Calm Down Over Mumbai, please.

Indiapage1mapofbritlands "Top Indian officials have suggested that groups based in Pakistan had some involvement in the attacks, but the officials have not explicitly blamed the Pakistani government. The options on the table for responding, officials and analysts said, range from the suspension of diplomatic relations to the most extreme and least likely, a cross-border raid into Pakistan against suspected training camps for militants.

On Monday, in response to the attacks and India’s charges, the Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, called for a national security conference to be held Tuesday with the aim of developing a policy on India, according to Reuters. Pakistan has denied any role in the attacks, calling them a "barbaric act of terrorism."

While Indian officials insisted publicly that the mayhem was carried out by only 10 heavily armed men, there were new indications that others had been involved and that the attackers had at least some accomplices prepositioned on the ground."  NY Times


Now is the time for everyone to calm down and wait to see what is the finding of the joint investigation of the Mumbai attacks by India and Pakistan.

These two countries were born in enmity for each other at the time of the British departure from their Indian Empire. They are naturally filled with suspicion and hostility for each other and both have nuclear weapons.  They have been to war against each other before and have nearly gone to war against each other on other occasions.  The occasion that I remember the best was the crisis engendered by the Indian military exercise called "Brass Tacks."  Preparations for that war game was interpreted by Pakistan as "cover" for preparations for actual war.  Diplomatic interest in the Indian "maneuver" was mis-interpreted by Pakistan as indicating foreign "knowledge" of the true Indian plan.  The possibility of war was narrowly averted.

Let us not push these two countries towards war by stoking the fires of their mutual dislike.  The Mumbai attackers may have been Pakistani nationals or perhaps they were not.  They may have been members of some Islamic jihadi group based in Pakistan or perhaps they were not.  Such membership would not necessarily mean that the Pakistan government was involved in these attacks.

Lately, the two countries have bee working to improve their mutual relations.  Let us not "torpedo" that progress in the mainstream media or in the blogosphere.  pl

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16 Responses to Calm Down Over Mumbai, please.

  1. jamzo says:

    mumbai is certainly in a prominent place in people’s minds
    my daughter, my son and a friend separately asked when bombay began to be called mumbai and how come
    i don’t know if european tv bombarded viewers with mumbai terrorist news but us cable coverage has made the india-pakistan relationship the crisis of the week eclipsing economic news for several days
    cnn and msnbc put mumbai into the same kind of programming category they give hurricaines – the major story of the daily narrative – lead story with on-the-scene and background expert reports every hour filling a dominant portion of minutes in every hour all day every day until the story died due to lack of new events
    like hurricaine coverage, the emphasis was on the excitement of on-the-scene reports with video of action looped endlessly until it seemed like canned footage

  2. Jim Bouman says:

    The radical jihadist elements busy on the other side of Pakistan, at the Afghan border, are having to deal with Pakistan’s military.
    By creating mayhem within India, stirring fear of further waves of terrorist attacks, they likely believe they will get some relief.
    Pakistani army units pulled pulled back to the Indian border in preparation for possible retaliation will mean that pressure will lessen on the Taliban, Al Quaeda and Lashkar e Taibi.

  3. Ken Roberts says:

    Well said sir. Thank you.

