July 15, 2006

7/11 Mumbai; This is jihad: Kanchan Gupta


This is jihad

The holy warriors who carried out the 7/11 bombings in Mumbai may be
members of local sleeper cells of the LeT and SIMI but the battle they
are fighting is part of the global war being waged by Osama bin Laden
and his Al Qaeda. With Islamism finding an increasing number of
converts in India, Osama and his generals will now find it easier to
deploy foot soldiers in our country to push the frontiers of jihad,
writes Kanchan Gupta

I don't speak, of course, to the vultures who seeing the September 11
images scornfully giggle 'Good. Americans-got-it-good'. I speak to the
people who, though neither stupid nor evil, delude themselves in
pietism or uncertainty or doubt. And to them I say: Wake up, folks,
wake up! As intimidated as you are by the fear of going against the
stream... you don't understand or don't want to understand that a
Reverse Crusade is on march. As blinded as you are by the myopia and
the stupidity of the Politically Correct, you don't realise, or don't
want to realise, that a war of religion is being carried out. A war
they call Jihad..."

Celebrated Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci in The Rage and The Pride

There is a certain predictability to the manner in which we in India
respond to Islamist terrorism. The lib-left intelligentsia unleashes a
propaganda offensive with the aim of painting the criminals as victims
and placing the blame at someone else's door. Every time a bomb goes
off, leaving in its wake death and destruction, we get to hear the
familiar refrain: Babri demolition, Gujarat riots, poor Muslims. We
also get to hear, as we did during the hours following the Mumbai
bombings, wide-eyed television news anchors breathlessly asking all
and sundry: "Do you think this was a terrorist attack?" Perhaps the
anchors hoped to hear someone say, "No darling, it was fireworks to
celebrate Italy's victory in the World Cup." Within days of the jihadi
attack on Sankat Mochan Mandir on the eve of Holi in March this year,
a Hindustani classical music concert was organised and telecast live
to show that the outpouring of rage across the country was quite
misplaced as the people of Varanasi were busy listening to Hori and
Thumri. Similarly, after the slaughter in Mumbai, the emphasis has
been on how life in that city has not been affected. Boys will be
boys, why bother about a bit of harmless mischief?

Meanwhile, the Government is busy doing what this regime does best:
Pretending hurt innocence and slyly pointing fingers at "external
forces", darkly hinting at Pakistan's role in the bombings but
fighting shy of lifting the veil and exposing Islamabad's nasty face.
Instead, colourful stories are being planted of how shadowy
Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba activists carried out the bombings
with the help of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)
and then "fled the country". What is not being mentioned is that this
Government had allowed the ban on SIMI to lapse for six months,
allowing the Islamist organisation to regroup and rearm its cadre. And
while the Government looks for convenient stories to dilute anger over
its abject failure, Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun
Singh and Minority Affairs Minister AR Antulay wave away all
suggestions of the Mumbai bombings, and the bombings and attacks
preceding Terror Tuesday, as manifestations of jihad.

Notwithstanding the crafty propaganda of the lib-left intelligentsia
and the cunning disinformation campaign of the UPA Government, the
writing on the wall is clear: Global jihad has arrived in India. We
have the choice of either reading the message and acting accordingly,
or demolishing the wall and pretending that all is fine and such
"minor irritants" cannot be allowed to come in the way of the peace
process with Pakistan. The enormous human cost, it would seem, is a
small price to pay for those of us who, to quote Oriana Fallaci,
"don't understand or don't want to understand that a Reverse Crusade
is on march", who are "blinded... by the myopia and the stupidity of
the Politically Correct," who "don't realise, or don't want to
realise, that a war of religion is being carried out. A war they call

The holy warriors who carried out the 7/11 bombings in Mumbai, and
before that in Delhi on the eve of Diwali last year and in Varanasi on
the eve of Holi this year, may be members of local sleeper cells of
Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and SIMI, but the battle they are fighting is part
of the global war being waged by Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda, at
present headquartered in Gen Pervez Musharraf's Pakistan, to establish
the primacy and dominance of Islam. With Islamism finding an
increasing number of converts in India, and pretended victimhood
becoming a convenient cover to unleash manufactured rage on issues
ranging from President George Bush's visit to the alleged lampooning
of the Prophet by Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, from India's
vote against Iran in the IAEA's board of governors meeting to Western
aid agencies refusing to fund Hamas's terror campaign - issues that
fit into the larger matrix of pan-Islamism - Osama bin Laden and his
generals will now find it easier to deploy foot soldiers in our
country to push the frontiers of jihad and expand the theatre of this
clash of civilisations.

Moreover, as explained by terrorism expert Alexis Debat in his
analysis, Why Al Qaeda is at Home in Pakistan: Terror Organisation
Believed to be Drawing Less from Arabs, More from South Asia, there
has been a tactical shift in Al Qaeda's campaign. Rather than send in
"outsiders" to carry out spectacular attacks - as was done on 9/11
when Egyptian Mohammed Atta led a group of Saudis and other Arabs to
implement a plot hatched by, among others, Pakistani Khalid Shaikh
Mohammed - it now prefers to use local recruits to the cause of jihad.
The message is external, those who carry out the task are from within.

This point is underscored by a factor that is common to the Madrid
bombings of March 11, 2004, the London Underground bombings of July 7,
2005, and the Mumbai bombings of July 11, 2006. In all three
instances, the attacks were planned and carried out by homegrown
jihadis: Moroccan immigrants in Spain, Pakistani immigrants in the UK,
and, unless proved otherwise, Indian Muslims in Mumbai. The bombers
may have been motivated by "local causes", but the larger cause is
that of flying the flag of global jihad. They have inflicted pain on
their country to satiate the dark desires of their ideological
masters; they have made their country suffer so that pan-Islamists can

If we are looking for the "external message" that activated "internal"
sleeper cells to go on the offensive in Mumbai, we could perhaps find
it in Osama bin Laden's April 23, 2006, message broadcast by Al
Jazeera in which he ranted against what he described as "a
Crusader-Zionist-Hindu war against the Muslims". Elaborating on this
point, he declared, "A UN resolution passed more than half-a-century
ago gave Muslim Kashmir the liberty of choosing independence from
India. George Bush, the leader of the Crusaders' campaign, announced a
few days ago that he will order his converted agent (Pakistan
President Pervez) Musharraf to shut down the Kashmir mujahidin camps,
thus affirming that it is a Zionist-Hindu war against Muslims... It is
the duty of the umma with all its categories, men, women and youth, to
give away themselves, their money, experiences and all types of
material support, enough to establish jihad particularly in Iraq,
Palestine, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kashmir and Chechnya. Jihad today is an
imperative for every Muslim. The umma will commit a sin if it does not
provide adequate material support for jihad."

So, we have local issues blending into Osama's global war against

Seen against the backdrop of global jihad and as part of the larger
matrix of Reverse Crusade, the Mumbai bombings serve Osama bin Laden's
blood-soaked cause in more ways than one. Ever since the Twin Tower
bombings and the assault on the Pentagon, Al Qaeda has been plotting
spectacular attacks in a manner that keeps jihad on the front page, in
prime time news bulletins, and high on the collective consciousness of
people across the world. So we had the Bali bombings of October 12,
2002; the Madrid bombings of March 11, 2004; the London bombings of
July 7, 2005; and, now, the Mumbai bombings of last Tuesday. The
latest strike can also be seen as an attempt to escalate Al
Qaeda-inspired Islamist terror. We have Hamas and Hizbullah courting
retaliatory violence from Israel so that they can justify subsequent
acts of terror. In southern Afghanistan, Al Qaeda's new hero Dadullah,
known for blood-chilling cruelty that can put Atilla the Hun to shame,
is leading a renewed and vigorous Taliban offensive. In Iraq, Islamist
"insurgency" continues to overshadow political gains and consolidation
of pro-democracy forces. A third factor that needs to be built in to
get the larger picture is Al Qaeda's - more so Osama bin Laden's -
expected effort to overcome the deaths of two of its generals in
recent days: Abu Musab Zarqawi, killed in Iraq on June 8, and Shamil
Basayev of Beslan fame, hunted down by Russian troops in Chechnya on
July 10. After the Mumbai bombings, Al Qaeda can tell subscribers of
Osama bin Laden's venomous ideology that a death here and a killing
there of its men mean nothing and cannot stall the onward march of

If there is any lesson to be learned from the carnage in Mumbai, it is
that we should not delude ourselves in "pietism or uncertainty or
doubt". Heed Oriana Fallaci's rage and, "Wake up, folks, wake up!"
This is jihad.

SIMI: A Simmering Fire

By Balbir K. Punj

SIMI had published and pasted posters ‘Waiting for Ghaznavi?’ which invoked the advent of another Mahmud Ghaznavi to ‘liberate’ India from clutches of Hindus. On March 28, 2001 SIMI’s national President Dr. Shahid Badr Falahi defended SIMI’s action saying that Mahmund Ghaznavi was a liberator of oppressor and weaker!

'BLASTS have LeT, SIMI stamp’ says The Times of India (July 12, 2006) about Mumbai serial blasts of July 11. The media is quoting credible information, from well placed sources in Uttar Pradesh police and state intelligence agencies that Students’ Islamic Militia of India (SIMI) is regrouping under the very nose of Mulayam Singh government. The UPA government, its secularism not withstanding, on April 21 last, retained the ban on SIMI under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The NDA government had disbanded this militant brotherhood under Section 3(1) of the same Act. On July 6 last, the Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by the banned organisation to lift the prohibition imposed on it by the Union Government. A two-judge bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice L.S. Panta strictly refused to interfere in the matter being looked upon by a tribunal. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal had confirmed the Union Government’s stand in a ruling dated March 26, 2002.

