In the wake of one of the most devastating terror attacks in years, how are we to understand the causes and respond?
A panel of top scholars discuss in this Georgetown University event.
Professor Bruce Hoffman has been studying terrorism and insurgency for more than thirty years. He is currently a tenured professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Washington, DC. Professor Hoffman previously held the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and was also Director of RAND's Washington, D.C. Office. From 2001 to 2004, he served as RAND's Vice President for External Affairs and in 2004 he also was Acting Director of RAND's Center for Middle East Public Policy.
Shareen Joshi is visiting Assistant professor at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.
Dr. Mabry is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University.
He has taught in the joint Peace and Conflict Studies Program at Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College, and now serves as an Associate Fellow of the Penn Program on Ethnic Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in the journals Ethnic and Racial Studies, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, Ethnopolitics, and The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. He is also the co-editor (with Brendan O'Leary and John McGarry) of Divided Nations (forthcoming 2009), a collected volume on the politics of regional integration affecting national communities separated by state borders. His international experience includes more than seven years of study abroad - in Honduras, China, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Egypt - and travel to more than forty countries.
Professor Bruce Hoffman 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.
City (pop., 2001: city, 11,978,450; metro. area, 16,434,386), capital of Maharashtra state, western India. Located partly on Mumbai Island, it is flanked by Mumbai Harbour and the Arabian Sea. It is India's principal port on that sea and one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. The town was acquired by the Portuguese in 1534. It was ceded to the English as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, who married Charles II in 1661. Granted to the East India Company in 1668, it became the company's headquarters until 1708. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Mumbai grew to be the largest distributing entrepôt in India. It remains India's economic hub and the heart of financial and commercial activity, its cultural and education centre, and headquarters of its film industry.
I think Prof Hoffman would agree that "not just terrorists" does not mean "not terrorists." The point is that the method of creating terror is far more thought-out and sophisticated than we normally associate with the genre.
But some of the essential elements of terrorism were evident - namely in the (mostly) indiscriminate targeting of civilians for the express purpose of destabilizing an authority and ... creating terror.