  4. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Bruce Reidel explains the LeT organization and its relationship with AQ on Brookings website. He concludes, reasonably:
    “Al Qaeda and its allies like LeT and JeM would see this easing of tensions as a threat to their interests. They want conflict between India and Pakistan today just as they did in 2001. They thrive on the hatred the Indo-Pakistan conflict produces. If they are involved in the Mumbai attacks it would be in part to disrupt any chance at easing tensions in the subcontinent and perhaps also to divert Pakistan’s army away from the badlands along the border with Afghanistan to the border with India, again as in 2001.”
    But IMO there seem to be broader strategic designs afoot.
    The use of the term “Deccan” as a nom de guerre of the jihadi (LeT) group that claims to have done this would seem to indicate a shift from the narrow but volatile Kashmiri issue to a broader destabilizing strategy against India aimed at ALL the so-called former “Muslim lands” there, Hyderabad and etc. Sort of a neo-Ghaznavid Sultante of Delhi fantasy perhaps. The specific targeting of UK, US, and Israelis is aimed at a global audience.
    A news analysis in The Hindu makes some interesting points:
    “Lashkar leaders have often claimed that they intend to liberate Hyderabad and Junagadh, both of which they cast as Muslim-ruled states illegitimately seized by India.
    Lashkar pamphlets and posters have long accorded Hyderabad, which they represent as a Muslim state illegitimately captured by India at independence, pride of place in the organisation’s military campaign. According to Lashkar literature, the organisation is committed to a war-unto-death with India.
    Speaking at a three-day convention of the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Murdike, Pakistan, in February 2000, the organisation’s head, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, said that campaigns against Indian rule in Junagadh, and Hyderabad would be its top priorities.
    Earlier, in a 1999 article, the Lashkar had asserted that “fighting is also obligatory until the disbelieving powers and states are subdued and they pay Jizya (capitulation tax) with willing submission.”
    At a November 1999 congregation of the Markaz Dawa wal’Irshad — the Lashkar’s parent organisation, which in 2002 renamed itself the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, or Centre for Proselytisation, Saeed proclaimed: “Today I announce the break-up of India, god willing. We will not rest until the whole of India is dissolved into Pakistan.”

  5. Mad Dogs says:

    My first thoughts analysis was:
    1. The attack was meant to deliberately sabotage the ongoing efforts at warmer relations between India and Pakistan.
    2. If Pakistani citizenship were determined to be the nationality of the culprits, that it might have been “deliberately” designed to be so, and to be that visible, in order to undermine an already fragile Pakistani government.
    3. The attack was meant not to affect India’s political situation so much as it was meant to further destabilize Pakistan by:
    A. Tarnishing their image further as a nexus for terrorism.
    B. Force a further ramp up in Pakistani paranoia as a counterreaction to likely Indian military movements to India’s western border with Pakistan, and thereby causing Pakistan’s own reduction of their existing military and security deployments in FATA.
    C. Increasing the likelihood that Pakistan’s military would again resort to an unpopular coup to replace a tottering and feckless democratically elected civilian government, and thereby increasing popular resentment against those Pakistani elite (the military, security services, and the wealthy upper class), and increasing popular support for a “bottom-up” people’s revolt led by the jihadis.
    As the attack could never have had any real military significance, it’s primary motivation had to be destabilization.
    And destabilization not of India, but Pakistan.

  6. Will says:

    Operation Brass_tacks from wikipedia
    “biggest land exercise since World War II.”…
    “At one point of time nearly 400,000 Indian troops were deployed directly across the Pakistani state of Sindh leading to Pakistani fears that India was displaying an overwhelming conventional superiority and was planning to invade Pakistan and dismember it by surgical strikes.”

    “Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan. Khan stated in an interview to Indian journalist Kuldip Nayyar that Pakistan would retaliate with the nuclear bomb towards any offensive move by India against Pakistan.
    This threat by Pakistan was speculated to have prevented an all out aggression by Indian army,..”
    Then followed the “cricket” diplomacy.
    Has Peace (the absence of all out war) been preserved by MAD?

  7. zanzibar says:

    It seems that US intel had warned India about seaborne attacks in October. The same ABC report states that US counter-terrorism believes that the attackers belonged to a Kashmir separatist organization called Lashkar e Taiba which has ties to AQ.
    This NY Times article states that the FBI is now in India assisting the investigation.
    If the investigation leads to as it seems now to a Pakistan based terrorist organization then hopefully this will enable the coalescing of US, Pakistan & India to a common counter-terrorist strategy that denies safe havens, training facilities and financing for these jihadi organizations. The worst case would be that Pakistan spirals down into a failed state and these jihadis take advantage of the general lawlessness to step up attacks on soft targets worldwide.