It’s almost five years now that the NDA government prohibited it for being detrimental to peace, communal harmony, internal security and secular fabric of India. But the Jehadi organisation had refused to hang up its boots. In these five years several incidents, especially involving train and railway stations like Ghatkopar blast and Shramjeevi Express blast, had taken place with distinct SIMI signatures. This should make SIMI a suspect in Mumbai blast. The organisation, it is felt, is now regrouping under a different name, but Samajwadi party’s vote bank politics for 2007 U.P. elections are ensuring that U.P. government took a passive role. It refuses to admit that SIMI has any activity in Uttar Pradesh.

In 1999/2000 SIMI had published and pasted posters ‘Waiting for Ghaznavi?’ which invoked the advent of another Mahmud Ghaznavi to ‘liberate’ India from clutches of Hindus. On March 28, 2001 SIMI’s national President Dr. Shahid Badr Falahi defended SIMI’s action saying that Mahmund Ghaznavi was a liberator of oppressor and weaker!

On March 18, 2002 a person named Hasib Raja was apprehended from Kolkata in possession of half a kilo of RDX. Later a senior officer of Maharashtra Police told media in Jalgaon that Hasib Raja was a SIMI activist from Bihar who had planned to blow up the Howrah Bridge. SIMI hand is suspected in the Ghatkopar bomb blast of December 2, 2002 (its chief accused SIMI-man Mohammed Altaf was deported from Dubai); Uttar Pradesh police has recovered incriminating documents from arrested SIMI activists; and in 2003 two SIMI activists were served five year imprisonment for preaching sedition in south Delhi area.

SIMI, a protégé of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JEIH), was formed on April 25, 1977 in Aligarh. The formation of Janata Party government in Centre, in which Jana Sangh was the dominant element, was perhaps the immediate provocation in its formation. The foundation meeting was attended by Students Islamic Organisation from Aligarh, Calicut, Mallapuram, Madras, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Allahabad, Sholapur, Patna, Azamgarh, Jaipur and Sawai Madhopur. Its founder was no bearded Mullah but US-based savvy professor of Journalism and Public Relations at the Western Illinois University of Macomb, Illinois.

SIMI gave a call for restoration of the Caliphate for unity of global Muslim community (Ummah) along with rejection of nationalism, democracy and secularism. Its political ideology was based on fundamentalist views propounded Maulana Maududi, the cleric of Karnataka who had immigrated to Pakistan in 1947. SIMI’s aims and objectives are to: a) governing human life on basis of Koran; b) propagation of Islam; c) waging Jehad for cause of Islam. Since the organisation doesn’t subscribe to nation-state, it doesn’t recognise Indian Constitution or secular order. SIMI also regards idol worship as a sin and considers it to be a holy duty to uproot idol worship. The organisation wants to overthrow ‘secular’ Indian state and convert it into Dar-ul-Islam. SIMI idolises Osama bin Laden, an outstanding example of Mujahid, who has undertaken Jehad on behalf of entire Ummah. SIMI maintains close links with Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

SIMI takes inspiration from historical Ansaars, the people who helped Prophet Mohammed in Medina when he was forced to flee from Mecca. SIMI recruits Ansaars, its cadres, who are students below the age of 30. With support of its cadres, called Ansaars, it hopes to overthrow the Indian state and establish an Islamic regime. SIMI lionises Shah Walliullah, who in 1760, had invited Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan to fight against the Marathas and re-establish the Islamic rule in India; and Sayyid Ahmed ‘Shaheed’ who died fighting a Jehad against forces of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Islamic Movement, a monthly organ of SIMI, January 3, 1992).

SIMI was definitely not the main voice of Muslim students in this country. But neither was there any opposition to SIMI from Muslims which meant the organisation was able to project itself as the sole representative of Muslim students.

SIMI is suspected of providing logistic support to Jehadis involved in Ayodhya blast of July 5, 2005; and involvement in Ahmedabad railway station blast in February 19 and Varanasi bomb blast of March 7 earlier this year. According to the Home Department of Kerala, SIMI is active in the state under the cover of at least 12 organisations ranging from religious study centre, rural development and research centre, and institutions for increasing ‘personal effectiveness’. SIMI activists in Kerala still receive foreign funds for anti-national activities and they have links with fundamentalist organisations in Kuwait and Pakistan. Kondotty in the Malappuram district has been identified as the nerve-centre of SIMI activity in Kerala. The State Government has also named four persons who are suspected to be prominent among those engineering the “regrouping and mobilisation” of SIMI cadres in Kerala.

SIMI, one can say, is today’s Wahabi movement, which sought to re-establish Islamic rule in India in 19th century. The ‘secular’ UPA government’s retaining the ban on SIMI is a clinching proof that militant attack on secularism comes from militant Islam not Hindutva. SIMI, for long, considered the USA as enemy of Islam and intends to fight western hegemony and mores. No government can overlook such a vicious and hegemonistic power except at peril of India’s security, harmony and peace.

Tackling Terrorism: Soft state or absent state?

By Ram Madhav

The government knew about the activities of SIMI, its links with organisations not only in Pakistan but also in Bangladesh and Nepal; and the fact that Nepal is fast becoming a hideout for terror outfits.

Have you seen the visuals of the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts? One feels ashamed at sight of people—dead and injured—being carried on simple blankets and gunny sheets by ordinary citizens in a most rudimentary manner. Contrast it with similar visuals elsewhere in the world when such incidents happen. You will find blaring of eerie sirens from ambulances and police vehicles, stretchers, trained volunteers and doctors… everything in a matter of minutes.

One can understand our unpreparedness if the incident had taken place at a remote place. It happens in Mumbai, the commercial capital of the country. It happens to that city, which has been high on the target list of the dreaded Islamic terrorists, and don’t forget that everyone in the government and outside knew about it.

The BJP slammed the government to be a soft state. A soft state may not act tough with the terrorists, but nevertheless it acts. Here is a State that doesn’t want to act. The Government is not just soft; it just doesn’t have the will at all.

“We had some clues. I don’t need to disclose all those things to you,” said the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil to the waiting pressmen outside the PMO on the fateful day. See what he had to add, “We knew some such thing was going to come, but didn’t have any idea as to the place and time”. So don’t blame us. The terrorists have not informed us in advance about the place and time of their strikes. Is that what he meant?

In fact the Home Minister was not telling the truth. The government had full information about the possible targets when the IB picked up one Lashkar terrorist in Srinagar a few months ago. He was supposed to have disclosed to the IB that there would be attacks on buses and trains in Mumbai and Delhi. The IB has supposedly forwarded the information to the Home Ministry. The Maharashtra Police now say that they did not have any information at all from the IB.

The government has enough intelligence inputs to act. It knew that the strikes would increase as Pakistan moves closer to elections as it suits the General there. Many experts like former RAW official Shri B. Raman have warned it about the changed discourse of Al-Qaeda, which is now talking about the ‘Crusader-Jew-Hindu Nexus’. In fact experts say that the reason for choosing the first class compartments as targets instead of the normally-crowded general compartments was not because they are less crowded but because the target group for the Islamic terrorists—the C-J-H—travels in that class. The government knew about the activities of SIMI, its links with organisations not only in Pakistan but also in Bangladesh and Nepal; and the fact that Nepal is fast becoming a hideout for terror outfits.

Yet we are totally unprepared. It is because our political class singularly lacks will power in tackling this jehadi brand terrorism. In fact not a single leader is even prepared to call it Islamic terrorism whereas in the entire world it is recognised and tackled as one. Islamic, terrorism, for that matter any form of terrorism, is a war on the civilised polities. It cannot be tackled as a mere law and order problem.

Several things need to be addressed to curb this menace. War on terror calls for greater preparation. We need to equip our security agencies and intelligence networks with better training and infrastructure.

Failure of our intelligence agencies is monumental. The operation of the Mumbai magnitude in which 7 bombs were exploded in mere 11 minutes must have involved greater planning and preparation. The terrorists must have conducted even recces. But unfortunately our intelligence has failed to pick up the signals in time.

However, it is easy to blame intelligence agencies. We cannot overlook the fact that even the famed CIA and FBI had absolutely no clue about the 9/11 incident. But the case for modernising our intelligence and law and order machinery is very strong today. Police in the country, especially in states like Maharashtra that are high on the terror agenda, is doing excellent job with minimal resources and training. They deserve rich compliments for averting at least 10-12 major strikes in the last one year. Yet a lot needs to be done towards their training and modernisation.

The NDA deserves praise for its efforts in this direction. Under Shri L.K. Advani, the NDA government had sanctioned huge amounts for the modernisation of the security establishment in the country keeping in view the growing terrorist challenge. However, the UPA government has allegedly curtailed that budget by a whopping Rs 1600 crores.

For the constituents in the UPA, fighting terrorism is not a national security concern; it is purely a political and electoral concern. That is why laws like POTA have been repealed. The security agencies are today totally helpless in the absence of effective instruments like stringent laws and better infrastructure.

Islamic terrorism is not something just being imported from Pakistan. We should not ignore the fact that today there is a huge support mechanism available for Islamic terrorism to flourish in our country. Mushrooming madrasas have become breeding grounds for terror infrastructure in India. Deobandi Tabligi Jammat is the most virulent and violent terrorist group that is gradually spreading its tentacles all over the country. Many present and erstwhile SIMI activists are the leaders in this movement. They need to be ruthlessly crushed.

But we have a government that wants to repeal the 2001 ban on SIMI. Is it not a fact that the UPA Government had sought the opinion of the States over the lifting of ban on SIMI? Can the government disclose which states have supported that idea and which opposed it? There is a scramble for Muslim votes in Uttar Pradesh between Congress and Samajwadi Party. Mayavati is also chipping in. Shri Mulayam Singh Yadav has gone to the extent of declaring SIMI men as patriots. Lifting of ban and withdrawing of cases on the SIMI activists who are involved in various crimes including fomenting communal riots is under active consideration by the Uttar Pradesh government. President of the UP unit of SIMI who was the main accused in many crimes and went underground five years ago surfaced last month in Kanpur with a claim that the atmosphere is “conducive” for him to surface in UP, whatever it meant.

