Rachman 7/16 (Gideon, world respected commentator on international affairs. He has been a journalist for over 22 years, the last 16 years for two of the world's top business publications; The Economist and now the Financial Times, where he is now the Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist. Based in London, he comments on British, European and US foreign policy and embraces many of the word's key current affairs concerns, 7/16/10, " India, terrorism and the Commonwealth Games ", http://blogs.ft.com/rachmanblog/2010/07/india-terrorism-and-the-commonwealth-games/)
As we have all just seen at the World Cup, staging a major international sporting event can be a great way of advertising a country. But it also involves big risks: the minor risks involve logisitics, expensive stadiums and disappointed tourists. The biggest risk is terrorism.International security analysts are increasingly worried that the Commonwealth Games which will be staged in Delhi in October could be a very tempting target for jihadist terrorists, who have already struck India many times. The worry is not so much that somebody is going to be shot as they run the Marathon. The biggest risk is thought to be that, in the run-up to the games, terrorists will stage a series of attacks in India, in an effort to frighten off foreigners - and to create pressure for the games to be pulled out of India. The “success” in getting the high-profile cricket tournament, the IPL, moved from India to South Africa in 2009, because of security concerns offers an unfortunate precedent. Of course, it may never happen. And here's hoping it doesn't. But India has been subject to a string of terrorist attacks, including the Mumbai attacks, which were traced back to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group with roots in Pakistan. The Indian government, led by Manmohan Singh, reacted with commendable restraint to the Mumbai provocations and to other attacks. But an assault on the Commonwealth Games would seriously empower the hawks in the Indian security establishment.
NYT6/26 (Scott Shane, 6/26/10, " Wars Fought and Wars Googled ", http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/weekinreview/27shane.html)
THE country's attention was riveted last week by the drama of the generals: Stanley McChrystal, whose indiscretions in Rolling Stone got him cashiered, and his boss, David Petraeus, who stepped in to take direct command of the troubled Afghanistan counterinsurgency effort. But a startling scene in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday may have had more to say than the command shake-up about the larger fight to contain Al Qaeda and its allies, and the limits of any general's ability to affect its outcome. At a plea hearing, a defiant Faisal Shahzad admitted trying to blow up an S.U.V. in Times Square on May 1. Calling himself “a Muslim soldier,” he explained his motivation: “avenging” the war in Afghanistan and American interventions in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia. “I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people,” Mr. Shahzad said. His candid confession raised two questions: Has the military's still-expanding fight againstterrorism now become the fuel for terrorism, recruiting more militants than it kills? And where exactly does the Afghan war fit into the overall campaign against terror, when the enemy's cause can lure a man like Mr. Shahzad, a former financial analyst for the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics company in Stamford, Conn., and a naturalized American citizen? The questions take on particular urgency because Mr. Shahzad's flubbed bombing was the latest of a dozen plots since last year aimed at American targets. And in case after case, nine years after the Sept. 11 attacks, plotters have cited America's still-growing military entanglement in the Muslim world as proof that the United States is at war with Islam. “One major reason for these plots is that the war on terrorism has been going on as long as it has,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. “After nine years, our enemies have become more adept and sophisticated at exploiting the sentiments and images of war.” President Obama has defined the United States' interest in Afghanistan in terms of protecting the American homeland. But General Petraeus's counterinsurgency credo — “clear, hold, build” — is difficult enough to pull off in the hostile terrain of Kandahar Province. It is impossible on the infinite landscape of the Web, where Mr. Shahzad found the ideology that led him to terror. “We're still focused on the nation and not the network,” said John Arquilla, professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. “You can do brilliantly in Afghanistan and still not deal with the Faisal Shahzads of the world.” The administration's Afghan strategy still commands broad support from Democrats and Republicans and from outside specialists, who offer a familiar catechism. Now that the Taliban have taken the initiative again, only a concentrated NATO effort can prevent their return to power, with a possible new base for Al Qaeda, officials say. True, the dwindling Qaeda core is over the border in Pakistan, but Mr. Obama has escalated drone strikes there to pick off some terrorist leaders and keep the rest on the run. “Even in an age of virtual reality, Al Qaeda can't do large-scale training and mobilization unless they control some terrain,” said Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who supports the current policy. If the terror network attracts young Muslims now, he said, imagine its appeal if NATO abandoned the field and the militants could claim victory. “It would be a huge symbolic defeat for the United States, as it was for the Soviet Union,” said Mr. Boot, who is writing a history of guerrilla war and terrorism. “It would greatly embolden Al Qaeda.” Proponents of the current escalation of troops and drones point out as well that even Mr. Shahzad was not turned into a terrorist solely by the Web. He met face-to-face with leaders and trainers of the Pakistani Taliban before crossing the line into violence. So allowing extremists more room to operate on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border would be a dangerous mistake, officials say. Still, many scholars who study terror see the interplay of risks and benefits differently. “The more deeply we're involved in that region, the more likely it is that we'll have terrorist attacks here,” said Scott Atran, an anthropologist who interviewed many young Muslim men about the lure of terrorism for his new book, “Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists.” “These lost, young guys see the resistance as heroic and glorious,” Mr. Atran said. “Don't give them the thrill of fighting the greatest army in the world.” The accused in recent plots aimed at the United States are a diverse group, including an Army psychiatrist of Palestinian ancestry spraying gunfire at Fort Hood, Tex.; a popular coffee vendor from Afghanistan planning to blow up the New York subway; the son of a prominent Nigerian banker trying to take down an airliner over Detroit; and Mr. Shahzad, a Pakistani-American who loaded his Nissan Pathfinder with fertilizer, propane and gasoline in fortunately ineffectual combination. Yet they all appear to have imagined themselves as warriors against the enemies of their faith. Their national or ethnic loyalties had been supplanted by loyalty to their co-religionists, the global community of Muslims, known as the ummah. Maj. Nidal Hasan, accused of killing 13 people in the Fort Hood shooting spree last November, had quoted the Koran in a 2007 PowerPoint demonstration to explain why some Muslim American soldiers might feel conflicted: “And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell.” “If Muslim groups can convince Muslims that they are fighting for God against injustices of the ‘infidels,' ” Major Hasan wrote, “then Muslims can become a potent adversary; i.e. suicide bombing.” But the path to violence appears to involve less scripture than solidarity. “We Muslims are one community,” Mr. Shahzad told the judge at his plea hearing, explaining why he felt obliged to defend strangers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Gaza — as well as the United States, where he suggested that Muslims were singled out for government scrutiny. Even as the Obama administration smoothly handled the McChrystal flap and regrouped behind its Afghanistan policy, word came in a report in The New York Times on Friday of diplomatic maneuvering between Afghan and Pakistani leaders that could result in a separate peace, potentially leaving the American generals with 100,000 troops and no one to fight. Managed deftly, such a deal conceivably might allow Mr. Obama to exit Afghanistan without fear of a Qaeda haven. But since the notion of an American-led war on Muslims has gone viral, the virus would take years or perhaps decades to burn out. The trouble with terrorism is what the theorists call asymmetry. Hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of troops, and the best generals on the planet can be undercut by a disgruntled accountant, commanding the world's attention with a bomb that didn't even explode.