Last Wednesday’s massive terrorist attack on Mumbai will have repercussions that extend far beyond the borders of India and Pakistan. This is a major offensive by the Global Jihad, which has no intention of resting on its laurels after killing a mere 200 or so people in India. The battle is just beginning.
But to hear the once and future leaders of the Free World tell it, there’s nothing to see here, and we can just move along. Pundita points out the contrast between the muscular response from the leaders of Russia and Japan and the pusillanimous statements issued in the names of both Barack Obama and George W. Bush. From the White House we got this:
The United States condemns this terrorist attack and we will continue to stand with the people of India in this time of tragedy.
There’s only “terrorism”. There’s no jihad. Islam is not mentioned. If we say anything about it, we might damage the “interfaith dialogue” upon which the White House, the UN, and the Vatican have placed so much hope.
Have you noticed that in every incident in which Muslims kill or attempt to kill infidels, “no connection with terrorism is involved”? Before the bodies are even covered up and rolled away on the gurneys, the spokesmen grab the microphones to assure the public that they have nothing to worry about. Despite the fact the Americans, Britons, Spaniards, Italians, etc., are killed while their murderers shout “Allahu Akhbar!”, there is “no connection with terrorism”.
Such denials are not possible in Mumbai. Even so, the Indian government seems to be taking the same sort of tack, playing down the connections with Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Taliban. But not all Indians are buying it. The prominent terrorism expert B. Raman has a lengthy and lucid point-by-point analysis in SAAG entitled Mumbai: Lessons for the Future. He notes:
- There were 13 incidents of intense firing with assault rifles at different places, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Train (CST) terminus, where the terrorist operation started at 9-21 PM, the Metro Cinema junction, the Cama and Albless Hospital, outside the Olympia restaurant in Colaba, the lobbies of the Taj Mahal and Oberoi/Trident hotels, and the Leopald Café behind the Taj Mahal Hotel. The terrorists would seem to have chosen the CST for the launching of their strikes because it is named after Shivaji, a Hindu ruler, who fiercely opposed the Muslim rulers of India. Near the Metro Cinema junction, some terrorists hijacked a police vehicle and went around spraying bullets on passers-by.
- There were seven incidents involving explosive devices — outside the Taj Mahal Hotel, in the BPT Colony at Mazgaon, three near the Oberoi/Trident Hotels, the Colaba market and inside a taxi.
- There were many incidents of throwing hand-grenades — two of them at the Cama hospital and on Free Press Road. Hemant Karkare, the legendary head of Mumbai’s Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS), is reported to have been killed in the incident near the hospital.
- There were three incidents of fidayeen style (suicidal, not suicide) infiltration into buildings followed by a prolonged confrontation with the security forces before being killed or captured. These took place in the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi/Trident hotels and in the Narriman House in Colaba, where a Jewish religious-cum-cultural centre is located, headed by a Jewish Rabbi. Jewish people of different nationalities often congregate there. The centre also has cheap accommodation for Jewish visitors from abroad.
And also this:
Almost all the terrorist strikes took place against targets near the sea, indicating thereby that the terrorists, who had reportedly come by sea, were hoping to escape by sea if they managed to survive.
