India-Pakistan: Up Against The Wall

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December 2, 2008: Pakistan and India are now close to war again. The reason is the same one as in 2001, when Pakistan based Islamic terrorists attacked the Indian capital, and the parliament building. India mobilized its army on the Pakistan border after that, where Pakistani troops also massed. Eventually, both sides backed off, and in 2004, both countries began peace talks, determined to end decades of tension.

The main source of conflict is Kashmir, which Pakistan claims (because of the majority Moslem population), but India occupies (as per the agreement that created India and Pakistan in 1947). In both nations, ownership of Indian Kashmir (the northern portion of Kashmir was occupied by Pakistani troops in 1947) is a very sensitive issue. After the 2001 attacks on the Indian capital, which Lashkar e Toiba participated in, Pakistan sought to halt its support for Islamic terrorist groups that fought for possession of Kashmir. But too many Pakistanis, including officials in the intelligence agencies and the armed forces, still supported the Pakistani based Islamic terrorism. So the terror groups India wanted destroyed, just changed their names, or pretended to disband. The Indians saw through this, and has been protesting the subterfuge ever since. Now Pakistan is being asked to really shut down these terrorist groups. Actually, Pakistan is trying, because most of these terror groups have moved to the tribal territories, along the Afghan border, or dispersed overseas. This war heated up earlier this year, and over 100,000 soldiers and police have been dismantling Taliban and other Islamic terror organizations ever since.

The Mumbai attackers had planned to kill 5,000, and outdo the September 11, 2001 attacks. In that they failed, but Indian police and counter-terrorism forces also demonstrated poor training, leadership and coordination. As a result of this the Indian Home Minister (responsible to domestic counter-terrorism) resigned. Twenty Indian police and soldiers were killed in the three days of carnage, plus nine terrorists and about 150 civilians. Foreigners, especially Westerners, were to be sought out, but only 22 were killed. Apparently the terrorists spent months planning the attacks (mainly on the railroad station, two hotels and a Jewish organization headquarters.) Indian intelligence had picked up information indicating that a major attacks was planned against Mumbai. But the terrorists maintained a low profile in Pakistan, and used stolen boats to get from the Pakistani port of Karachi, to the west coast Indian port of Mumbai.

The fighting and terrorist attacks continue in the Pakistani tribal territories. In eastern India, police continue their efforts to round up armed Maoist terrorists. Nearly a hundred have been killed or arrested in the last few weeks.

December 1, 2008: Tribal leaders along the Afghan border have asked the government to stop fighting the Taliban and mobilize a huge tribal militia and send it to the Indian border, along with the 100,000 troops currently stationed in the tribal areas.. The Pushtun tribes hate the Indian government a bit worse than the Pakistani one, mainly because  India is run by non-Moslems. Pakistan doesn't want to get into another stand-off with India, much less a nuclear war. Note that India could "survive" a nuclear war, unstable Pakistan could not. India, and most of the world, are pushing Pakistan to make a serious effort to stamp out Islamic terror groups. But that would require something of a civil war, as more than a third of the population backs Islamic conservatism, and Islamic conservatives are the most enthusiastic backers of Islamic terrorism directed at "pagan" India.

Over the weekend, battles between rival political parties, in Karachi (the largest city in Pakistan), left 13 dead and over 70 wounded. In Indian Kashmir, three days of voting, which Islamic terrorists tried to halt, successfully (62 percent of voters voted) ended.

November 26, 2008: Ten Pakistan based Islamic terrorists began a series of attacks, with firearms and grenades, in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay). Initially, a previously unknown Indian Islamic outfit, the Deccan Mujahideen took credit for the attack. The emails announcing this appear to have come from Pakistan. After three days, the last of the ten terrorists was killed. One was taken alive, and admitted to Pakistan based terrorist groups having organized the attack. He admitted belonging to Lashkar e Toiba (LeT), which the U.S. placed financial sanctions on earlier this year, accusing LeT of being an international terrorist organization. Fifteen years ago, a series of terrorist bombings in Mumbai left 257 dead.

 

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