In a recent New York Times op-ed, Ami Pedazhur, author of the forthcoming The Israeli Secret Services and the Struggle Against Terrorism, compared the recent attack in Mumbai to the one during 1972 Munich Olympics. In both cases, the terrorists sought to maximize the attention of viewers around the world. However, as Pedazhur writes:
The terrorists in Mumbai were even more successful [than the terrorists in Munich], in that they created a drama that lasted much longer. They did so by aiming at high-profile targets like the hotels that are hubs for Western tourists and businessmen. They knew that viewers around the world would be glued for days to the constant stream of images on their TV and computer screens.
Pedazhur also argues that criticism of Indian intelligence has been too harsh. The chaos the terrorists created and their willingness to die rather than negotiate would have challenged even the most well-trained security forces.
You can read the entire article here.
And for another perspective, you can watch Bruce Hoffman’s recent talk at Georgetown University. In the talk, Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism says the attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai were designed to undermine confidence and disrupt daily life, not just to take lives. Which, he says, is another reason hotels are becoming “favorite targets” for terrorists.