisis: “In the long run there may even be targets of opportunity for the West crated by ferment within the crescent . Islam is undoubtedly compatible with socialism, but it is inimical to atheistic communism. The Soviet Union is already the world’s fifth largest Muslim nation. By the year 2000, the huge Islamic population in the order republics may outnumber Russia’s new dominant Slavs. From Islamic democracies on Russia’s southern tier, zealous Koranic evangelism might sweep across the border into these politically repressed Soviet states, creating problems for the Kremlin……Whatever the solution, there is a clear need for the US to recapture what Kissinger calls the “geopolitical momentum”. That more than anything else will help maintain order in the crescent of crisis.”

‘The highest echelons in the US defense department have acclaimed the Lewis Doctrine in these words, “Benard Lewis has been the single-most important intellectual influence countering the conventional wisdom on managing the conflict between radical Islam and the West.

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