The Maharashtra police is struggling to grapple with the serious situation. They used to be considered an elite and efficient force in the country at one time. Even till 5-6 years ago their professionalism used to be rated very high. But thanks to one Home Minister who became notorious for his underworld links and who used to literally auction police posts from constable to Commissioner of Police and make money, rot has set in about 6 years ago. Mumbai Police, for the first time, had to face the ignominy of arresting its one Police Commissioner days after his retirement in a non-bailable offence. Present Home Minister has the reputation as an honest and upright man. He should stem this rot and brace the force up to tackle these situations in a befitting manner.

What really affects the morale of our establishment is the public discourse on these issues. Our media immediately arrogates to itself the imagined responsibility of protecting secularism in the country and maintaining religious harmony. The whole discourse becomes Hindu-Muslim. Visuals are projected where Muslims are helping the victims as if that is any proof. Real issues are sought to be diverted by raising presumptuous and silly arguments like whether Shiv Sena is behind these incidents or whether Bhivandi is the provocation for it.

Actually these apologists for terrorists take their toll on the morale of the establishment. The police start thinking more about providing security cover to mosques and madrasas than actually pursuing the criminals and punishing them. One of the very first statements to emanate from the Union Home Secretary was that there was no connection between Srinagar blasts and Mumbai blasts. One of the earliest statements to come out of the government was that it would not derail the peace process with Pakistan.

Whatever some progressive TV channels and Islamist apologist intellectuals say for the sake of their bread and butter, these incidents ARE perpetrated by Islamic terrorists. They have their supporters all over India. This fact cannot be erased.

What the government should have done is to bluntly tell Pakistan that no further peace process until terrorism is completely stamped out. Mush-Bush alliance must be told by Bharat that it cannot be forced to sacrifice its own geo-security interests to protect the geo-strategic interests of that alliance.

Sadly, the UPA Government lacks that courage. That is why it “urges” Pakistan to do this and that. A government that lacks backbone is a bane for the nation.

7/11 : Woman Mohan and Congress, Modi-fy your backbone


Modify your backbone

Swapan Dasgupta |

When defeatism parades as enlightenment, you know that something has to give way. We need a leader who can call a spade a spade, brook no nonsense and do what is right. We need a man the jihadis dread and loath. We also know that such a leader exists. It is time we stopped being afraid of mentioning his name.

There are some moments in the life of a nation when people eschew individualism and look for leadership. I don't know whether history will record the carnage of July 11 as a defining point for our country - just as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 was for our grandfathers, the fall of France in 1940 was for the British, and September 11, 2001 was for a majority of Americans. It is not the scale of a disaster that prompts a country to break with the past. A decisive shift in a nation's collective way of thinking is invariably provoked by a corresponding feeling of vulnerability and helplessness.

History records that it is at these critical moments a leader often emerges who is able to transform dejection and despondency into determination and hope. Neville Chamberlain, the rather stiff and gentlemanly soul who epitomised the policy of appeasement, was not lacking in popular support between 1937 and 1939.

When he returned from Munich in 1938 with a piece of paper that promised "peace with honour" he was met by jubilant crowds grateful that war with Hitler had been averted. Winston Churchill, who opposed Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler, was then regarded as a crazy killjoy - a British Bal Thackeray. Yet, by the spring of 1940, Chamberlain was unceremoniously dumped and Churchill installed.

Something similar happened in India after 1919. The nationalist leadership slipped out of the hands of stalwarts like Lokmanya Tilak and Surendranath Bannerjee and India reposed its faith in a quirky Gujarati who cloaked politics in ethics. Many of his contemporaries saw the Mahatma as a dotty interloper. He was unique but there is no doubt that passive resistance and non-violence crippled the British Raj more effectively than all the guns and bombs put together.

Leadership involves the ability to capture the essence of popular feeling and nudge it in a clear direction. Leadership becomes inspirational, not because an individual is blessed with godly attributes, but because -to use an ill-timed slogan of a failed American presidential aspirant -"in your heart you know he is right."

Last week, India confronted a twin threat. First, the Islamist jihadis defiantly proclaimed to the world that they have the determination, organisation and technology to strike at the heart of India. The attacks on Parliament, Ayodhya and the RSS headquarters in Nagpur were foiled and the bombings in Delhi and Varanasi were dress rehearsals. Mumbai was the real thing and it left India distraught, disoriented and exposed.

The media invocation of the "Mumbai spirit" of gritty resilience was actually a grotesque celebration of national helplessness. People spontaneously rushed to help and comfort the victims of the tragedy, took the personal discomfiture caused by the disruption in their stride and then - and this is the harsh, unspoken reality - waited for the fire next time. They played Mumbai meri jaan on TV when they should have been whistling Que sera sera - "whatever will be, will be" - the signature tune of Hindu fatalism.

As if this good-humoured march to the gallows wasn't bad enough, India is confronted by a leadership vacuum of monumental proportions. It was absolutely revolting to hear a shamefaced Prime Minister mouthing inane platitudes about keeping the peace and defeating the nefarious designs of the terrorists. It was remarkable that even in the face of such a disaster Manmohan Singh could not rise above the template mundane.

Was Sonia Gandhi any better? She certainly upstaged Manmohan Singh by rushing to Mumbai first and comforting the victims. But where India needed the steely determination of a Margaret Thatcher, or even Indira Gandhi, she chose to play Florence Nightingale for an evening.

When defeatism parades as enlightenment, you know that something has to give way. We need a leader who can call a spade a spade, brook no nonsense and do what is right. We need a man the jihadis dread and loath. We also know that such a leader exists. It is time we stopped being afraid of mentioning his name.

July 14, 2006

8 suspects held, 2 flee to Pak

- By Rakesh K. Singh and Somendra Sharma


New Delhi/Mumbai, July 14: The Intelligence Bureau and state police forces have detained eight persons so far, two each from Delhi and Gujarat and four others from Maharashtra, for suspected involvement in the recent serial blasts in Mumbai.
Acting on leads provided by persons already detained, the IB has also established that two terrorists have fled to Pakistan via different routes, pointing to the use of unrelated modules for carrying out the blasts, intelligence sources said.
While a suspect, Mohammad Fayaz, went to Pakistan via Iran, an accomplice, Zuber Ansari, went to Pakistan via the porous border with Nepal after carrying out the blasts, the sources said. Ansari had been in Mumbai for over a month prior to Tuesday’s attacks, the sources said.
In Mumbai, meanwhile, the police on Thursday night arrested Mohammad Ilyas Wali Ahmed, 35, for entering the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in disguise. He was found loitering in Terminal II-A, the departure area of the airport, dressed in a burqa. "When Ahmed arrived at the airport at around 11.15 pm on his motorcycle, he wore a plain shirt and pants. After a while, he was noticed in a burqa, slippers and sauntering about in the departure area. This instantly aroused our suspicion. When he refused to disclose his identity, we arrested him," senior police inspector Chandrahas Chavan of the Sahar police station told this reporter. Ahmed was taken to the Sahar police station for questioning.
The anti-terrorist squad (ATS) of the Mumbai police and the Delhi police jointly detained two persons late on Friday night. There were being interrogated, including by the IB, till the filing of this report. Their identities are yet to be established and the extent of their involvement in the Mumbai blasts is being probed, the sources said.
ATS Teams Fan Out
ATS teams have been sent to Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Delhi.
Different specialised cells of the IB, including the security group, tech (technical) group and Ops (operations) group, are investigating the incident. A special group of 20 to 25 persons are analysing various leads gathered so far, the sources said.
The IB is also trying to probe the role of one Niyaz Mohammad, a Taliban operative, in the recent terror blasts. Niyaz was detained by intelligence sleuths at Indira Gandhi International Airport on the intervening night of July 8 and 9, the sources said. Niyaz, an Afghan national, was using a fake passport in the name of Islam Khan and had been in India for the last two months. Interrogation by the IB also revealed that he toured different parts of the country, including Ranchi. He was here to establish a terror network and was trying to return to Afghanistan, but was caught by the security agencies. Immigration officials have also interrogated him and have concluded that his passport was forged, the sources pointed out.
Mystery Emall
The special cell of the Delhi police and IB are also probing an email sent to a media house in New Delhi immediately after the blasts on Tuesday. A person calling himself Javed sent the email claiming that he was part of the terror module for the Mumbai blasts and, after realising the extent of the damage, he wished to save the country, an official investigating the email said.
The sender of the email also claimed to have planted a bomb that ripped apart a train in Mumbai on Tuesday. He claimed to have been working on the specific orders of one Arjun D’Souza and signed off as a citizen of the country, sources said. The email was forwarded by the media house to the police for investigation. The police advised the media house against using the email because of its sensitive nature. The police and IB are tracing the source of the email.
Money Plays Big Role
Intelligence agencies apprehend more such strikes in the rest of the country over the next one month following the interception of a call in which a Pakistani contact cleared Rs 15 crores for terrorist commanders in India for carrying out a "month-long operation" in the country. The sources said the blasts were an alarming pointer to the conspiracy that had been given effect by the terrorists.
The sources said money played a big role in the Mumbai blasts, as it did in the Srinagar blasts, where security forces found that youth were paid to plant bombs in different places. While terrorists are promised Rs 1 lakh for killing a solider, for soft targets, such as the Mumbai suburban trains, the payment could have varied from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 for a person planting a bomb and Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakhs for a group commander. The sources said that in all terrorist outfits would have spent around Rs 15 lakhs to conduct what is known in terrorist parlance a "successful action".
Meanwhile, the Centre has provided 63 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force to the Delhi police in view of the enhanced threat perceptions in the national capital. Fifty-six companies have been deployed and the remaining seven have been reserved for eventualities, a CRPF spokesperson said.
[PTI reported that forensic examinations have confirmed that the explosive used in Tuesday’s serial blasts was not RDX and could have been dynamite or ammonium nitrate. Laboratory tests performed on nearly a dozen samples collected from seven blast sites have confirmed that the explosive used was not RDX, a top Mumbai police official told PTI, but refused to reveal the nature of the explosive.]
Burqa Man Questioned
In Mumbai, the man arrested wearing a burqa at the airport was questioned. "When we asked Ahmed the reason for wearing a burqa at the airport, he said that he was waiting for his girlfriend, who was supposed to arrive on a British Airways flight. But when his girlfriend, who arrived at 12 am on Friday, was questioned, she said that Ahmed was her neighbour in Surat. She denied being his girlfriend," said inspector Chavan. Ahmed said that since he did not want her to see him he wore a burqa, but as he was in love with her, he wanted to see her.
Ahmed hails from Navsari in Surat and has lived in Mumbra for the past 20 years. He had recently moved into a guest house on Chakla Street near Dongri, the police said. Police sources added that Ahmed frequently changed his profession during interrogation. "At times he said he was a commercial pilot, while at other times he spoke of running a stock-trading business at L.T. Marg," a police official said on condition of anonymity. Ahmed was produced before a metropolitan magistrate court in Andheri on Friday and was remanded to police custody till July 21. When asked whether Ahmed had any links to Tuesday’s serial blasts, inspector Chavan said, "It is too early to comment. We are still investigating Ahmed’s records."
[The Nepalese police has arrested two Pakistanis — Gulam Hussein Chimma, 53, of Lahore, and Aftab Muhaddin Siddhiqui, 56, of Karachi — and is investigating them in connection with the Mumbai train bombings, AP quoted officials as saying on Friday. The two men were arrested at a hotel in Kathmandu on Tuesday in connection with the seizure of RDX explosives in 2001 in Kathmandu. They appeared on Friday before Kathmandu district court judge Mohan Bhattarai, who ordered them to be held in custody for five days pending further investigation. The two suspects told the judge they had no links to the RDX seizure. "We are totally innocent of these allegations. We were involved in a road construction project and we flew to Kathmandu on July 8 to settle our past accounts," Siddhiqui said.]

