Thursday, July 21, 2005

Japan Times: The terror lab

jul 21st

another excellent and perceptive article by brahma.

why on earth he isn't on the team that briefs the government i shall never know.
 
 

 
 
 
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The international terror lab

By BRAHMA CHELLANEY

NEW DELHI -- The July 7 London bombings, suspected to be the handiwork of British citizens of Pakistani origin, should serve as a reminder that major acts of international terrorism have first been tried out by Islamists in India before being replicated in the West. Such acts include attacks on symbols of state authority, midair bombing of a commercial jetliner and coordinated strikes on a city transportation system.

India, in fact, is a sort of laboratory where major acts of terror are experimented. Once honed, the acts are then carried out in democracies elsewhere. The jihadist logic is that if India, the world's largest democracy, can be shaken, so can Western democracies.

This suggests that by paying close attention to evolving patterns of terrorism in India, the West may be in a position to anticipate or forestall terror strikes by being better prepared to deal with new terrorist methods.

With terror strikes against Indian targets not receiving the same international media coverage as attacks on Western entities, not many realize that India is a leading victim of international terrorism. Indeed, new methodology employed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's Office of Terrorism Analysis shows India with the dubious distinction of having the highest number of terrorist incidents.

Many in the world have heard about the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, but few know that it replicated the midair bombing over the Atlantic of an Air-India commercial flight from Canada in 1985. The same Air-India bombing technique was also used in the 1989 Libyan-orchestrated attack on a UTA jetliner, which blew up in midair over the Sahara.

The 1993 Bombay bombings have served as a model act of mass terror to jihadists across the world. Hundreds of people were killed inside high-rise buildings in Bombay in a terror campaign that targeted India's financial institutions in a bid to disrupt the economy.

The Bombay bombings, as the Indian defense minister recently said, were "eerily similar in modus operandi and targets to 9/11 in their synchronized, serial character and targeting of state and economic symbols."

Parallels have also emerged between the 1999 hijacking to Kandahar, Afghanistan, of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 and the 9/11 suicide hijackings in the United States, including the similar use of box-cutters and the terrorists' knowledge of cockpit systems. Long before the London and Madrid bombings, terrorists in India had staged coordinated attacks on city trains and buses.

While terrorists in the West continue to prefer "soft" targets, such as businesses, public facilities and tourist sites, the emerging patterns of terror in India show that Islamic extremists are progressing from hit-and-run attacks to daring, suicide assaults on heavily fortified military camps, government buildings and national emblems of power, such as Parliament and the 17th-century Red Fort.

On the eve of the London bombings, five gunmen suspected of belonging to a Pakistan-based terrorist group stormed one of India's most heavily guarded places -- a makeshift Hindu temple at a disputed religious site in Ayodhya -- and breached its security perimeter before being killed by paramilitary police.

If past parallels can be a guide, the West needs to brace up to the possibility of emboldened terrorists carrying out India-style frontal attacks on key economic, political and defense institutions.

India, however, has to blame itself for becoming a growing target of Islamic radicals. India's soft response to terrorism has only encouraged terrorists and their sponsors over the years.

If any state strikes deals with terrorists, it not only promotes stepped-up terrorism against its own interests but also creates problems for other nations. A classic case is India's ignominious caving in on Dec. 31, 1999, to the demands of hijackers holding passengers aboard an Indian commercial jetliner at the terrorists' lair, Kandahar.

It was a surrender unparalleled in modern world history: The Indian foreign minister personally chaperoned three jailed terrorists to freedom in a special aircraft, delivering them to their waiting comrades at Kandahar airport. This act, on the eve of the new millennium, capped a series of Indian mistakes and has exacted unending costs.

One freed terrorist hand-delivered by the Indian foreign minister is the suspected financier of Mohammed Atta, the alleged ringleader in the 9/11 strikes. Ahmed Omar Sheik, a British citizen of Pakistani descent, also orchestrated the 2002 kidnapping-murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.

The other two released men formed separate Pakistan-based terrorist groups that have since carried out numerous attacks in India, including the December 2001 strike on the Indian Parliament.

Exactly a decade before the Kandahar surrender, India spurred the rise of bloody terrorist violence in Kashmir by capitulating to the demands of abductors of the Indian interior minister's daughter.

