Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Mumbai bombings

The Pakistanis have always been fond of pointing toward the hand of RAW in any domestic acts of violence even if it was a Shia/Sunni act of violence. The Indians have a similar bogey man in the ISI. The US has an equally ingenuous bogey man in Al Qaeda.

No one wants to recognise that the Economic Policies of all three countries have created a monster which up until now was unarmed but thanks to Afghanistan, they are now equipped with the latest weaponry.

I am not justifying the mayhem in Mumbai or Islamabad which were tragic but simply pointing out that just applying short term solutions or standard answers to a wound which has long been festering will not put a stop to these activities.

Kashmir has suddenly got the attention of the US, not because they care about the Kashmiris but because they see it as a distraction for Pakistan in their so called war on terror. The Mumbai attackers have suddenly put Kashmir back on the front pages. If this was their aim, they more than achieved it except that they never made their demands known.

Militants world wide must be watching with interest the new tactics employed here. This was a suicide attack with a difference. It grabbed media attention for 60 hours rather than 12. How ever no one claimed responsibility, no one made any demands and left the world guessing and pointing fingers.

The impact of this incidence will not stop at highlighting Kashmir. Here is what I foresee:
Congress will almost certainly lose the forthcoming elections in India. Had this happened a month earlier McCain might have won the US elections. Matters will heat up considerably between India and Pakistan ( including punitive Military action by India) and if there is a right wing Govt. in India, Zardari's days are numbered ( which they are in any case). There will be a repeat of this type of terrorism in the area. First there was just Al Qaeda, now there is also the Lashkare Taiba and Jaishae Mohammadi, not to mention the Taliban. These are stateless organisations whose reach is longer than people thought. They are getting better armed and do more planning by the day and they have millions of potential recruits and sympathisers, not just in Pakistan but across the Muslim world.

We have to be very careful how we react to these incidents. 9/11 changed the face of the world. The US went wild and caused untold death and destruction. If India treats this as their 9/11 and react similarly, then the militants would have achieved their goals beyond their wildest dreams.

The Conseqences of US policies will go way beyond any thing they had ever thought of ( See my essay on unintended consequences of US Policy). The Muslim population that is most asleep are the Indian Muslims. The atrocities of Kashmir never woke them up but if they start regarding themselves as part of the Muslim disadvantaged then India will have a huge problem on their hands. Pakistan is in any case is like a time bomb waiting to be ignited. The reaction of the Indian Government to Mumbai may well be the match that ignites it.


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