Belmont Club

Militants Strike Mumbai Again

The Associated Press reports that three coordinated blasts have gone off in Mumbai, India killing more than a score. The suspected perpetrators are a terrorist organization headquartered in Pakistan.

Blood-covered bodies lay on Mumbai streets and people hugged and wept. Others carried the wounded to taxis. Crowds gathered in the blast areas as police questioned witnesses, and bomb squads inspected the undercarriages of vehicles searching for clues and other explosives.

Motorcycles were charred, shopfronts shattered and a bus stop ripped apart. Bleeding victims crowded into the back of a cargo truck to be taken to a hospital.

The first blast struck the Jhaveri Bazaar at 6:54 p.m., tearing through the famed jewelry market. A minute later, a blast hit the busy business district of Opera House, several miles (kilometers) away in southern Mumbai. At 7:05 p.m., the third bomb exploded in the crowded neighborhood of Dadar in central Mumbai, according to police.

Bill Roggio has details on the possible perpetrators, who after many cut outs and organizational twists and turns, may turn out to be fronts for al-Qaeda or the Pakistani secret service, which may be two different things or perhaps one and the same.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the so-called Indian Mujahideen is the prime suspect. India’s Intelligence Bureau has previously denied that the Indian Mujahideen exists. Instead the Bureau has claimed the terror group is a creation of the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, or HUJI-B, an al Qaeda affiliate. HUJI-B created the Indian Mujahideen to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, which provides logistics for the attacks.

SIMI is a front group for the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Lashkar-e-Taiba inside India. It receives support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and is an al Qaeda affiliate. SIMI provides logistical support for attacks in India.

The bombings came as Pakistan’s prime minister expressed sadness at America’s decision to suspend military aid to his country. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani says his country’s efforts to fight terrorism are benefiting the whole world. A Pakistani Army spokesman said that American efforts to monitor the way the aid is spent are insulting. ‘We don’t have to qualify on [a] daily basis,’ says Major-General Athar Abbas, Pakistani army spokesman.

We are concerned over this issue of aid because we are in the middle of the war against terrorism and extremism,” [Gilani] said during a televised news conference in the southwestern city of Quetta. “Though this is our own war, we are fighting the war for the entire world, for the peace and prosperity and progress of the whole world.”

Meanwhile General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, director of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, is in Washington to discuss intelligence cooperation with the CIA, in his first visit since bin Laden’s death.

Pakistan expressed its outrage upon hearing of news of the Mumbai bombings. President Obama also expressed his anger and more responses for international statesmen are forthcoming. Who knows but that the International Court may issue a warrant for the arrest of somebody ten years from now? But in the meantime,  Tony Karon of Time warned that prematurely blaming Pakistani could increase tensions with India and result in a diminution of help for American forces stationed in Afghanistan.

The immediate effect of the 2008 crisis was that Pakistan withdrew thousands of troops deployed against Taliban elements on the border with Afghanistan and moved them to the border with India. While the U.S. has tried in vain for a decade to get the Pakistani security establishment to prioritize the fight against jihadists over the strategic rivalry with India, the militants and their allies in the Pakistani security establishment seek to do the reverse: Stoke tensions with India, in order to keep the generals focused on what the Pakistani military has seen as its existential conflict.

That would be inconvenient. About the only thing certain in these cases is that the mysterious “militants” have struck again, as the AP notes in its video below. Who they work for is a matter of conjecture. But the obstacle to their identification may less be problems with detection as much as problems with politics. The diplomats are probably worried about what happens if it is officially known who the “militants” are. It would upset too many narratives and expose too many lies. In the end, it may be better to accept the death of a few dozen Indians in Mumbai for the sake of a useful lie.

In the end, nothing so trivial as the truth must be allowed to disturb the Narrative. The Narrative is what keeps people safe and maintains the multitudes in happiness. Statesmen have long convinced themselves that we can’t handle the truth, but unlike Colonel Jessup, they are not going to spell it out for whoever wants to know. Rather they will insist that it was never, for our good, our right to know.  The peace process will succeed and one day the militants will be found and persuaded to leave the cycle of violence. That is all the truth there is and all there will ever be.

In the Cimmerian darkness of the old Tribunal Hall the iron door of the cell is suddenly thrown open, and the Grand Inquisitor, holding a dark lantern, slowly stalks into the dungeon. He is alone, and, as the heavy door closes behind him, he pauses at the threshold, and, for a minute or two, silently and gloomily scrutinizes the Face before him. At last approaching with measured steps, he sets his lantern down upon the table and addresses Him in these words:

“‘It is Thou! … Thou!’ … Receiving no reply, he rapidly continues: ‘Nay, answer not; be silent! … And what couldst Thou say? … I know but too well Thy answer…. Besides, Thou hast no right to add one syllable to that which was already uttered by Thee before…. Why  shouldst Thou now return, to impede us in our work?'”

Why indeed? Onward withered sirs. “Our eternal gratitude is thine.” If we can abide thine lies, then thou can abideth mine.

“No Way In” print and Kindle edition at Amazon
Tip Jar or Subscribe for $5