Thursday, November 27, 2008

Why Attack Mumbai? And, Why the Taj Mahal Hotel?

I'm no expert, but I figured that terrorists hit Mumbai because it's India's analog to New York City. Or, New York City is America's Mumbai. It depends on how you look at it.

Both cities are vital economic centers, with lots of foreigners around. Wealthy foreigners.

Kill people and set fire to buildings there, and you're in the international news.

Looks like the experts agree with me. Well, one expert. Actually, it's an opinion piece in the Daily Telegraph, over in the U.K.

Here's what Peter Foster said:

"By choosing to attack Bombay's most opulent and iconic hotel, the Islamist terrorists have sent a powerful message to India's leaders, foreign investors and tourists as well as the country's new economic elite...."

Mr. Foster has quite a bit more to say, including:

"... Legend has it that its creator, a Parsi industrialist called Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, commissioned the building after being refused entry to the now-defunct Apollo Hotel, which had a strict Europeans-only policy.

"However with its colonnades of shops stuffed with the world's most expensive brands, what Bombay's rich set consider the ultimate in cosmopolitan luxury, would equally be perceived by Islamist ideologues as a symbol of Western decadence...."

"Western decadence?" Maybe: but it's also an opportunity for locals to cash in on the spending habits of foreigners whose pockets hold cash undergoing spontaneous combustion.

How 'Un-Islamic' Can You Get?!

Assuming that it really is Islamic terrorists who are running this operation, those two hotels are natural targets: places where women run around without a burqa, and may even spend their own money and drive cars (shocking!).

Then, there's the matter of alcohol. The Al Qaeda end of Islam has more in common than they may think with some of the more stiffly starched American Protestants: Both outfits seem convinced that alcohol is bad. Period.

The Deccan Mujahideen Did This, Right?

Maybe. Somebody claiming to represent the group seems to have said so. But, some 'experts' don't believe it. I can see their point. The Mumbai attack was a huge operation, very well planned and executed. The Deccan Mujahideen wasn't known (UPDATE November 29, 2008) before yesterday. You'd think that an outfit capable of killing so many people, and knowing where the elevators are, would have been on the radar.

Who and what killed well upwards of a hundred people in Mumbai will probably be discussed for quite a while. My guess is that the organization is on the same page with Al Qaeda.

Not because I think that all terrorists are Muslims.

India has a huge Hindu majority. This attack seems aimed at Indian interests. A few Hindus in India have blown up things and killed people, but their targets were, by and large, Muslim. Chauvinists among India's ethnic minorities have killed people, but I can't see them putting together an operation on this scale.

And, yesterday's attacks were aimed at foreigners. Particularly those with American or British passports. That, together with the indiscriminate bloodshed, is characteristic of the 'death to the' brand of Islamic activists.

Hitting the Taj Mahal: A Little Too Effective?

Mr. Foster ends his op-ed piece with:

"...To have pictures of burning Taj Hotel broadcast around the world will have a deeper impact than even perhaps the terrorists intended, striking a blow against a symbol of Indian wealth and progress and sending shivers down the spine of some of the richest and most powerful people on the planet."

Which reminded me of what's happening in Somalia. The Somali pirates seemed to be getting along with Somalia's Islamic fanatics, until they hijacked a Saudi ship. Piracy is a no-no in Sharia law, apparently, if the victim is Muslim. According to one Somali group's version of the one true Islam.

Now, the pirates have most of the world against them: and a bunch of crazed Muslims in their own territory. And, may be interested in negotiating a way to stay alive.

It's too early to tell, but it's possible that whoever attacked Mumbai has ticked off too many of the wrong people.

Related posts: In the news:
UPDATE (November 29, 2008)

A comment on this post encouraged me to do some checking. Sure enough: Something-Mujahideen have a history in India.

