Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Standing with our ally

I understand that I have been fixated with what has been happening in India this last week, so I felt the need to post this article by Christopher Hitchens. I agree with him that we need to maintain a close partnership with India. He is also correct in saying that India acts as a good "counterweight" to Russia and China, although I do not necessarily agree with him about Pakistan, seeing as Pakistan is suffering from terrorism too.

I should note that this is from the center of the article...the full piece can be seen in the link below. Enjoy Hitchens' writing :)

Our friends in Bombay

by Christopher Hitchens

I hope I am not alone in finding the statements about Bombay from our politicians to be anemic and insipid, and the media coverage of the disastrous and criminal attack too parochially focused on the fate of visiting or resident Americans. India is emerging in many ways as our most important ally. It is a strong regional counterweight to Russia and China. Not to romanticize it overmuch, it is a huge and officially secular federal democracy that is based, like the United States, on ethnic and confessional pluralism. Its political and economic and literary echelons speak English better than most of us do. Its parliament in New Delhi—the unbelievably diverse and dignified Lok Sabha—was viciously attacked by Islamist gangsters and nearly destroyed in December 2001, a date which ought to have made more Americans pay more attention rather than less. Since then, Bombay has been assaulted multiple times and the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan blown up with the fairly obvious cross-border collusion of the same Pakistani forces who are helping in the rebirth of the Taliban.

It would be good to hear from the president and the president-elect that we regard attacks on the fabric and society of India with very particular seriousness, as assaults on a close friend that was battling al-Qaida long before we were. In response, it should be emphasized, our military and financial and nuclear and counterinsurgency cooperation with New Delhi will not be given a lower profile but a very much higher one. The people of India need to hear this from us, as do the enemies of India, who are our sworn enemies, too.

The inevitable question arises: Did our nominal ally Pakistan have a hand in this atrocity? In one sense, to ask the question is to answer it. Whether we refer to al-Qaida "proper," or to any of the armed Kashmiri formations that have lately been mentioned, we find some pre-existing connection to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI. Another conceivable suspect, the former Bombay crime lord Dawood Ibrahim, wanted by the Indian authorities on suspicion of blowing up the Bombay stock exchange and killing 300 civilians in 1993, has long been a fugitive from justice living safely in Pakistan's main port of Karachi. Not a bad place from which to organize an amphibious assault team that acted as if it had been trained by serious military professionals.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hitchens is an interesting man because he is both a neo-con and an outspoken atheist. He's equally critical of all relgions too, including Muslims and Christianity.

C.H. said...

I don't necessarily agree with him on that subject, but he does make a lot of good points, especially when it comes to Iraq and the Middle East.

Entropy said...

Is Pakistan culpable? In my opinion, yes. They have a history of "playing both ends against the middle". That being said, I also believe India is just as guilty of the same thing.

India has been busily rewriting it's own history to remove the Mughals presence in their past, and replacing them with made up indo-poly gods similar to those of the rest of the far east. This to me, sends up some scary warning bells. The Mughals were Muslim, and I find it interesting this revision of history is being pushed by the Hindu government,and I'm sure if you ask any Muslim or Hindu radical will say hate each other with a fiery passion.

I also notice that this attack (perpetrated by radical Muslim extremists) was not directly targeting the traditional enemy, but foreigners. Why?

The attack was perpetrated by a previously unknown Muslim militant group, the 'Deccan Mujahideen' (or translated, "southern struggle", in reference to a mainly Muslim region of India). These militants were prepared, had internal help by various groups, scouted an planned months in advance, and even had rations in their backpacks. This would tell me that they were thoroughly trained in a non-al-Qa'ida manner, as that method almost always committed by suicide attacks and bombings. The attack by the southern militants were obviously not preparing to die in that manner by having rations.

As well, it has apparently surfaced that the captured militant apparently had links to LeT, of Pakistan.

The attacks appeared to lack a more global cause however, and usual terrorist attacks are not like that. It appeared that instead of defining a vision statement, they would let the international media services "fill in the blanks" as they have especially since the Trade Centre Attacks in 2001.

I have a strong feeling that the attacks across Mumbai were planned, by India, or at least someone in their government.

