MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Dmitry Kosyrev) - It is more or less clear what happened in India's largest city, Mumbai.
This was a mega act of terror staged by an unusually big and well-trained group of suicide bombers.
It was meant as a show of force. Its purpose was to intimidate Indian society and the authorities. It was designed according to the rules of urban guerrilla warfare and aimed at several targets simultaneously. For this reason it was bound to succeed initially, although it was also clear the majority of the attackers were doomed to die or be seized within a day or two. Those who planned it wanted the world to learn the name of the new Bin Laden and his organization. The crime was committed by Deccan or Indian Mujaheddin.
The choice of targets is understandable. They are the most famous spots in the city, as if the terrorists were following a tourist guide. The former Victoria Railway Station, which is a masterpiece of colonial architecture, looks like an enormous Catholic cathedral or the Doge's Palace in Venice. Taj is one of the world's best hotels. In a sense, this 15 million-strong city inhabited by all races and religions, including Zoroastrianism, and a national financial center is more important for India than its capital. So, its choice as a target is also clear.
This mega act of terror will surprise only those who have not been following the events in India. There has been a wave of explosions in crowded places since May. The police response has been rather effective. Last September the same organization, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, warned that it would take revenge for the successful raids conducted in the city by anti-terrorist squads.
The human toll (101 as of now) is not a record. In March 1993, a series of 13 explosions killed 257 and injured 1,100, also in Mumbai. In July 2006, 200 people died in several explosions on trains and at railway stations. Once again, the police found the culprits. The survivors retaliated. Incidentally, the terrorists demanded release of prisoners who had been arrested for previous explosions and attacks. A la guerre comme a la guerre.
The recent act has one exotic feature. There are reports to the effect that a number of commandos arrived on motor boats (the majority of the hotels are on the waterfront), and that some of them had curly hair. Is there a link with Somalia, where Indian warships are taking part in the operations against the pirates? Considering that Mumbai is an Indian naval base, this is possible, but it is too early to be certain of anything.
It will take India and the rest of the world several days to determine exactly what happened. But it is already clear that the Indian special forces are acting professionally and using the right methods. This is boring routine doomed to many failures.
Comparisons with 9/11 attacks and U.S. response are inevitable. At home, the United States took effective measures, which required huge expenses. It attacked and occupied Afghanistan, the source of the threat. But later on, the resources of the world's strongest military power were not sufficient to fully gain control of Afghanistan and adjacent Pakistani regions. Incidentally, it will not be surprising if it appears that the planning of the Mumbai terrorist attack was partially conducted there.
All subsequent steps by the United States and its allies have little to do with fighting terrorism. Washington tried to take advantage of the wave of popular support to reach a completely different goal, that is, assert its global supremacy. It occupied Iraq, which had nothing to do with terrorism, and started developing a program for introducing American values virtually in the entire Muslim world, but its efforts failed to reach the desired effect. As a result, America is in crisis and decline, whereas Muslim terrorists are doing their job.
It is obvious that nobody is going to repeat U.S. mistakes, if only because it is not even possible. Can India plan to seize Pakistan with its nuclear weapons? Can it plan to occupy Afghanistan or Somalia? Let's not forget that like Russia, India is partially a Muslim country. It has more Muslims than even Pakistan. So, it will have to work out a strategy of countering terrorism, something which America has failed to do.
This strategy should not be meant for domestic use alone. After all, the events of the last few months have shown that like China and some other countries, India is among the leaders of the newly formed world. For this reason, just as previous terrorist attacks, the crime in Mumbai cannot pass by unnoticed.
The world anti-terrorist coalition, whose capital was wasted by the United States, cannot be rebuilt on a new basis. In 2001, the Indians tried to remind the world that New York was not the only target, and that the roots of the world evil were on India's borders, but they were not listened to.
This time it will probably be different. President Dmitry Medvedev is going to visit India in early December. If his visit is not cancelled, its program is certain to be substantially altered.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.