Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bombing Bombay Mumbai

Your blogstress finds it quite amazing that the terrorist bombing of commuter trains in Mumbai -- known to Westerners as Bombay -- are playing in this continent's broadcast media as a B-list story. Nearly 200 people were killed, and at least double that number injured, in those ghastly attacks, carried out during rush hour in India's largest city. Mumbai is to India what New York is to the U.S.: its financial capital, its multicultural Mecca, if you will.

(You'll recall that when the London tubes were attacked, the situation was treated almost as if the attack had happened on this side of the pond. But then again, the U.K. is a nation run by white people.)

The Indian government has been quick to lay responsibility for the assault (which, as of this writing, no group has claimed) at the feet of the Kashmiri separatist group Lashkar-e-Toiba, but your cyberscribe suspects the truth is a bit more complex.

Yesterday's bombings bear all the marks of an al Qaeda action: precision timing, significant casualties, and execution on the 11th day of the month. To blame Lashkar alone better suits Indian politics, tying the event exclusively to India's low-intensity conflict with Pakistan.

For al Qaeda, however, the aims are likely greater. Relations between the U.S. and India are improving, largely due to the former's deal for the export of nuclear technology to the world's largest democracy, which, like its neighbor to the north, already has the atomic bomb. In carrying out such an attack, al Qaeda also helps to destabilize Pakistan's U.S.-supported dictator, Pervez Musharraf, who is regarded as a traitor for his alliance with the U.S. in its so-called War on Terror.

Make no mistake: this attack will likely have significant consequences for U.S. foreign policy.

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