Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not all Terrorism is Political: Look to the Underworld for Clues to the Mumbai Terror

Among the many commentaries made by American analysts on CNN and MSNBC during the seige of Mumbai, India, the name of Dawood Ibrahim was mentioned several times as one of those who could organize an operation as big as the one that shut down India's financial capitol for three days.

Ibrahim is thug--a narco-trafficker and Moslem Indian criminal with a mafia like organization he runs out of Karachi, Pakistan. He built his orgaization on the streets of Mumbai organizing gangs, drug operations and prostitutes. He then invested big in Bollywood movies, as the American gangsters did in the 1930s. He was eventually thrown out of India after two thousand Hindus died in the riots that followed the demolition of the Babri Mosque. His organization was believed to be behind the killings.

Men like Ibrahim have loyalties only to their organizations, not to political philosophies. But for enough money--and if an operation like this one can be leveraged to his advantage--it is hard to imagine Ibrahim turning down the chance to add some of the bin Laden billions to his bank accounts in Switzerland. And if that means terrorizing Westerners and Jews and shutting down his home town for a few days, well, that's okay too.

I've guessed for some time that someone like this has to be behind the so-called Somali pirates, operating in that same region of the world. For one thing, in a nation like Somalia, where there is no government and not enough for most people to eat, it isn't easy to imagine a group of thugs getting together the organization necessary hijack a freighter. These same illiterate gunmen are negotiating ransoms of millions of dollars for the ships they hijack. You can't put that kind of money in a suitcase and take it to Mogadishu. Ransoms that size are negotiated by pros and wired to off-shore accounts. The pirates have to be the paid gunmen of some criminal organization, and why news people haven't reported this, I don't know.

Now, with bin Laden and his religious maniacs pinned down on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and crippled everywhere else in the world, the most logical operative decision would be for Al Qaeda leadership to hire surrogates. An international criminal like Dawood Ibrahim, with an axe to grind against Hindu India, is the ideal candidate to manage a job like this one. I don't know this to be true, but it is possible. So we must look at the investigation before we assume the terror in Mumbai was executed by real fanatics with a point of view to sell.

The good news is that the FBI, Interpol, and Scotland Yard are all sending specialists and investigators to aid India in getting to the bottom of this outrage. Who knows? It might have been a distraction designed to pull troops and fire power in one direction while arms, nukes, or drugs were slipped through in another. The British have been especially good as untangling these complex webs. As I said earlier: the West and America are with you, India. Terrorists are just criminals in a different guise. Most often they do the dirty work of rich and powerful thugs, who keep their own hands clean and their bank accounts full of money that is soaked in blood.

For more on the criminal Dawood Ibrahim, there is a good story on this English language Pakistani web site:

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