Barbarians by Boat

28 November 2008

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Terror Hits Mumbai

For the past two days, the Indian city of Mumbai `has been the site of several, synchronized terrorist attacks. Gunmen appeared in the city, arriving by rubber speedboat, and immediately went after a couple hotels, a train station and several other places where westerners might be found. The death toll is approaching 150, and some of the perpetrators have been taken alive. This “new face of terrorism,” as one analyst called it, is much more terrifying than suicide bombers because this takes planning, money and training. These guys are pros.

This view is supported by an unnamed Indian commando who talked to the BBC. “Not everybody can fire the AK series of weapons, not everybody can throw grenades like that," he said. "By using such weapons and explosives, it is obvious that they would have been trained somewhere." The logical place to look for a training base is Pakistan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed the attack on "external forces," which is code for the country to the west. Pranab Mukherjee, his foreign minister, was even more direct. “According to preliminary information, some elements in Pakistan are responsible for Mumbai terror attacks. Proof cannot be disclosed at this time.” The foreign minister added his government had assurances from the Pakistani government that its territory isn't being used for training terrorists. The BBC stated, “Mukherjee's carefully phrased comments appeared to indicate he was accusing Pakistan-based groups of staging the attack, and not Pakistan itself.”

Pakistan's Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar denied his country was involved. "I will say in very categoric terms that Pakistan is not involved in these gory incidents." No one believes that the Pakistani government would sanction this kind of attack. At the same time, few believe that the Pakistani government's writ runs throughout all of Pakistan. With the Afghan border region an area devoid of security for anyone, clearly someone could put together an attack like this without the knowledge of the Pakistani officials.

One of the leads is the detention of the MV Alpha, a cargo vessel that the Indian navy has taken. Its crew members are being questioned as the Indian authorities believe the speedboats came from her. If so, this would be solid evidence that there is involvement by someone in Pakistan. According to Lloyd's, the MV Alpha recently sailed from Karachi, Pakistan.

© Copyright 2008 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Fedora Linux.

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