He draws some uncomfortable conclusions about what happened, among them:
|3.||The Government of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh and his Congress (I) are back to their denial and cover-up mode. They play down the possibility of the involvement of Al Qaeda despite tell-tale signs of an Al Qaeda stamp on the strikes. They continue to maintain a silence on the role of sections of the Indian Muslims lest any open projection of this cost them Muslim votes. They continue to highlight the role of the LET, but without highlighting the fact that it is a member of Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF) and that it has many associates in the Indian Muslim community.|
|9.||In my view, the terrorist strikes in Mumbai had the stamp of Al Qaeda in the way they were conceived, planned and executed. There has also been a touch of the Hizbollah of the Lebanon, the Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade and other Palestinian organizations.|
|12.||The success of the terrorists in evading detection by our Coast Guard and the police reveals a serious gap in our maritime counter-terrorism architecture. If this gap is not quickly identified and closed, the vulnerability of the Bombay High off-shore oil installations and the nuclear establishments to terrorist attacks from the sea would be increased. Many of our nuclear and space establishments — not only in Mumbai, but also in other areas — are located on the coast and are particularly vulnerable to sea-borne terrorist attacks.|
|13.||The stamp of Al Qaeda is evident in the selection of targets. The Taj Hotel, old and new, the Oberoi-Trident Hotel and the Narriman House were the strategic focus of the terrorist operation. The terrorist strikes in other places such as railway stations, a hospital etc and instances of random firing were of a tactical nature intended to create scare and panic.|
|14.||The strategic significance of the attacks on the two hotels from Al Qaeda’s point of view arose from the fact that these hotels are the approved hotels of the US and Israeli Governments for their visiting public servants and for the temporary stay of their consular officials posted in Mumbai till a regular house is found for them.|
|17.||The fact that the number of foreigners killed was small would show that the attacks on the foreigners in the hotels was selective and not indiscriminate. Available reports indicate that the terrorists were looking for American, British and Israeli nationals — particularly visiting public servants among them with official or diplomatic passports.|
There have been reports that the Indian army has mobilized on the border with Pakistan, and now comes word that Pakistan is doing the same on their side of the line. According to The Australian:
- - - - - - - - -
Pakistan is withdrawing troops from the fight against al-Qa’ida and the Taliban to redeploy them to its border with India as tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations escalate over the terrorist massacre in Mumbai.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari urged India not to “overreact” after Indian and US officials suggested the militants could have been from the Pakistan-based LET. The group was behind the deadly 2001 assault on the Indian parliament that pushed New Delhi and Islamabad to the brink of war.
Given the mounting evidence of Pakistani — including elements of the ISI — involvement in the attacks, what would constitute an “overreaction” by India? Nuking Islamabad?
The more one delves into the labyrinth of information about Mumbai, the clearer it becomes that some of the world’s major powers, including the United States, Britain, Pakistan, and India itself, have good reasons not to want any close scrutiny of what actually happened. According to The Times of India:
MOSCOW: A top Russian counter-terrorism expert on Sunday underlined that the Mumbai attackers were not “ordinary terrorists” and were probably trained by the special operations forces set up in Pakistan by the US intelligence prior to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The handwriting and character of the Mumbai events demonstrates that they were not ordinary terrorists,” said Vladimir Klyukin, an Afghan war veteran.
“Behind this terrorist attack there are ‘Green Flag’ special operations forces, which were created by the Americans in Pakistan, just an year before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in the initial period were under full US control,” stressed Klyukin, a veteran of the special “Vympel” commando group of the former Soviet KGB.
One of the uncomfortable facts that we all have to live with is that during the Cold War the United States, via the efforts of its intelligence agencies, helped radicalize, motivate, arm, and deploy the various groups of mujahideen that now plague South Asia. The Taliban may have been a new formation when they appeared on the scene in the 1990s, but they emerged from the seething cauldron of jihad that the CIA had so carefully cultivated ten years earlier.
Although the “Deccan Mujahideen” claimed responsibility for what happened in Mumbai, all indications are that Lashkar-e-Toiba, working in concert with elements of Al Qaeda, masterminded the attacks. One analyst, in an interview with AKI, rejects the idea that the Deccan Mujahideen even exist:
The deadly attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai bear the hallmarks of a foreign, Al-Qaeda-inspired group, a New Delhi terrorism expert Vikram Sood told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Thursday. Sood described the attacks as a “very serious” assault on the Indian state.
Suspected Islamist militants launched a series of coordinated gun and hand-grenade attacks late on Wednesday, killing over 100 people, injuring nearly 300. A number of hotel guests were also taken hostage in the attacks.
