East Turkestan Islamic Movement

East Turkestan Islamic Movement
Flag of Jihad.svg
Flag of Jihad
Dates of operation 1997 — present
Leader Abdul Haq
Motives A fundamentalist Islamic state in Xinjiang
Active region(s) China
Pakistan (North Waziristan)
Central Asia
Ideology Islamism
Islamic fundamentalism
Sunni Islam
Pan-Islamism
Status Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, proscribed by the United Nations and five other governments (see below)
Size about 1000 operatives[1]

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) (also known as the Turkistan Islamic Movement (TIM), and other names[a]; is a Waziri based mujahideen organization. Its stated goals are the independence of East Turkestan and the conversion of all Chinese people to Islam. ETIM has claimed responsibility for over 200 acts of terrorism, resulting in at least 162 deaths and over 440 injuries.[2]

Contents

History

The area known as East Turkestan had been a protectorate of China as early as 60 BC[citation needed], though there are numerous periods of independence from China. In the 18th century the Qing Dynasty reorganized the territory as a province, Xinjiang.[3] Yet, Russian influence was strong. Old Believers emigrated from Russia to Xinjiang in the early 19th century, and the Russian Civil War accelerated this immigration by adding white émigrés.[4] During China's warlord era, the Soviet Union propped up the separatist Second East Turkestan Republic, and only accepted Chinese rule when the Chinese communists established the People's Republic of China after the Chinese Civil War.[5] Nevertheless, the Soviet Union distributed Soviet passports among the Central Asian ethnics in Xinjiang to facilitate emigration to Kazakh SSR.[4] After the Sino-Soviet split, the Soviet Union amassed troops on the Russian border with Xinjiang, and bolstered "East Turkestan" separatist movements, which received moral and material support from other regional militant groups.[6] China accused the Soviets of engineering riots, and improved the military infrastructure there to combat it.[4]

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement was founded in 1993 by two natives of Hotan, but it failed to last to year's end. Hasan Mahsum and Abudukadir Yapuquan reorganized the movement in 1997, in the same form that it exists today.[7] Mahsum moved ETIM's headquarters to Kabul, taking shelter under Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, ETIM leaders met with Osama bin Ladin and other leaders of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to coordinate actions; there the East Turkestan Islamic Movement dropped the "East" from its name as it increased its domain.[8] The group's infrastructure was crippled after the United States invaded Afghanistan and bombed Al Qaeda bases in the mountainous regions along the border with Pakistan, during which the leader of ETIM, Hasan Mahsum, was killed.[9]

However, ETIM resurged after the Iraq War inflamed mujahideen sentiment.[10] It expanded its portfolio to attacks on United States interests, such as the U.S. embassy in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).[11] The United States Department of State responded by listing it as a terrorist organization. This greatly weakened ETIM, as it lost sympathy from many Western organizations who would otherwise support its struggle against China. Nonetheless, ETIM circulated a video in 2006 calling for a renewed jihad, and took advantage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing to gain publicity for its attacks.[8] The ETIM is said to be allied with the Taliban,[12] who have received funding from rogue elements in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),[13] leading to a potential diplomatic confrontation between Pakistan and China.[14]

Ideology

The NEFA Foundation, an American terrorist analyst foundation, translated and released a jihad article from ETIM, whose membership it said consisted primarily of "Uyghur Muslims from Western China." The East Turkestan Islamic Movement's primary goal is the independence of East Turkestan, and secondarily, to convert all Chinese people to Islam.[15] ETIM continues this theme of contrasting "Muslims" and "Chinese", in a six minute video in 2008, where "Commander Seyfullah" warns Muslims not to bring their children to the 2008 Summer Olympics, and also saying "do not stay on the same bus, on the same train, on the same plane, in the same buildings, or any place the Chinese are".[16]

Terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna has said that ETIM is closely associated with the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), and that there are "many sympathizers and supporters" of ETIM in the WUC. China has accused the WUC of orchestrating the 2009 ethnic violence in Urumqi; similarly, Gunaratna said that one of ETIM's aims is to "fuel hatred" and violence between the Han and the Uyghur ethnic groups, adding that it represented a threat to China and the Central Asia region as a whole.[17]