How India's Elite is Consciously Selling Out India's Nuclear Strengths

Deal pushers

- By Brahma Chellaney

The events that have followed since the nuclear deal was signed a year ago in Washington have tracked almost perfectly with what was apparent to all but the naïve and the suborned. The more the deal has unfolded, the greater the US demands have turned out to be and the clearer it has become that India is being made to accept exceptionally noxious obligations that no other nuclear power will stoop to even consider. To the acute embarrassment of the now-taciturn Prime Minister who has relied on a few self-serving bureaucrats, none of his assurances to the nation has come true.

Nary has a word been said by the PM since the US Senate and House committees rewrote the basic provisions of the deal and attached a string of demeaning conditions applicable to India. What was touted as a "deal" has turned into an undisguised diktat by a patron seeking to anoint a client. The PM’s silence has been deafening. Even the voluble foreign secretary, ever so ready to grant television interviews and hold forth in the style of a politician, has been unusually reticent.

The deal’s first anniversary is an occasion for sober reflection on how commitments to a foreign power on a programme that epitomises India’s pride and autonomy have generated intense national controversy and angst and displaced political consensus with partisanship, with paid lobbyists having a field day. Rarely before in India’s independent history has an issue so disconcerted the nation as this deal.

The government has consistently been misled by a handful of bureaucrats who have from the beginning minimised or obfuscated the negative and injurious elements of the deal and who continue to furnish positive assessments even after the attachment of humiliating conditions by the two US Congressional panels. Without a word having been said on record by the government, these self-servers have employed their favourite mechanism — background briefings and media plants — to actually welcome the wacky turn of events.

That only shows how they are caught in a hallucinatory loop of delusion imperilling the very security of the country. In fact, this perilous bent reflective of low self-esteem was brought to light much earlier when they scripted media attacks against the nuclear establishment, orchestrated a public charade on the fast-breeder programme and continued to pull wool on public eyes by planting newspaper stories through the same reporters.

Planting stories has become such a favoured means that the ministry of external affairs’ website shows there have been only five press briefings connected with the deal since March 1. Yet in the same period, scores of newspaper reports, quoting unnamed officials have appeared. Not a single on-the-record briefing has been held on the Congressional committee votes or the separate negotiations held recently in New Delhi with the International Atomic Energy Agency on an inspections regime and with the United States on a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

With the Cabinet and Parliament in the dark, the deal-peddlers misinform and delude the public from behind the cover of anonymity and opacity. They do disservice both to Indian democracy and to the cause that ostensibly motivates them — closer engagement with the US. The deal already has become a major drag on the Indo-US relationship.

Furtively marketing perfidious compromises with national sovereignty and strategic autonomy, these civil servants take liberties with those they are supposed to serve — the Indian public. One nameless deal-pusher was quoted in a newspaper report on June 29 as saying: "Certainly, we find the language in the Bill intrusive and even offensive, but it is of little consequence as far as we are concerned…" Even if this bureaucrat big-headedly has come to see himself as "we," does he think the country has lost its self-respect the way he has?

The country is being held hostage by a teensy-weensy deal-peddling ring that has not only become a law unto itself but also insists on laying down the law to the nation. Can there be a matter of greater shame than the current spectacle, with several million dollars of Indian taxpayer money being expended to lobby US lawmakers to impose everlasting fetters on India’s prized strategic asset and decision-making autonomy, while the Indian Parliament is denied the right to even scrutinise the deal?

As they anxiously await the final outcome of their lobbying campaign in Washington, the deal-pushers have grievously miscalculated that they can get away by camouflaging or sugar-coating the increasingly debasing conditions being added to the deal by the US Congress. What the Senate and House committees did recently was to split the vetting process into two parts. In the first part, rather than approve the deal for implementation, Congress is imposing a series of egregious preconditions on India that reshape the fundamentals of the deal and eliminate even the pretence of reciprocity. With the full Congress yet to legislate the preconditions recommended by the two committees, Part I is far from complete.

In Part II, once India has met the preconditions fully and been tightly tethered to the non-proliferation regime once and for all, the US President would submit a legislative determination to give effect to the deal, with the rider that New Delhi’s conduct and actions would need to make the grade in the annual Congressional review being instituted.

Put simply, India is to be bonded to the US in perpetuity. In return, America will graciously allow India to revive the decrepit US nuclear power industry and further impoverish itself by importing high-priced commercial reactors dependent on imported fuel.

Having invested billions of dollars in such reactors, India will be allowed to import fuel for them only if it continued to abjure from actions and submit to US wishes as defined and laid out in the draft legislation. If it dared to defy the US, Section 102(6) of the Lugar-Biden Bill calls for exemplary punishment: the discontinuation of exports to India "by any other party." So much for the assurance that a Tarapur-style fuel cut-off will not be repeated in the future! Instead of being once bitten, twice shy, India is being encouraged to be twice bitten, yet never shy.

Redolent of the failed US attempts in the past to cap India’s nuclear ambitions, the deal is different only in packaging. Now it is a deal packaged to appeal to India’s self-interest by employing a double lure: nuclear energy and strategic partnership. In reality, it crimps India’s plans for a credible minimal deterrent and, more broadly, its strategic autonomy.

If the US wishes to be a true strategic partner, why doesn’t it lift the high-technology sanctions it maintains against India, especially those that don’t even need Congressional consent? Significantly, after making India do a civil-military segregation of its space programme, the US is loath to relax civilian space technology controls and is dragging its feet even on concluding a launch-services agreement with New Delhi.

In the nuclear realm, the more India has bowed to the US, the more conditions Washington has superimposed through executive or Congressional action. In March, the administration introduced a four-page Bill placing seven good-conduct conditions on India, including a permanent test ban with no termination clause. Those four pages have now become as many as 25 pages, with the Senate and House committees, in concert with the administration, piling a mound of conditions. The original deal now looks barely recognisable.

Any judicious person by now would be at the end of his or her tether. But not our deal-pushers.

With Part I not yet complete, this is the time for India to make clear — before the full US Congress legislates — what it plainly cannot accept. Yet, myopically, the deal-peddlers are welcoming the latest turn of events, thereby only encouraging Congress to keep the preconditions and India’s post-implementation bondage — and maybe even strengthen all that. This is proof, if any were needed, of how the deal-peddlers’ personal interests override national interests.

At the core of the ring (and the source of many media plants) are the perennially sick Indian representative in Washington and an over-exuberant MEA officer who does within the system what his father is doing from outside — manically lobby for the deal. To the credit of the dad, he boasts of a consistent record: he was for non-weaponised deterrence and against the nuclear tests; he campaigned for India’s signature on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and now he hawks the deal. Having lost out in the past, he itches for victory now, to the extent that he has taken to name-calling. In an article in last week’s India Abroad, he says those cautioning against the deal are "small minds incapable of broad vision." Given that only a tiny clique is supporting the deal, India must be teeming with small-minded men and women!

In another article this week in an Indian multi-edition paper, he frantically presses the propaganda accelerator, contending among other things that "China has accepted much harsher conditions than India" just to secure uranium supplies from Australia. The truth is just the opposite: the text of what has been signed shows Beijing has accepted not a single legally binding condition that goes beyond the voluntary and revocable IAEA inspections it allows on a few facilities. Such is the fiction in which the deal is being gift-wrapped.

The progressively degrading conditions being imposed on India ought to give pause to the PM, whose credibility at home has taken a beating since signing the deal. The deal’s anniversary should serve as a reminder of the costs the country is being made to pay. One case in point is the Agni-III setback, with the maiden test-flight held up for half a year by a deal-obsessed PM.

When the increasingly beleaguered PM finally cleared the test, he did so to prop up his sagging image, choosing an odd time that coincided with an international furore over North Korea’s spate of missile tests. Had the Agni-III — a basic vehicle for a barely minimal deterrent against China — been tested when it first became ready, the scientists by now would have corrected the technical hitch.

