Friday, November 28, 2008

Who's Behind the Mumbai Attacks?


Much of the world is transfixed by the violence occurring in India's largest city, as commandoes battle Islamic militants in two luxury hotels and a Jewish community center. Terrorism, like communal violence, has become regular in India. Though far from common terrorism in India is reoccurring, not a single event as we in America have experienced it.
A heretofore unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen (named for the Deccan Plateau) has claimed responsibility. I'm guessing this is misinformation, because it seems very unlikely for an unknown terrorist organization to pull off an attack like their first time. So, who is really behind it?
One captured terrorist has confessed to being a member of Lashkar-e-Toiba, probably the most notorious terrorist group on the subcontinent. I would take this with a large grain of salt. The Indian government has a pattern of blaming attacks on this group, but have insufficient evidence to back it up.
Still, the theory that the Lashkar-e-Toiba is behind the attack seems as likely as not... being the most dangerous terrorist group in the region. This raises some question. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stated that the terrorists were based "outside the country" (read: in Pakistan), and India would not tolerate this from "neighbors". The External Affairs minister has been even more clear in blaming Pakistan.
Do I think that they are right? Yes and no. The current government in Pakistan has made it very clear that it seeks better relations with India. The attack comes on the heals of a Pakistani peace initiative, and has pledged cooperation with India. Considering that nearly all Indian have links to Pakistan's famously out of control intelligence service (the ISI) and the civilian PM has taken steps to bring the ISI under control, it's easy to imagine that a rogue element of the ISI helped with this attack. I haven't yet seen evidence, but I have a suspicion.

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