The Jihadist War Against India July 12, 2006

By Dr. Walid Phares
Fox News

Is this the beginning of the Jihadi war on India? Yes and no. Yes it is a jihadist war on India, but no, the trains’ bombings weren’t the beginning of that war. Unlike the U.S., Spain, and the UK, the Indians have been subjected to small explosions of the holy war for years. Yesterday’s bombings of Mumbai’s trains (previously Bombay) are not the first strikes on Indian mainland. In October 2005, terror bombings killed more than 60 people in the Indian capital of Delhi. Mumbai itself was the target of terror attacks that massacred 55 persons and injured 180 in August 2003. And in December 2001, jihadist groups launched raids on India’s parliament killed a number of people, as well. The targeting of the most populous democracy on earth has been taking place for years, even before 9/11 at the hands of followers of a Salafi-Tablighi ideology, with common roots with al-Qaeda’s terrorist doctrine. The July 11 blasts in Mumbai aiming at innocent civilians are the last in a string of crimes directed against the Indian population by militants following orders and engaged in an irreversible path of violence. But who did it and why?


15 thoughts on “The Jihadist War Against India”

  1. But wait. India is a democracy. Just like Lebanon, the PA, Britain, Spain, and France. Yet, surprisingly, terrorism occurs in these places.

    Hmmmm….. What’s going on here? I thought that terrorism was caused by poverty and oppression. Yet, here are terrorist actions being planned and carried out by relatively well-off individuals living in democratic societies.

    Is it possible that something else is going on here? Something that ***gasp*** won’t be cured by a global crusade for democracy? Shockingly enough, that is most likely the case. Freedom and democracy don’t keep Islamic radicals from blowing stuff up.

    On the other hand, violent repression seems to work out reasonably well. Ask Saddam, he managed it. I hear he’s looking for a job.

  2. Glen: Is it terrorism, or is it just the latest chapter in the simmering conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir?

    The Pakistanis have cynically employed various groups of Islamic fighters as proxies since the mid-eighties, when they funneled US aid to their Afghan mujhadeen allies fighting the Soviets. Remember, it was the pakistanis who spirited Osama Bin Ladin and his followers out of Tora Bora in 2001. It may be that the Pakistani secret service was behind the Mumbai bombings and not Al Qaeda. We don’t know at this point.

    Also remember that many non-Islamic groups have employed terrorism in their national struggles. Zionist groups under Menachem Begin bombed the King George Hotel in 1946. Greek Cypriots bombed British installations on Cyprus in 1955 and, of course campaign of bombing by the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland from the late sixties though the early nineties was textbook terrorism.

  3. Dean –

    I agree in this case with your assessment. My sneering comment was only directed at the simplistic notion, put forward by the administration repeatedly, that terorrism is a direct result of poverty and oppression. This the same kind of analysis that was frequently put forward by the far left – terrorists are victims who are lashing out because of a sense of hopelessness and victimization.

    Only now, this analysis has a ‘conservative’ veneer on it as it has been officially adopted by a Republican Administration. Islam provides a ready-made vehicle, an underlying ethos, which is easily adapted to provide coherence to a large number of regional beefs which are frequently about territorial control, or absolute control of the central government.

    Giving the terrorist-supporting populations the right to vote, is absolutely going to do nothing to stop these conflicts. The Muslims in India can already vote, but that doesn’t resolve this conflict in the slightest. The same is true of allowing voting in the PA, France, the UK, Gaza, or anywhere else that it is tried. Democratic voting can not defuse these kinds of conflicts. The Lebanese got the chance to vote, but now that the passion for the ‘Cedar Revolution’ has faded, the neocons are ecstatic that Israel is bombing them in retaliation of their support for Hezbollah.

    Well, Hezbollah in many ways is the government of Lebanon. 23 seats in Parliament, three ministries, and counting all belong to Hezbollah. The current problem is directly a result of putting foxes in charge of the henhouse. Rather than simply supporting terrorism, Lebanon is now a country run by terrorists.

