Israel Launches Global PR Campaign Ahead of Gaza Invasion

Israel Launches Global PR Campaign Ahead of Gaza Invasion

Israeli Envoys Instructed to Shore Up International Support for Attack

Posted December 21, 2008

Tonight it is being reported that Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has instructed diplomats across the globe to launch what is being described as a “PR blitz” to shore up international support for an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip. To that end Livni, the Kadima Party’s pick for Prime Minister in the upcoming election, will reportedly make phone calls to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and the foreign ministers of several major nations.

A six-month ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip formally ended on Thursday, though in reality the two sides had been exchanging intermittent fire (and diplomatic accusations) since an early November Israeli raid on a house in central Gaza. Both sides have traded air strikes over the weekend, causing damage but no apparent deaths.

And while Israeli diplomats will be struggling to shore up international support for a prospective invasion, reports suggest that the decision has already been made. Citing a secret meeting on Thursday between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel’s Ynet says the policy on Gaza is set, and actions will “depend only on the tactical conditions and the operational possibilities.” It also claims that it was at this meeting that the two agreed on the need to create an “international umbrella” of support for the attacks.

Olmert/Barak: It’s On!

Top official: Decision on Gaza op made

Secret meeting between Prime Minister Olmert, Defense Minister Barak results in decision to have IDF stage scaled response to any terror attack from Strip. Tactical conditions, operational possibilities will dictate actions, says state official
Roni Sofer

The decision has been made: Right now Israel has to work towards getting international legitimization for an operation in Gaza, a senior source in Jerusalem told Ynet on Sunday.

“(Israel’s) actions depend only on the tactical conditions and the operational possibilities,” added the source. “Israel will react with all due force to any provocation by Hamas.”

Following various security assessments by the defense establishment, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met secretly last Thursday and decided that Israel would no longer practice a policy of restraint in view of terror attacks emanating from the Strip, opting instead for a scaled reaction.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was briefed on the decision shortly after it was made.

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi was reportedly instructed to order the Israel Defense Forces to begin targeting quality Islamic Jihad marks. The Islamic Jihad had claimed responsibility for the recent rocket salvos in the western Negev.

Ashkenazi, who recommended the course of a scaled military response, ordered the Israel Air Force to prepare to strike Gaza target immediately. Several hours later, the IAF struck a Qassam warehouse and a rocket manufacturing facility deep in the Strip.

Another decision Olmert and Barak came to was the need to create an “international umbrella,” meant to secure the international community support for a scaled military response to terror attacks. Barak then spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, while officials in the Defense Ministry briefed Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman.

Olmert and Livni have agreed to brief other members of the international community of Israel’s decision. PR and information efforts are said to focus on the US, the European Union and the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.

At this time, however, any military operation in Gaza would require the personal authorization of Olmert, Barak and Livni, with Barak having the final say. The National Security Cabinet is expected to convene on the matter within a few days.

Strangling Gaza to near death while pretending to be the victim

Strangling Gaza to near death while pretending to be the victim

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem


December 21, 2008

No one is enthusiastic about the latest escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, except perhaps the warmongers in Tel Aviv and the American-backed Arab and Palestinian traitors who would do anything and go to any extent to please their masters in Washington, D.C.

In Israel, the Gaza Strip is becoming the central election issue in a country deeply menaced by political and religious extremism.

Israeli political leaders from right and left are already promising the Jewish public that they will destroy Gaza and murder untold thousands of poor Gazans if only they are elected in the 10 February polls.

Tzipi Livni, leader of the Kadima party, was quoted as saying on Sunday, 21 December, that if she becomes Israel’s next Prime Minister, she will destroy Hamas’s government in Gaza, using military, economic and diplomatic means.

Similar remarks have been voiced by other Israeli leaders, which really underscores the cannibalistic instincts and jingoistic trends permeating through the bulk of the Israeli Jewish society.

After all, experience shows that the more racist, more criminal and more vitriolic an Israeli politician is perceived, the greater the likelihood he will be elected.

In contrast, an Israeli politician who advocates a humane approach toward the Palestinians, like, for example, calling for lifting the Nazi-like siege imposed on the 1.5 million innocent Gaza inhabitants, will be committing a political suicide. Such a politician would instantly be called “Self-hating Jew,” “Hamas lover,” or even “a Nazi.”

