“This is a noble job and we pray that all the Muslim youths should follow Faisal Shahzad. But he is not part of our network.”
TTP spokesman Azam Tariq, denying credit for the would-be Time Square bomber after both TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud and chief bomb-maker Qari Hussain released celebratory videos.
Tariq also warned, "We will be attacking in a new style against the United States and its allies. Our people have reached the US and other European countries and soon will be attacking.”
Meanwhile US intelligence officials are now claiming Shahzad had contact with TTP leader Beitullah Mehsud, Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and various militants in Lashkar al-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Elsewhere Pakistani Army spokesman Major General Abbas told reporters, "Anybody can claim anything.” A Pakistani security official added, "As far as I know, this young man was angry because of the drones and he decided to vent his anger.”
It should also be noted that three seperate parties, or seemingly seperate parties, are alleging conspiracy - the TTP, Shahzad’s cousin, and Fouzia Siddiqui, sister of Aafia Siddiqui.
"This was a plot hatched by the US and its allies to trap Muslim and [ethnic] Pukhtun youth in terrorist activities," said Tariq, defending Shahzad for his role in the failed Time Square car bomb attack. "This is a conspiracy of the US and its allies against Muslims and the Pukhtuns to defame them."
Kifyat Ali, the cousin of Shazad’s father Baharul Haq also told reporters at an upscale house in Peshawar, "This is a conspiracy so the [Americans] can bomb more Pashtuns.”
Perhaps the only confusion that could top the TTP is the case of Aafia Siddiqui. A wide schism already exists between America and Pakistan over her circumstances and treatment, and now her sister alleges, “This letter [from Hakimullah] was issued by international intelligence agencies as part of an international conspiracy against my efforts to get Aafia released from America."
Aafia’s sentencing was postponed from today until August without explanation. It seems certain at this point, letter or not, that the Time Square bomb somehow revolves around Aaifa Siddiqui.
Too many anomalies exist for this situation to be so simple as revenge for Baitullah’s death, like the US media would have us believe. We know the TTP and al-Qaeda want to incite America into further military aggression, hoping for an erroneous overreaction. But it’s also evident that someone wanted to call attention to Siddiqui’s sentencing, having tried to bomb Time Square three days beforehand.
Foreign Policy reports, “Hussain and Mehsud use similar arguments to justify attacks on the United States. They both condemn the U.S. war in Afghanistan and Iraq and specifically mention Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist convicted of attempted murder by a U.S. court and suspected of working on an unconventional weapons program for al Qaeda. The reference is not boilerplate in jihadi condemnations of the United States, but it has become more popular among both violent and non violent Islamist groups in Pakistan eager to position themselves as the defenders of Muslim women's honor.”
And now her trial is postponed, amid the TTP threat and a host of candlelight vigils.
They call Aafia crazy because she alleges Israel is manipulating US foreign policy in the Middle East. Today Senator Joe Lieberman rolled out a proposal to strip US citizens of their rights for associating with foreign terrorist organizations. Next to him Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) said, “I suspect it would be easier to launch a hellfire missile at a non-citizen than a citizen.”
This is exactly how the TTP wants America to react. We already mentioned why they would use Shahzad - because he tampers with the US constitution. The impact spreads beyond the physical bomb and is predictably welcomed by the US government and media. In Lieberman’s case - and he speaks for more than himself - we seriously wonder if they want US wars to continue indefinitely.
And isn’t that what all the conspiracy theorists are alleging? Isn’t that what’s happening? Whatever the outcome, the TTP’s rabbit hole is going deeper before it ends.