With the attacks in Mumbai, Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) has entered a new phase. Like most historical developments, that of Mumbai follows its predecessors while adding new elements. What are the old elements? Like the 1998 attacks on America’s African embassies and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, Mumbai was a stunningly murderous public relations gesture to show the target’s impotence and Al Qaeda’s ubiquity. And the perpetrator is almost certainly either Al Qaeda or an Al Qaeda-inspired and/or directed and/or franchised operation.
By Richard Miller
Taj hotel is seen engulfed in smoke during a gunbattle in Mumbai November 29, 2008.(Arko Datta/Reuters)
And like the attacks on the Pentagon and WTC (and possibly Capitol Hill or the White House) of 9/11, the assault on Mumbai, as befits a well-done 4GW attack, was directed against “soft-target” nodes, that is, targets that are central points in larger networks whose disruption are thought to have mega-consequences.
First, Mumbai itself is India’s financial capital; next, the specific targets themselves fell into three “node” categories: first, objectives that were intended to disrupt India’s ability to serve as an international commercial center — the luxury hotels and fancy cafes.
Second, were targets that were chosen to disrupt Mumbai as a local center of commerce — here was the attack on the famous Victoria Station, now known as CTS.
Finally, were targets intended to disrupt local response time and thus prolong the publicity bonanza that the jihadis felt was worth dying for — local police authorities and hospitals.