Well coordinated chaos to what purpose

NY Times:

As Prasan Dhanur prepared his 13-foot boat on Wednesday evening for a hard night of fishing, he saw something strange.

A black inflatable lifeboat equipped with a brand new Yamaha outboard motor threaded its way among the small, wooden fishing boats at anchor and pulled up to the slum’s concrete pier.

Ten men, all apparently in their early 20s, jumped out. They stripped off orange windbreakers to reveal T-shirts and blue jeans. Then they began hoisting large, heavy backpacks out of the boat and onto their shoulders, each taking care to claim the pack assigned to him.

Mr. Dhanur flipped his boat light toward the men, and Kashinath Patil, a 72-year-old harbor official on duty nearby, asked the men what they were doing.

“I said: ‘Where are you going? What’s in your bags?’ ” Mr. Patil recalled. “They said: ‘We don’t want any attention. Don’t bother us.’ ”

Thus began a crucial phase of one of the deadliest terrorist assaults in Indian history, one that seemed from the start to be coordinated meticulously to cause maximum fear and chaos.

The details are still fragmentary; Indian officials are saying little publicly. But from interviews with witnesses and survivors, it seems clear that the men on the boat were joining a larger terrorist force, which included some attackers who, unconfirmed local news reports say, had embedded themselves in Mumbai days before the attacks. Their synchronized assaults suggested a high level of training and preparation.

Mr. Dhanur and Mr. Patil said in interviews that they did not see the guns hidden in the backpacks and did not call the police as they watched the 10 men walk into town on Wednesday, leaving their boat and windbreakers at the dock. Not long afterward, fanning out across South Mumbai, as other attackers spread out after landing in other boats, the men began unleashing deadly assaults everywhere they went.

At the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the train station that appears to have been the first location hit, a fusillade of bullets left the floor of the main hall quickly littered with bodies and pools of blood. At the Leopold Cafe, a chic restaurant popular with Westerners and wealthy Indians and famous for sidewalk dining, a cluster of gunmen mowed down diners.

At the opulent Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, the assailants poured heavy fire into restaurant goers on the ground floors, then moved upstairs to round up guests as hostages. And at a range of other locations, from a movie theater to a hospital to a police station, the attackers opened fire remorselessly on anyone in their path, frequently throwing grenades as well.

With proximity to Pakistan and visibility as the hub of India’s financial sector, Mumbai has suffered many terrorist attacks over the years. But the killings this week, played out so publicly and prolonged over so many days, have shaken many as never before.

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It is really not all that hard to kill unarmed non combatants. It is certainly not military achievement. In fact if a military unit did such a thing the NY Times would have no trouble labeling it what this was--a war crime.

If it were a military operation, what was the objective? If it was to hold real estate, it was clearly a failure. The terrorist never will have enough force to control a city like Mumbai. Another type of military objective is a raid, but that generally implies an operation where there is a planned retreat, which these terrorist clearly did not have. That leaves you with an operation that expected to engage in a few hours of chaos and mass murder for Allah in hopes that such an act would change India's policies? That is a pretty absurd objective where the chances of achieving the objectives is remote in the extreme.

Al Qaeda has used a chaos strategy in the past. Iraq was a good example and their current strategy in Afghanistan is an attempt at a chaos strategy. The objective of such a strategy is to get people to accept their totalitarian rule in exchange for peace. Is there the remotest chance that an operation like the one in Mumbai could achieve such a result. No.

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