There's what comes into English as the Indian Mujahideen; and there's the Deccan Mujahideen. "Deccan Mujahideen" means "Southern Jihadists" - according to a Mark Dunn, writing in the

It's possible that the two names both refer to the same group, or that the groups are closely associated.

These articles give a little background: I still don't know that the Indian Mujahideen and the Deccan Mujahideen are the same group - and I certainly don't know who is behind the Mumbai attack. But, like so many others, I have opinions.

More, at Links to still more related posts at Finally, although the focus of attention is on the assumed link to Islamic terrorism, there are non-Muslim players in India. And several ways that we're supposed to think about them, including: Who's being accurate about what, when it comes to terrorism in India, is something I haven't sorted out.


Anonymous said...

Deccan Mujahideen were also responsible for the attacks in Jaipur , so this is not that new a group.
But who ever did this has done barberous thing.This is not Islamic , killing people on the name of GOD.
Why don't they put this brain, hardwork and money in developing their own country for good, that would really please their their GOD.
Sometimes I really wonder, is their GOD a DEVIL, ALLAH are you DEVIL.........LOVING BLOOD.Shame on you ALLAH for supporting such people.

Anonymous said...

This was done by Al Quaeda. No doubt about that.

Anonymous said...

The sad part about this is that the same comments have come from politicians all over again, leaving ample space for this sort of attack to happen again. "The attack is highly condemned" "The attack is barbaric" "We will take strong steps against it" "A neighbouring country is involved" We get to hear this over and over again even as innocent Indian lives are lost. This attack is an attack on Indian sovereignty but also a signal to the world, that the worlds largest democracy, and nuclear armed state can be attacked at will by a bunch of fanatics. Incidentally, the way the operation was conducted by the terrorists was extremely professional, and I wouldn't be surprised of they were from the Pakistani army, just like the infiltrators in Kargil were.

Brian H. Gill said...

Anonymous of November 28, 2008 12:27 AM,

I did some checking: Something-Mujahideen have a history.

"Deccan Mujahideen is a name written in blood" (November 28, 2008)

"Indian Mujahideen owns responsibility for Jaipur blasts"
Deccan Herald (May 15, 2008)

Since "Indian" and "Deccan" are somewhat synonymous, and judging from the contents of those two articles, it sounds like the I.M. and D.M. are the same bunch.

Brian H. Gill said...

Anonymous of November 28, 2008 5:54 AM,

You could be right.

I get the impression that you think Pakistan is to blame, and that politicians will be responsible for the next attack.

The last I heard, experts - anonymous and otherwise - were still arguing about who and what is actually behind this attack.

Anonymous said...

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski
November 28, 2008 7:57 PM

The terrorists have been established as Pakistani nationals, and if I am right, two UK born Pakistanis. This, based on interrogation of the captured Pakistani who expected to be back in Pakistan alive. Terrorist have long struck India with impunity, ethnically cleansed Hindus from Kashmir, burnt Hindu pilgrims alive, the list goes on. If the Indian nation doesn't wake up to their hidden agenda - establishing a pan islamic empire across most of the world then it will be a pity that they would have played into the hands and unwittingly let the terrorists get away with an ideology that is really "evil". It would be a shock to westerners to know that the reason for this passe is what is "vote bank politics". Politicians pleasing the muslim "vote bank" who vote en masse for one party decided by their leaders. The culprits are the seed sown by the ISI, nurtured by the Pakistani army with the fruits picked by Alquaeda and the flowers being scented by muslim extremists everywhere.

Brian H. Gill said...


Thanks for the input. I've been following the news: there's an update on this post; and I'll probably have a new post in a day or so.

Personally, I wouldn't be shocked at politicians showing favoritism to a particular voting block: it's how things work.

My guess is that you are sympathetic to the Hindu cause in India. And, I think you are probably correct in assuming that the Mumbai attack was the work of Islamic terrorists.

However, I get the strong impression that the majority Hindu population in India has terrorists among its numbers - just as the majority Christian population in America has its terrorists.

