Saturday, 29 November 2008

Mumbai: Patrick Cockburn's not soft on Pakistan

Looking over the early analysis of the Mumbai atrocity I might have been overly keen to hear something original, in the hope that it would prove more discerning. But in today's Independent the very reputable Patrick Cockburn weighs in to argue that the truth, banal and horrible, is that Pakistan is to blame, and that the Western powers and media are deliberately "downplaying foreign involvement. Indian allegations about "external linkages" of the terrorists is wearily reported as an unfortunate resumption of Pakistani-Indian finger pointing."
Backing Cockburn's contention, Sky continues to report that 'a number of Indian officials' place the blame on Lashkar-e-Taiba. Cockburn raises the spectre of Bush's long and forlorn courtship of Musharraf, and presumably believes the West is still trying to make an ally of a scorpion. He goes on to take issue with what we might call the Tariq Ali position of a few days ago: "… supposed experts now emphasise the alienation of Indian Muslims and suggesting that the origin of the terrorist assault on Mumbai is home grown, the fruit of the radicalisation of Indian Muslims by systematic discrimination against them by the Indian state."
He concludes: "…It is self-defeating hypocrisy for the West to lecture the Indian government now about not over-reacting and not automatically blaming the Pakistani government or some part of its security apparatus for Mumbai… It may be that the monster the ISI created is no long under its control, but it is ultimately responsible for what has happened."
I wonder if Cockburn thinks there is any negotiating with Pakistan on these matters - by India or Western powers? He suggests a big headache is on its way for President Obama. But we already know from the campaign how Obama feels about Pakistan's terror-by-proxy, don't we?

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