Preventing war

Responsibility for the Bombay attack was claimed initially by an unknown group called the "Deccan Mujahideen".  This is a pretty ridiculous cover story -- the Deccan plateau is inland and east of Bombay whereas the terrorists landed by sea from the west.  To remove all doubt, the terrorists spoke Punjabi (typical of east Pakistan) rather than Kannada which would be typical of the Deccan plateau. The sheer ridiculousness of the cover story is proof that the terrorists wanted it known that the attack emanated from Pakistan. 

Why would there be a terrorist attack on Bombay, in a manner sure to increase media exposure (last year's attack on the Indian parliament didn't garner a fifth of this coverage)? Why would the attacks appear so clearly orchestrated by terrorist groups financed by the Pakistani military?  Because the Pakistani military is afraid of losing power.  They need the low-intensity conflict with India going on perpetually; the thawing relationships are a threat to the survival of the military.

The Indian government is in a bind.  The reaction in India is similar now to the mood in the US after 9/11.  "Attack the terrorist training camps in Pakistan", the public screams.  Except that is sure to bring about full-scale war.  The Pakistani government may be unable to control its territory, but it is prickly about its sovereignty all the same.  School children in Pakistan put on dramas where they kill invading Indian infidels in rivers of blood.  The Pakistani public would want to go down with their nuclear weapons, taking the world down with them. The results would be catastrophic.

Bob Kagan has an idea worth pursuing:

Rather than simply begging the Indians to show restraint, a better option could be to internationalize the response. Have the international community declare that parts of Pakistan have become ungovernable and a menace to international security. Establish an international force to work with the Pakistanis to root out terrorist camps in Kashmir as well as in the tribal areas. This would have the advantage of preventing a direct military confrontation between India and Pakistan. It might also save face for the Pakistani government, since the international community would be helping the central government reestablish its authority in areas where it has lost it. But whether or not Islamabad is happy, don't the international community and the United States, at the end of the day, have some obligation to demonstrate to the Indian people that we take attacks on them as seriously as we take attacks on ourselves?

Would such an action violate Pakistan's sovereignty? Yes, but nations should not be able to claim sovereign rights when they cannot control territory from which terrorist attacks are launched. If there is such a thing as a "responsibility to protect," which justifies international intervention to prevent humanitarian catastrophe either caused or allowed by a nation's government, there must also be a responsibility to protect one's neighbors from attacks from one's own territory, even when the attacks are carried out by "non-state actors."

In Pakistan's case, the continuing complicity of the military and intelligence services with terrorist groups pretty much shreds any claim to sovereign protection.

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