As a Christian, I'm very aware that organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, although made up of nominal Christians, does not represent Christianity.

I'm pretty sure that the same can be said of Hinduism: and Islam.

Actually, I'm counting on Islam not being quite as bad as Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and crazy Saudi clerics make it seem.

Anonymous said...

BASICALLY, We all as an INDIAN, should think as an INDIAN, We are made fools by means of MEDIA. MEDIA today is ruling on the minds of people by raping the emotions of culture and actual truth.

Earlier it did for Bal Thackeray and recently did for Raj Thackeray. Its all an old style in a new way for new generation. Its a gift by such people to people like us who are blind, deaf and weak. No one and not a single leader of our nation is true, good and has devotion for the country.

Media is playing like anything for any consequences, so RAJ did and tomorrow someone else would be doing. Lets stop complaining and think about the nation, about our country, what would be the future of our nation, our people if such leaders are leading, where everyone is supporting; right from Media, Police, State government, Ministers involved in Central Govt.

The entire nation is in the darkness of corruption. Even if tomorrow someone is true and good to lead the nation to a better economy, a better success , a better future these corrupt people would either make such person fall or opt for some anti social alternative so as to live the way they want.

If we all realise and understand the ground reality that we all are are INDIANS, it would become a fact that the leaders would have to change themselves and use something else than "MARATHI MANOOS", HINDU - MUSLIM, " NORTH - SOUTH ETC.,


Anonymous said...

Dear All Indians,



against terrorist, enemies but how to fight with our own people if they start betraying and

deceiving our emotions and getting our culture and trust raped like anything. All

colleagues and seniors please fight for cleaning the internal envirornment of our India and

bring a better and bright future for our tommorrow and our tommorrows generation. Media

shows everything, way they will decide but the way depends on the unity, strength and

confidence. If we have we can let each Indian know the truth of INdia otherwise the same

quality would be led by these poitician followed by media making India and the world in a

crisis level and with a blank future where any one would have a right to write anything and

describe the way of how better we could be a slave and slave of terror.


Anonymous said...

A coward Indian forces & worst Indian media always blame Pakistan for every single thing happening in their country. I don’t understand is Indian Army CHAKKA?
All Indians are doing is to divert the attention of the world because all of their 3 forces failed to catch the terrorist alive not only that but it took them 3-4 days to kill the terrorist. OH MY GOD 3 FORCES & 3 DAYS JUST TO CATCH FEW TERRORIST? I am surprised how come you are asking Pakistan to hand over the terrorist to you? Why your army didn’t catch them while they were still inside? How they entered into your country?????? Were your forces sleeping that time?? We are not worshiping Monkeys, snake, cow, elephant or women with 8 arms & horrible devil face neither we are worshiping Dick we are sensible human we only worship Allah before you say anything to Allah just look at your own religion the most funniest religion in the whole world where people are worshiping not only animals but also Dick hahahaaaaaaaa.
I would suggest instead of bowing your head in front of America ask your Chakkas to get the training. & don’t you dare think about attacking Pakistan because our forces will tear you in 2 pieces.

Brian H. Gill said...

Okay, I'm not going to try to respond individually to the more recent comments.

However, I see a pattern here.

Indian chauvinists see Pakistan as an evil nation that does evil things.

Other chauvinists see India as the same thing. More sophisticated people in this category narrow it down to the Indian government.

There are many opportunities now, to make emotion-laden accusations. As immediately gratifying as that may be, I do not think the exercise is useful.

At this time, it appears that LeT planned the attacks. It is possible that the Indian assumption that LeT is controlled by ISI is true.

But, as I discussed in "Pakistan, India, Mumbai, Nuclear Weapons, and Pashtunistan: Simple This Isn't" (December 27, 2008), that may not mean that the Pakistani civilian government is involved.

The true chauvinists won't be swayed by inconvenient facts, but I hope that reasonable people will use reason, and not emotion or bias, to make decisions.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.