Pakistan must be held accountable
by Salim Mansur
As the post-mortem of the French-born 23-year-old jihadist of Algerian origin, Mohamed Merah, unfolds in the media alongside the official investigation into his bloody deeds in Toulouse and Montauban, a critical question of strategic importance remains unasked.
French authorities knew Merah travelled twice to Pakistan and Afghanistan, spent time in the jihadi-infested tribal region of Waziristan, and there received further indoctrination and training in the use of firearms.
Since his return from Pakistan, Merah was under police surveillance, as was his older brother Abdelkader, known for his role in the recruiting of young men for jihad.
Moreover, as some investigative reporting has indicated, the Merah family was deep in the business of jihad with his mother married to the father of Sabri Essid, a known jihadi from the Toulouse area captured in Syria in 2006.
It should be obvious that travelling to Pakistan from Europe, or anywhere else, by a non-Pakistani requires arranging for a Pakistani visa.
It is also obvious that young men like Merah required visas to head out for Pakistan, and for them to readily acquire visas means there is in place arrangements within some of the Pakistani consular offices abroad to assist foreign jihadis in their mission.
The role of Pakistan as the strategic and tactical centre of the global jihad-complex, or jihad-incorporated — indoctrination, recruiting, training, equipping, financing, networking, etc. — is indisputable.
The brutal fact is not that Pakistan is a rogue state, rather it is for all practical purposes a state waging a clandestine and asymmetrical war against India, Israel and the West.
Hence, any suggestion that Merah was a lone wolf and worse, a victim of an unjust social order, is utterly disingenuous.
Merah was instead like Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani-born and trained jihadi sent out in 2008 on a terrorist mission to Mumbai, India.
It will be recalled the terrorists despatched to Mumbai were instructed by their handlers to target Nariman House, a Jewish centre in the city, where a 29-year-old Rabbi and his pregnant wife were murdered.
Similarly, Merah's attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse and the killing of a young teacher, his two school-age sons and an eight-year-old girl, are inseparable episodes of the larger war Islamists have been waging against Jews and Israel.
It is not news that anti-Semitism is widespread across the Arab-Muslim world, and hatred towards Jews is a sickness masquerading as religion that is pushing Islam and Muslims towards a catastrophe foreseen if it goes unchecked.
And thus the question: Does the West bear any responsibility for not effectively shutting down the traffic of jihadis to Pakistan, and for not indicting people in Pakistan involved in this traffic responsible for crimes committed by jihadis, as in Toulouse?
It is more than a decade since 9/11 and too many dots have been connected to indicate the role of Pakistan in the jihad against the West, and against Jews and Israel.
The delay or unwillingness in not holding Pakistan responsible for jihadi crimes in effect shreds the values of liberal democracy in the West.
It means the West's incremental surrender of freedom to Islamist totalitarianism advanced by cumulative threats, intimidations and murders.