    So the world is complex. There are utopian, internationalist Jihadis a la Bin Ladin who seek a global Caliphate. They are a small minority. There are a large group of Muslims living in Western nations who want to live according to the Sharia and want to enjoy the fruits of modern economies, but with a 7th Century code of Muslim jurisprudence. They are willing to use terrorism and the ballot box to get their way. There are also a large number of aggrieved Muslims fighting local wars against some kind of occupation, whether it is by a ‘secular’ government like in Egypt/Syria/Jordan, a foreign state like India, or against Israel.

    We have to have a strategy for dealing with different causes, different goals, but at the same time with the underlying thread that Islam provides a unifying ethos. Stomping around pretending that Democracy is somehow the magic bullet will not accomplish anything meaningful.

  4. Glen: I’m glad you mentioned Lebanon, because it is another example of the complicated and dangerous geopolitical dynamics going on behind the scenes. Hizbollah is clearly acting as a proxy for Iran, and the the attack on Israel is very significant and signals a dangerous escalation in the middle east. David Ignatius writes in the Washington Post

    That’s the new part of this crisis — that Iranian-backed radicals deliberately opened another front in a war that, in their minds, stretches from Gaza to Iraq.

    ….In the Lebanon crisis we have a terrifying glimpse of the future: Iran and its radical allies are pushing toward war. That’s the chilling reality behind this week’s events. On Tuesday the Iranians spurned an American offer of talks on their nuclear program; on Wednesday their Hezbollah proxy committed what Israel rightly called “an act of war.” The radicals want to lure America and Israel deeper into the killing ground, confident that they have the staying power to prevail. We should not play their game.

    Behind the Crisis, A Push Toward War

    Hizbollah wants Israel to retaliate strongly and weaken the Lebanese government leaving a vacumn that Hizbollah can fill. Israel should ruthlessly wipe out any Hizbollah training camp, office, weapons depot and asset it can find and hunt down and exterminate the Hizbollah leadership and fighters. This is war after all, and Hizbollah started it. But Israel should also leave the rest of Lebanon alone, so as to avoid radicalizing any other neutral parties, and maintain a more responsible Lebanese poltical infrastructure that can govern after Hizbollah is gone.

    The Lebanese Sunnis, Christians and Druse are fearful of the growing influence of the Iranian backed Lebanese Shiites, and might quitely get out of the way and let Israel do it’s work if it lets them. The failed policy of collective punishment that Israel has practiced in the West Bank and Gaza would be a disaster in Lebanon as well and it’s probably exactly what Hizbollah is counting on.

  5. Glen: Are you familiar with the works of military historian Martin Van Creveld, author of “The Transformation of War“?

    I was reading the review and it reminded me of your comments:

    Most wars since 1945 have been low-intensity conflicts and, according to the author, incomparably more significant than conventional wars in terms of casualties suffered and political results achieved. Citing the dismal record of regular forces vs. irregulars in Vietnam, Lebanon, Afghanistan and elsewhere, he suggests that as small-scale wars proliferate, conventional armed forces will shrink and the burden of protecting society will shift to the booming security business. Van Creveld, who teaches history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, argues that the theories of Karl von Clausewitz, which form the basis for Western strategic thought, are largely irrelevant to nonpolitical wars such as the Islamic jihad and wars for existence such as Israel’s Six-Day War.

    In the future, he prophesies, wars will be waged by groups of terrorists, guerrillas and bandits motivated by fanatical, ideologically-based loyalties; conventional battles will be replaced by skirmishes, bombings and massacres. Weapons will become less, rather than more, sophisticated and the high-tech weapons industry (which “supports itself by exporting its own uselessness”) will collapse like a house of cards. A bold, provocative, frightening book


  6. Glenn wrote:

    Stomping around pretending that Democracy is somehow the magic bullet will not accomplish anything meaningful.

    So what do you suggest the solution is? Impose new dictatorships?

    But even then it’s not a solution when you still see problems from groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, Pakistan, and Egypt.

  7. Note 5. Creveld’s thesis is not new. What he overlooks is that conventional warfare is still applicable against nations that sanction terrorists (and even rogue states like N Korea). It looks like Israel may be exercizing this doctrine in its ultimatum to Syria.