This background is essential for understanding the present situation in Gaza as the huge Israeli propaganda machine would have us believe that Israel is the victim of aggression and that the Palestinians are the aggressors.

Israel claims ad nauseam that its Nazi-like blockade of Gaza, which is a brazen violation of international law, is a response to the firing by Gaza guerillas of generally ineffective home-made projectiles known as Qassams.

This is simply a big lie. The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip began immediately after Hamas won the legislative election in January 2006, and the main driving goal was to punish, as much as internationally acceptable, the people of Gaza and Palestinians in general for electing a government that Israel didn’t like.

Indeed, some Israeli leaders admitted then that Israel wanted to put the Palestinian on a diet, a euphemistic expression connoting the subsequent and continuing Israeli policy of starving and killing and savaging the people of Gaza very much like the Nazis did to Jews at Ghetto Warsaw in 1942-43.

Determined to survive, in spite of a malicious cruel world that preaches human rights while crushing human lives, Gazans appealed to everyone and anyone willing to listen all over the globe, but to no avail.

It was only after it became clear that Israel was hell bent on destroying Gaza and its inhabitants through a slow process of extermination that Gazans began firing these largely psychological weapons which inflict little damage and rarely cause human casualties among Israelis.

In June, Hamas agreed to stop all “belligerent acts and hostilities” against Israel in return for Israeli reciprocity and the lifting of the hermetic siege on the Strip which obliterated Gaza economy and caused the death of hundreds of innocent people.

However, instead of dealing in good will with the Egyptian-mediated understanding, Israel never lifted the siege nor allowed the reopening of the border crossings.

Using the words of a Gaza journalist, Israel resorted to the policy of “strangling Gaza to near death,” by preventing the delivery to Gaza of most consumer goods and products from vital medical material to food products.

More to the point, Israel did violate the ceasefire understanding several times, killing as many as 49 Palestinians from June-19 when the truce began to December-19 when it ended.

During that period, not a single Israeli civilian was killed by Palestinian factions in the Gaza strip.

Hence, one is always prompted to ask what the Palestinian Authorities in Gaza are supposed to do when Israel is effectively telling them that they have only two choices awaiting them, to die a slow agonizing death as a result of this criminal siege, or be killed and decimated by the Israeli occupation army.

A few months ago, this writer challenged a rabbi from the West Bank to ask his government to end the siege in Gaza and allow normal economic activities between Gaza and the outside world.

I assured him that if Israel were to carry out such a step, there would be a total stoppage of all attacks and hostile activities against Israeli settlements bordering the coastal territory.

Predictably, the Israeli government dismissed the proposal, telling the rabbi rather tersely that they respected his efforts.

Unfortunately, Israel is allowed to keep up starving and killing Gazans thanks to a hypocritical world whose leaders keep telling Israel that “it has the right to defend itself,” while utterly ignoring the fact that the Palestinians, too, have at least an equal right to life and human dignity.

How many western leaders have had the moral courage to visit the Gaza Strip and see the slow-motion holocaust on the ground?

How many western leaders have dared utter the politically innocuous but balanced view that Israel should lift the siege on Gaza and Palestinians ought to stop their nearly innocuous attacks on Israel?

Why is Tony Blair telling Israel that it has the right to bomb Gaza? Is he completely oblivious of the existence of 1.5 million human beings who have been forced into a situation that doesn’t really differ much form that faced by much of the European Jewry several decades ago?

How about Sarkozy, who claims to represent western enlightenment? How about the leaders of EU states? Do they all enjoy watching the people of Gaza getting savaged and killed by the crime against humanity, otherwise known as Israel.

Have all they succumbed to moral callousness and moral blindness in the face of an evil state that claims to be a light upon the nations while thinking, behaving and acting very much like the Third Reich?

Well, shame on you all. History won’t be kind to you.

Plot to kill Musharraf unearthed

Plot to kill Musharraf unearthed

984_saeed_sheikh_custody_2050081722-8801 Sheikh Omar

By Amir MirLAHORE: In a sensational development, authorities have claimed busting a clandestine terror network set up by jailed killer of Daniel Pearl inside the Hyderabad Jail and the Sindh government has suspended senior police and jail officials after a large number of cell phones, SIMs and other equipment were recovered.

Highly-placed Interior Ministry sources confided to The News on Wednesday the jailed terrorist had also threatened Gen Pervez Musharraf on his personal cell phone in the second week of November and planned to get him eliminated by a suicide bomber.

