Written by Laina Farhat-Holzman
November 30, 2008
By Laina Farhat-Holzman
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Many law-abiding Muslims around the world are terribly upset that they fall under a cloud of suspicion that they do not deserve. They are right to be upset-and if they know any of the Islamists who are doing nasty things around the world they should turn them in, hunt them down, and be public in their outrage. If I were Muslim, I would be most unhappy to have such monsters blackening my religion.
We have wondered why there have been no other successful attacks on the United States since 9/11; I think that the recent attacks on multiple targets in India can explain it. India is a soft target; we are not. The group that planned their murderous rampage in India seemed to have organizational skills above and beyond the recent Al Qaeda performances in Iraq and Afghanistan where all they can manage are suicide bombers-often mentally impared women who are detonated from a distance.
This group-whose name (Deccan Mujahadeen) has not been heard of before, may be part of other militant Islamists trained in Pakistan, where they threaten the continued existence of that government as well. But what makes India particularly appealing to them is that it is so easy to attack. A country with a huge population, crowds everywhere, gives terrorists large numbers to kill using a relatively small number of agents.
Only two-dozen attackers managed to carry out their coordinated attacks in Mumbai (Bombay)-focusing this time on upscale hotels (with many foreign visitors as hostages), a railroad station, and a Jewish Center. At least 125 people were killed and 327 grievously wounded.
What can we assume by this attack:
Terrorist Islamists have been going after India for some time, with little international publicity until these attacks. The Indian government did not want to make things worse for their decent Muslim population so they dialed down publicity. But now the world knows.
It would really be a calamity if India were able to pinpoint Pakistani involvement since both countries have nuclear capacity. Pakistan has even more trouble from Islamists, and Pakistan's president lost his wife, Benezir Bhutto, to terrorists. Both countries now have the same enemy-although the training was done in Pakistan. They are having what's known as "blowback," unexpected consequences of something they wrought.
This operation cost plenty of money. Who financed it? If Saudi money and operatives were involved, this will be one more black eye for the Saudis. They were in heavy denial over the 9/11 attack on the US, but we know that they were involved with money and personnel-not the government, but subjects that the government cannot (or will not) control.
Terrorism is indeed a global venture. However, there is nothing that these fanatics offer that the world wants. They are only death and destruction, and headed for the trash-heap of history.
Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author.