Murder and mayhem in Mumbai
by Salim Mansur
The world yet again witnessed another planned and co-ordinated terror assault by suicidal warriors of the Islamist jihad against a democracy.
The murder and mayhem in Mumbai unleashed by the 10-man squad in a commando-type operation, however, was not just another act of terrorism.
It was an act instead of an ongoing war that Islamists are waging against the United States and its allies, including India and Israel.
It is seven years and counting since 9/11, yet this war remains poorly understood by the public in democracies. Consequently this war, or the global jihad, unlike any previous wars of the modern age confounds democracies.
The global jihad is a low-budget war conducted as terrorist operations by small squads of suicidal warriors equipped to spread maximum death and destruction in urban centres -- Mumbai, New York, London, Madrid, Jerusalem, Baghdad -- of the enemy countries.
It is designed to deliver a "thousand cuts" to frustrate, exhaust and then drive the enemy out of lands -- Israel out of Palestine, India out of Kashmir, the western democracies out of Afghanistan and the Middle East -- Islamists claim as their own.
Islamists hold no territory, nor do they have one authoritative control, command and intelligence centre directing their global jihad. Yet Islamists are held together by Islamism -- a bigoted and perverted ideological reduction of Islam into a cult of global warfare.
Islamism attracts an endless supply of warriors from broken cultures and failed societies of the Arab-Muslim world. But Islamists can function only with the knowledge and collusion of power holders in Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and, most importantly, Pakistan.
The refusal or inability of power holders to shut down Islamist activities results from either their weakness or their calculation to derive strategic gains for themselves from the global jihad.
Ajmal Amir Kasab, 21-year-old member of the terrorist squad captured alive in Mumbai, is reportedly telling his police interrogators "Jihad means to kill, become famous and make God happy."
Kasab's voice will go unheeded by those in democracies firmly invested in the view of "root causes" to explain global jihad, and what needs to be done in addressing them to negotiate peace settlements with Islamists.
Kasab also reportedly disclosed ties with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), an Islamist organization based in Pakistan with links to al-Qaida, and operationally focused on waging war against India inside Kashmir. The collusion between LeT and the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of the Pakistani military is indisputable.
In July 2008 the Indian embassy in Kabul was bombed in a suicide attack killing 41, including India's defence attache, and injuring some 140 people. Afghani officials accused Pakistan's ISI operatives of the bombing.
Similarly, a December 2001 attack on India's Parliament in New Delhi likely was carried out by Islamists operating out of Pakistan. In recent months homegrown or foreign-born Islamists have carried out numerous bombings in cities to undermine India's economy and provoke religious strife.
New Delhi's failure to plan and execute an effective war strategy for defeating Islamists is the same as that of western democracies.
Any winning strategy by India and the West will require, however, publicly naming the enemy and understanding well the nature of the war Islamists have been waging for some time now.