A re-look at Mumbai 26/11:
There is no doubt that the LeT was responsible for Mumbai 26/11. The conventional wisdom is that the LeT is an instrument of the Pakistani military, which is therefore the ultimate author of the 26/11 atrocity. I think it's worthwhile to take another look at this thesis. In an effort to understand what the origins of 26/11 could be, let us look at a few scenarios and then comment about the plausibility of each:
Let us consider the scenario - the Pakistan Military did it:
The Pakistani military is a terrorist organization. But the question is whether they were managing the 26/11 operation, including details like target selection. Amongst the targets was the Jewish Chabad center. Now, the Pakistani military brass have been subsisting on American munificence for generations, and they would certainly understand the power of the Jewish lobby in Washington. They would definitely want to slaughter Hindoo Kaffirs when they think they can get away with it, but it should have been amply clear to them that going around slaughtering Jews is not something that is done. Their entire venom is directed against Hindoo Kaffirs, and they tend to behave fairly abjectly before other powers.
But, on the other hand, the Pakistani establishment has demonstrated a very high capacity for lunacy. Recall the strenuous and ludicrous efforts to deny Kasab's origins. Also, the attack on the Sri Lankan team has all the hallmarks of a false-flag operation by the Pakistani establishment.
So the question becomes whether the level of lunacy of the Pakistani military brass is high enough to have ordered an attack on the Jewish center. The jury is still out on this question.
It is also pertinent to keep in mind that all is not
well between the military brass and the LeT: For example, Pakistan Attorney-General Latif Khosa told the Lahore High Court that the government had enough material against Mr. Saeed, but it could not be produced in an open court (http://www.hindu.com/2009/05/28/stories ... 501000.htm
). Later, the AG presented to the Court (in camera) material linking Saeed to Al-Qaeda (http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/daw ... -saeed-369
). There have been reports that the Pakistani government is planning to appeal the release of Saeed (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/index.php? ... 8&Itemid=1
). Lastly, it should be noted that Saeed, after his release, has opposed the Swat offensive (http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=79386
), showing that he is not quite on the same page as the Pakistani military. The Pakistanis have been accusing the US of secretly supporting people like Mehsud and Fazlullah, who are armed with ostensibly "leaked" American weapons
. So, if Hafiz Saeed opposes the Swat offensive, it does raise some questions. It may be that Saeed is aligned less with the Pakistani military than with his Arab backers (and therefore, wittingly or unwittingly, aligned with any powers behind such backers). However, the ISI and the LeT have a long history of collaboration. People like Saeed know too many secrets. Also, the Pakistanis may want to use the LeT again against India in the future. Therefore, despite the apparent differences between the ISI and LeT, it is unlikely that Pakistan will be able to take any decisive action against the LeT.
Let us move to the next scenario - the LeT did the planning, either on its own, or in collaboration with Arab extremists:
The LeT and Wahhabi Arab extremists would certainly be capable of targeting the Jewish center, and it is known that the founding of the LeT was financed by Arab donors. So the links between the LeT and the Wahhabis go back a long way. Further, it has emerged that an Oman-based terror financier was in Mumbai days before the attack (http://www.hindu.com/2009/05/28/stories ... 760100.htm
). But let us recall the threatening phone call made to Zardari by an unidentified person claiming to be Pranab Mukherjee. The call appeared to originate in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi (http://www.hindu.com/2008/12/07/stories ... 210100.htm
). It is fair to assume that the people behind the Mumbai attack were also responsible for that phone call. The question is, would extremist rabble like the LeT and Wahhabis have the imagination and the technical sophistication to pull off such a hoax? Again, the jury is out on that question, too.
Now, let us consider the third and final scenario - that 26/11 was done by the LeT in collaboration with Arab extremist organizations that have been infiltrated by Western intelligence:
This is a scenario that leads to uncomfortable questions and conclusions, so it is worthwhile looking carefully at its plausibility.
Does such infiltration occur? Yes, it does - in fact it occurs all the time. Look at here
for an article (from "The Week", February 6, 2000) regarding an infiltration attempt by Western intelligence of the Tablighi Jamaat in Bangladesh. For another example of how intelligence agencies normally function, it is worthwhile looking at the recently unraveled plot to bomb synagogues in New York: FBI ‘lured dimwits’ into terror plot
. I would also strongly urge everybody to watch this sober but hard hitting film on the 2005 London bombing: 7/7 Ripple Effect
. It is packed with rare information and well worth watching right till the end.
In this scenario the threatening hoax phone call to Zardari becomes explicable: Western intelligence agencies definitely have the technical capability as well as the mind-set to do this.
What would the motivation of such a plot be? Well, Pakistani nuclear capability has become a headache to the West, and Indian nukes are not looked upon with much favour either. What better than to set off a war between the two? Also, the long-term global great game demands that obstacles be created to the emergence of any independent power with the potential of operating at the global level.
But then, what about the attack on the Chabad center? What about the many Western citizens that died in the hotels? Although that was painful, it would certainly have the effect of diverting attention away from any suspicions of Western complicity.I would like to emphasize that I am not claiming that this is in fact what happened.
However we do need to keep an open mind, and examine things dispassionately. It could have been some combination of the scenarios depicted above. Even six months after the event, it is far from clear what happened.