Because the situation in Mumbai remains fluid, it’s hard to say too much at this early stage. But early reports indicate that today’s terror attacks in India’s most populous city have all the hallmarks of Islamic militant organizations like Al Qaida and other Jihadist driven gangs. The well coordinated sophisticated attacks on multiple locations; the specific targeting of westerners; the fact that no known terror organizations has claimed responsibility (leaving general uncertainty, anxiety, and terror to loom instead); these are all the tried and true techniques of well-oiled terror organizations.

The Taj hotel, the Oberoi Hotel, the JW Marriot, Cafe Leopold – these are all hangouts that I and my colleagues, friends, and family spend considerable time in when in India. They are the locations where a lot of business gets done – at the coffee shops, bars, and expensive restaurants that sit in the hotel lobbies specifically. The terrorist intentions are clear in this regard – to strike at India’s financial hub, to shock and undermine western business interests and investment which in recent years have very much been on the upswing in India.
So now what? Immediate retribution must be quelled. Historically, such Islamic instigated violence in India has triggered vengeful reprisals resulting in the slaughtering of thousands of innocent Muslims across the country. Likewise, many will point to neighboring Pakistan, India’s long-standing rival that again in recent years has served as the training and launching ground for Islamic militants. The temptation to strike deep into the heart of Paksitan will certainly be there if there is any evidence of their regional involvment. Speculation that Paksitan’s intelligence agency the ISI is already rampant.
But, the real problem is MUCH bigger. The real perpitrator here is the global grid of Islamic fanaticism that extends far beyond the Indian subcontinent. In this case, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan may be ground zero for today’s attacks, but the fire that fuels them is planetary. Specfically, the Madrassas – or religious schools – in Pakistan where hatred is bred receive their financing from Saudi sources and other Gulf nations. The fanaticism and hatred itself is largely generated in places like Iran and Palestinian territories. The problem here is deeply rooted in an the inflamed and aggravated epidemic that is Islamic fanaticism.
But of course, we need to even go further. Because where exactly do those Saudi and Gulf sources get their financing? You and me buying their oil. And why exactly is there so much anger and resentment toward the west in places like Palestine and Iran? Because of our mismanaged foreign policy the last twenty years and blind allegiance to the interests of Israel without contemplating the economic consequences on the Islamic world – specifically in the Palestinian territories. And by the way – I am not saying that the US should abandon Israel, but instead carefully construct a new policy with our important ally that may more likely result in a lasting peace.
Alas, now’s not the time to get into a laboarious diatribe about our oil dependence or our foreign policy and blame all the world’s ills on them. But it certainly is time to realize the truly tangled web and context in which today’s attacks occurred. It’ll be all too easy to try and identify the cancer that we all saw today and go and excise it. And by the way, that a necessary procedure. But so is the holistic treatment that must be part of the aftercare, lest we see this malignant terror return in a more virulent form.
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