Is that they are obviously somehow linked to Al-Qaeda. That’s what I first thought when I heard word of the attacks and it’s what I still think now. Cuz, really, who else specializes in this kind of multi-location, well-planned, spectacular, successful, only semi-suicidal, internationalized attack that manages to involve the internets prominently and which is designed to confound and overwhelm emergency responders, keeping them busy for days?

From the NY Times:

Indian commandos said the attackers at the hotels were well trained, with one carrying a backpack packed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and they seemed to know the buildings’ layout better than the security forces, indicating a high degree of preparation and sophistication. Some were seen arriving by boat; others may have been guests at the hotels for days.

The leader of a commando unit involved in a gun battle on Thursday morning inside the Taj said during a news conference on Friday that he had seen a dozen dead bodies in one of the rooms.

His team found a gunman’s backpack, which contained dried fruit, 400 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, four grenades, Indian and American money, and seven credit cards from some of the world’s leading banks, he said. The pack also had a national identity card from the island of Mauritius, off Africa’s southeastern coast.

The attackers were “very, very familiar with the layout of the hotel,” said the commander, who disguised his face with a scarf and tinted glasses to hide his identity. He said the militants, who appeared to be under 30 years old, were “determined” and “remorseless.”

Better trained and organized than the police? Young, determined & remorseless? Access to more international financial cheddar than say, you or me? Hmm, sound familiar? These don’t sound like your ordinary scrappy, resource-poor, ragtag, home-grown bunch of terrorists to me.

Most often local terrorists are focused on killing 1 or 2 types of people at a time — foreigners maybe: Americans are always popular targets, of course, to get international attention. Lots of local civilians in popular gathering places to inspire general freakout & political instability or maybe just a select groups of people working with or for the local government/armed forces to apply pinpoint pressure on local leaders. Depends on their strategic terror goals whom they go after. Al-Qaeda likes to think big and make a splash. The special focus on Jews is…interesting since usually Kashmiri militants are focused on pressuring the Indian government. Why Jews? – unless this is only sort of about Pakistani border rights. Someone be playin’ to a larger audience and sending a much bigger message than Pakistan vs India IMHO.

You know black folk just love a conspiracy theory. So I’d like to give you something to think about.

The New York Times says:

American intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Friday there was mounting evidence that a Pakistani militant group based in Kashmir, most likely Lashkar-e-Taiba, was responsible for the deadly attacks in Mumbai.

[...]

Lashkar-e-Taiba on Thursday denied any responsibility for the terrorist strikes. The group is thought by American intelligence agencies to have received some training and logistical support in the past from Pakistan’s powerful spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, but American officials said Friday that there was no evidence that the Pakistani government had any role in the Mumbai attacks.

Here’s what the Anti-Defamation League, who specializes in tracking people interested in killing or just defaming Jews has to say about Lashkar-e-Taiba (emphasis mine):

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), a Pakistani-based Islamic terrorist organization, seeks to drive out Indian security forces from the disputed Jammu and Kashmir regions of South Asia and establish an Islamic caliphate.  Various intelligence services consider LET to be one of the most dangerous Islamic militant groups operating in Kashmir.  Known for its expertise in suicide bombing and conventional assault tactics, LET has carried out many deadly attacks, including a raid on the Indian Parliament in 2002, which killed 14.  Although the organization stopped claiming responsibility for attacks after it was ostensibly banned by Pakistan in 2002, Indian authorities have arrested many LET operatives in connection with attacks in the region.
The group was founded in the late 1980’s with the help of the Pakistani government (which also opposes the Indian presence in Kashmir) as the armed wing of the Markaz al-Dawa wa al-Irshad, an Islamic social welfare group.  LET, which was also inspired by Osama bin Laden, continues to maintain close ties with Al Qaeda.  Intelligence services have discovered that, before its camps were destroyed by the United States in 2001, Al Qaeda frequently hosted and trained LET operatives. Conversely, since the destruction of those camps, LET has hosted Al Qaeda trainees and other Islamic militants, including Shahzad Tanweer, one of the suicide bombers in the July 7, 2005 London Underground attack, according to British authorities. Additionally, senior Al Qaeda leaders, such as Abu Zubeida have been arrested at LET compounds.

So there you have it. You can read more at the BBC, and at the Council of Foreign Relations which has a helpful crazy-ass & super-dangerous Pakistani terrorist FAQ list. The Bush administration’s failure to pacify Afghanistan and Pakistan (home to Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and their Taliban allies) means that Al-Qaeda is free to organize and sponsor terror around the world. The Bush administration is always proudly bragging that we’ve had no further attacks here in the U.S. That’s fortunate, yes, but I doubt it has anything to do with this administration’s capacity to address international terrorism and more to do with Al-Qaeda’s focus elsewhere in the world. These attacks in Bombay aka Mumbai have likely been years in the making. Oh, they’re a-comin’ for us alright. It’s just that plans are still evidently in the works. I hope sincerely that a new Obama administration will make going after Osama bin Laden and his friends where they live a much higher priority — for all of our sakes. Let’s not be scared. Let’s stop playing coy with the enemy. Let’s do what Americans do best – go and get ‘em.

In the meantime, please join me in praying for those living and visiting Mumbai.

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