Structure

In October 2008, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security released a list of eight terrorists linked to ETIM, including some of the leadership, with detailed charges.[18] They are:

Name Aliases Charges Whereabouts
Memetiming Memeti Abdul Haq Leading the organization, inciting ethnic tensions in 2006 and 2007, buying explosives, organizing terrorist attacks against the 2008 Summer Olympics Since 1998, somewhere in South Asia
Emeti Yakuf Aibu Abudureheman, Saifula Threatening to use biological and chemical weapons against servicepeople and Western politicians for the 2008 Olympics, disseminating manuals on explosives and poisons Since 1996, South Asia
Memetituersun Yiming (Memet Tursun Imin) Abuduaini Raised funds for ETIM, tested bombs in the run-up to the Olympics Since 2008, Western Asia
Memetituersun Abuduhalike (Memet Abduhaliq) Metusun Abuduhalike, Ansarui, Naijimuding Attacked government organizations, money laundering for ETIM operations, buying vehicles and renting houses for attacks Unknown
Xiamisidingaihemaiti Abudumijiti Saiyide Recruiting for ETIM in the Middle East, blew up a Chinese supermarket Unknown
Aikemilai Wumaierjiang Assisted Xiamisidingaihemaiti Abudumijiti in the supermarket attack Unknown
Yakuf Memeti Abudujilili Aimaiti, Abudula, Punjab Sneaked into China illegally to gather information on Chinese neighborhoods, a failed suicide attack against oil refinery Unknown
Tuersun Toheti Mubaixier, Nurula Organizing a terror team for the 2008 Olympics, buying raw materials for them and requesting chemical formulas for explosives Since 2008, Western Asia

Guantanamo Bay detainees

The United States captured 22 Uyghur militants from combat zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2006 on information that they were linked to Al-Qaeda.[19] They were imprisoned for five to seven years, where they testified that they were trained by ETIM leader Abdul Haq, at an ETIM training camp. After being reclassified as No Longer Enemy Combatant,[20] a panel of judges ordered them released into the United States. Despite the alarm of politicians that the release of terrorist camp-trained Uyghurs into the United States was unsafe and illegal, they could not be released back to China because of its human rights record.[21] Some of the Uyghurs have been transferred to Palau, and some to Bermuda despite objections by the United Kingdom, but the United States is having difficulties finding governments who will accept the rest.[22]

Attacks

In 2007, ETIM militants in cars shot Chinese nationals in Pakistani Balochistan and sent a videotape of the attack to Beijing, in retaliation for an execution of an ETIM official earlier that July.[1] ETIM also took credit for a spate of attacks before the 2008 Summer Olympics, including a series of bus bombings in Kunming, an attempted plane hijacking in Urumqi,[20] and an attack on paramilitary troops in Kashgar that killed 17 officers.[23] On June 29, 2010, a court in Dubai convicted two members of an ETIM cell of plotting to bomb a government-owned shopping mall that sold Chinese goods. This was the ETIM plot outside of China or Central Asia. The key plotter was recruited during Hajj and was flown to Waziristan to train.[24] In July 2010, officials in Norway interrupted a terrorist bomb plot, another instance of ETIM branching out of its original regions and cooperating with international groups. New York Times correspondent Edward Wong says that ETIM "give[s] them a raison d'être at a time when the Chinese government has... defused any chance of a widespread insurgency... in Xinjiang."[23]

Information

Critics say that the threats ETIM itself makes are exaggerated, and that ETIM embellishes its own image and commits psychological warfare against China for its false threats, including forcing it to increase security. Dru C. Gladney, an authority on Uyghurs, said that there was "a credibility gap" about the group since the majority of information on ETIM "was traced back to Chinese sources."[25] The Uyghur American Association has publicly doubted the ETIM's existence.[26] Yet repeated unexplained attacks on Chinese buses in 2008 have followed a history of ETIM targeting Chinese infrastructure.[27]

