Posts Tagged ‘mumbai’

The attacks in Mumbai

Monday, December 1st, 2008

The Mumbai attacks demonstrate just how much damage can be done by striking high-profile civilian targets even if you don’t have heavy weapons. Last year, U.S. intel warned of potential Al-Qaeda attacks on U.S. shopping malls; even a single gunman could do some pretty nasty damage. Attacks don’t have to be imaginative or sophisticated to get results: watching that get proved in India has increased the likelihood it will happen elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the international repercussions of Mumbai are only just beginning. It seems almost certain now that the attacks emanated from inside Pakistan, and that they had some kind of government backing (even if that just means that someone in govt turned a blind eye); the problem is that “government” in Pakistan is a very amorphous term, as the country’s split into a myriad factions—which doesn’t bode well for crisis decision-making if India start rattling its nuclear saber. Pakistan is already under enormous pressure from the Americans on its Afghan border; now it’s going to be caught in the proverbial nutcracker. Already halfway to a failed state, the Islamic Republic may complete the rest of the journey all too quickly.