The caller reportedly told the former president: “I am after you, get ready to die.” Subsequent investigations by the authorities revealed the threatening phone call was made by someone from the Hyderabad Central Jail. Being a suspect, Sheikh Omar was placed under observation before it transpired that he was the one who had threatened the former strongman.

The authorities came to know that a plot had been hatched by Sheikh Omar to eliminate the then-president with the connivance of some Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militants, with whom he had long been in touch over the phone.

As Omar’s death cell was thoroughly searched, three mobile phones, six batteries, 18 SIMS of almost every cellular company and chargers were seized from his possession. Further scanning of the alleged terror mastermind’s telephone records revealed he had been making calls all over Pakistan to former Jihadi associates as well as relatives in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

Interestingly, however, his mobile phone records revealed besides having revived his contacts with the outer world, Omar had also been in touch with Attaur Rehman, alias Naeem Bukhari, a key Lashkar-e-Jhangvi operative arrested by the Karachi police on June 5, 2007 in connection with the January 2002 Daniel Pearl murder case.

When the barracks of Naeem Bukhari, being held in the Sukkur Central Jail, were searched, the authorities recovered one mobile phone and three SIMs he had been using to stay in touch with Omar and some other LeJ accomplices in Karachi and Rawalpindi.

During the ensuing interrogations, Naeem Bukhari was learnt to have revealed that the LeJ operatives had already been directed by Sheikh Omar to target Musharraf either in Rawalpindi or in Karachi, preferably by using a suicide car bomber.

The LeJ militants had thus been monitoring Musharraf’s movements to target him while travelling between his Army House residence in Rawalpindi and his Chak Shehzad farmhouse on the 1-A Park Road on the quiet suburbs of Islamabad or to blow up the bridge on Shara-e-Faisal during his next visit to Karachi at the precise moment when his convoy would reach there from the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport.

It was after the unearthing of the assassination plot that Musharraf decided to leave for London on Nov 22, 2008 for a short trip — for the first time since his resignation as president in August 2008. Although, he has already returned home, Musharraf is still occupying the Army House due to grave security concerns.

Following the recovery of mobile phones and SIMs from Sheikh Omar, the Sindh Home Department took serious action and suspended (on Dec 1, 2008) Hyderabad Central Jail Superintendent Abdul Majid Siddiqui, his deputy Gul Mohammad Sheikh and four other jail officials on charges of showing criminal negldigence.

According to the Sindh inspector general prisons, both had been suspended by the Home Department on complaints of corruption and maladministration. The IG prisons said there were complaints of serious nature against them, such as providing cell phones and other banned facilities to prisoners, corruption and maladministration. An inquiry officer has already been appointed to probe the charges.

The most astonishing aspect of the episode is that the scrutiny of Omar Sheikh’s mobile phone records proved he had been even calling Maj-Gen (retd) Amir Faisal Alavi, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army. He was shot dead in Islamabad on Nov 19, 2008 by unidentified gunmen.

Although, the Interior Ministry officials are not ready to speak on the issue, a recent story filed by Carey Schofield of Sunday Times had quoted Maj-Gen Amir Faisal Alavi as having told her during an Islamabad meeting four days before his murder that he knew he would be killed by his own comrades, as he had threatened to expose the Pakistani generals who had been cutting deals with Taliban insurgents.

Sheikh Omar Saeed has not divulged any information so far as to why he had been calling Alavi. But Musharraf has stated in his book “In the Line of Fire” that Omar was originally recruited by the British intelligence agency MI-6 while studying at the London School of Economics.

Omar was sent to the Balkans by MI-6 to engage in Jihadi operations, according to Musharraf, who went on to opine: “At some point, he probably became a rogue or double agent. Sheikh Omar happens to be a British citizen of Pakistani descent, who had first served five years in prison in Delhi in the 90s in connection with the 1994 abduction of three British travellers. But he was released in the first week of 2000 along with Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar and eventually provided a safe passage to Pakistan by the Taliban regime, after India was forced to accept demands of the hijackers of Indian Airliner IC-814.

“Two years later, on Feb 12, 2002, Omar surrendered to Brigadier (retd) Ejaz Hussain Shah, his former handler in the ISI, after being accused of abducting Daniel Pearl. At an initial court appearance in April 2002, Omar had almost confessed to his crime by stating: “I don’t want to defend myself. I did this… Rightly or wrongly, I had my reasons. I think our country shouldn’t be catering to American needs.”