Intelligence analysts J. Todd Reed and Diana Raschke acknowledge that reporting in China presents obstacles not found in countries where information is not so tightly controlled. However, they found that ETIM's existence and activities could be confirmed independently of Chinese government sources, using information gleaned from ETIM's now-defunct website, reports from human rights groups and academics, and testimony from the Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Reed & Raschke also question the information put out by Uyghur expatriates that deny ETIM's existence or impact, as the Uyghurs who leave Xinjiang are those who object most to government policy, are unable to provide firsthand analysis, and have an incentive to exaggerate repression and downplay militancy. They say that ETIM was "obscure but not unknown" before the September 11 attacks, citing "Western, Russian, and Chinese media sources" that have "documented the ETIM's existence for nearly 20 years".[28]

Designation as terrorist organization

ETIM has been designated a "terrorist organization" by a number of organizations, including:

Questions of existence

On June 16, 2009 the Agence France Presse reported that Bill Delahunt, a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives convened hearings to examine how organizations were added to the US blacklist in general, and how the ETIM was added in particular.[32]

According to the Agence France Presse Sean Roberts of George Washington University, an expert on Uighurs testified that the ETIM was new to him—that it wasn't until it was blacklisted that he heard of the group.[32]

AFP quoted Roberts: "It is difficult to justify the allegations that ETIM is a sophisticated and dangerous terrorist organization with links to Al-Qaeda and it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the organization no longer exists at all."[32]

Agence France Presse reported that the Congressional Research Service found that the first published mention of the group was in the year 2000, but that China attributed attacks to it that had occurred up to a decade earlier.[33]

According to the Christian Science Monitor, an international newspaper , there are significant doubts about the group's actual existence.[34]

[...] questions exist as to whether ETIM existed as China described it. According to Dru Gladney, president of the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College and a widely acknowledged authority on the Uighurs, few experts "had ever heard of" ETIM until after China began trumpeting the group as a threat. He also noted that the majority of information on ETIM "was traced back to Chinese sources," providing for "a real credibility gap." Gladney says that some believe ETIM to be part of a US-China quid pro quo, where China supported the "war on terror," and "support of the US for the condemnation of ETIM was connected to that support."[34]

The Uyghur American Association has requested that international community establish an independent body to investigate whether ETIM exists.[35]

