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NightWatch 20141105

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NightWatch

For the night of 5 November 2014

India-Pakistan: Indian Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India is prepared to enter dialogue with Pakistan and normalize relations, but "there are a few red lines".

"We create the environment; we fix up a dialogue at the level of foreign secretaries; our foreign secretary is to visit Pakistan and literally a few hours before that they invite the Kashmiri separatists for a dialogue with their high commission in New Delhi."

"So I think a new red line has to be drawn in Pakistan to reconsider this question: whom do they want to speak to? Do they want to speak to the government of India or do they want to speak to those who want to break India," the Indian minister said at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi.

Comment: The Defence Minister's statements capture Indian and US frustration with Pakistan over its support for destabilizing movements in South Asia.

The Indians defeated the insurgency in Kashmir, using more than 750,000 security forces. It took about ten years. What remains is a low-level, but politicized, organized crime problem that would collapse, but for support from Pakistan.

Local media services report that ceasefire violations continue along the Kashmir border and the Line of Control, but the level of exchanges of fire appears to have decreased significantly.

Pakistani Taliban-India: A Pakistani Taliban group behind this week's suicide bombing at Wagah, near Lahore, on the Pakistani-Indian border said the attack was as much aimed at India as Pakistan.

In a tweet sent after the attack, a splinter group, known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat Ahrar (TTP-JA), said it was determined to attack both Pakistan and India. "This attack is an open message to both governments across the border," TTP-JA spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said. "If we can attack this side (i.e., Pakistan), the other side could also be attacked (i.e., India)."

He also tweeted in English: "You, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are the killer of hundreds of Muslims. We will take the revenge on innocent people of Kashmir and Gugrat (Gujarat)" (sic).

Indian news analysts' comments: Kashmir is a disputed Himalayan territory over which India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars. Gujarat - misspelled in the tweet - is a western Indian state where more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed in inter-religious rioting in 2002, when Modi was its chief minister.

TTP-JA is a new outfit that broke away from the mainstream Taliban movement in September 2014 and has announced its support for the Middle Eastern group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

TTP-JA's openly anti-Indian rhetoric differs from that of the mainstream Pakistani Taliban, who are mainly focused on their insurgency against Pakistani security forces in the volatile tribal northwest of the country.

Comment: New or splinter Pakistan-based terrorist groups appear to have concluded that they can achieve better results by stirring up the enormous Indian Islamic population than they can by hammering at the Pakistan government. The new al-Qaida group for south Asia is an example of this shift in focus.

Those groups are making a grave mistake in targeting India. India has a large Muslim population but it is overwhelmed by the Hindus. All the outsiders will succeed in doing is inciting Hindus to kill thousands of Indian Muslims.

Nigeria: Boko Haram has instituted Sharia in the town of Mubi, which it captured last month. In a demonstration of the new administration, the terrorists amputated the hands of 10 residents who were found guilty of a variety of offenses, including looting the belongings of fleeing residents. Eyewitnesses said the terrorists amputated the victims' hands in the presence of the town's residents as a means of announcing the enforcement of Sharia law in the region.

In addition, two Imams reportedly were dragged out of a mosque and beheaded for preaching against Boko Haram. The insurgents also advised Christians to relocate, or be prepared to convert to Islam or be killed.

Comment: Mubi reportedly is the largest town seized by Boko Haram. The terrorists have renamed it Madinatul Islam, which is translated the City of Islam. Boko Haram is the dominant force in most of northeastern Nigeria. The federal government of Nigeria retains some strongholds, such as Maiduguri, but much of the surrounding countryside is dominated by Boko Haram's terrorists.

The threat of expansion beyond the borders of Nigeria, into Chad and Cameroon, has prompted the French government to review its new strategy for fighting terrorists and for maintaining stability in Francophone Africa. French analysts report that Paris is considering the deployment of 2,000 more soldiers to the 3,000 already dedicated to the anti-terror mission. The purpose of the additional forces would be to prevent Boko Haram from trying to expand into Chad, thereby mimicking the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in creating an Islamic state that ignores existing borders.

End of NightWatch for 5 November.

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