Terrorists see India as a soft target because it imposes no costs on them and their sponsors. Although the problem of terrorism in India has worsened since the 1980s, it continues to be treated largely as a law-and-order issue.

Each time there is a major terrorist attack, New Delhi promises to send more security forces to the area. To treat terrorism as a law-and-order problem is to do what the terrorists want -- sap your strength. No amount of security can stop terrorism if the nation is reluctant to go after terrorist cells and networks and those that harbor terrorists.

No Americans have been killed by terrorists in the United States since after 9/11 because the U.S. military has gone after terrorists overseas, despite the Iraq invasion serving as a recruiting boon to the al-Qaeda.

India, by contrast, has suffered its biggest terrorist strikes since 9/11. This is because it lacks a strategy to counter threats from qualitatively escalating terrorism, other than to talk peace with Pakistan, still the main sanctuary of al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists.

Brahma Chellaney is professor of strategic studies at the private Center for Policy Research in New Delhi.

The Japan Times: July 17, 2005
(C) All rights reserved

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well.. Well.. how can one expect the peace loving nation like India, which enjoys self inflicted torture like a Masochist, go after terrorists...

We are always busy with apeasement to all...

God save this country...

(By line here, God doesnt mean Allah here)

iamfordemocracy said...

There is another aspect of it. The world reports Palestine, Bosnia, and even Gujarat as Human rights violation items. In contrast, Kashmir or Bangala Desh ethnic cleansing never got reported honestly.

The consequences are that hundreds of ordinary muslims have (erroneously) come to believe that they have been wronged. The world media will have to analyse every injustice honestly, if the world has to come to terms with terrorism.

Kalyani said...

Why are the terrorists captured,kept alive in prison?They ought to be killed on the spot.There is no need at all for any enquiry or apology even;this is what Kautilya's Arthashastram decrees.The terrorist who was escorted by Jaswant Singh was having a ball in the prison,grown grossly obese(at Indian taxpayers'expense)was even holding some healing sessions(sic)for fellow prisoners!Since 1947 we have never had a Statesman ruling our country only immoral and selfserving thugs.Only another Shivajilike figure would be able to pulverise all undesirable elements amongst us without looking up to the white man for ratification.

Vajpayee is suddenly garrulous about the congress's "nuclear sellout"to the USA.Was he any better? He went on all fours genuflecting and launched the infamous Lahore bus ride blahblah at the behest of USA. All in the name of peace of course! It is preposterous to aim for "peaceful coexistence"with inimical elements .It is like attempting to make paayasam(kheer)with milk,sugar,mutton,garlic,chillies and methyl alcohol.That is precisely what the incorrigibly diabolical and idiotic politicians,legislators,press and the judiciary of our Bharatha Desam have been,and are, doing.

That was why PujyaSri Kanchi Paramacharya sagely remarked we have not got any 'Swatantram' but still shackled by 'Paratantram'.

Kalyani said...

Ever since its inception Islam has been nothing but barbaric,our Bharatha Desam its victim.No one ever,not even once, bothered to ruminate over its inhumane tenets,its monstrosity.After 9/11,when the West turned its searchlight towards "them"suddenly some of them pose to be standing in relief from the "radicals"plaintively bleating "this is not real Islam...blahblah...".

There are two categories of people---"Dharma mitras"and "Kaarya mitras".The former are consistently virtuous espousing Dhaarmic values in all aspects of life.We do not thumb through a book to know what is right and what is not.The latter are the egregiously selfish people.Just because the muslims are under scrutiny by the powerful and wealthy West(unlike the weak kneed India which has no true empathizers,leave alone allies)the hitherto apathetic and callous have started feigning contrition and expiation, insisting on integration with the host country.

They do not want to relinquish whatever creature comforts and perks life in the West offers.Simple.No soul searching at work.Self preservation,period.

In Mahabharatham,Bhishmar and Dronacharya did not disrobe Paanchali but sat there, immobile,may be wringing their hands(?). Hence they too were sentenced to death by Sri Krishna Paramathma!No clemency or lenient punishment there. I wish people understood the 'spirit'of Dharmam and not just the letter.The callous West is no better,for who,Hindus are expendable.Sudden wooing of the latter is due to the detection of intellectual capital etc.