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July 05, 2007

Red Mosque "Willing To Surrender"... If They're Allowed To "Surrender" To Other Radical Mosques And Are Guaranteed Not To Be Arrested

Wow. That's some offer. At least it demonstrates that they seem to think they have an unplayable hand.

It's not exactly a shock that women and children have been packed into the mosque for use as human shieds.

Women and children were being used as human shields by militants besieged in a mosque in Islamabad, the Pakistan government said on Thursday as security forces ratcheted up pressure on hundreds inside to surrender.

Pakistan’s Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim Khan said the few students who had quit the mosque spoke of a nightmare scenario for security forces trying to keep casualties down.

“A large number of women and children are being held hostage by armed men in room,” Khan told a news conference, adding that the brother of the captured cleric was hiding in the basement of an attached madrassa with 25 “women hostages”.

Musharraf has gotten somewhat serious about finally eradicating this cancer:

Pakistani forces early Thursday demolished the front walls of a radical mosque, where battles between security forces and students have raged for two days, intelligence and military sources told CNN. art.surrender.

By loudspeaker, the forces warned students inside the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, that they had one last chance to surrender before a full attack took place.

More than 1,200 of the students have already surrendered, but hundreds more remain inside.

Heavy gunfire from both sides, punctuated by loud explosions and the firing of tear gas, erupted shortly before 4 a.m. Thursday (7 p.m. Wednesday ET).

The attack came hours after the mosque's top cleric was arrested while trying to slip away wearing a traditional woman's burqa.

Allah has video of this latest Profile in Jihadi Courage.

What accounts for Musharraf's newfound willingness to deal with the Taliban-style Vice Squads? Threats from China.

Demanding strict enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law), Red Mosque clerics had let loose moral squads on the capital to "prevent vices and promote virtue" - a concept first institutionalised by the Taleban in Afghanistan.

These moral squads, consisting of armed male and female students, were going around the city threatening music shop owners, and kidnapping women over allegations of operating brothels.

But every time they took the law into their own hands, the government had opted for negotiations, arguing that any use of force was likely to lead to bloodshed.

Emboldened by the government's perceived pussy-footing, Red Mosque clerics kept raising their public profile until they became a major embarrassment for the government.

However, President Musharraf kept advocating restraint on the basis of intelligence reports which warned of the presence of a large number of suicide bombers inside the mosque and its affiliated seminary.

The president repeatedly said if the government tried to use force, the clerics would unleash suicide bombers who could kill dozens.

"The same people including the media who are currently demanding that the government take action will then turn around and start accusing the government of killing its own people," he said at one of his public appearances earlier this year.

"I will order action if the media promises it will not show dead bodies," he said on another occasion.

Initially, many agreed with the president's reasoning, but the argument started to lose weight as the Red Mosque clerics became bolder.

"The turning point clearly was the abduction of the Chinese massage parlour girls," says a senior diplomat in Islamabad.

"We know that the Chinese sent a very strong message that they could take losses in Balochistan or the tribal belt but were not prepared to see their citizens abducted and tortured bang in the heart of the capital."

Note this is the BBC talking here, telling you that "pussy-footing" with terrorists and jihadis only "emboldens" them, and that uses of "force" are the only "negotiations" these monsters understand.

I'm curious to know why this principle seems to operate only in Pakistan and in no other area or the world... including bomber-besieged Britain.

It's nice to know that China still has the power to compel a neighboring state into better behavior... when they feel it's in their interests to do so.


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posted by Ace at 02:42 PM

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