It is still not late for the PM to make amends and let the deal lapse on grounds that the US has unilaterally altered the terms of the original deal, rendering the accord inoperative. After all, instead of meeting its part of the bargain, the US is putting the onus on India — in perpetuity. For the PM to change course and stanch mounting national concerns, he needs to bust the deal-peddling ring and clean up the policy mess it has made. The other option — to hew to the deal — carries the risk of irreparable damage to his credibility and to national interests. If the nation is being harmed, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is constitutionally bound to intervene — and he will.

Unknown to the deal-pushers, the breaking point on the deal has been reached. And their day of reckoning is arriving.

7/11 terror in Mumbai: who is responsible? What can be done?

This article gives the tell-tale links of the Mumbai blasts to earlier
terror attacks.

The proof of sincerity of Musharraf's condemnation of terror can be
proved by a number of interventions. Indian troops should be sent into
Waziristan to assist US-led Afghan government to apprehend Dawood and
hand over the terror perpetrator to India. If Musharraf dodges the
issue of closing down terror training camps in the occupied part of
Jammu and Kashmir, India should take them down through military
intervention. Do these actions require prior approval of or intimation
to US government? I don't think so. India is too big a nation to be
seen to be as a US chamcha (unfortunately though, there are many of
them found loafing around 10 Janpath).

We have seen how Israel honors its soldiers. We should see the same
level of honor given to the soldiers of India who are relentlessly
defending India's sovereignty despite the great odds face of the lack
of resolve by governmental functionaries (particularly those hovering
around 10 Janpath).

So, it is all about Musharraf-Sabar-Al Qaeda and chamcha-s, this
imperative of retaliatory strikes against the sanctuaries of terror in
occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir. If such attacks are mounted, it
will become easier to neutralise the sleeper cells of Al Qaeda within

Is there an international coalition to wage the war on terror? No. It
is only a ruse for US to intervene as it suits her geopolitical
perspectives. What should the role of Indian government be in this
sordid 7/11 evil? Don't wait for Uncle Sam. Act, act now and gain the
respect of civil society everywhere. This will be the clearest signal
sent out that we are the inheritors of esha dhammo sanantano.

Mere photo-ops and screaming headlines about neta's visiting dying and
injured victims in the Mumbai hospitals would not do.

Retaliation is called for, a retaliation so decisive and swift that a
powerful message which can be understood can be transmitted
everywhere. This ain't no time for nit-picking about a Saba here or an
Al Qaeda there. It is not easy to track money-trails into Swiss bank
accounts, so is it with the machinations of intelligence agencies
under government control, be it ISI or be it CIA despite all the
insights provided by 'security analysts'. This ain't no time for a
clinical analysis of who or what is the particular group behind the
well-orchestrated blasts of 7/11; nor is it necessary to nit-pick on
if it is an inside job (facilitated by the withdrawal of the POTA) or
an external job.

The key component in fighting the war on terror is in the response of
counter-violence (For, violence or force is the only language terror
perpetrators and terror cuddlers understand). To dither in impotence
and inaction will be folly, historic blunder if the recurrence of such
events has to be prevented. If a government is not capable of
protecting the lives of innocent citizens, it has no right to govern.

Terror is a diabolical act of cowards. Cowards will be annihilated
only with overwhelming power demonstrated and effectively delivered
with clinical accuracy, by taking out the terror training camps. This
can happen if the professionally trained armed forces are not shackled
by frauds masquerading as neta's. Substitute Hon'ble PM Manmohan Singh
ji, quit your position, gaddi chodo. In the name of esha dhammo
sanantano, GO.

Operatives in 10 Janpath, quit assuming that you have the birth-right
to govern this nation.

The 190 and more aatman who have lost their lives in mangled steel of
Mumbai electric trains should not have died in vain. They are heroes
on the frontline of the fight against a-dharma. If a Government is
impotent and does not act, it has to go. That will be the true
s'raddham performed for these innocent aatman who, for no fault of
their own, have become victims to whose families doles are announced
by a Deshmukh or a Laloo. These doles are an extension of photo-ops
and are not adequate responses to bring back the resolve needed to
root terror out of this land. The death of the innocents on 7/11 in
eight blasts in 11 minutes should become the daily reminder to every
bharatiya in the morning prayers to give us the strength by
demonstrating that one of the das'akam dharma lakshanam (10
indicators of dharma according to Manusmruti 6.92) is dhruti

For that resolve, that dhruti to be demonstrated, the chamcha's have
to go, first; chamcha's who will do nothing to protect the lives of
innocent bharatiya.

The Economic Reconstruction of Afghanistan and the Role of Uzbekistan

Key Points

* Present international efforts for the post-conflict economic rehabilitation of Afghanistan have been largely ineffective, mainly because the potential for cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours has been left untapped.
* Successful reconstruction of Afghanistan will require consolidation of the efforts of the main aid donors and neighbouring states in a radical international programme.
* Future work by the international community should focus on:
- reconstruction of Afghanistan’s transport system;
- stimulation of industrial and agricultural cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours, including Uzbekistan.
* Uzbekistan has the potential to play an important role in the rehabilitation of Afghanistan’s northern provinces, with the support of the international community.
* The general restoration and development of Afghanistan could have important global effects, reducing the differences between the economic development of the littoral and continental regions of Eurasia and reducing the threat posed by international terrorists, extremists and drug barons.

Download the report

Red Alert: Hezbollah's Motives

Hezbollah's decision to increase operations against Israel was not taken lightly. The leadership of Hezbollah has not so much moderated over the years as it has aged. The group's leaders have also, with age, become comfortable and in many cases wealthy. They are at least part of the Lebanese political process, and in some real sense part of the Lebanese establishment. These are men with a radical past and of radical mind-set, but they are older, comfortable and less adventurous than 20 years ago. Therefore, the question is: Why are they increasing tensions with Israel and inviting an invasion that threatens their very lives? There are three things to look at: the situation among the Palestinians, the situation in Lebanon and the situation in the Islamic world. But first we must consider the situation in Hezbollah itself.

There is a generation gap in Hezbollah. Hezbollah began as a Shiite radical group inspired by the Iranian Islamic Revolution. In that context, Hezbollah represented a militant, nonsecular alternative to the Nasserite Fatah, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups that took their bearing from Pan-Arabism rather than Islam. Hezbollah split the Shiite community in Lebanon -- which was against Sunnis and Christians -- but most of all, engaged the Israelis. It made a powerful claim that the Palestinian movement had no future while it remained fundamentally secular and while its religious alternatives derived from the conservative Arab monarchies. More than anyone, it was Hezbollah that introduced Islamist suicide bombings.

Hezbollah had a split personality, however; it was supported by two very different states. Iran was radically Islamist. Syria, much closer and a major power in Lebanon, was secular and socialist. They shared an anti-Zionist ideology, but beyond that, not much. Moreover, the Syrians viewed the Palestinian claim for a state with a jaundiced eye. Palestine was, from their point of view, part of the Ottoman Empire's Syrian province, divided by the British and French. Syria wanted to destroy Israel, but not necessarily to create a Palestinian state.

From Syria's point of view, the real issue was the future of Lebanon, which it wanted to reabsorb into Syria, or at the very least economically exploit. The Syrians intervened in Lebanon against the Palestine Liberation Organization and on the side of some Christian elements. Their goal was much less ideological than political and economic. They saw Hezbollah as a tool in their fight with Yasser Arafat and for domination of Syria.

Hezbollah strategically was aligned with Iran. Tactically, it had to align itself with Syria, since the Syrians dominated Lebanon. That meant that when Syria wanted tension with Israel, Hezbollah provided it, and when Syria wanted things to quiet down, Hezbollah cooled it. Meanwhile the leadership of Hezbollah, aligned with the Syrians, was in a position to prosper, particular after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

That withdrawal involved a basic, quiet agreement between Syria and Israel. Israel accepted Syrian domination of Lebanon. In return, Syria was expected to maintain a security regime that controlled Hezbollah. Attacks against Israel had to be kept within certain acceptable limits. Syria, having far less interest in Israel than in Lebanon, saw this as an opportunity to achieve its ends. Israel saw Syrian domination under these terms as a stabilizing force.


Two things converged to destabilize this situation. The emergence of Hamas as a major force among the Palestinians meant the Palestinian polity was being redefined. Even before the elections catapulted Hamas into a leadership role, it was clear that the Fatah-dominated government of Arafat was collapsing. Everything was up for grabs. That meant that either Hezbollah made a move or would be permanently a Lebanese organization. It had to show it was willing to take risks and be effective. In fact, it had to show that it was the most effective of all the groups. The leadership might have been reluctant, but the younger members saw this as their moment, and frankly, the old juices might have been running in the older leadership. They moved.

The second part of this occurred in Lebanon itself. After the death of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, outside pressure, primarily from the United States, forced a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Now, do not overestimate the extent of the withdrawal. Syrian influence in Lebanon is still enormous. But it did relieve Syria of the burden of controlling Hezbollah. Indeed, Israel was not overly enthusiastic about Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon for just that reason.

Syria could now claim to have no influence or obligation concerning Hezbollah. Hezbollah's leadership lost the cover of being able to tell the young Turks that they would be more aggressive, but that the Syrians would not let them. As the Syrian withdrawal loosened up Lebanese politics, Hezbollah was neither restrained nor could it pretend to be restrained. Whatever the mixed feelings might have been, the mission was the mission, Syrian withdrawal opened the door and Hezbollah could not resist walking through it, and many members urgently wanted to walk through it.

At the same time the Iranians were deeply involved in negotiations in Iraq and over Tehran's nuclear program. They wanted as many levers as they could find to use in negotiations against the United States. They already had the ability to destabilize Iraq. They had a nuclear program the United States wanted to get rid of. Reactivating a global network that directly threatened American interests was another chip on the bargaining table. Not attacking U.S. interests but attacking Israel demonstrated Hezbollah's vibrancy without directly threatening the United States. Moreover, activities around the world, not carefully shielded in some cases, gave Iran further leverage.

