Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Lahore attack: a textbook example of destabilization

The BBC reports:

Gunmen have attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team on its way to play in the Pakistani city of Lahore. At least six policemen escorting the team bus were killed, along with a driver. Seven cricketers and an assistant coach were injured. Pakistani officials said about 12 gunmen were involved and grenades and rocket launchers have been recovered. Officials said the incident bore similarities to deadly attacks in Mumbai in India last November.


Pakistan invited Sri Lanka to tour only after India's cricket team pulled out of a scheduled cricket tour on security grounds, following the Mumbai attacks.


But a Pakistani minister, Sardar Nabil Ahmed Gabol, reportedly told private Geo TV that evidence suggested the attackers came across the border from India. He said the assault came in reaction to the Mumbai attacks, and was a "declaration of open war on Pakistan by India".
Commentary: The Lahore attack is a textbook example of the real danger Sunni Islamic extremists pose to the world. Following the Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan were on the brink of war but India refrained from retaliating. This time, a top Pakistani official blames India for, quote, "an open declaration of war on Pakistan" even though all the evidence points to the fact that the Sri Lankan team was chosen by the terrorists as a substitute for the Indian team which, wisely, chose not to travel to Pakistan.

True, the Wahabis/Salafis/Deobandi/etc do not present a classical military threat to most of the world - in that sense they are only a local threat - but is their now clearly established potential to trigger a major war between two nuclear powers not a major "threat to international peace and security" (to use the official expression?)