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Is Bangladesh in Islamist Squeeze?

Is Bangladesh in Islamist Squeeze?

Dr. Richard L. Benkin writes from USA

On June 13, 2006, Weekly Blitz reported exclusively in Bangladesh on the movement of Al Qaeda forces from Afghanistan to Pakistan, across Kashmir and into Nepal where they set up camps.  The article noted the curious nature of this movement given the fact that Nepal is 89 percent Hindu with a tiny Muslim population.  Based on information obtained by Indian intelligence, however, it was clear that the Islamists’ goal was not a Taliban Nepal.  In fact, writing in World Net Daily, this reporter noted increased cooperation between ultra-leftists (including those then waging a years-long insurrection in Nepal) and radical Islamists.  Indian filmmaker, Mayank Jain, also noted troubling population moves into India’s eastern province that surround Bangladesh; including Asam, West Bengal, and Tipura.

Since that time, additional evidence (much of it previously reported in Weekly Blitz) confirms Islamist designs on Bangladesh.  Now word comes from a Paris-based newsletter that Al Qaeda operatives have set up shop in Cambodia and are using that country as a base of operations.  Like Nepal, Cambodia has a miniscule Muslim population.  The country is predominantly Buddhist with Muslims amounting to one percent of the population.  The newsletter reports that terrorist cells have been in place there since 2004 as part of operations under Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali.  On October 20, Intelligence Online identified Hambali as the Al Qaeda leader in Southeast Asia.

Hambali worked with Victor Chau, former head of an armed militia called Eagle Force, reportedly has close ties with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.  The newsletter also quotes Cambodian intelligence and security sources that say Chau has ties to terrorist groups that moved to Cambodia, including the Om al Qura foundation from Saudi Arabia.  According to the sources, Al Qaeda is using its Cambodian base for logistical support for planned terrorist attacks in Europe, particularly France and Italy.  It also reports that intelligence agents have received information a Chau associate and former KGB agent that “sleeper cells of Filipinos and Cambodian nationals” could be planning attacks with “non-conventional weapons.”  The source specialized in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons for the KGB.

It is likely, however, that the European connection is only part of the base’s design.  In 2003, the Cambodian government expelled a number of teachers from the Saudi foundation for spreading fundamentalist propaganda.  Yet, even to this day the Om al Qura foundation continues financing Wahabi education in the Southeast Asian nation.  Just this fall, there was a military coup in neighboring Thailand, and the leading general is reported to have Islamist ties.  Thailand’s Muslim population is equal in proportion roughly to Bangladesh’s Hindu population; yet, radical forces have been waging an Islamist revolution there for some time.

Bangladesh might soon be boxed in by Islamists (who are fighting insurrections or stealthily moving into eastern India, Afghanistan, western China, and in different ways in Pakistan) and by authoritarian dictatorships (like Burma and Thailand); by an Asia divided between ultra-leftists (like those fighting in Nepal) and religious extremists. 

Recent trends suggest that to be the case.  Bangladeshis can stand strong against this tide of dictatorship by rejecting those radicals in their midst and the parties that appease them when they do to the polls this January.
Posted on 08 Nov 2006 by Root
 
 
 
 
 


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