See also

Notes

  • ^a The official name of the organization since 1999 is the "Turkistan Islamic Movement", but in English it is known by its old name and acronym, ETIM.[8][16] Other aliases adopted over the years are "East Turkistan Islamic Party", "Allah Party", and "East Turkistan National Revolution Association".[36]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Ansari, Massoud (2007-08-03). "The New Face of Jihad". Newsline. http://www.newsline.com.pk/NewsAug2007/specrep3aug2007.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-31. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Al-Qaida: Dead or captured". MSNBC. 2005-06-22. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4686228/. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  3. ^ "China issues white paper on history, development of Xinjiang (Part One)". Xinhua. 2003-05-26. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2003-05/26/content_887226.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  4. ^ a b c Lüthi, Lorenz M. (2008). The Sino-Soviet split: Cold War in the communist world. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691135908. 
  5. ^ "Regions and territories: Xinjiang". Country Profiles (BBC News). 2009-07-15. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/country_profiles/8152132.stm. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  6. ^ Marketos, Thrassy N. (2009). China's Energy Geopolitics: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Central Asia. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415456906. 
  7. ^ Piracha, Shaukat (2004-01-17). "China asks Pakistan to investigate Xinjiang terrorists list". Daily Times (Pakistan). http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_17-1-2004_pg1_2. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  8. ^ a b c "China: The Evolution of ETIM". Stratfor. 2008-05-13. http://www.stratfor.com/memberships/116428/analysis/china_evolution_etim. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  9. ^ Goodenough, Patrick (2009-08-26). "Preparing to Mark 60 Years of Communist Rule, China Worries About Terrorism". Cybercast News Service. http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/53074. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  10. ^ Guang, Pan (May 2006). "East Turkestan Terrorism and the Terrorist Arc: china's Post-9/11 Anti-Terror Strategy". China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly 4 (2). ISSN 1653-4212. 
  11. ^ a b c d Gunitskiy, Seva (2002-10-09). "In the spotlight: East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)". Center for Defense Information. http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/etim.cfm. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  12. ^ http://waziristanhills.com/Taliban/MilitantOrganizations/EastTurkistanIslamicMovementETIM/tabid/141/language/en-GB/Default.aspx
  13. ^ "Pakistani agents 'funding and training Afghan Taliban'". BBC News. 2010-06-13. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10302946. 
  14. ^ http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/03-Jun-2009/Hu-Jintao-urges-Zardari-to-crush-ETIM-extremists
  15. ^ Bashir, Shaykh (2008-07-01). "Why Are We Fighting China?". NEFA Foundation. http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/nefatip0409-3.pdf. Retrieved 2010-08-07. "...We are fighting China... China is an enemy who has invaded Muslim countries and occupies Muslim East Turkestan. There is no greater obligation, aside from belief in Allah, than expelling the enemies of Muslims from our countries.... We are fighting China to make them testify that 'there is no God but Allah, Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah' and make them convert to Islam...." 
  16. ^ a b "Chinese Islamists threaten Olympics: US group". Agence France-Presse. 2008-08-07. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g1YjsFvUQUmlI8lwzdQyoKzHogQA. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  17. ^ "Xinjiang riot hits regional anti-terror nerve". Xinhua. China Daily. 2009-07-18. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-07/18/content_8445811.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  18. ^ "'Eastern Turkistan' terrorists identified". Xinhua. China Daily. 2008-10-21. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-10/21/content_7126503.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  19. ^ Fletcher, Holly; Bajoria, Jayshree (2008-07-31). "The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)". Backgrounder. Council on Foreign Relations. http://www.cfr.org/publication/9179/east_turkestan_islamic_movement_etim.html. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  20. ^ a b Pike, John. "Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement / Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party (ETIP)". GlobalSecurity.org. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/etip.htm. 
  21. ^ de Vogue, Ariane; Powell, Dennis; Ryan, Jason (2009-04-24). "Guantanamo Uyghur Detainees: Coming to America?". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=7423474. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  22. ^ "Bermuda takes Guantanamo Uyghurs". BBC News. 2009-06-11. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8095582.stm. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  23. ^ a b Wong, Edward (2010-07-09). "Chinese Separatists Tied to Norway Bomb Plot". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/world/asia/10uighur.html. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  24. ^ "Uyghurs Convicted in East Turkestan Islamic Movement Plot in Dubai". Terrorism Monitor. Jamestown Foundation. 2010-06-22. http://www.jamestown.org/uploads/media/TM_008_68.pdf. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  25. ^ Clabaugh, Rich (2009-04-24). "Freed from Guantánamo, a Uighur clings to asylum dreams in Sweden". The Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2009/0424/p06s04-wogn.html. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  26. ^ http://www.uyghurcongress.org/En/News.asp?ItemID=-520095990&rcid=-768458094&pcid=1110134820&cid=-768458094
  27. ^ "China: ETIM's Direct Threat to the Olympics". Stratfor. 2008-07-25. http://www.stratfor.com/memberships/120549/analysis/china_etims_direct_threat_olympics. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  28. ^ Reed, J. Todd; Diana Raschke (2010). The ETIM: China's Islamic Militants and the Global Terrorist Threat. ABC-CLIO. pp. 14–16, 46–47. 
  29. ^ a b Cody, Edward (2006-05-10). "China Demands That Albania Return Ex-U.S. Detainees". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/09/AR2006050900478.html. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  30. ^ Does not include Hong Kong SAR or Macau
  31. ^ "South and Central Asia Overview". Country Reports on Terrorism. Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. 2007-04-30. http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2006/82734.htm. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  32. ^ a b c http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5izqnr8jZRqX1Taz8MSCFzUlS_Zjg
  33. ^ <http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5izqnr8jZRqX1Taz8MSCFzUlS_Zjg
  34. ^ a b http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0424/p06s04-wogn.html
  35. ^ http://www.uyghurcongress.org/En/News.asp?ItemID=-520095990&rcid=-768458094&pcid=1110134820&cid=-768458094
  36. ^ "Beijing wants Chinese Gitmo detainees". China Daily. 2010-08-07. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-12/24/content_7334470.htm. 

Further reading

  • Reed, J. Todd; Raschke, Diana (2010). The ETIM: China's Islamic Militants and the Global Terrorist Threat. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. ISBN 978-0313365409

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