“I don’t believe it was the Deccan Mujahadeen at all,” Sood said, referring to a previously unknown group which claimed responsibility for the Mumbai attacks.
“The group doesn’t exist. It’s a red herring,” he told AKI.
The militant group that carried out Wednesday’s attacks in Mumbai appeared to be extremely well trained and well backed in terms of logistics, money and weapons, Sood said.
“From the TV shots of the terrorists, they are totally in control and have a long-term perspective” he said.
He described the Mumbai attacks as a “qualitative leap” compared with other recent attacks in India such as the May serial blasts in the western Indian city of Jaipur which killed at least 66 people and left about 200 wounded.
And what about Pakistan?
Sood declined to comment on whether a Pakistani militant group might be responsible, saying it was “too early to say”.
But he said: “This kind of attack needs careful planning, reconnaissance, knowing the behaviour of security personnel and those coming and going, and how to be inconspicuous.”
Besides the evidence of a seaborne deployment from Pakistan, the incidents involved such careful long-term logistical planning that spontaneous local jihad groups would have been unable to manage them. According to NDTV:
Mumbai: Preparations Began Four Months Back
According to the police, Qasab had booked rooms in the Taj where the explosives were kept.
Terrorists showed Mauritian ID Cards and posed as students to the hotel. Indian ID cards were recovered from two terrorists at the Oberoi Trident.
A recce of all the locations were done around four months ago by a different group of terrorists.
They studied the satellite pictures of the hotels, various locations and made detailed maps.
In addition, as reported by The Times of India, the plan was executed out with great precision:
Terrorists Did Recce, Set Up Control Rooms in Luxury Hotels
MUMBAI: Terrorists who struck Mumbai had set up advance “Control Rooms” in the luxury Taj and Trident Oberoi hotels which was also targeted and did prior reconnaissance executing plans worked “over months”, Union Cabinet minister Kapil Sibal said on Thursday night.
Sibal said the unprecedented terror attack in the country’s financial capital was planned “over months” and the terrorists were not carrying AK-47 rifles but sophisticated weapons like MP-6.
“The terrorists have identified the targets earlier. Somebody had told them earlier. Enormous planning went into the incident. The terrorists were dropped by a mother ship and travelled in rubber boats which they docked (at Mumbai),” Sibal said.
Terrorists were not attacking people at random. It was a well though out plan, Sibal said.
They had targeted certain key police officers even when they were wearing vests and protective head gears, he said, adding the terrorists shot them dead within minutes of their arrival.
The Union Home Ministry said the terrorists chose the sea route and came to the city in boats before spreading out in the metropolis to carry out the sinister strike.
And the Wilmington Star-News has this to add:
The Times of India newspaper reported on Friday that the Coast Guard had found an Indian fishing trawler, the Kuber, that disappeared on Nov. 14. The Kuber may have been used as a so-called mother ship to transport inflatable rafts within range of South Mumbai, much as pirate mother ships from Somalia, across the Arabian Sea from Mumbai, have used smaller boats to hijack tankers and other vessels in recent weeks.
Not all of the terrorists may have entered Mumbai on the night of the attack. Local news media, citing anonymous law enforcement officials, are reporting that one captured terrorist has said during interrogation that some members of his group had stayed in hotels for four days before the attacks to prepare for them and even to store ammunition in the rooms.
When the terrorists landed in front of Mr. Dhanur’s boat, they were just three blocks straight down a narrow lane from Nariman House, a five-story building housing a Jewish center run by a young rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, and his wife, Rivka, who had moved from New York.
Determining exactly how the attack was planned and carried out depends on collecting active intelligence from someone in the know. Most of the terrorists died during the shootouts that ended the siege, but at least one of the perpetrators survived. His name is Azam Amir Kasav (or Kasab), and he is being treated at a hospital in Mumbai under the watchful eye of the Indian authorities.
