Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Friday, November 28, 2008

Al Qaeda Link to Mumbai Attacks Unlikely

At least according to this IHT article:

An e-mail message to Indian media outlets that claimed responsibility for the bloody attacks in Mumbai on Wednesday night said the militants were from the Deccan Mujahideen.

Global terrorism experts said Thursday they had never heard of the group. And based on its tactics, they said, it was probably not a cell or group linked to Al Qaeda.

"It's even unclear whether it's a real group or not," said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the author of the book "Inside Terrorism." "It could be a cover name for another group, or a name adopted just for this particular incident."

Chrtistine Fair, senior political scientist and a South Asia expert at the RAND Corporation, was careful to say that the identity of the terrorists could not yet be known. But she insisted the style of the attacks and the targets in Mumbai suggested that the militants were likely to be Indian Muslims - and not linked to Al Qaeda or the violent South Asian terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"There's absolutely nothing Al Qaeda-like about it," she said of the attack. "Did you see any suicide bombers? And there are no fingerprints of Lashkar. They don't do hostage taking, and they don't do grenades."

Hoffman agreed that the assault was "not exactly Al Qaeda's modus operandi, which is suicide attacks."

But he said the timed attacks, which he called "tactical, sophisticated and coordinated," perhaps pointed to a broader organization behind the perpetrators.
More on the sophistication of the attacks via Naxalite Rage:
After using the nautical attack vector, the group attacked a series of targets using automatic weapons and grenades before making their way to the hotel in hijacked vehicles. Along the way they managed to murder the head of the Anti Terror Squad, purely by luck, and then split up to the hotel, the hospital, and the Nariman house. In essence, a well planned coordinated attack that collapsed into a killing spree.
Beyond the sophistication, the operation seems to lack the absolute nihilism associated with aq ops. One could argue that sending 40 men to attack an entire metropolis is essentially a suicide attack. Even so, the taking of hostages looks to me like a desperate attempt to lever themselves out of a deadly show down with Indian authorities. Add to this the fact that some of these guys have been detained by Indian authorities which suggests they surrendered. Self preservation isn't exactly a hallmark of al qaeda operative mentality.