I have long maintained that today’s global jihad calls for a reconfiguration of American alliances. The sham friendships the United States maintains with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other jihad-exporting states may be motivated by political expediency – and, in the case of Saudi Arabia, economic necessity – but no one can maintain that in view of America’s long-term strategic and security interests that in the long run they represent sound foreign policy. It will probably take a Manhattan Project to find new energy sources, should one ever be initiated, to enable Washington to exert any meaningful diplomatic pressure over the House of Saud; the same constraints, however, do not exist in the case of Pakistan. In this case, a viable alternative immediately presents itself: the U.S. can and should strengthen ties with India.
Pakistan’s President Musharraf has promised to rid his unhappy land of Al-Qaeda ever since 9/11 and before; however, for a complex of reasons, he has been able to do little or nothing to affect this. The jihad is epidemic in Pakistan. Jihad training camps dot the landscape – including those, investigators charge, that Lodi, California resident Hamid Hayat attended in 2000, 2003, and 2004. Hayat allegedly planned to bring the jihad violence he learned there back to the United States. Pakistani madrasas are veritable “universities of jihad.” At least two of the July 7 London bombers attended such madrasas. Speakers at the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights recently described them as “nurseries of death and destruction.” Even textbooks approved by Musharraf preach that Muslims must fight so that Islamic law will reign supreme.
Pakistani mosques are likewise epicenters of Islamic intransigence. After the July 7 bombings, authorities in Pakistan arrested 56 imams on charges of making “provocative speeches” during their Friday sermons; ten others were arrested for selling audiotapes of those sermons. The nation’s political system, meanwhile, is heavily influenced by the notion that Islamic law must reign supreme in any legitimate state – a principle that forms the cornerstone of bin Laden’s agenda. Osama himself, of course, has most likely found shelter (and may continue to do so) in the wild Pakistani highlands. That shelter, of course, is offered and protected by rank-and-file Pakistanis who share the terrorist mastermind’s outlook on life.
Nor is this sentiment limited to the rank-and-file. A Kashmir jihad leader recently praised Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed for his role in establishing jihad training camps in Pakistan: “Sheikh Rashid has played a great role for Kashmir’s liberation. He used to support the frontline Jihadis, but very few people know about his contributions.” Rashid has said that “our faith remains incomplete without jihad.” Meanwhile, it has come to light that former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif met with Osama several times in the late 1980s. When bin Laden exhorted him to aid the jihad in Kashmir, Sharif assured him: “I love jihad.”
What can America can do with a friend and ally like this? We can turn to India and strengthen our ties with that state, which has suffered the depredations of jihad violence for centuries. This is precisely the sort of shift that President Bush implied was imminent when he declared that “you’re either with the terrorists or with us.” Pakistan is, quite obviously, with the terrorists; India, on the other hand, is not. But the ship of state is not so easily turned. Concerted effort is now needed to demonstrate to Americans that a more vigorous alliance with India is in our best national security interests. A group called the US India League, of which I am proud to serve on the Advisory Board (along with, among others, Daniel Pipes, Alan Keyes, Paul Weyrich and Gary Bauer), is laboring to precisely that end — and is holding a reception at the Heritage Foundation in Washington on September 19 to publicize its efforts. (For information, consult http://www.usindialeague.org/.)
It’s time for America to say: You’re either with the jihadists or you’re with us. India can and should be working side-by-side with us in this great struggle for freedom and human rights.