Friday, November 28, 2008

Fitzgerald: The Mumbai jihadist link to Al-Qaeda, and why it misses the point

“Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism specialist with the Swedish National Defense College, said there are ‘very strong suspicions’ that the coordinated Mumbai attacks have a link to al-Qaida....” -- from this news article (see below) Yes, yes. We have all heard the solemn discussions about whether or not the "Deccan Mujahideen" is a new group, or an old one, or a made-up group, and whether or not there is a "link" to Al Qaeda. And this kind of focusing on the trivial, the nearly insignificant, goes on and on and on, when the real point is this: these are Muslims. They may be from within India. Or not. They may be from Pakistan. Or not. They may have been encouraged or funded by Arab Muslims. Or not. They may have links to Al Qaeda. Or not.

What matters is that they are Muslims attacking, attempting to kill, non-Muslims, in order to obtain their aims. And their aims are to weaken -- in this particular case -- India. And they wish to weaken India in order to make the government of India appease Muslims and meet their demands, whether in Kashmir or in India proper. And once those demands, whatever they may be, are met, other demands from Muslims will be made, and will have to be met, for there is no end to this. The Jihad does not have an end point. There is not a finite goal, but rather an endless series of goals, with each success feeding triumphalism.

The only time this has not happened, in the past 1350 years, is when Muslims have been stopped, either by superior military power -- as outside of Poitiers, or when the Ottomans were repulsed twice at the Gates of Vienna, or by the clear understanding that the Infidels were overwhelmingly more powerful, militarily and economically. That, through the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, was clear to all concerned.

And though Muslims on their own, because of inshallah-fatalism, could never create advanced economies, they have become rich from oil (and gas), a manna that only an accident of geology could provide. Now they enjoy trillions of dollars which, while allowing many of them lives of incredible luxury and decadence beyond anything the Western world has experienced, also helps to fund the Jihad by paying for mosques, madrasas, armies of Western hirelings, propaganda, and campaigns of Daw'a. What's more, at the same time, and quite independently, the Western world, having forgotten its own historical experience of Islam, and its elites, political and media, having lost the ability to heed its real scholars and their cassandra warnings, instead listened to the espositos, the armstrongs, the assorted MESA-Nostra defenders-of-the-faith-and-fatah-of-Islam, and allowed into the Western midst millions of Muslims. They did this without realizing that they brought with them, undeclared, in their mental baggage, an alien and a hostile creed, one that flatly contradicts the principles -- all the principles -- of advanced Western societies.

These trillions in oil revenues, and these millions of Muslims who in an act of civilizational near-criminal negligence, have been permitted to settle deep behind what Muslims themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines, explain the threat of Jihad on a global scale today.

And there is no need to waste valuable time on the radio or television pondering ponderously whether the attackers are domestic or foreign, whether they are connected to Al-Qaeda or not. That may of some interest in helping to round this particular group up. But if too much time is spent on such matters, it distracts from the pedagogic task at hand: to explain to listeners and viewers that the key element here is Islam. It is Muslims pursuing, as they have a duty to pursue, Jihad. In this particular case they have chosen to do so using terrorism, but all around us other instruments, more effective because far less attention-getting, are being used toward the same goal, the same end: the removal of all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam -- everywhere.

That's why, when any "terrorism expert" -- some are good, some are not so good, some are idiotic -- proceeds to enjoy his time on the air discussing endlessly what this group should be called, what other groups it is linked to, what its "cause" is -- it's a case of missing-the-pointness that, at this point in the history of the world, is downright dangerous.

"Battle intensifies at Taj Mahal Hotel
Nov. 26, 2008
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST

Explosions and gunfire intensified at the elegant Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai Friday afternoon as Indian commandos battled with Islamic terrorists holed up inside the building with hostages, two days after a chain of terror attacks across India's financial center left at least 143 people dead and and 288 wounded.

Earlier Friday, Indian commandos ended their siege of the Oberoi hotel and officials said commandos had killed two gunmen there.

"The hotel is under our control," J.K. Dutt, director general of India's elite National Security Guard commando unit, told reporters, adding that 24 bodies had been found. Dozens of people - including a man clutching a baby - had been evacuated from Oberoi earlier Friday.

Security officials said their operations were almost over.

"It's just a matter of a few hours that we'll be able to wrap up things," Lt. Gen. N. Thamburaj told reporters Friday morning.

