Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Who Committed the Bombay Bombings?

Suspicion now largely rests upon Kashmiri militants, but at least one former Indian intelligence official, citing the sophistication of the attack, thinks it may have been someone else:

''This is the work of groups which are targeting India as a whole and are not Kashmir specific and are pursuing the larger jihadi agenda,'' said Doval, who maintains strong contacts in the intelligence community. ''They are targeting countries and societies, particularly democratic ones, which they consider to be the antithesis of their version of Islam.''


Terrorism in India in the past has frequently been linked to sectarian violence, or related to the low-grade conlict in Kashmir. But in a message released to the world on April 23 of this year, Osama bin Laden made reference to the Hindu-Muslim conflict in Kashmir, and the attacks yesterday strongly resemble (registration required) the Madrid bombings to which Al Qaeda was linked. It's certainly easy for us here in the U.S. to suspect the hand of Al Qaeda in any highly destructive or visible terrorist attack, but as yet no group has claimed responsibility for yesterday's bombings.

5 comments:

Nat-Wu said...

Too easy. We can't forget that Al Qaeda isn't some global terrorism organization that runs and funds activities around the world. It's entirely possible that this was the action of yet another Islamic terrorist group with only peripheral ties to Al Qaeda. Either way, it heralds more difficult times for India. Given the possibility that whoever was involved came from Pakistan or had help there, it's also going to be a strain on international relations.

adam said...

I agree with Nathan. It's unlikely this was "Al Qaeda," exactly, but rather someone under their banner.

copy editor said...

Al Qaeda is a relatively loose network of smaller groups and individuals operating with an element of central planning, financing, and training. The strength and consistency of those links may be variable depending upon internal decisions and external pressure (tracking funds, for example).

They are, as one expert put it, venture capitalists for terror. They lend logistical and financial support to smaller groups and also plan with their own units. They have elite members who have received more training and assume more responsibility. They also have members who are more or less cannon fodder -- and proud to be it.

This network structure to al Qaeda remains largely unacknowledged by the Western media and nations.

This comment:

We can't forget that Al Qaeda isn't some global terrorism organization that runs and funds activities around the world.

is completely incorrect. The opposite is the stated ambition of al Qaeda.

Nat-Wu said...

That's kind of just arguing about semantics. And yes, that's his ambition, but is that the reality? Let's relate it to what's happening in Somalia. The state department says it knows for sure that Aweys was trained by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. They also claim that Al Qaeda gave Al-Ittihad (Aweys' now defunct group) funding. If it was all true, and even if they maintained ties, does that make Aweys and the ICU a part of Al Qaeda? Not to me. You have lots of terrorist organizations out there with their own agendas. Nobody can deny that Al Qaeda funds terrorism, but we do know that they don't fund all or even most of the terrorist groups in the world. There may be peripheral connections between them and many, many other terrorist groups, but that doesn't mean that Al Qaeda is calling the shots. And just because other groups align themselves with Al Qaeda, it doesn't make them Al Qaeda. Not that I'm trying to underplay the importance of Al Qaeda. But I'm not "completely incorrect" in saying that Al Qaeda isn't behind all the terrorist acts in the world. It's just not true. Unfortunately the world is a much more difficult place than that. We may find that this action was indeed carried out by Al Qaeda, but we also may find out it was carried out by somebody else. We just have to deal with it as it comes and not just assume we know what's going on. That's all I'm saying.

copy editor said...

You originally wrote:

We can't forget that Al Qaeda isn't some global terrorism organization that runs and funds activities around the world.

To which I responded:

is completely incorrect. The opposite is the stated ambition of al Qaeda.

Or, I asserted this to be accurate:

We can't forget that Al Qaeda is some global terrorism organization that runs and funds activities around the world.

Which is not a counterfactual to this:

But I'm not "completely incorrect" in saying that Al Qaeda isn't behind all the terrorist acts in the world.

In fact, you misrepresnted what I wrote as a straw man argument.

You also wrote:

We just have to deal with it as it comes and not just assume we know what's going on. That's all I'm saying.

Which I agree with.

My point is that we're underappreciating al Qaeda's intended threat around the world and at home. We will pay the price for this once again.