Bin Laden and the Baluchistan Connection

Baluchistan is unfamiliar to most Americans, a region relatively ignored by the press, but it is one of the key locations for terrorists. But the "Inside the Ring" column  in the Washington Times yesterday featured a very interesting item concerning the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden.  Former DoD official Michael Maloof challenges the conventional wisdom that the al Qaeda leader hiding out in the remote Pakistani province of Waziristan.  Instead, says Mr. Maloof, it is more likely that Bin Laden is,
"...alive and well in the eastern part of Iran in Baluchistan."
How does he reach this conclusion?  For one thing,
...the most recent videotape of bin Laden showed a well-nourished terrorist who appeared relatively healthy. "He could not look that well or obtain such quality videotaping in Waziristan," Mr. Maloof said.
And according to Maloof, the Defense Intelligence Agency said two years ago that al Qaeda had a training camp in the southeastern portion of Iran, which encompasses Baluch terrritory.  AT readers were also informed two years ago about  Baluchistan and the strategic significance of the region that spans both Iran and Pakistan.

At the time, Iran was attempting to split India from the Coalition camp by the construction of a natural gas pipeline from the South Pars natural gas fields all the way to India to satisfy the country's huge energy needs.  Even if the US had not come forth with an alternative deal for energy and military cooperation, construction of the pipeline through the most fearsome and rugged area in the Central Region would have been problematic for the Mullahs, to say the least.   Since neither Pakistan nor Iran has control over Baluchistan, it has long been a magnet for various terror groups including al-Qaeda, tribal warlords, and criminal gangs.  In fact, Baluchistan was "Terrorist Central" long before Waziristan came up on the intell radar. 

Not often discussed these days is the fact that Baluchistan also played a a pivotal role in the ‘90s by providing manpower and resources to Saddam Hussein and his campaigns against Shia Iran and the US.  Laurie Mylroie previously analyzed the Iraq-Baluchistan connection, how the lawless province enabled Saddam's agents to train for their terror missions, and how Baluchis were given "legends" in order to penetrate both US and Iranian territory.  The pattern of terror attacks in the ‘90s, including the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, clearly showed a nation-state connection rather than the proverbial "loose network of terror groups" so favored by the bureaucrats, who view these intelligence and foreign military operations as a criminal enterprise rather than the acts of war that they truly are.

Mr. Maloof's analysis deserves further examination, especially since it reinforces Mylroie's revelations of the CIA's internal war against the administration, and it backs up Rowan Scarborough's newly-published book about what Sen. John McCain called a "rogue organization."  The most frightening aspect of all this is that for over a decade, many in our intell community have been defining the enemy down.  It's no wonder we have been taken off the path to victory in the War on Terror.

Douglas Hanson is national security correspondent of American Thinker.
Baluchistan is unfamiliar to most Americans, a region relatively ignored by the press, but it is one of the key locations for terrorists. But the "Inside the Ring" column  in the Washington Times yesterday featured a very interesting item concerning the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden.  Former DoD official Michael Maloof challenges the conventional wisdom that the al Qaeda leader hiding out in the remote Pakistani province of Waziristan.  Instead, says Mr. Maloof, it is more likely that Bin Laden is,
"...alive and well in the eastern part of Iran in Baluchistan."
How does he reach this conclusion?  For one thing,
...the most recent videotape of bin Laden showed a well-nourished terrorist who appeared relatively healthy. "He could not look that well or obtain such quality videotaping in Waziristan," Mr. Maloof said.
And according to Maloof, the Defense Intelligence Agency said two years ago that al Qaeda had a training camp in the southeastern portion of Iran, which encompasses Baluch terrritory.  AT readers were also informed two years ago about  Baluchistan and the strategic significance of the region that spans both Iran and Pakistan.

At the time, Iran was attempting to split India from the Coalition camp by the construction of a natural gas pipeline from the South Pars natural gas fields all the way to India to satisfy the country's huge energy needs.  Even if the US had not come forth with an alternative deal for energy and military cooperation, construction of the pipeline through the most fearsome and rugged area in the Central Region would have been problematic for the Mullahs, to say the least.   Since neither Pakistan nor Iran has control over Baluchistan, it has long been a magnet for various terror groups including al-Qaeda, tribal warlords, and criminal gangs.  In fact, Baluchistan was "Terrorist Central" long before Waziristan came up on the intell radar. 

Not often discussed these days is the fact that Baluchistan also played a a pivotal role in the ‘90s by providing manpower and resources to Saddam Hussein and his campaigns against Shia Iran and the US.  Laurie Mylroie previously analyzed the Iraq-Baluchistan connection, how the lawless province enabled Saddam's agents to train for their terror missions, and how Baluchis were given "legends" in order to penetrate both US and Iranian territory.  The pattern of terror attacks in the ‘90s, including the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, clearly showed a nation-state connection rather than the proverbial "loose network of terror groups" so favored by the bureaucrats, who view these intelligence and foreign military operations as a criminal enterprise rather than the acts of war that they truly are.

Mr. Maloof's analysis deserves further examination, especially since it reinforces Mylroie's revelations of the CIA's internal war against the administration, and it backs up Rowan Scarborough's newly-published book about what Sen. John McCain called a "rogue organization."  The most frightening aspect of all this is that for over a decade, many in our intell community have been defining the enemy down.  It's no wonder we have been taken off the path to victory in the War on Terror.

Douglas Hanson is national security correspondent of American Thinker.