Al Qaeda, al Qaeda wannabes, Pakistan-based Islamic extremists or disgruntled Indian Islamists?
CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, on “Larry King Live” last night, discussed the possible motives behind the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India:
LARRY KING, host: Christiane, with the limited information we have, as an educated guess, what are the possible motives?
AMANPOUR: Well, this is what's confusing everybody. I think it's really interesting because many, many people are trying - are saying that there's a Pakistani connection. Others are saying maybe it has some of the hallmarks of al Qaeda or at least al Qaeda and its numerous spin-offs and clones.
But, this Deccan Mujahedeen - the name is really interesting, because it comes from this southern plateau Hyderabad area (in India). And, it comes from a time when, in fact, it was Muslim rule in that part of India - many, many, many years ago.
So, this suggests a deliberate indigenous claim. And also, there has been talk about links to a so-called Indian Mujahedeen.
And remember, this is the fifth attack in India this year - attacks that have taken about 150 lives or more before this attack just two days ago. And, these have been claimed by Indian Mujahedeen or at least blamed on indigenous Islamists.
So, this is a very, very difficult thing to sort out at the moment. Many are calling it highly coordinated, highly disciplined. On the other hand, there are eyewitnesses talking about indiscriminate firing of AK-47s, for instance, at the train station. People are talking about deliberately targeting Westerners and, obviously, going to the Jewish Nariman House - the Jewish targets there. On the other hand, killing Muslims and perhaps Hindus, as well, at the station and other places.
So, there's no direct line that you can really pin down right now.
AMANPOUR: Well, you (King) were talking about motives. First of all, Pakistan has denied having anything to do with it, and the president has sent over the head of the Pakistani ISI, military intelligence, to go and talk to the Indian prime minister and try to obviously see if they can sort something out there.
But, in terms of motive, Deepak (Chopra) was talking about the sort of global Islamic movement. … Certainly, many of these groups, if it's al Qaeda, they're just nihilists who are bent on a power struggle to kill either what they call infidels who may be Western or even within the whole Muslim group itself.
But, in India, it is very important to note, there are 150 million or so Muslims in India. It is the world's largest Muslim minority, bigger than most countries. An Indian government-ordered commission, about 2006, talked about the Indian minority there and really saw that they were, in terms of jobs, income, education, thoroughly disadvantaged compared to the Hindu majority.
This Indian Mujahedeen has spoken about those grievances before. Then, there's the other issue of Kashmir, all these groups have talked about Kashmir as well, which is an ongoing and festering sore. That is the Indian-administered, Muslim- majority province up there near the Himalayas. So, that's an open, festering sore as well.
And obviously, you know, you talked about, isn't it in both countries' interests to warm up? Well, yes, except there are very powerful elements on both sides that don't want relations to be warmed up. So, that's going to be a test, also, of whether there can be determined and courageous leadership to try to keep this warming up of relations on track.
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