  8. WP says:

    As a disclaimer to this opinion, I am only neighborhood lawyer whose whole career has been spent on small matters. I have no military or foreign relations experience, so this post can be taken with a grain of salt if it does not make any sense.
    In my humble opinion, the Mumbai bombing may open up a brief window of opportunity for the world to find some relief from the terrors, both of war and terrorism.
    My neighborhood is ethnically very diverse. In my life, I have met and represented a lot of Pakistanies and Indians. All of them seem to be reasonable and mostly good people who have the same desire for peace and prosperity I have. I think that observation can be generalized across the former British Raj. Generally, Pakistanis and Indians are responsible and ethical people.
    While Pakistan and India were divided by enmity, both now have nuclear weapons, mature polities, and a culture of democracy, individual freedoms, and law. I do not believe either nation is interested in war.
    At the same time, Islamic terrorism is a thing that is taught to the young by the cynical old men who are unhappy with their life and accomplishments and who hope to make their mark somhow by killing innocents.
    It is time for these two societies to root out the ideology of terrorism through concerted education and dialog within each society. Terrorists cannot thrive unless they get some form of tacit support from the families and communities where they arise. It is time for each of these societies to begin developing an ethic that despises terrorism so much that even mothers would turn in their own children.
    The governments have an opportunity to work together to create a continent-wide education program and dialog to promote the suppression of terrorism as an ethical imperative at the most local level. Perhaps, these societies should shun the families that support the atrocities so that no family could ever allow one of its own to become a terrorist lest they become outcasts themselves. These are familial societies and the families must decide to stop the outrages or both societies will suffer a holocost.
    If the countires cannot teach that terrorism is simply barbaric nihilism that can never improve the lot of anyone, they will untimately perish together in the flames of war.
    This “war against terrorism” cannot be won with guns and ammo. No external power can impose an end to it. It can only be ended by a strong societal decision by the societies out of which it arises that it must, simply stop.
    I believe these societies can learn a better way! I hope they get to it, together!

  9. There was a large-scale Jihadist attack in Mumbai in 1993. The past is prologue. Almost never have seen the 93 attack mentioned even though modus vivendi almost exactly the same. Also significant casualties in 1993 in Mumbai. Wonder what the Indian lessons learned program looks like.

  10. greg0 says:

    The Indian government cannot afford to ignore the Mumbai attacks. The Pakistani government cannot afford to ignore an Indian military buildup.
    Wouldn’t a withdrawal of troops from the western Pakistani border open the door to an increased American/Afghani military presence along the border?
    The failure of the ISI to stop these terrorist actions may not prove culpability, but something is certainly amiss. Is it a rogue operation accountable to only itself?

  11. Arun says:

    The Taliban/militants on Pakistan’s western front have offered a ceasefire to Pakistan’s military if the army is to be moved to the eastern front to face India.
    The English press:
    or via MEMRI, the Urdu press: (scroll down)

  12. Arun says:

    In September 2008, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was granted permission by the Pakistani government to import duty-free a bulletproof Land Cruiser worth 25 million rupees from Dubai. Irony: HMS had expressed fear of terrorist attacks.(Lest anyone think that Pakistani jihadis are holed up in caves or confined to remote areas of FATA, this is a mild corrective.)

  13. fnord says:

    The very serious problem in India is named BJP and has the potential of raising tensions inside India according to the wishes of the opposition. The irrational part of Indian politics makes the republican “terrorist!” segment look sane. I think this is the segment they were looking to trigger. It caused a cessation in offensive operations in the north, what was that al about? Also, the MSR got hit in Karachi in paralel…

  14. J says:

    mumbai anomolies:
    In a telephone interview with CBC News from outside the centre, freelance journalist Arun Asthhana said there are reports that some of the militants had stayed at a guest house there [chabad house] for up to 15 days before the attacks.
    “They had a huge mass of ammunition, arms and food there,” Asthhana said.

  15. fnord says:

    Many of them got away. Thats my only conclusion to the Mumbai attacks. 10 people can not possibly hold for 3 days at 3 locations.

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