Walid Phares on Mumbai
For several years, frequent AT contributor and terrorism expert Walid Phares has been predicting the kind of "urban jihad" we saw in Mumbai where a small handful of terrorists could take control of an entire city while racking up a large body count.
In an interview with the Indian online journal Daily News and Analysis (DNA), Dr. Phares uncovers the motive for the attack:
At one level, to instill shock and awe worldwide, much like the 9/11 attacks. On the regional level, there may be another motive. Jihadis in Pakistan have been under pressure, especially under the new President (Asif Zardari), because of the ongoing military operations in Waziristan. The jihadis’ strategic objective was to break down the rapprochement between India and Pakistan. If that happens, Pakistan will be forced to pull back units operating against the Taliban and move them to the border with India.
That would ease pressure on the Taliban.
He also responds to the India-Pakistan question:
Indian citizens are seething with rage, sensing a Pakistani link to the attack. How should India respond to Pakistan’s inability or unwillingness to go after jihadis?
This matter has to be internationalized: if we leave it to India and Pakistan, then anger will take over. The US, Europe and Russia should convene a meeting against the jihadi challenge.
Second, the Pakistan government must send out a strong signal that it will combat terrorism. Perhaps the Pakistan prime minister should visit Mumbai and declare from there that both countries are united in the fight against terrorism. Third, inside Pakistan, terrorist organizations must be given a strong message that ‘any attack on India is an attack on us’.
What more can Pakistan be doing to fight terrorism?
Why should not India launch aerial strikes on terrorist hideouts in Pakistan, just as the US does when its troops in Afghanistan are attacked?
Such aerial attacks won't solve the problem. What we need is an international framework for ground-level attacks. Pakistanis must feel they are a part of an international and regional consortium. Once they're in, you can launch activities and say, ‘The Pakistanis are part of it’. Even if in reality they may not be. The Pakistan intelligence service is penetrated by jihadis, and the Pakistani government doesn’t know how deeply it’s been infiltrated.
The Obama transition team seems keen to bring pressure on India to address the Kashmir issue. When Obama is in the White House, he will have to look at the realities. The problem is not Kashmir, but the jihadis in Kashmir.
Read the rest of the interview here.