As a matter of fact, it is five-and-a-half years since an anti-terrorism court in Karachi sentenced him to death. Omar, a graduate from the London School of Economics, became a Jihadi for the high-profile Pearl murder.

It was on July 15, 2003 that Omar and his three accomplices were awarded life imprisonment by Justice Ali Ashraf Shah in a heavily fortified makeshift court, set up in a bunker underneath a prison inside the Hyderabad Jail. No journalist was allowed to attend the court proceedings and the venue had to be changed three times because of bombing threats and security concerns.

The trial judge was also changed thrice. Forensic scientists initially refused to attend the exhumation of the court for fear they would be killed. Police personnel who were known to confront all kinds of savage criminals behaved like lambs in front of the terrorist and police officers were intimidated by him in the court of law in front of the judge.

As soon as the July 15, 2003 verdict was announced, Omar, who had already been declared a dangerous prisoner and confined to an isolation death cell, reacted defiantly, saying that he would retaliate against the authorities for arranging the sentence. In a message read out by his lawyer outside the court room, Sheikh Omar said: “We shall see who will die first. Either I or the authorities who have arranged the death sentence for me.” Almost six months later, in December 2003, Gen Musharraf survived two separate assassinations attempts in Rawalpindi. The authorities suspect that Sheikh Omar had links with the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up to assassinate Musharraf and the attempts owed to the death penalty awarded to Omar.

As things stand, the anti-terrorist court’s verdict has not been implemented so far and Sheikh Omar continues to avoid being sent to the gallows due to repeated adjournments of his appeal against conviction, pending in the Sindh High Court for years now. Reports emanating from the Hyderabad Central Jail say the guards stationed outside Omar’s death cell are rotated almost daily because he has the ability to influence anyone he meets.

As a matter of fact, Omar had actually managed to prevail upon the first four police constables deployed outside his cell, with all of them growing beards within days after they were assigned to guard his ward. The jail authorities say if the guards outside his cell are not rotated every day, Omar is fully capable of bringing the entire jail staff round to his view. He is presently reading books on history, particularly on World War-I and II, the Cold War and the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

Pakistan general killed in drive-by


UK may help find Pakistani general’s killers

Letter from Maj. Gen. Amir Alavi to General Kayani, to request restoration of his benefits and his honor.]

Pakistan general killed in drive-by

Bruce Loudon

A FORMER head of Pakistan’s top anti-terrorist fighting force was killed last night in a drive-by shooting on the outskirts of Islamabad.

Major General Amir Faisal Alvi was driving from Rawalpindi to his home in the capital when gunmen on a motorbike and in an SUV sprayed his sedan with automatic gunfire.

The attackers are suspected of being linked to al-Qa’ida and Taliban militants, who are based in the tribal regions where General Alvi ran the covert operations of the Special Services Group until his retirement two years ago.

The assassination came as a senior al-Qa’ida operative was among six militants killed in the first US missile strike in Pakistan outside the tribal regions.

Sources said Abdullah Azam al-Saudi had been identified by US intelligence officials as the main link between al-Qa’ida’s senior command and Taliban networks in the border region.

He was killed when a suspected US drone hit a house in northwestern Bannu district, on the border of the tribal territory.

Saudi is the second high-profile al-Qa’ida operative killed in recent US missile strikes near the Afghan border.

Egyptian Abu Jihad al-Masri, described by the US as al-Qa’ida’s propaganda chief, was killed in a November 1 missile strike in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Because of General Alvi’s background as commander of Pakistan’s most effective anti-terrorist strike force, he was a target in the growing violence in the nuclear-armed nation.

The SSG, in addition to being in the vanguard of attacks against al-Qa’ida and the Taliban, also provides security for Pakistan’s top civilian and military leaders.

Militants have targeted other top military officers, but the way in which General Alvi was killed has sent shockwaves through Pakistan’s present and past power elite, many of whom live around Islamabad.

“This is dreadful news and shows just how rapidly things are deteriorating here,” a senior former general told The Australian last night.

“Even retired people who held posts in which they were involved in defending the country against terrorism are no longer safe.”

Because of his role in commanding the SSG, General Ali was one of the most high-profile of Pakistan’s former military leaders.