These factors lead me to believe that the attacks were perpetrated by militants trained by LeT to belive it was a glorious attack for Islam, while someone in India benefited by the chaos by immediately claiming Pakistan was responsible and the attacks (targeting foreigners, specifically American and British) would garner the international community's support for harsh action against Pakistan.

Leaving out the fascist government, I have a feeling the revision of history bears a resemblance to the Krystallnacht and the Reichstag fire in Germany before WWII. It's a race-religion war, and India is provoking it.

By no means do I defend Pakistan, but I do not believe India is innocent either.

Sandybelle said...

مرحبا؟ كيف حالك؟ بخير؟
حظا موفقا

r said...

thoughts here are holy

C.H. said...

Salaam Sandy,

I am doing very well, haha. I hope you are feeling the same way. God willing, the situation in Mosul will get much better :)

C.H. said...

Entropy,

I see what you mean...I noted my disagreement with Hitchens analysis on Pakistan. Ahsan, a blogger from www.fiverupees.blogspot.com has a very interesting opinion on this.

Two days ago, a massive car bomb ripped apart a car bomb in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan. No one seems to recognize that Pakistan has suffered from terrorism a lot more than India, and even Afghanistan...at least this year, anyway. Just think of how often Pakistan is accused of fomenting terrorism in those two countries, when it is in fact a victim, too. As you stressed, this does not make Pakistan (or India) "innocent". Both have used surrogate warfare, and it is coming back to bite both of them. Lashkar-e-Taiba and its sister group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, are equally threatening now to Pakistan as they are to India. India is having a similar problem with Hindu extremists, who have committed bombings in the past.

What bothers me the most is the insenstivity to the Pakistani situation. I have heard many say that the Mumbai attacks are a conspiracy involving Pakistan's government. Perhaps elements of the ISI were involved, but to suggest that President Zardari, who lost his wife to a suicide bomber last year, is working hand in hand with LET is ridiculous and insulting.

I think the Mumbai attacks, and the Peshawar bombing, were specifically done to set Pakistan and India on a collision course and plunge the region into chaos.

C.H. said...

As to your question about the Mumbai attacks and the targets, I believe westerners were targeted to get the attention of the world media. Sadly, if they had taken 150 Indian factory workers hostage, the world probably wouldn't be as interested.

While some two dozen foreigners were killed, the terrorists wasted no time in hunting down the usual target. More than 50 Indian civilians were gunned down in a train station in one ferocious act violence, and many more followed.

Entropy said...

You are most likely correct. However, India's reporting efforts aren't to be trusted. there are far too many inconsistencies in their 'reports' to be anything close to reliable, so we may never know what really happened.

Entropy said...

Also, I don't believe Zardari had any part of this. The militants, in my opinion were trained by a small part of an extremist group in Pakistan. The militants were told, and probably believed that they were fighting "for the glory of Islam" when really, they were just pawns by one person in India who wanted the international community to back an attack on Pakistan within the next five or ten years.

In my opinion, I believe this is going to get uglier, quickly.

C.H. said...

It probably will be getting uglier, unfortunately. I think that the Indian Mujahideen might have played a role as well..the IM has carried out numerous attacks in India this year, including an attack on the national capital, New Delhi a couple months back. There weapons that the terrorists used during the rampage were plentiful, and there is no way that they carried that all in from the sea. Either another group assisted, or the terrorists already had operatives on the ground.

I feel that this is an AQ-LET plot to disrupt the peace process and kill western hopes for the region.

C.H. said...

And of course, the terrorists were convinced by their leaders that they were doing this in the name of Islam, but the reality of course is that Islam forbids this. Recently, Indian authorities attempted to hand the bodies of the terrorists killed to local Muslim leaders and they refused to take them, understandably so.

Entropy said...

Islam does forbid it yes.

Last time I read the excerpt, the Qu'ran stated that those taking part in Jihad could only harm their enemy, and could only take their own life in the attempt to harm that enemy alone if they should hurt anything but their specific enemy, be it plants or animals or other innocent people, Allah would frown upon them. (I don't know if this is correct, but I find it is the best I know. If not, please correct me.)

As a person int the study of history and it's relativity to they present, you should know that things are not always what they should be, especially when it comes to modern extremism.

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