Playing the Devil’s Advocate : Faisal Shahzad and TTP

Within two days of the failed attempt, the media circus was in full force with every magazine or newspaper churning out op-eds on the event dissecting Faisal Shahzad’s connections with TTP and trying to make sense of his motives.

Most of the op-ed pieces assigned his motives to 1. his modest upbringing (which we can easily rule out as he was son of an Air Vice Marshal), 2. Zia ul Haq impacted hate based education system of Pakistani schools and madrasas (being a son of AVM, he has probably done O and A levels), 3. anti America sentiments at his home (which is hard to believe for sons of top brass of military which is getting fat with American military aid living in bungalows, driving BMWs and Mercedes etc.), 4. his hatred for American foreign policy (though it did not stop him from applying for naturalization a few months ago), 5.watching Zaid Hamid and the likes and dreaming of world domination (this one has been beaten to death but to me he seems more like a Friends, Heroes and Lost fan) or 6.disillusionment with American dream because his house was foreclosed couple of years ago and he was looking for a reason in life (seems the most probable cause ) but as I have no idea what was going on in his mind and I am no psychologist so I will not offer an opinion.

However, I am surprised at how quickly well-respected analysts/columnists jumped the gun from calling creation of Pakistan a mistake to labeling Pakistan a failed state to calling it a jihad factory. What I found most absurd was Pervez Hoodbhoy’s column which was given wide dissemination adorning front pages of newspapers as well as e-zines from the second day without even waiting for a clear picture to emerge from US. To me it seemed that he had the material already written for some months and as soon as the news of failed attempt came out, with a few edits here and there, his article was ready for publication.

I will try to approach it from a different perspective: motive of Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in claiming that attack was carried out on their behest. I want to understand what TTP expected to gain by claiming that this half-hearted bungled-up operation was their brainchild. If I was a security analyst (which I am not) I would say that

1. TTP is on the run
2. They don’t have time to train recruits
3. They are desperate and clutching on to straws (I am surprised David Cameron’s victory as British PM has not been claimed by them.) Do you remember the firing incident at a naturalization center in US by a Vietnamese applicant which was also claimed by Baitullah Mehsud but was later denied by US authorities as a false claim?

From a PR perspective, claiming this operation as their own does not earn TTP any brownie point. It will also turn away any future would-be recruits because this shows that TTP has lost its effectiveness.

I have observed is that (please correct me if I am wrong) TTP was not on US’s list of targets. Though she carries out drone attack against TTP but it is only to oblige Pakistan which is backing/supporting US’s war on Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan (TTA – the so called good Talibans).

TTP is fighting against the Pakistan Army (which is stretched thin in terms of resources human as well as arsenal). By carrying out an attack at US soil, TTP has added its name to list of enemies of US. What objective did TTP expected to achieve from this (please bear in mind that TTP claimed the attempt after it was clear that the plan was a total failure)? Simply boggles the mind unless in their desperation TTP has also lost what little brain power it possessed.

At the risk of inviting the wrath of security agencies, what is most surprising is the incendiary device used by Faisal. Taliban are supposed to be experts in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) daily incapacitating military convoys with them. Even a Molotov cocktail is much easier and cheaper to make and causes more damage and quickly. The internet is full of resources from Taliban bomb making guides to Anarchist Cookbook to Thermite bombs all of which require around the house or around the neighborhood stuff to build and deploy. Honestly, it was a pretty retarded attempt and thanks God for that.

The only reasonable (or outlandish…depends upon how you look at it) theory I could come up with is he was part of a CIA financed campaign wherein TTP acts as agents of CIA and fools him into believing that he is carrying out the work of God by blowing up Times Square through a technique which was bound to be a complete failure from the start.

Pakistan Army has so far been resisting US pressure by not taking military operation into North Waziristan which is a sanctuary of TTA. However, since TTP claimed this attack and US has verified it further claiming that the failed operation was hatched in North Waziristan, US will now force Pakistan Army to start military operation in North Waziristan. This is a conspiracy theory but you have to admit that under the circumstances it makes sense.

At the risk of inviting further wrath of security establishment, what should have TTP done if they are serious about screwing US in the region and get Pakistan Army off their back? Very simply: use Lashkar-e-Taiba’s or Jamat-ud-Dawa’s setup and do such a bungled up effort in India. This will enrage India and they will move their forces on Pakistan border to launch an attack. This will force Pakistan Army to retreat from western region and move towards securing our eastern borders and leave the US and NATO without any support from Pakistan Army and at the mercy of so called good Taliban and bad Taliban. It should be remembered that a lot of supplies including drinking water to US and NATO army goes from Pakistan under the protection of Pakistan Army and Taliban who are paid off to allow the convoys to pass without causing much damage. Without Pakistan Army to provide support to US, logistical or otherwise, the losses of US and NATO forces increase exponentially.

Disclaimer: This article is just an attempt to understand the Time Square bomb plot from a different perspective. It should in no way be construed to be recommending any sort of violence against any nation, country or people. Who knows when the dust settles, the fact turns out that Faisal Shahzad sought training after watching Zaid Hamid and was trained by TTP who were desperate to make an impact (any kind) and have no brainpower left.

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