Interesting to note that the Mumbai terrorists did not make any formal demands or request any ransom despite holding foreign hostages and having the world’s attention focused on their actions. With the exception of one offer to release hostages in return for the release of ‘mujahideen’ held in India’s jails made to an Indian TV station, no specific demand or coordinated request appears to have been made. Here was an opportunity for the terrorists to list their grievances possibly live on air to an international TV Channel and highlight their concerns which was not taken up. There was no mention of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan or the suffering of Muslims in India. Instead they held some hostages preferring UK, US and Israeli nationals and continued battling against the Indian Forces.
Do the terrorists have any demands or is what they desire non-negotiable and only satisfied once their power hungry and murderous ideology is in power? The goal of the Mumbai terrorists was to simply kill as many people as possible, fight until their ‘martyrdom’ and gain as much publicity and political capital among other Islamists around the world as possible. They had no wish to negotiate, or desire to live. Their aim was to send a message of fear, whether that was economic, social or religious to India and the rest of the world – do as the Islamists demand or else. And it matters not whether you are a Muslim and hold similar religious beliefs, they will kill indiscriminately to get their political message across.
The Islamist ideology’s oxygen is its terror and hatred. It seeks to attract sufficient Muslims to its cause to enable it to strike anywhere in the world. It seeks for its young and often vulnerable recruits newer and more rewarding and satisfying methods of battle. Trivial demands and ransoms are irrelevant when compared to martyrdom and the desire of Islamist global domination. The Islamists seek a total surrender to their political beliefs and nothing else will suffice and that is why anyone who thinks that negotiations with these people will lead to peace is deluded.
The warped notion of the terrorists that they are soldiers of a religious army battling against soldiers of a non-Islamic force and engaged in Jihad is satisfied by engaging in the Mumbai type of attack especially when compared to suicide missions. This is more honourable and overcomes the prohibition against committing suicide in Islam and undoubtedly gives the Islamists a larger base of potential recruits – what more could Islamists use as recruitment propaganda than death at the hands of a ‘Kuffar’ soldier?
The Mumbai attack could easily be replicated elsewhere by terrorists living locally who would know their area well. All Intelligence Agencies need to improve their intelligence gathering and learn how to prevent such an attack; and all Governments need to combat the global Islamist ideology whose goal is to kill as many people as possible in the hope that democratically elected Governments lose the will to fight and hand over failed states such as Afghanistan and Somalia to Islamists who rule according to their own rules and who export terror and hatred to all corners of the world. The stakes have most definitely been raised.