Intelligence analyst B. Raman, who I have questioned for previous articles, has weighed in on who may be behind the blasts in a piece quickly published in India. While most analysts are pointing the finger at previous (and obvious) culprits such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lakshar-e-Toiba, Raman believes the blasts may have been inspired and planned by al Qaeda, (even if carried out by a proxy like LeT) since Osama bin Laden recently made direct references to India and Kashmir.
Raman points to the broadcasting on Al-Jazeera on 4/23 of the second audio message made by OBL since he broke his 1-year plus silence on 1/19/06. In the audio - for the first time Raman says - OBL made direct references to India and Kashmir, alleging "a Crusader-Zionist-Hindu war against the Muslims."
Christopher Brown of the Center for Security Policy, comments in an email today: "this was not the first time Bin Laden has brought up Kashmir in fact Al-Qaeda's 055 Brigade had some special responsibility for J/K [Jammu and Kashmir] operations. As for whether it is significant and or there is a relationship between Bin Laden's statements and the attack there very well could be. In addition J/K is an area where the Islamist (including Al-Qaeda) and ISI and Pakistan government have shared interests. If anything however this should be seen as to why India and the US are natural allies particularly against the Islamists."
Al Qaeda has been carrying on an a pronounced anti-India campaign since President Bush visited there in March, Raman contends. During his visit Bush promised to address Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf on India's complaint that "the jihadist terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory directed against India remains intact," Raman points out.
Bin Laden also declared in the April audiotape: "Meanwhile, a UN resolution passed more than half a century ago gave Muslim Kashmir the liberty of choosing independence from India. George Bush, the leader of the Crusaders' campaign, announced a few days ago that he will order his converted agent [Pakistan President Pervez] Musharraf to shut down the Kashmir mujahidin camps, thus affirming that it is a Zionist-Hindu war against Muslims."
Kashmir has long been one of the rallying points of the Ummah, and it is not uncommong for radical Islamists to lump Indian non-Muslims in with what they view as a global Jewish conspiracy against them, or to mobilize to combat what they view as the "venal Hindu-Jewish" lobby in the US for example.
Perhaps, we'll soon hear a message claiming responsibility from LeT or another group under the IIF umbrella, followed by a supportive Al Qaeda message, perhaps from No 2., Zawahiri.
Raman has frequently charged that the Pakistani ISI (secret service) is using terrorist groups as proxies to conduct financial war on India, who it sees as a direct competitor in drawing technology corporations from abroad. Today's blasts occured in Mumbai, a financial hub of India.