In addition, it allowed Iran to reclaim its place as the leader of Islamic radical resurgence. Al Qaeda, a Sunni group, had supplanted Iran in the Islamic world. Indeed, Iran's collaboration with the West allowed Tehran to be pictured among the "hypocrites" Osama bin Laden condemned. Iran wants to become the dominant power in the Persian Gulf, and one part of that is to take away the mantle of Islamic radicalism from al Qaeda. Since al Qaeda is a damaged organization at best, and since Hezbollah pioneered Islamist terrorism on a global basis, reactivating Hezbollah made a great deal of sense to the Iranians.

Hezbollah's Position

Syria benefited by showing how badly it was needed in Lebanon. Iran picked up additional leverage against the United States. Hezbollah claimed a major place at the negotiations shaping the future of Palestinian politics. It all made a great deal of sense.

Of course, it was also obvious that Israel would respond. From Syria's point of view, that was fine. Israel would bog down again. It would turn to Syria to relieve it of its burdens. Israel would not want an Islamic regime in Damascus. Syria gets regime preservation and the opportunity to reclaim Lebanon. Iran gets a war hundreds of miles away from it, letting others fight its battles. It can claim it is the real enemy of Israel in the Islamic world. The United States might bargain away interests in Iraq in order to control Hezbollah. An Israeli invasion opens up possibilities without creating much risk.

It is Hezbollah that takes it on the chin. But Hezbollah, by its nature and its relationships, really did not have much choice. It had to act or become irrelevant. So now the question is: What does Hezbollah do when the Israelis come? They can resist. They have anti-tank weapons and other systems from Iran. They can inflict casualties. They can impose a counterinsurgency. Syria may think Israel will have to stay, but Israel plans to crush Hezbollah's infrastructure and leave, forcing Hezbollah to take years to recover. Everyone else in Lebanon is furious at Hezbollah for disrupting the recovery. What does Hezbollah do?

In the 1980s, what Hezbollah did was take Western hostages. The United States is enormously sensitive to hostage situations. It led Ronald Reagan to Iran-Contra. Politically, the United States has trouble handling hostages. This is the one thing Hezbollah learned in the 1980s that the leaders remember. A portfolio of hostages is life insurance. Hezbollah could go back to its old habits. It makes sense to do so.

It will not do this while there is a chance of averting an invasion. But once it is crystal clear it is coming, grabbing hostages makes sense. Assuming the invasion is going to occur early next week -- or a political settlement is going to take place -- Western powers now have no more than 72 hours to get their nationals out of Beirut or into places of safety. That probably cannot be done. There are thousands of Westerners in Beirut. But the next few days will focus on ascertaining Israeli intensions and timelines, and executing plans to withdraw citizens. The Israelis might well shift their timeline to facilitate this. But all things considered, if Hezbollah returns to its roots, it should return to its first operational model: hostages.

Send questions or comments on this article to analysis@stratfor.com.

7/11 : Rhetoric, half-truths and terrorism

By Arindam Banerjee

Half truths seem to have become quite a rhetorical weapon in the hands of terrorists and their supporters – consider the odd case of half-liar K. Sidharth who writes in http://www.countercurrents.org/ind-sidharth130706.htm

“It cannot be excluded that yesterday’s atrocity in Mumbai was organized or facilitated by agents provocateurs working for one of India’s intelligence agencies or that elements within the security forces allowed the terrorist attack to take place, with the aim of panicking the public into accepting increased repressive powers for the state. It is also possible that the Mumbai bombings were the work of Hindu supremacist fanatics bent on stoking up anti-Muslim violence.” – so, apparently he wants us to believe that the Indians did it.

[Note: apparently, even the ideologues at countercurrents.org could not stand the putrid thinking enshrined in Sidharth’s article – so, they removed it, today]

Let’s analyze this fictional hypothesis, a little…

Sidharth-babu starts with an attempt to absolve the LeT of possible linkages to the massacre in Mumbai. His approach - raise doubts about LeT’s involvement.

(a) First question the LeT’s capabilities thru “ if Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was the author of the coordinated bombings in Mumbai, it would represent a new level of technical sophistication” - no mention of LeT’s apparent global organization, association of Pakistani nuclear scientists with the LeT, support from Pakistani terrorist agencies such as the ISI or any other source of help – no need for any analysis, when you can always blame the Indians.

(b) The other trick - a deliberate piece of insipid logic as in ‘LeT could NOT have done it, since they have not shown this level of sophistication before, but the Hindu supremacists could surely have done this, in spite of the fact that they have never done been accused of any similar terrorist attack’. I’m sure the “Hindu supremacist” groups have spread mindless violence in places, but systematic terrorist attacks on buildings, trains, schools – not much prior art on that. So, why doesn’t the question of “technical sophistication” apply to Hindu supremacist groups – ah! that would spoil Sid’s odious diatribe, wouldn’t it?

(c) Then of course the big one – the LeT themselves said, they didn’t do it. “A spokesman for the organization has denied it had anything to do with yesterday’s terrorist attacks in either Srinagar or Mumbai. According to the Hindu, LeT representative Dr. Abdullah, condemned both attacks as “inhuman and barbaric” in a telephone call to several media organizations in Srinagar. “Blaming the LeT for such inhuman acts is an attempt by the Indian security agencies to defame the freedom struggle in Jammu and Kashmir,” claimed Ghaznavi”. So, now we have come down to giving credence to some dude called Ghaznavi, from a jihadi organization that proudly excels in killing women and little children. Of course “Ghaznavi’s” credibility is not hurt by the “Killing Hindus is the way forward” mantra spun by LeT’s uber-jihadi Hafiz Sayed [reported by Daily Times, Lahore]

In Sidharth’s make believe world – he would rather give credence to a bunch of trans-national habitual rapists and child-murderers, than dozens of different Indian security agencies; raise doubts about some Pakistani jihadi group, while ignoring the possibility that the same lack of technical sophistication excuse may apply in a much greater way to, as he calls them, Hindu supremacist groups.

But, lest you judge him by his true intentions, he prefaces his charade by a weasel word or two, as in “Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Islamicist terrorist groups opposed to Indian control over Kashmir have repeatedly staged attacks on civilians and perpetrated communalist atrocities”.

But, let’s look at K. Sidharth’s bag of twisted-statements a little further….

“Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seized on a terrorist attack on India’s parliament, …to threaten war on long-time arch-rival Pakistan, which it accused of supporting the LeT” – so, the Pakistan supporting the LeT becomes an accusation thrown out by the BJP – not a fact, backed up by evidence.

Isn’t it strange then that the LeT openly runs a terrorist-breeding farm in a luxurious 190 acre layout in Lahore, with the full connivance of the all-controlling terrorist army of Pakistan? Maybe, recent developments like, Pakistan’s refusal to join in the ban of the JuD [the front-organization of the LeT] would have convinced Sidharth – but, then again mentioning such facts would hardly facilitate the truth-distortion exercise, that K. Sidharth has undertaken, under the guise of searching for the perpetrators of terror.

Other interesting twists include “In an attempt to force Pakistan into making major concessions, India’s government kept a million troops in battle formation near the Pakistan border for almost a year” – now what concessions would this be – that Pakistan stop killing women and children in India!!

Ever wonder, why would a rabid commentator use phrases like “force Pakistan into making major concessions”…the reason becomes clear…

Sidharth the liar, it seems, is thrilled about something: “the Congress Party-led UP government has—at least thus far—leveled no accusations of Pakistani involvement in either the Mumbai or Srinagar terror attacks”

Ah! – so apart from bashing sundry Hindu organizations and shifting the blame on to the Indians, he’s really happy that Pakistan has not been blamed – I mean, what could be worse than blaming good ole’ Pakistan.

The problem is

(a) Pakistani complicity in cross-border terrorism is something that other Muslim states like Afghanistan have openly been decrying for a few years now

(b) Pakistani involvement in terrorism in India has been described by reputed news sources across the world – in fact, Pakistani enthused killings in India have cost at least 1300 lives every year for the last decade and a half

(c) Pakistani involvement in almost every international terrorist act of the last decade has been quite well documented – from 911thru the Cole Bombings, the London bombings to terrorist attempts in US, UK, Singapore and Mali.

For heaven’s sake – Pakistan is a country where 44% of the people support suicide bombings in some form. Furthermore, it was the Pakistani PM himself who linked Pakistan to this massacre by broadly hinting that such terrorist acts would not stop until Kashmir was resolved. Yet in his misdirected blame game, Sidharth nauseatingly avoids mentioning possible Pakistani complicity; this dude’s sympathies certainly do not lie with the victims of the tragedy.

Unfortunately for Sidharth – he’s too stupid to do a good job of hiding the target of his sympathies….better luck next time.

IntelliBriefs: Modi Heads To Mumbai To Protect Hindus

The BJP will be sending its Hindutva face, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, to Mumbai to participate in a two-day nationwide campaign against terrorism. Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani will tour Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh while party chief Rajnath Singh will be in Nagpur for the campaign. The two-day campaign will be on July 15-16. The BJP, which has stepped up attack against the Centre for being “soft” on terrorism, has decided that Mr Modi, with his hardcore Hindutva image, would be the “best bet” to consolidate its Hindutva vote bank in Maharashtra.Incidentally, the decision to despatch Mr Modi was taken in consultation with the Shiv Sena. The RSS also indicated that the Maharashtra was “ripe” for the “use of leaders like Mr Modi”, a senior party functionary said. The functionary also talked of Mr Modi’s “huge fan following” In Mumbai. He recalled that after the Gujarat riots, when Mr Modi addressed a rally at Mumbai, the “turnout was mammoth”.

