Dec 6 2008
Mumbai’s “bloody week” has ended with shock and awe in India and around the world. Since 9/11, and even before, the Jihadists have been leaping from one massacre to another, scarring democracies and civil societies with their violent imprints.
From New York and Washington to Madrid and London; from Beslan and Baghdad to Islamabad and Bali, the seekers of a Taliban-like “Caliphate” continue to adapt their tactics and while staying the course. No civilization or continent has escaped their designs.
The seekers of a Taliban-like “Caliphate” continue to adapt their tactics and while staying the course.
But after Mumbai, one has to expect more and worse. Let’s look at what’s on the the horizon:
1) Urban Jihad is Open for Business
My initial assessment of the Mumbai terror attacks leads me to predict that the Mumbai model is now a frame of reference for copycats. These attacks can, unfortunately, happen again – in India, in the region and around the globe. “Urban jihad” is a combination of terror activities by Salafists or other adherents of Jihadism aimed at shocking, paralyzing, and seizing part of a city or neighborhood.
The goal of “urban jihad” is to take the battle inside the cities of the enemy, in this case India. But the Beslan school massacre in Russia in September 2004, the terror attacks in Saudi Arabia in November, 2003 the multiple killings in Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria, as well as the similar scenarios in Israel over several decades, tell us that this form of urban terrorism is now open for business. In the near future I will make more predictions Jihadi copycats worldwide.
2) Real Jihadi Claims beyond Kashmir
Interestingly, the Jihadi propaganda machine reacted instantly to the attacks by invoking the issue of Kashmir. So did many in the international media. But the reality is – using the words of the Jihadists – the goals have mutated and now extend beyond the classical ethnic conflict in Kashmir. The aim is now to establish a Taliban state covering half of India, all of Pakistan and also Afghanistan. It is more the Caliphate then self-determination that the terrorists seek.
3) Trans-Regional Forces Trump Local Forces
As I write, many experts and authorities on terror have been trying to determine if the Mumbai “perpetrators” are the Pakistan-based Laskar e Taiba, the Indian Mujahideen, Taliban inspired factions or simply al Qaeda. Strategically, we don’t need to wonder too much: all four of these groups are all part of the same web. It’s a web that stretches from Kabul to Mumbai: these are the subcontinent’s Jihadists. Decisions are made at a high level with coordination between the big bosses and terrorist actions are carried out by the designated organizations, teams, and cells. The rest is left for our media and commentators to guess and juggle.
4) Preempting the Forthcoming Offensive in Afghanistan
Beyond the investigation regarding the Mumbai attackers and their networks, it is equally important for strategic planners inside NATO to read the attacks as a preemptive strike against the forthcoming reinforcement of U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan. It seems to me that the Mumbai attack, and possibly the other attacks that may follow, are actions designed to break down precarious relationships between the three democratic governments in that region and to weaken the efforts promised by President-elect Obama against al Qaeda and its regional allies in 2009.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dr. Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad.
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