A Retreating Periphery

Indian Frontiers
(photo: Mani Babbar)

After 9/11 widened Al Qaeda’s ambitious war against most of the world, Osama bin Laden described his own axis-o-evil as being composed of “Crusaders, Zionists and Hindus.” But at some point, without anyone much noticing, that seems to have changed for Hindus.

Apparently statements of indictment against Hindus and the Indian government have been increasingly absent from Al Qaeda propaganda since 2003. And not only absent in words, but in deeds. Al Qaeda personnel and operations seem to be missing from Indian territory. That is despite the ejection of India from the territories of Jammu & Kashmir once being a stated objective of AQ’s grand strategic vision for Muslim emancipation through terrorism.

Doubly, India’s unquestionably cozy economic and diplomatic relationship with the United States –which has only deepened in the interim, and now rivals that of many more traditional alliances in Western Europe– also seemed to put India on AQ’s target map.

Indian analyst and former government official BRaman brings this curious shift to our attention. After 2003, says he:

“From the point of view of India, a significant aspect was the absence of any critical reference to Hindus and Hinduism and to India’s relations with the US.

Previous comments in Al Qaeda propaganda that the global jihad was directed against the joint anti-Islam conspiracy of Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism did not find repetition.”
(The Hindu)

Since India’s determination to retain possession of her disputed territories has certainly not lessened to any appreciable degree, the likely explanation for Al Qaeda’s decreased interest is the degree to which Afghanistan, Western Pakistan and Iraq have soaked up so much of the organization’s attention, resources and strategic interest. Iraq in particular, as the Tigris is a long way from Jhelum, and the Crusader invasion of the geostrategic heart of the Muslim Middle East should never be underestimated in its drawing power.

In essence we might conjecture that AQ has been forced to prioritize to accommodate these conflicts. Kashmir might have become a bridge too far for the moment. It’s an interesting development, which is revealing of how even in Al Qaeda’s still ambitious propaganda, it is clear the scale of the dream has eroded somewhat.

For India herself, the lack of attention from Al Qaeda can’t come as any real relief. She doesn’t lack for credible alternatives in fanatical Islamist terrorist organizations operating against her.

Sphere: Related Content

2 Responses to “A Retreating Periphery”

  1. on 02 Jun 2008 at 7:34 am Joshua Foust

    I’m curious you’d describe the recent wave of jihadist bombings in Jaipur, which were tied back to the FATA in Pakistan and al-Qaeda linked militants.

    And there’s no question AQ has scaled back its global operations. Rather, it has changed them: instead of training and fielding operatives there, it instead provides ideological and financial support to mostly-independent franchise cells. With the notable exception of militants attacking the Pakistani and Afghani governments. And sometimes India.

  2. on 02 Jun 2008 at 8:09 am Lee

    At this juncture I certainly wouldn’t characterize the Indian Mujahideen as Al Qaeda. Failing that, Jaipur falls under the purview of my last paragraph above. For now at least.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

Get rewarded at leading casinos.

online casino real money usa