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Thursday, July 7, 2016

PDRM 9 - Daish 1

So it has begun.  Daish has launched its first successful attack in Malaysia, specifically in Puchong.  And my analysis on the Puchong attack was wrong.

But many Malaysians have expressed scepticism.

Why the Scepticism?
Let's look at the root causes.  There's 2 root causes to this scepticism.

Past Government Intervention
Past governments, especially during Tun Mahathir's time had been known to use police force in ways that is detrimental to the Force's integrity and honour.  These interventions which saw some pro-government supporters being left off the hooks and opposition supporters facing the music has resulted the force being accused of being the tool for the ruling party.

Multiple arrests of opposition party leaders, especially during Tun Mahathir's time has been seen as the Government's way to use the police force to prevent opposition party to voice out dissent.

These dissent reached crescendo during the trial and imprisonment of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the 1997/1998 crisis.

Allegation of political intervention began to manifest itself again during Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration where it was alleged his name was allegedly being mentioned during several murder investigations.  Alleged, as personally I have difficulty to reconcile these allegations against other known facts pertaining to those cases.  But I digress as that is not the topic that I am covering today.

Opposition Party's Slandering
Some lurid details of government misuse of the police force has led to opposition parties to use these as scare tactics against the government.  They painted the view of a corrupt government using trumped up charges against individuals who invariably are opposition party supporters.

This has resulted in genuine police actions against suspected terrorists being wrongly labeled as political actions. The 2 most obvious examples are that of 2001/2002 police actions against Kumpulan Mujahiddin Malaysia (KMM) and that of attempts to arrest Dr. Mahmud Ahmad @ Abu Handzalah, a UM lecturer suspected to be involved in Daish activities as recent as 2014.

In both incidents, there were many who believed that the men were persecuted by the government and hence, the police was used to lead the persecution of these men.  (Nik Adli Nik Abdul Aziz, son of former Kelantan Menteri Besar, the late Nik Aziz Nik Mat was a key figure in KMM while Dr. Mahmud Ahmad was a member of PAS).

In KMM incident, two men, Dr. Azahari Hussin and Noordin Mat Top became key figures in Jemaah Islamiyah and were responsible to supply the explosive devices for both Bali bombings and JW Marriot bombing in Jakarta.

While Dr Mahmud Ahmad is now known to be a key figure in Daish in Southern Philippines, also known as Katibah Nusantara, which was formerly part of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Puchong Attack - The Red Flags
I must admit I have missed some of these red flags as I had been rather busy these lately.  Some did came to my attention, but I was not able to digest these info as I was in the middle of anti-antivaccine argument.  Call it information overload.

Bukit Aman Counter-Terrorism Unit Warning
Datuk Ayob Khan.  NST Photo
For the first time since 2012 (when PDRM was first notified of involvement of Malaysian youths in Syria), and even since the days of al Qaeda threat, PDRM Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division had publicly warn Malaysian public of impending attack from Daish within next 1 to 6 months.  The news which was carried by NST on 23rd June warned that the attack is likely to be spearheaded by either Daish Central or Katibah Nusantara.

This was followed up with an interview with Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, the Inspector-General of Police which publicly challenged Daish to come back to face the police.  (Contrary to public belief, Daish was not reacting to Tan Sri Khalid's challenge as Tan Sri Khalid's men had already foiled 9 Daish attacks).

Chain Attacks
Unlike al Qaeda's attacks in the past which usually targeted a single location (with exception of Sept 11 attack), Daish is far more capable with multi-pronged attacks.  This capability is believed to be due to large number of Daish Central command who were former Iraq Baathist party members.

On the same day Puchong was attacked, Turkey was hit with 2 suicide bombing at Kamal Attarturk International Airport which claimed 42 lives, including 5 terrorists.

This was followed by a bomb attack in Baghdad's Karrada district, claiming 250 lives.

Another attack occurred in Jordan, claiming the lives of 7 Jordanian troops.

Doubts to my earlier analysis that said the attack is not by Daish came soon after I received information of Daish attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  As I had previously noted that Daish prefer to do chain attacks, which is good for propaganda purposes.

Mohammed Wanndy Mohamad Jedi's Claim
Wanndy's claim on a Facebook believed to be belonging to him under the nomme de guerre Abu Hamza Al-Fateh as reported by Sin Chew was first denied by myself as a likely to be Daish' attempt to claim credit on attacks perpetrated by other people.  Which is true as many terrorist organisations like to claim credit on attacks done by other people.  These claims have two purpose; to create doubt in government agencies and to burnish their CV.

However, as IGP had confirmed, the terrorist who had escaped to Syria had managed to share certain details of the attack which is only known by the attackers.  This corroborated with evidence obtained from the investigation conducted and from captured cell members.

Therefore, it is safe to confirm that the attack was indeed a terror attack.

Weakened State of Daish in Iraq and Syria
Today's Daish is a very much weakened force compared to the movement's heyday in 2014.  Multi-prong global attack against the movement has largely weakened it financially and militarily.

Hence, in order to divert attention, it is likely these attacks are part of global effort to divert the attention against direct action to their headquarter in Raqqah, Syria.

I have also covered on the weakened state of Daish, and the likelihood of the movement to try to attack Malaysia.  Read here.

Why Wanndy is Denying the Attack Now?
I woke up today to news that Wanndy was said to have denied that Daish had committed the attack according to his instructions.

This was despite his taunts and challenges to the police just days ago.

There are 2 possible reasons to the change of tone.