Kasav became the poster boy for the Mumbai atrocities when his picture was taken by a photographer for the Mumbai Mirror. Today the same newspaper reports that Kasav is ready to forego his 72 virgins, which is good news indeed for those who wish to learn more about the planning and execution of his operation:
“I Want to Live” Says Captured Terrorist
His swaggering image as he walked around Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus was captured by Mumbai Mirror photo editor Sebastian D’Souza, and was the first glimpse of the terrorists who have held Mumbai hostage over the last 48 hours.
Now we can also tell you who this man is and how he has become the vital link for investigating agencies to crack the terror plot. His name is Azam Amir Kasav, he is 21 years old, speaks fluent English, hails from tehsil Gipalpura in Faridkot in Pakistan, and is the only terrorist from this audacious operation to have been captured alive. An ATS spokesperson confirmed that the man captured was indeed the one photographed by us.
On the night of Wednesday-Thursday, Azam and his colleague opened fire at CST before creating havoc at Metro and then moving on to Girgaum Chowpatty in a stolen Skoda, and where they were intercepted by a team from the Gamdevi police station. Azam shot dead assistant police inspector Tukaram Umbale.
But in that encounter, Azam’s colleague was killed and he himself was injured in the hand. He pretended to be dead giving rise to the news that two terrorists had been killed. However, as the “bodies” were being taken to Nair Hospital, the accompanying cops, figured that one of the men was breathing.
According to sources, the casualty ward of Nair hospital was evacuated and the Anti-Terror Squad moved in to interrogate him. Azam who was tightlipped initially, cracked upon seeing the mutilated body of his colleague and pleaded with the medical staff at Nair to save his life. “I do not want to die,” he reportedly said. “Please put me on saline.”
Do you think the Indian authorities share our squeamishness about waterboarding?
One of the details revealed by Azam Amir Kasav is that the terrorists planned to kill 5,000 people during their attacks. This was an ambitious operation, with goals that extended beyond the death of all those infidels.
It’s still too early do draw definite conclusions, but the planners of the Mumbai attacks likely intended some or all of the following:
|1.||Demoralize the Indian populace;|
|2.||Destablize the current Congress Party government in India, throwing the door open for Hindu nationalists, and thus also|
|3.||Increase the likelihood that India and Pakistan will go to war, causing the jihad to go nuclear;|
|4.||Cause severe economic damage to India, adding to the global financial crisis;|
|5.||Serve as an inspiration to pious Muslims in India itself, adding recruits to the cause of jihad, and thus|
|6.||Help the separatist aspirations of Assam and other majority-Muslim areas in India.|
As a general strategy, one may assume that the terrorists are following the time-honored dictum of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, a.k.a. Lenin: “The worse, the better”.
So what happens next? A lot depends on what those troops massing on both sides of the border get up to in the next few weeks.
And there are so many unknowns:
- How will President Barack Hussein Obama handle the issue of a potential nuclear encounter between India and Pakistan?
- Whose arms will he twist, and how hard?
- How likely is it that the new Pakistani government will overcome its current disarray and assert control over the military and the ISI?
- How radicalized are the Muslims within India’s borders?
Too many questions, not enough answers.
Links to additional information:
During the attacks:
- AKI: British Hostages Unconfirmed Says Foreign Office
- AKI: Actress Hid in a Cupboard to Escape Mumbai Attack
- AKI: Jewish Centre Under Siege in Mumbai
- AKI: Bomb Blasts Heard in Hotel by Trapped Australian
- The Times of India: Fight Against Terrorists “Almost Coming to End”: Police Commissioner
- AKI: Rabbi Among Dead Hostages Discovered at Jewish Centre in Mumbai
- Belfast Telegraph: Mumbai Photographer: I Wish I’d Had a Gun, Not a Camera
- Rediff: Doctors Shocked at Hostages’ Torture
- The Times of India: Mumbai Attack: Pak Role Under Scrutiny
- AKI: Kashmir ‘Key Issue’ in Terrorist Attacks
Hat tips: C. Cantoni, JD, TB, VH, and Paul Green.