  8. JBL –

    We supported a military dictatorship in Algeria. Algeria is a bloody mess, but there is no meaningful support for international terrorism there and there is no intention to build a nuke bomb. Egypt has its problems, but is it the homebase for terrorism that is Iran? Libya has moderated its policies, and kept its dictatorship intact. We didn’t demand the overthrow of Moammar as a precondition for dropping sanctions.

    Did we? Why? Why didn’t we?

    Because what matters most is the external behavior of the regimes in question. We got lost in our own stupid rhetoric, but that is over now. With the stuff hitting the fan now, there won’t be anymore talk of liberalizing Egypt or any of our other authoritarian allies. I think everybody sees that this is entirely too risky.

    The solution is to focus on the external behavior of a regime, and to reward those regimes which suppress Islamic fundamentalism, regardless of their other nasty characteristics. Provided, of course, that they respect the fundamental freedom of worship and basic right to life and property of their Christian minorities. We made the mistake of not insisting on that with Turkey.

    But that is a low bar, and most regimes such as Egypt can easily meet it and keep in our good graces.

    As for Syria, I doubt Assad is much of a player with Hezbollah. Assad would prefer to keep a low profile, but Iran is itching for a confrontation to relieve the pressure on it over nukes. Striking up a two-front war and sending oil prices over $100.00 a barrell will do nicely to cripple our options. The Persians are not today, nor have they ever been stupid.

    Well, if you have the time I’d say some prayers for the Christians in Syria. Iraqi Christians flee Iraq and hide in Syria. That is about to change. If Israel kicks over Assad, the next stop is the Muslim brotherhood.

    Know any Antiochian families? Provided we extend refugee status to the Christians who are about to be run out of Syria, they are about to be hosting a bunch of new relatives.

    And Iran will still be on our case and untouchable, even while all those Christians die and flee the same as their Iraqi brethren.

    Satan has just gotta love his own handiwork.

  9. So what are you saying Glen; that you prefer Bill Clinton’s head-in-the-sand foreign policy?

    It worked really well for all those Christians in Rwanda.

  10. JBL –

    Is every sparrow that falls from the sky a problem to be addressed by the U.S. military? Should we invade Venezuala because Chavez is a Castro-in-training? Every mass murder, every civil war, everywhere all the time is a cause for deployment of U.S. forces?

    What was the vital U.S. interest in Rwanda that would have justified the U.S. involvement? Oil? Strategic location?

    Oh, wait. There was nothing. Zippo. Nada. That’s why we did nothing. Conservatives used to mind their own business, it was the liberals that kept wanting to use the U.S. military to right all the wrongs and feed all the children.

    Now a good ‘conservative’ like you wants to ship the U.S. military all over the world to spread peace and good cheer.

    That was Clinton’s schtick? Remember Bosnia and Kosovo. Those little gems were ‘humanitarian’ interventions. All that happened was that Bush adopted the very policies he ran against in 2000, and ran against successfully I might add, by sounding like a traditional Republican instead of a liberal Democrat with a nation-building fixation.

    Well, that Cedar Revolution thing has gone swimmingly, and the Mullah Voting Program in Iraq has produced a government whose Parliament just condemned Israel for its current actions in Lebanon.

    Do I want Clinton back? No, I was happy to see him go and happy to see Gore not get in. Kerry? Embarrassment to himself and his party, and that is saying something.

    No, I miss Reagan. I miss Reagan backing the Contras in Nicaragua, despite the fact that many of them had ties to Somoza and had poor human rights records. He backed them because it was good for the U.S. I miss Reagan backing UNITA, even though they weren’t lily white, because they were on our side. I miss Reagan’s realism and his prudence in the deployment of U.S. power. I miss Reagan talking tough, but knowing where to draw the line. I miss Reagan’s willingness to work with allies that were less than Democratic if they were willing to work with us.

    I also miss Reagan’s focus on things that were vital to strategic interests of the U.S. and his willingness to stay out of conflicts that were not. Reagan wouldn’t have gone to Rwanda either, not because he was scared (Clinton) but because it wasn’t our business.

