Mumbai: Islamisk terrors nye modus operandi

Fra Middle East Times, hat tip TH

Mumbai, India’s financial capital is now only barely waking up from its worst nightmare. Last week in simultaneous attacks, Islamist terrorists killed at least 195 people and injured another 300 during a 60-hour killing spree. The tactics used by the terrorists were different from the classical jihadist playbook. Does it mean that Mumbai-style attacks are the new jihadist modus operandi?

First, regarding the perpetrators, all the signs point to the involvement of the Pakistani terror group and al-Qaida affiliate Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). LeT is in fact a group propped up by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and mostly focusing until now on the “liberation” of the Kashmir province.

As early as Thursday, Russian intelligence stated that LeT, a group that underwent special training in al-Qaida camps at the India-Pakistan border, were behind the attacks.

On Friday U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials confirmed that assessment. And just on Sunday, the only terrorist captured by Indian police said that indeed LeT was behind the bloody attacks.

Even if the operation had been prepared for a long time, the timing might not be coincidental. A week ago Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari went on a limb to advance peace with India. He declared that Pakistan would never be the first to use the atomic bomb against India and more importantly talking about Kashmir, he called the rebels “terrorists:” a first for a Pakistani president.

Reportedly some inside the ISI were very upset by this statement and by the possible rapprochement with India. What better way to kill these efforts than by pulling off a large terror operation in Mumbai? Also incidentally on Nov. 26, an important alleged LeT operative was arrested in Britain.

One of the main reasons for the terrorists switching tactics was to grab the world’s attention. In fact as of last week before Mumbai, how many people knew that after Iraq India was the second country in the world most afflicted by terrorism? I would suspect not many. Nonetheless from January 2004 to today, over 4,100 people have died as a result of terrorist attacks in India.

Now after the atrocious events of the past few days, the world knows about terrorism in India.

The new modus operandi was to attack soft targets, including major landmarks and also kill foreign nationals. While some al-Qaida affiliates – in particular al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb – have recently switched to focusing on soft targets because the hard targets are becoming so well protected, the tactics used in Mumbai are new.

Unmasked assailers walking into public places indiscriminately shooting with machine guns, throwing grenades and also taking hostages – and this for 60 hours, all while it is being documented on world TV.

Compared to a classical car bomb or suicide attack, this tactic has the advantage for the terrorists of remaining in the news for a much longer time. It has also a much higher psychological value on the population: it kills the feeling of security since terrorists can hit anywhere. Also, by attacking foreigners, the terrorists want to create panic in the Western community and project a negative image of India. Thus by shaking confidence, they want to cripple the Indian economy and dry up foreign investment.

What is most worrisome about this new modus operandi is that 10 terrorists were able to inflict so much damage, kill so many people and hold hostage an 18-million-people megalopolis for 60 hours. Imagine how much more horrible it could have been if they were 50, 100 or 500.

The fact that the operation was so successful from the terrorists’ point of view could give ideas to others to do the same in Europe, Africa or even the United States. In fact, Peter Clarke, the former head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism branch, warned that there was a real risk of a Mumbai-style massacre occurring in Britain.

And who knows next time the terrorists might use a mix of tactics: simultaneous suicide bombings, car bombs and Mumbai style attacks. Unfortunately Islamist terrorists seem to always find a way to reinvent themselves.

Olivier Guitta, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a foreign affairs and counterterrorism consultant, is the founder of the newsletter The Croissant (

En kommentar

  1. As Nasir Mahmood rightly said :-

    Many Muslim haters blamed Pakistan for terrorism in India because they don’t have knowledge of what is happening in India. Just 2 days ago, another attack by Assamese freedom fighters killed and wounded some and thousands in the last 20 years. All eastern states, in Bihar, Orissa, and Andhra state the Maoist, Christian, vegetarian you name it are fighting these Hindu devils like RSS, Shiv Sena, and BJP….. etc. One third of the Indian states want separation, even the Bengali and Punjabi tried in the 70’ and 80’s, but were brutally suppressed by the ruling elites of the Hindi belt and their stooges in other states, and over 100,000 died in those civil wars. This is real India.

    India is being congratulated and recognized for setting a benchmark. If the USA had applied some degree of maturity in 9/11 2001, then we would have a different world today. But G.W. Bush and his cronies especially that war monger Cheney reacted like the spoilt childish bullies they are (and represent). Over 100,000 have been killed, maimed and displaced in Iraq and Afghanistan because of it’s over reaction. Let’s hope India’s government do not become an extension of the Bollywood syndrome as the US government has become of the Hollywood version that stated with Reagan and the myth of the ‘wild west’ which, by the way, is always in someone else’s country these days!

    Before lecturing Pakistan for their role in so called terrorist attacks, even for the sake of argument if we agree that all acts were done by Muslims, these Muslim terrorist numbers are still like a drop in the ocean of Christian terrorists present all over the world. One hope for West propagandist media and neocons, it doesn’t turn out to be a blatant lie like Sep 11 and WMD in Iraq. There are right now one hundred and fifty thousands Americans, mostly Christian terrorists in Iraq alone, illegally occupying, killing, butchering, and terrorizing Iraqi civilians. Some more thousands are busy in Afghanistan, doing the same notorious terrorism towards the Afghans. One doesn’t think the Christian world should disown these state sponsored terrorists first, who are killing innocent citizens in their own land, stealing their wealth, and are eventually creating terror groups like themselves in the Islamic world to fight them?

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