03 December 2008

Madness in Mumbai

As is the norm in the 21st Century, the entire world has watched the crisis in India unfold in real-time. The first question on everyone’s mind is, of course, who could have pulled off such a coordinated attack? Recent sources have suggested that an organization in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region known as Lashkar-e-Taiba might be responsible for these attacks.

The rise of this organization represents an interesting pattern in the development of terrorist organizations. Unlike Al Qaeda, which is a “pure” terror organization, LeT is an organization much like Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon. Organizations such as these may be classified as “terror” organizations, but their military wing is just one aspect of their power. Their true popularity stems from the fact that they, unlike the legitimate central governments in their respective regions, are able to provide essential social services to areas to the local population, typically a minority ethnic community within a nation-state. Their ability to effectively govern their areas has led to “terror” organizations actually becoming an elected body in some countries, as is the case of Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The advent of these hybrid terror groups only further demonstrates the US miltary’s need to support nation-building efforts as simply one arm of national power, combined with economic, diplomatic and cultural power. Unless the US is able to fully complete with these groups in all areas of power, the US will find itself grossly outmaneuvered in the sort of warfare which has dominated the early portion of this century, the type of warfare that we often call "4th Generation Warfare".

The link of the day comes from the New Yorker and it regards the nature of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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