    Conservatives used to think like that, before all of them turned into raving liberals who channel Woodrow Wilson with a dash of Harry Truman.

    We are not responsible for what happens to Christians under Muslim rule. We should be concerned about it, and we should (as the leading Christian power) work for their betterment. But unless the catastrophe at hand is a result of our policy (Iraq and the partial-birth abortion elections in the PA and Lebanon) we are not responsible. I am not interested in making the U.S. military the world’s polices force, are you?

  11. Congress declared war without McKinley. It was the first and only time in the history of the United States that the U.S. went to war without the President actually asking for a declaration. But considering that the entire country was in the grip of progressive era politics, then I would have a hardtime locating ‘conservatives’ in that particular era.

    Quite a number of what later became conservatives and anti-Wilsonians (Lodge for one) actually came to their later Isolationist bent by watching the catastrophe unfold in Cuba and the Phillippines that was the direct result of the U.S. going to war to liberate them from Spain.

    You are familiar, are you not, with Castro? And, I assume you know something about the 250,000 Filipinos that we butchered trying to pacify the island after we annexed it.

    McKinley said God told him to keep the Phillippines. If you think of conservatism as that kind of pseudo-Messianic claptrap, then you and I have very different views of what that word means.

    JBL – you make simple comments that are more bumper stickers than rational analysis. Do you really believe this stuff?

    At least Cuba is in our hemisphere, so is of vital importance given its proximity to the United States. But are you really arguing that it is conservative to treat every single conflict, no matter how remote, as a fit topic for U.S. involvement?

    Are we to bleed money and tax payor dollars into every single rathole on Earth?

  12. Understood. My point was that McKinley resisted this war, but had it thrust upon him. He was a Civil War veteran, and was not keen on doing this. The general war hysteria pushed him into this, and then once he was in, he ended up having divine inspiration to do the stupidest thing ever done by a president up until that time – he pushed through the annexation of the Phillippines. We could have walked away as liberators, but we stayed as murderers.

    In any case, McKinley didn’t start out as the kind of president that was committed to global adventuring, unlike Teddy Roosevelt who was in his administration and who labored tirelessly for war with Spain.

    The rhetoric of the day was eerily similar to that of our own with much talk about empires for liberty and the like.

    As I said, Henry Cabot Lodge and others who were bigtime war hawks ended up being the driving force behind repudiating the League of Nations. The lessons they learned in this endeavor convinced them to focus on U.S. defense rather than entangling alliances.

    But again, are we to invade every rathole that has a civil war or which gets involved in a regional conflict? Are American interests so broad and so fragile that bad government in the Congo equates to an emergency for the U.S.?

    Of course not. Thinking that way would be silly. The U.S. is completely unaffected by what goes on in most nations around the world, especially the non-Muslim ones. We can be affected by the external policies of a regime, which has traditionally been the focus of Republicans.

    By the way, now that Iran is running amok wouldn’t it be nice to have a strong Iraq under a secularist dictator to act as a counterweight?

    Nah, I don’t expect you to admit to that. But still….the old argument that we have Iran surrounded so we can bully them just doesn’t seem to hold much water right about now.

    Terrorism is not caused by poverty. Terrorism is not caused by governmental oppression. Terrorism doesn’t even have to be caused by an occupation, though it can be a response to one.

    Terrorism is caused by a group of people who don’t have a military seeking to force a stronger opponent to give way on something. That might be independence for Puerto Rico or Jews voluntarily marching into the sea. To work, terrorists need some kind of ideaology as a unifying theme, such as religion (Islam/Marxism), and they need a goal that can be sold as desirable to a group of supporters.

  13. Ironically Narendra Modi who ordered the slaughter of more than 2000 muslims in Gujarat is the uncrowned govt sponsored terrorist head of the so called secular and the self styled democracy of India. But Indians seem to be colour and caste blind to this. Terrorism has begun from Narendra Modi and his so called paanch carod gujarati. Narendra gujju bhai gives even Adolf Hitler an inferiority complex. Hail Narendra Gujju Modi.

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