Security has deteriorated alarmingly in Pakistan in recent months, with regular suicide bombings and other attacks in Islamabad and elsewhere across the Islamic nation.

Zionist “Blackwater” Type Corporation Gains Legal Foothold In India

f0fee922-2f06-43b6-b987-1f6df6decead100_100_secvpf(Left )Anil Puri, Executive Director of the APS Group with Asaf Nadel, CEO, Ares Group at the announcement of the joint venture for providing security services in the country on Monday

Indian firm inks deal with Israeli security company

Special Correspondent

(Left )Anil Puri, Executive Director of the APS Group with Asaf Nadel, CEO, Ares Group at the announcement of the joint venture for providing security services in the country on Monday

MUMBAI: Israel-based global security firm ARES Group and AP Securitas Group of India on Monday inked a deal to provide high-tech security solutions – a step that assumes significance in the wake of 26/11 terror attacks – in which Jewish people were also targets of Pakistani terrorists.

The new company ‘ARES-APS Security Services Pvt Ltd’ will bring together a professional and talented team of experts and would synergise the strengths, experience, intelligence and networks of the two companies. “The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai have clearly established that the security scenario in India has changed radically and for all the times to come. It requires a paradigm shift in the manner in which security services have to be provided in these changed circumstances,” said Anil Puri, Executive Director of APS Group.

Commenting on the development, Asaf Nadel, CEO of ARES Group said that his company is expanding its group in the region with the tie-up. “Currently we are present in over half a dozen countries like US, Russia, Turkey, Nigeria, Namibia and with the new tie-up we will be able to bring to India and the region, world-class technology, expertise and capabilities in the new security paradigm,” he said.

The ARES-APS is aiming to provide specialized security services and manpower to hotels, hospitality industry, aviation, mega events, VIP protection, financial institutions, retail and services sector. It would also provide specialized training, psychological profiling, polygraphy testing and realibility analysis of personnel. It would also help in loss prevention and fraud control.

UK may help find Pakistani general’s killers

[SEE: Letter from Maj. Gen. Amir Alavi to General Kayani, to request restoration of his benefits and his honor.]


UK may help find Pakistani general’s killers

div#related-article-links p a, div#related-article-links p a:visited { color:#06c; }

The brother-in-law of VS Naipaul, the British novelist and Nobel laureate, was murdered last month after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants.

Major-General Faisal Alavi, a former head of Pakistan’s special forces, whose sister Nadira is Lady Naipaul, named two generals in a letter to the head of the army. He warned that he would “furnish all relevant proof”.

Aware that he was risking his life, he gave a copy to me and asked me to publish it if he was killed. Soon afterwards he told me that he had received no reply.

“It hasn’t worked,” he said. “They’ll shoot me.”

Four days later, he was driving through Islamabad when his car was halted by another vehicle. At least two gunmen opened fire from either side, shooting him eight times. His driver was also killed.

This weekend, as demands grew for a full investigation into Alavi’s murder on November 18, Lady Naipaul described her brother as “a soldier to his toes”. She said: “He was an honourable man and the world was a better place when he was in it.”

It was in Talkingfish, his favourite Islamabad restaurant, that the general handed me his letter two months ago. “Read this,” he said.

Alavi had been his usual flamboyant self until that moment, smoking half a dozen cigarettes as he rattled off jokes and gossip and fielded calls on two mobile phones.

Three years earlier this feted general, who was highly regarded by the SAS, had been mysteriously sacked as head of its Pakistani equivalent, the Special Services Group, for “conduct unbecoming”. The letter, addressed to General Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of army staff, was a final attempt to have his honour restored.

Alavi believed he had been forced out because he was openly critical of deals that senior generals had done with the Taliban. He disparaged them for their failure to fight the war on terror wholeheartedly and for allowing Taliban forces based in Pakistan to operate with impunity against British and other Nato troops across the border in Afghanistan.

Alavi, who had dual British and Pakistani nationality, named the generals he accused. He told Kayani that the men had cooked up a “mischievous and deceitful plot” to have him sacked because they knew he would expose them.

“The entire purpose of this plot by these general officers was to hide their own involvement in a matter they knew I was privy to,” he wrote. He wanted an inquiry, at which “I will furnish all relevant proof/ information, which is readily available with me”.

I folded up the letter and handed it back to him. “Don’t send it,” I said. He replied that he had known I would talk him out of it so he had sent it already. “But”, he added, “I want you to keep this and publish it if anything happens to me.”