IntelliBriefs: Modi Heads To Mumbai To Protect Hindus

Modi Heads To Mumbai To Protect Hindus

The BJP will be sending its Hindutva face, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, to Mumbai to participate in a two-day nationwide campaign against terrorism. Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani will tour Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh while party chief Rajnath Singh will be in Nagpur for the campaign. The two-day campaign will be on July 15-16. The BJP, which has stepped up attack against the Centre for being “soft” on terrorism, has decided that Mr Modi, with his hardcore Hindutva image, would be the “best bet” to consolidate its Hindutva vote bank in Maharashtra.Incidentally, the decision to despatch Mr Modi was taken in consultation with the Shiv Sena. The RSS also indicated that the Maharashtra was “ripe” for the “use of leaders like Mr Modi”, a senior party functionary said. The functionary also talked of Mr Modi’s “huge fan following” In Mumbai. He recalled that after the Gujarat riots, when Mr Modi addressed a rally at Mumbai, the “turnout was mammoth”.

Only 24 hours ago, Mr Advani tried to toe a soft line by saying that this was “not the time to criticise” the Centre. However, Mr Advani stood somewhat isolated as the BJP adopted a resolution asking the Centre to either “govern or get out”. The party has now decided to play its “hardcore Hindutva card” in Maharashtra. Both the BJP and Shiv Sena were voted out from Maharashtra during the Assembly elections in 2000.

Over the past few months, the BJP, under Mr Rajnath Singh, has been trying to get back to the Hindutva bandwagon, which was virtually abandoned by Mr Advani. He had to quit his post as party president after he “crossed the Lakshman rekha by calling Jinnah secular”, the BJP functionary recalled. The BJP, which has been holding the organisation Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi) responsible for the terrorist activities in the country, described Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s reported move to set free jailed Simi activists an “electoral stunt”.

Stepping up pressure on the government, BJP spokesman Prakash Javdekar demanded “hot pursuit” of terrorists in the wake of Tuesday’s train bombings in Mumbai. He defined “hot pursuit” as a “full-scale war” against terrorism. However, Mr Javdekar was vague when asked about the NDA government’s decision to release terrorist Masood Azhar following the Kandahar hijack.

July 13, 2006

Raptors to bring air superiority to Northern Edge 2006

5/10/2006 - HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN) -- The Air Force’s newest fighter, the F-22A Raptor, will make its Pacific-region debut in exercise Northern Edge 2006 in June.

Twelve F-22As from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., along with U.S. military units stationed in the continental United States and the Pacific theater, will participate in this joint training exercise. It is hosted by U.S. Alaskan Command and is scheduled for June 5 to 16 on and above central Alaska ranges and the Gulf of Alaska.

“The Raptor is the key to defeating deadly next-generation threats to today’s aircraft. (They) can strike deep and fast, day or night, paving the way for friendly air, land and sea forces to operate at will without interference from an opposing air force,” said Col. Russ Handy, 1st Fighter Wing vice commander. “With its combination of stealth, supercruise speed, advanced avionics, air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities, the F-22A’s survivability and striking power make it uniquely capable of countering advanced threats from Day One of any conflict.”

The F-22A, a critical component of the Global Strike Task Force, is designed to project air dominance rapidly and at great distances and defeat threats attempting to deny access to the nation's Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

Northern Edge is the largest military training exercise scheduled in Alaska this year, with approximately 5,000 U.S. active-duty and reserve-component military members participating.

“Northern Edge is designed to prepare joint forces to respond to crises in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Col. John Marselus, chief of Alaskan Command's joint exercise division. “The exercise is intended to sharpen skills; to practice operations, techniques and procedures; to improve command, control and communication relationships; and to develop interoperable plans and programs.”

While this may be the first appearance of the F-22A in the Alaskan sky, it is also a precursor of things to come. The Air Force has selected Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, as the home for the next operational F-22A wing. The base is preparing for the arrival of 36 Raptors, with the first jet expected to arrive in fall 2007.

Units participating in Northern Edge 2006 include Pacific Air Forces, Air Combat Command, U.S. Army Alaska, Marine Forces Pacific, Special Operations Command Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet.

(Courtesy of Pacific Air Forces News Service)

Middle East Crisis: Backgrounder

Israel lives with three realities: geographic, demographic and cultural. Geographically, it is at a permanent disadvantage, lacking strategic depth. It does enjoy the advantage of interior lines -- the ability to move forces rapidly from one front to another. Demographically, it is on the whole outnumbered, although it can achieve local superiority in numbers by choosing the time and place of war. Its greatest advantage is cultural. It has a far greater mastery of the technology and culture of war than its neighbors.

Two of the realities cannot be changed. Nothing can be done about geography or demography. Culture can be changed. It is not inherently the case that Israel will have a technological or operational advantage over its neighbors. The great inherent fear of Israel is that the Arabs will equal or surpass Israeli prowess culturally and therefore militarily. If that were to happen, then all three realities would turn against Israel and Israel might well be at risk.

That is why the capture of Israeli troops, first one in the south, then two in the north, has galvanized Israel. The kidnappings represent a level of Arab tactical prowess that previously was the Israeli domain. They also represent a level of tactical slackness on the Israeli side that was previously the Arab domain. These events hardly represent a fundamental shift in the balance of power. Nevertheless, for a country that depends on its cultural superiority, any tremor in this variable reverberates dramatically. Hamas and Hezbollah have struck the core Israeli nerve. Israel cannot ignore it.

Embedded in Israel's demographic problem is this: Israel has national security requirements that outstrip its manpower base. It can field a sufficient army, but its industrial base cannot supply all of the weapons needed to fight high-intensity conflicts. This means it is always dependent on an outside source for its industrial base and must align its policies with that source. At first this was the Soviets, then France and finally the United States. Israel broke with the Soviets and France when their political demands became too intense. It was after 1967 that it entered into a patron-client relationship with the United States. This relationship is its strength and its weakness. It gives the Israelis the systems they need for national security, but since U.S. and Israeli interests diverge, the relationship constrains Israel's range of action.

During the Cold War, the United States relied on Israel for a critical geopolitical function. The fundamental U.S. interest was Turkey, which controlled the Bosporus and kept the Soviet fleet under control in the Mediterranean. The emergence of Soviet influence in Syria and Iraq -- which was not driven by U.S. support for Israel since the United States did not provide all that much support compared to France -- threatened Turkey with attack from two directions, north and south. Turkey could not survive this. Israel drew Syrian attention away from Turkey by threatening Damascus and drawing forces and Soviet equipment away from the Turkish frontier. Israel helped secure Turkey and turned a Soviet investment into a dry hole.

Once Egypt signed a treaty with Israel and Sinai became a buffer zone, Israel became safe from a full peripheral war -- everyone attacking at the same time. Jordan was not going to launch an attack and Syria by itself could not strike. The danger to Israel became Palestinian operations inside of Israel and the occupied territories and the threat posed from Lebanon by the Syrian-sponsored group Hezbollah.

In 1982, Israel responded to this threat by invading Lebanon. It moved as far north as Beirut and the mountains east and northeast of it. Israel did not invade Beirut proper, since Israeli forces do not like urban warfare as it imposes too high a rate of attrition. But what the Israelis found was low-rate attrition. Throughout their occupation of Lebanon, they were constantly experiencing guerrilla attacks, particularly from Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has two patrons: Syria and Iran. The Syrians have used Hezbollah to pursue their political and business interests in Lebanon. Iran has used Hezbollah for business and ideological reasons. Business interests were the overlapping element. In the interest of business, it became important to Hezbollah, Syria and Iran that an accommodation be reached with Israel. Israel wanted to withdraw from Lebanon in order to end the constant low-level combat and losses.

Israel withdrew in 1988, having reached quiet understandings with Syria that Damascus would take responsibility for Hezbollah, in return for which Israel would not object to Syrian domination of Lebanon. Iran, deep in its war with Iraq, was not in a position to object if it had wanted to. Israel returned to its borders in the north, maintaining a security presence in the south of Lebanon that lasted for several years.

As Lebanon blossomed and Syria's hold on it loosened, Iran also began to increase its regional influence. Its hold on some elements of Hezbollah strengthened, and in recent months, Hezbollah -- aligning itself with Iranian Shiite ideology -- has become more aggressive. Iranian weapons were provided to Hezbollah, and tensions grew along the frontier. This culminated in the capture of two soldiers in the north and the current crisis.

It is difficult to overestimate the impact of the soldier kidnappings on the Israeli psyche. First, while the Israeli military is extremely highly trained, Israel is also a country with mass conscription. Having a soldier kidnapped by Arabs hits every family in the country. The older generation is shocked and outraged that members of the younger generation have been captured and worried that they allowed themselves to be captured; therefore, the younger generation needs to prove it too can defeat the Arabs. This is not a primary driver, but it is a dimension.

The more fundamental issue is this: Israel withdrew from Lebanon in order to escape low-intensity conflict. If Hezbollah is now going to impose low-intensity conflict on Israel's border, the rationale for withdrawal disappears. It is better for Israel to fight deep in Lebanon than inside Israel. If the rockets are going to fall in Israel proper, then moving into a forward posture has no cost to Israel.

From an international standpoint, the Israelis expect to be condemned. These international condemnations, however, are now having the opposite effect of what is intended. The Israeli view is that they will be condemned regardless of what they do. The differential between the condemnation of reprisal attacks and condemnation of a full invasion is not enough to deter more extreme action. If Israel is going to be attacked anyway, it might as well achieve its goals.

Moreover, an invasion of Hezbollah-held territory aligns Israel with the United States. U.S. intelligence has been extremely concerned about the growing activity of Hezbollah, and U.S. relations with Iran are not good. Lebanon is the center of gravity of Hezbollah, and the destruction of Hezbollah capabilities in Lebanon, particularly the command structure, would cripple Hezbollah operations globally in the near future. The United States would very much like to see that happen, but cannot do it itself. Moreover, an Israeli action would enrage the Islamic world, but it would also drive home the limits of Iranian power. Once again, Iran would have dropped Lebanon in the grease, and not been hurt itself. The lesson of Hezbollah would not be lost on the Iraqi Shia -- or so the Bush administration would hope.