The group rescued from the Oberoi, many holding passports, included at least two Americans, a Briton, two Japanese nationals and several Indians. Some carried luggage with Canadian flags.

One man in a chef's uniform was holding a small baby. About 20 airline crew members were freed, including staff from Lufthansa and Air France.
"I'm going home, I'm going to see my wife," said Mark Abell, with a huge smile on his face after emerging from the hotel.

Abell, from Britain, had locked himself in his room during the siege. "These people here have been fantastic, the Indian authorities, the hotel staff. I think they are a great advertisement for their country," he said as security officials pulled him away.

The well-coordinated strikes by small bands of gunmen starting Wednesday night left the city shell-shocked.

Late Thursday, after about 400 people had been brought out of the Taj hotel, officials said it had been cleared of gunmen. But Friday morning, army commanders said that while three gunmen had been killed, two to three more were still inside with about 15 civilians.

A few hours after that, Thamburaj, the security official, said at least one gunman was still alive inside the hotel and had cut of electricity on the floor where he was hiding. Shortly after that announcement, another round of explosions and gunfire were heard coming from the hotel.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed "external forces" for the violence - a phrase sometimes used to refer to Pakistani terrorists, whom Indian authorities often blame for attacks.
On Friday, India's foreign minister ratcheted up the accusations over the attacks.

"According to preliminary information, some elements in Pakistan are responsible for Mumbai terror attacks," Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in the western city of Jodhpur.

"Proof cannot be disclosed at this time," he said, adding that Pakistan had assured New Delhi it would not allow its territory to be used for attacks against India. India has long accused Islamabad of allowing militant Muslim groups, particularly those fighting in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, to train and take shelter in Pakistan. Mukherjee's carefully phrased comments appeared to indicate he was accusing Pakistan-based groups of staging the attack, and not Pakistan itself.

Islamabad has long denied those accusations.

Earlier Friday, Pakistan's Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, in Islamabad, denied involvement by his country: "I will say in very categorical terms that Pakistan is not involved in these gory incidents."

The gunmen were well-prepared, apparently scouting some targets ahead of time and carrying large bags of almonds to keep up their energy.

"It's obvious they were trained somewhere ... Not everyone can handle the AK series of weapons or throw grenades like that," an unidentified member of India's Marine Commando unit told reporters, his face wrapped in a black mask. He said the men were "very determined and remorseless."

A US investigative team was heading to Mumbai, a State Department official said Thursday evening, speaking on condition of anonymity because the US and Indian governments were still working out final details.

India has been shaken repeatedly by terror attacks blamed on Muslim militants in recent years, but most were bombings striking crowded places: markets, street corners, parks. Mumbai - one of the most populated cities in the world with some 18 million people - was hit by a series of bombings in July 2006 that killed 187 people.

These attacks were more sophisticated - and more brazen.

They began at about 9:20 p.m. with shooters spraying gunfire across the Chhatrapati Shivaji railroad station, one of the world's busiest terminals. For the next two hours, there was an attack roughly every 15 minutes - the Jewish center, a tourist restaurant, one hotel, then another, and two attacks on hospitals. There were 10 targets in all.

Indian media showed pictures of rubber dinghies found by the city's shoreline, apparently used by the gunmen to reach the area. Both the luxury hotels targeted overlook the Arabian Sea.

Analysts around the world were debating whether the gunmen could have been tied to - or inspired by - al-Qaida.

A previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen claimed responsibility in e-mails to several media outlets. The Deccan is a region in southern India that was traditionally ruled by Muslim kings.

Survivors of the hotel attacks said the gunmen had specifically targeted Britons and Americans, though most of the dead seemed to be Indians and whoever else was caught in the random gunfire.

One of the gunmen "stopped once and asked, 'Where are you from? Any British or American? Show your ID," Alex Chamberlain, a British citizen dining at the Oberoi, told reporters.

Among the dead were two Australians and a Japanese, said the state home ministry. An Italian, a Briton and a German were also killed, according to their foreign ministries.

The United States, Pakistan and other countries condemned the attacks.

Relations between Hindus, who make up more than 80 percent of India's 1 billion population, and Muslims, who make up about 14 percent, have sporadically erupted into bouts of sectarian violence since British-ruled India was split into independent India and Pakistan in 1947.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1227702333602&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull"

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