I told him he was a fool to have sent the letter: it would force his enemies into a corner. He said he had to act and could not leave it any longer: “I want justice. And I want my honour restored. And you know what? I [don’t] give a damn what they do to me now. They did their worst three years ago.”

We agreed soon afterwards that it would be prudent for him to avoid mountain roads and driving late at night. He knew the letter might prove to be his death warrant.

Four days after I last saw him, I was in South Waziristan, a region bordering Afghanistan, to see a unit from the Punjab Regiment. It was early evening when I returned to divisional headquarters and switched on the television. It took me a moment to absorb the horror of the breaking news running across the screen: “Retired Major General Faisal Alavi and driver shot dead on way to work.”

The reports blamed militants, although the gunmen used 9mm pistols, a standard army issue, and the killings were far more clinical than a normal militant attack.

The scene at the army graveyard in Rawalpindi a few days after that was grim. Soldiers had come from all over the country to bury the general with military honours. Their grief was palpable. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Kayani and most of the country’s military leadership.

Friends and family members were taken aback to be told by serving and retired officers alike that “this was not the militants; this was the army”. A great many people believed the general had been murdered to shut him up.

I first met Alavi in April 2005 at the Pakistan special forces’ mountain home at Cherat, in the North West Frontier Province, while working on a book about the Pakistani army.

He told me he had been born British in Kenya, and that his older brother had fought against the Mau Mau. His affection for Britain was touching and his patriotism striking.

In August 2005 he was visiting Hereford, the home of the SAS, keen to revive the SSG’s relationship with British special forces and deeply unhappy about the way some elements of Pakistan’s army were behaving.

He told me how one general had done an astonishing deal with Baitullah Mehsud, the 35-year-old Taliban leader, now seen by many analysts as an even greater terrorist threat than Osama Bin Laden.

Mehsud, the main suspect in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto late last year, is also believed to have been behind a plot to bomb transport networks in several European countries including Britain, which came to light earlier this year when 14 alleged conspirators were arrested in Barcelona.

Yet, according to Alavi, a senior Pakistani general came to an arrangement with Mehsud “whereby – in return for a large sum of money – Mehsud’s 3,000 armed fighters would not attack the army”.

The two senior generals named in Alavi’s letter to Kayani were in effect complicit in giving the militants free rein in return for refraining from attacks on the Pakistani army, he said. At Hereford, Alavi was brutally frank about the situation, said the commanding officer of the SAS at that time.

“Alavi was a straight-talking soldier and some pretty robust conversations took place in the mess,” he said. “He wanted kit, skills and training from the UK. But he was asked, pretty bluntly, why the Pakistani army should be given all this help if nothing came of it in terms of getting the Al-Qaeda leadership.”

Alavi’s response was typically candid, the SAS commander said: “He knew that Pakistan was not pulling its weight in the war on terror.”

It seemed to Alavi that, with the SAS on his side, he might win the battle, but he was about to lose everything. His enemies were weaving a Byzantine plot, using an affair with a divorced Pakistani woman to discredit him.

Challenged on the issue, Alavi made a remark considered disrespectful to General Pervez Musharraf, then the president. His enemies playeda recording of it to Musharraf and Alavi was instantly sacked.

His efforts to clear his name began with a request that he be awarded the Crescent of Excellence, a medal he would have been given had he not been dismissed. Only after this was denied did he write the letter that appears to many to have sealed his fate.

It was an action that the SAS chief understands: “Every soldier, in the moment before death, craves to be recognised. It seems reasonable to me that he staked everything on his honour. The idea that it is better to be dead than dishonoured does run deep in soldiers.”

Alavi’s loyalty to Musharraf never faltered. Until his dying day he wanted his old boss to understand that. He also trusted Kayani implicitly, believing him to be a straight and honourable officer.

If investigations eventually prove that Alavi was murdered at the behest of those he feared within the military, it may prove a fatal blow to the integrity of the army he loved.

Britain and the United States need to know where Pakistan stands. Will its army and intelligence agencies ever be dependable partners in the war against men such as Mehsud?

James Arbuthnot, chairman of the defence select committee, and Lord Guthrie, former chief of the defence staff, were among those who expressed support this weekend for British help to be offered in the murder investigation.

Inside the Pakistan Army by Carey Schofield will be published next year by Soap Box Books.