Therefore, this is one Israeli action that benefits the United States, and thus helps the immediate situation as well as long-term geopolitical alignments. It realigns the United States and Israel. This also argues that any invasion must be devastating to Hezbollah. It must go deep. It must occupy temporarily. It must shatter Hezbollah.

At this point, the Israelis appear to be unrolling a war plan in this direction. They have blockaded the Lebanese coast. Israeli aircraft are attacking what air power there is in Lebanon, and have attacked Hezbollah and other key command-and-control infrastructure. It would follow that the Israelis will now concentrate on destroying Hezbollah -- and Lebanese -- communications capabilities and attacking munitions dumps, vehicle sites, rocket-storage areas and so forth.

Most important, Israel is calling up its reserves. This is never a symbolic gesture in Israel. All Israelis below middle age are in the reserves and mobilization is costly in every sense of the word. If the Israelis were planning a routine reprisal, they would not be mobilizing. But they are, which means they are planning to do substantially more than retributive airstrikes. The question is what their plan is.

Given the blockade and what appears to be the shape of the airstrikes, it seems to us at the moment the Israelis are planning to go fairly deep into Lebanon. The logical first step is a move to the Litani River in southern Lebanon. But given the missile attacks on Haifa, they will go farther, not only to attack launcher sites, but to get rid of weapons caches. This means a move deep into the Bekaa Valley, the seat of Hezbollah power and the location of plants and facilities. Such a penetration would leave Israeli forces' left flank open, so a move into Bekaa would likely be accompanied by attacks to the west. It would bring the Israelis close to Beirut again.

This leaves Israel's right flank exposed, and that exposure is to Syria. The Israeli doctrine is that leaving Syrian airpower intact while operating in Lebanon is dangerous. Therefore, Israel must at least be considering using its air force to attack Syrian facilities, unless it gets ironclad assurances the Syrians will not intervene in any way. Conversations are going on between Egypt and Syria, and we suspect this is the subject. But Israel would not necessarily object to the opportunity of eliminating Syrian air power as part of its operation, or if Syria chooses, going even further.

At the same time, Israel does not intend to get bogged down in Lebanon again. It will want to go in, wreak havoc, withdraw. That means it will go deeper and faster, and be more devastating, than if it were planning a long-term occupation. It will go in to liquidate Hezbollah and then leave. True, this is no final solution, but for the Israelis, there are no final solutions.

Israeli forces are already in Lebanon. Its special forces are inside identifying targets for airstrikes. We expect numerous air attacks over the next 48 hours, as well as reports of firefights in southern Lebanon. We also expect more rocket attacks on Israel.

It will take several days to mount a full invasion of Lebanon. We would not expect major operations before the weekend at the earliest. If the rocket attacks are taking place, however, Israel might send several brigades to the Litani River almost immediately in order to move the rockets out of range of Haifa. Therefore, we would expect a rapid operation in the next 24-48 hours followed by a larger force later.

At this point, the only thing that can prevent this would be a major intervention by Syria with real guarantees that it would restrain Hezbollah and indications such operations are under way. Syria is the key to a peaceful resolution. Syria must calculate the relative risks, and we expect them to be unwilling to act decisively.


1. Israel cannot tolerate an insurgency on its northern frontier; if there is one, it wants it farther north.

2. It cannot tolerate attacks on Haifa.

3. It cannot endure a crisis of confidence in its military

4. Hezbollah cannot back off of its engagement with Israel.

5. Syria can stop this, but the cost to it stopping it is higher than the cost of letting it go on.

It would appear Israel will invade Lebanon. The global response will be noisy. There will be no substantial international action against Israel. Beirut's tourism and transportation industry, as well as its financial sectors, are very much at risk.
Send questions or comments on this article to analysis@stratfor.com.

July 12, 2006

Mumbai Terror - Manmohan Singh in Denial ?

Mumbai Terror - Manmohan Singh in Denial ?

The day after the serial bomb blasts in commuter trains in Mumbai, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed the nation on the state owned public broadcaster Doordarshan. Dr. Manmohan Singh talked about trauma of terrorism, called the incidents an hour of grief, and paid tribute to all those who showed courage and humanism. He praised the resilience and resolve of the people and called the terrorists merchants of death and destruction. Dr. Singh's address had more rhetoric on how India stands tall and how the terrorists will not win. Lasting a little less than 3 minutes, the address goes to highlight once again the abject state of denial in which the Manmohan Singh Government finds itself in.

To begin with in his entire address Dr. Singh makes no mention, none whatsoever about what is the nature of the terrorism India is now facing. Dr. Singh displays his mental state of denial by not even acknwoledging what is the problem of terrorism India is facing. Dr. Singh is in complete denial about this new brand of terrorism that has started to show its face over the last six months beginning with the New Delhi bomb blasts, followed by the Varnasi Bomb blasts and the terrorist attacks on RSS in Nagpur and IISC in Bangalore. Dr. Singh neither showed the courage nor the intellectual clarity in his address to the nation, to call out this new form of terror for what it is and. That it is no longer about Kashmir, it is no longer about Maoist revolution but a new brand of Islamic Terrorism with no apparent political objectives but with the clear anarchist aim of destabilizing our democracy and striking at the way of life. This is the state of denial mindset with which the chief executive of the nation is operating.

Secondly nothing in the entire address gives the people of India the confidence that there will not be another 7-11. For that matter nothing in Dr. Singh's address explaining why tomorrow would be any different. The resilience and resolve of the people of India notwithstanding, Dr. Singh offers nothing by way of explaining how or why the evil designs of the terrorists will be defeated. This resilience and resolve did not deter them from executing 7-11 nor did this resilience and resolve did not defeat the Delhi blasts on the eve of Diwali. Dr. Singh talks about the terrorists not understanding Indians, maybe not, but they have quite well understood the lax attitude of the Indian State to acting on terrorism. Indians stood United when Akshardham happened, Indians stood United when Ayodhya was attacked, Indians stood united when Varnasi was attacked, but despite that Dr. Singh the Terrorists won on 7-11, when with no fear of consequence, they struck with impunity at the heart of Indian prosperity. Dr. Singh is in complete denial in recognizing that all that is good and great about the Indian People is no guarantee of victory against this brand of terrorism.

Thirdly Dr. Singh is in complete denial about the role of the Indian State in dealing with terrorism. He has words of praise for the police and security forces in responding to the tragedy. But Dr. Singh has nothing to say about how his Government intends to pre-empt terrorism. Dr. Singh's state of denial on how to respond to terror is amplified when he waxes eloquently on how India cannot be cowed down by terrorism and that the Indian state will win the war on terrorism, but stops short offering a new bold path to confront this brand of terror. He talks about doing what it takes to deal with this challenge but stops short of either acknwoledging the nature of the challenge or how he intends to deal with the challenge.

Here is what Offstumped expects an Indian Prime Minister to have said in the aftermath of an incident of this nature. The Indian Prime Minister should have first demonstrated the integrity and the courage to look the Indian People in the Eye and honestly squared with them on the nature of the challenge. The Indian Prime Minister should then have emphasized the seriousness with which his Government veiws the challenge. The Indian Prime Minister should have made the case for why the people of India should view this challenge with the same degree of seriousness. The Indian Prime Minister should have reminded the Indian People why there should be no room for complacency or false comfort, and that Islamic Terrorism is a real and serious threat, and why neither the Indian State nor the Indian People must not lower their guard and must be vigilant. Then the Indian Prime Minister should have laid out the moral guiding philosophy with which he intends to confront this brand of terrorism. The Indian Prime Minister should have used this philosophy to make clear what Zero Tolerance to this brand of terrorism means and what he really means by "whatever it takes". The Indian Prime Minister should have made it explicit that there will be no qualifications, no safe havens and no politics in how his Government intends to confront terrorism. The Indian Prime Minister should have then made clear the concrete steps his Government intends to take at the International, Federal and Local Levels to secure the nation, hunt down the terrorists and their sponsors. He should have instilled the fear of god in those who dream of wreaking havoc by explaining the force with which his Government intends to take to advance the frontlines in this battle against Terrorism to the doorstep of the Terrorists , wherever they maybe. Finally, The Prime Minister should have made absolutely clear in no uncertain terms to those who sponsor terror and provide safe havens to terrorists that a line had been crossed and there will be consequences to pay and that the Indian State would not rest till the sponsors and the safe havens have been eliminated.

By not bringing this boldness, this moral and intellectual clarity and force of intentions,by not laying down the line and not staking either his personal or his Government's future to the success on this war on terrorism, Dr. Singh has given those who perpetrated the terror and those who sponsored it, ample reason to be satisified with not just the mayhem in Mumbai but the confidence that there will be no adverse consequences to their actions. Dr. Singh has given them the confidence that India can be pushed around for no Indian Prime Minister will ever have the moral courage to shy away from Political Correctness and stake his credibility in taking this brand of Terrorism head on and not resting until the job is done.

This was to be expected from the Congress lead UPA Government with its dependence on the Prakash Karat led CPI-M for survival. However the response of the Indian Right the BJP, RSS has been pathetic. Rather than elevate the political debate on how the Indian State should respond to Terrorism, all we hear are cheap political points. If the BJP is to be taken seriously as the natural party of the Right it should have come out with a philosophical position and a policy prescription that goes beyond an anti-terrorism legislation and explained what it would have done different to prevent another 7-11 from occuring. If the boldest and brightest anti-terrorism idea to emerge from the Indian Right is just a new Law, then it is no wonder that the Terrorist and their Sponsors feel so emboldened. The people expect much more from the principal opposition, they deserve much more.

Offstumped Bottomline: This new brand of Islamic Terrorism in India is a serious problem. The Government of the day must in its words and actions acknowledge its seriousness and demonstrate its seriousness in pre-empting it. The Indian Prime Minister and his Government are in a state of denial. By not setting out clear goals and the end-game in this fight against terror, they have only emboldened the terrorists. If the only insurance the Indian Government can offer against futute terror attacks is the resilience and Unity of the Indian People, then there is a serious doubt as to the future security of the Indian State.