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Mumbai fallout « Previous | |Next »
December 2, 2008

The perpetrators of the siege of cosmopolitan Mumbai (India's commercial and cultural capital) are possibly linked to the Kashmir-orientated Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure / LeT), which killed around 174 people, have raised tensions between India and Pakistan. There are suggestions that the gunman who attacked Mumbai---'the sinful city' for the righteous believers in the jihad---- were linked to elements of Pakistan's intelligence services and security establishment.

Though these attacks indicate that cities had become the theatres for asymmetric war this event is not part of what the Americans call the "global war on terrorism"---the shorthand is 9/11, meaning just the latest example of militant Muslims targeting 'the West'. That interpretation, favoured by the chest-thumping the American right at National Review ignores India's complicated history of Hindu-Muslim relations.

Secondly, we have Pakistan's continued commitment to terrorism as an instrument of state policy initially against Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan in the 1980, then subsequently in Kashmir, and its support of the Afghan Taliban that is designed to counter the influence of India in the region. As much of the north of the country slips out of government control the fundamentalist Islamists have increasingly followed their own agendas to the extent that they now feel capable of launching well-equipped and well-trained groups into Indian territory.

Pakistan has increasingly pursued its clandestine proxy war against India in Kashmir and on the Indian mainland through layers and layers of self-managing and non-state groups. The Pakistan Army persistents in pursuit of its objective of military pressure against India in Kashmir and political-military pressure on India more broadly.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:12 AM | | Comments (3)


The fallacy at the heart of the Bush administration’s “global War on Terror”, which was the organising principle of US foreign policy campaign, is the global bit. These jihadist groups are disparate ones with different goals and concerns. For instance, Lashkar-e-Tobiba (LET) was originally fostered by Pakistan's military Inter-Services Intelligence division (ISI) for its proxy wars in Kashmir. Pakistan's weak and shambolic civilian government has little control over the military and ISI, which is a state within a state.

Another consideration is that India is a strong supporter of the embattled state of Afghanistan. Pakistan sees that support as a threat given its hostile history with India. Hence Pakistan's tacit support for the Afghan Taliban and allowed them safe haven in Pakistan's tribal territories along the border with Afghanistan.

It doesn't make sense to talk in terms of the global threat posed by Islamist terror to the West since the Mumbai attack is primarily about India Pakistan relations and was aimed to provoke a new confrontation.

In New Matilda Shashi Tharoor comments:

the terrorists knew exactly what they were doing. Theirs was an attack on India's financial nerve centre and commercial capital, a city emblematic of the country's energetic thrust into the 21st century. They struck at symbols of the prosperity that was making the Indian model so attractive to the globalising world — luxury hotels, a swish café, an apartment house favoured by foreigners. The terrorists also sought to polarise Indian society by claiming to be acting to redress the grievances, real and imagined, of India's Muslims.

by attacking Mumbai the terrorists hit India's economy, its tourism, and its internationalism, and they took advantage of the city's openness to the world. A grand slam. He says that this horror was not homegrown.

The neocon's view is that of radical Islam's war on the West etc Mervyn Bendle, uses the Mumbai event to argue in The Australian that it reveals:

radical changes in the strategy of the global jihad movement as it shifts its focus from the hard military targets of the "near enemy" in Afghanistan or Iraq, to the "far enemy" represented by soft targets such as the private citizens of democratic societies such as the US, Britain, and Australia, especially where they can be found in countries such as India, Pakistan, or Indonesia....It is now clear that jihadi terrorists have the capability to attack Westerners both within their societies and internationally, where they gather for business or tourism.

Notwithstanding the India Pakistan focus of this attack, Australian conservatives are saying that its all part of the growing war on the West. The implication is that there needs to be a crackdown on Muslims in Australia because they are the enemy within.