Colour of Terror
When nations settle their scores in a third country
POINT OF VIEW BY RIYAZ AHMAD
The attack on an Israeli embassy car in New Delhi has offered us a peak into the suspected clandestine international war being waged in the world by the secret services. Moments after the attack, Israel declared that Iran was behind it. In India, the announcement had one important outcome: it instantly deflected the attention away from Indian Mujahideen and Lashker-I-Toibah as the suspects. Besides it also put lid on the suspicions that the attack arose from India-Pakistan problems or the internal politics in India. The simultaneous and the attacks of similar nature in Georgia and Thailand further removed the incident in New Delhi from the circumstances of its location.
Even though Israel later also saw Hezbollah’s hand in the attack, Iran connection was easily understandable considering that six Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in mysterious circumstances over the past few years. Iran said that it has the evidence that Mossad was behind these killings.
The development at one level was quite interesting: here we had a series of terrorist incidents that have left these countries fumbling about formulating a clear-cut opinion on them. That the attack in New Delhi allegedly transcends the familiar local or Islamabad origin made things even more complicated. We didn’t get to hear the customary breathless media coverage with names being dropped in the first hour of the incident itself or the politicians out-competing each other in their bid to be seen as the most outraged. But this time both the government and its opponents kept a steadied low-profile. If it was an outsourced covert operation by a third country or a militant group, it was carried out to settle scores that didn’t concern India.
However, New Delhi being the location of the attack does indeed bring the country in the picture. For one, India has become a place of yet another terror incident – this time attack being the suspected outcome of the international covert war between Iran and Syria. Second, New Delhi finds itself in a precarious position of investigating the incident whose outcome could have implications for its relations with both Israel and Iran.
But the question that becomes even more important is that how do we correctly define and describe the attack in New Delhi. It sure is a terror incident but it is not the same, standard, stereotypical form of terrorism that triggers a uniform political outrage. Here government has felt the need for a more calibrated and nuanced response. Here terrorism is a description that is being more understood than voiced.
This subtlety about what is otherwise seamlessly seen as a repugnant form of political violence is in many ways revealing: this brings to fore the true face of realpolitik which fundamentally drives the geo-political business rather than the lofty ethical discourses that are supposed to underpin them. Human rights, democracy, secularism etc are unquestionably worthwhile goals and constitute the core of the modern civilization but in effect these terms more or less are employed in the pursuit of the strategic goals of the super-powers. American wars over the past decade underline this reality more unmistakably. The sustained intervention has been a part of the relentless effort to re-shape the Middle East in American image and protect primarily the US interests in the region.
The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran poses a new threat, not only to US and Israel but also to its neighbours who fear a re-alignment of the power equation in the region. While Arab Spring has now all but lent itself to micro-manipulation by the west, Iran survives as the last irritant in the way. Hence, the killings of the Iranian scientists will not attract notice nor would the attacks on Israeli embassies play to the larger terror discourse, both internationally and at the places where these incidents take place. Its depredations apart, terror is also a function of power and politics. When states are suspect it can be understood and response can be nuanced, when private parties do it, it instantly justifies the disproportionate response from the state.
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Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 22 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST
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