Daish Wants to Cast Doubts on Credibility of PDRM
In any insurgency war, any insurgent forces will try to cast doubts on the credibility of their enemies.
They play on the doubt created on their enemy to force their enemy (in this case, PDRM) to lose the public trust.  Wanndy is a Malaysian (I prefer that I could typed that he was a Malaysian, but that is just semantic).  Thus he should know and understand the current political flow against the government.  And he probably understands the weakness of democratic process (somehow, it seems terrorists understand better of the democratic process than people who claimed to adhere to the system).

By having a society that no longer trust the government, it would be easier to further propagate their teachings.

They will then be able to claim that they had been persecuted for trying to fight against the Shiah and the government is part of the so-called New World Order led by the Illuminati (yes, I understand the mind of conspiracy theorists, but I do not subscribe to their teachings).

So his denial is likely so that he can claim that the government is slandering his movement.  That this is a concerted effort to sully their movement's name so that people will not support Daish.

This will help them to get more recruits who are likely to feel that the the government is oppressing the rights of Muslims to defend their religion.

The choice of the target, in this case Movida pub was a calculated target.  Despite IGP's claim that the target was a secondary target and the original target which was another larger pub further points to this.  By attacking a pub, they are trying to legitimise their attacks in Malaysia by targeting places where they believe vice occurs.

Already there are people who claim that the IGP's announcement on the Puchong attack is politically motivated so that the preventive laws, POTA and SosMA can be justified.  This is despite the fact that nearly all former ISA detainees who were released after the law was repealed had managed to find their ways to Syria (exception would be Yazid Sufaat, who was arrested and trialed under SosMA in 2012, thus becoming the first SosMA detainee).

The Attacks Has Backfired
The recent spate of attacks by Daish all over the world is believed to have backfired.

The revelation that many of the deceased Japanese nationals killed in the Dhaka attack were part of Japanese government's efforts to help to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh has had backfired.  So too were Daish attack in Madinah.

Despite bars being seen as place for sin for Muslims (for they serve beers), the attack has managed to irk many Muslims, especially with the attack occurring in the month of Ramadan.

Most Malay Muslims have ties with both security forces in the form of family serving in either branches.  Thus, this direct challenge angered them further.

Be Prepared
No matter what it is, it is prudent that we be ready.  The threat is real.  With more than 170 men and women had been arrested since 2012, it is prudent that we ourselves take certain steps for our own self-preservation.

Some valuable tips for all.  Adapted from the above page.

  1. Learn to make it a habit to identify emergency exits of the places you go to.  This will help you to move fast instead of panicking.  Learn to identify the uniforms used by the security guards of the location.
  2. Avoid going to places with large crowd with only one or no emergency escape.  A smart terrorist will wait for the targets to come right into his firing view.
  3. Do not hide next to a vehicle or rubbish bin, if possible.  Both are favourites to plant Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
  4. Don't be a hero unless you want to be a dead body.
  5. Do not panic, do not panic and do not panic.
  6. Do not take selfie or wefie.  Don't let that urge to selfie or wefie be your last photo.
  7. When exiting from a build-up area, be careful.  Do not rush to individuals wearing uniform.  Try to identify if the person is an actual security personnel or a bandit wearing security personnel uniform.  Read up Oslo attack or Anders Behring Breivik if you want to know more.
  8. If you are sure the person in uniform is a security personnel, do not run towards him.  Put your hands up and if he tells you to go on all four, do it.  If you rush at the security personnel, he is likely to shoot at you instead.  This is likely the same mistake made by pizza maker Saiful Islam Chowkidar, killed in the Dhaka siege.  Do not react if the security personnel is rough against you.  They're having a hard time to identify who are potential terrorist trying to escape from the cordon.
  9. If you are being asked by first responders, do not share information that you did not observe personally.  
  10. Follow the instructions of officers to move to a safe location.
  11. If needed, just leave all your things behind and make sure you did not leave the people under your care. 
One Last Potshot
Datin Seri Wan Azizah had recently took to task the IGP when he revealed 2 of the 15 arrested are police officers.  While her concern is valid, it is not the time to address the issue in the open.  Matters which touches operational security should be left as such.  Politicians have a bad habit of scoring political brownies instead of letting police handle the intelligence matters properly. 

Right now, let the police handle on how many of their men is infiltrated.  Prematurely announcing it may result in those suspected to be involved go missing before they can be arrested. 

Reminder to Media
It is a good time for us to remember that we are now technically at war.  While Malaysian Government has not yet declared war against Daish, the fact that Daish had declared war against us should be a good reminder to the media.  

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had warned the media not to give air time to Daish in face of the threat that we are facing today. 

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar's warning to all media outlets by no means is a threat to freedom of speech.  His warning is logical as the media should not be used as a propaganda outlet by these terrorists. 

His warning was a response to a local Chinese newspaper had interviewed Wanndy who had then claimed that they did not launch the attack on Movida (contrary to their earlier claims).  

And during wars, no sane media will allow itself to be used as the propaganda tools of the enemy.

This will be a war of luck and attrition.  There will be times they managed to launch their attacks.  And there will be times PDRM will be successful in preventing the attacks.

We all have our parts to play in this conflict.  We should not be the innocent bystanders that get caught in the crossfire nor should we be the innocent victims of bombing.

PDRM needs our help.  Be their eyes and ears.  True, the score today is PDRM 9, Daish 1.  Let's help PDRM to keep Daish's score to 1.  

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