Mumbai Style Scaremongering?

Discussion in 'Strategic Defence & Spending Review (SDSR)' started by smallbrownprivates, Oct 3, 2010.

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  1. These comments by messers Williams and Lamb are interesting SAS officers warn that Britain is unprepared for a Mumbai-style attack - Telegraph , but one feels slightly more aimed at headlines.

    The US State Department's Europe travel warning US to issue terror warning to Americans in Europe - Telegraph is a little non sensical, as a "no smoke without fire" mentality shown by some tourists will mean fewer trips rather than being paranoid on holiday.

    By contrast, this little piece by Stratfor this week shows an alternative and rational view point, that at leasts implies the UK might handle a Mumbai style situation a little bit better:

    September 29, 2010


    More information has emerged on a purported Mumbai-style terror plot targeting cities across Europe. According to unnamed U.S. and British intelligence sources, multiple teams of Islamist militants from northwestern Pakistan planned to stage simultaneous small-arms attacks in cities across Western Europe. One of the intelligence sources described the plan as tactically similar to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, a comparison that has drawn considerable media attention. However, even if the details on the plot are accurate, security and logistical challenges for foreign militants as well as superior training for Western security forces would likely prevent such an attack from causing the kind of carnage seen in Mumbai.


    Details have emerged on a transnational terror plot targeting cities in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, British television channel Sky News reported late Sept. 28. Unnamed sources within U.S. and British intelligence agencies reportedly told Sky News that the plot -- still active and in the planning stages -- involved multiple teams of militants from northwestern Pakistan with ties to al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban attacking soft targets in several cities across Western Europe simultaneously, taking hostages and killing as many people as possible. One intelligence source compared the plot to the 2008 Mumbai attacks -- a comparison that has drawn significant media attention. The existence of a plot targeting Europe was first reported Sept. 6 by German news agency Der Spiegel after U.S. forces in Afghanistan arrested a German citizen of Afghan descent, Ahmed Sidiqi, as he attempted to leave Kabul for Europe; at the time, no other information on the nature of the plan was disclosed. Sidiqi, detained at Bagram air base outside Kabul since his arrest, has reportedly provided details on the terror plot to authorities during his interrogation.

    Single-source threats are highly questionable, as the informant could be inflating his importance, may not possess the information he claims to have, or simply could be fabricating a story he believes the interrogators want to hear. At present there is no other publicized evidence that corroborates Sidiqi's claims, but the purported details of the plot do underscore the threat and potential for mass chaos posed by small-arms attacks against soft targets, particularly if carried out simultaneously in various locations across a city or a number of cities. However, logistical and security obstacles would make such an attack more difficult to conduct in Western Europe than in the developing world, and even if an attack was successfully initiated, the superior training, funding and equipping of European security forces would likely mean such an attack would be shut down in a matter of hours, unlike the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, which continued for three days.

    Conducting attacks against soft targets in the West using small arms would be very difficult for militants traveling from abroad to do successfully. First, there are the logistical challenges of moving teams of people with connections to Pakistani militant groups to different destinations in Europe. Though it is possible sleeper cells would be used for such an attack, planners would still face the challenge of amassing enough weapons and ammunition to arm those individuals for such an attack without authorities noticing -- a task far more difficult in Europe than South Asia. Even if this plot had progressed to the point where militants could have attacked, Western security forces have a great deal of training in handling active shooter situations. While soft targets are always vulnerable to such attacks, the European security response would prevent the casualty rate and destruction seen in Mumbai from being repeated.

    The description of the alleged plot as a Mumbai-style attack refers to the tactic of deploying multiple teams of gunmen to take hostages and kill civilians. Such tactics are commonly used in Afghanistan and Pakistan and have been endorsed by militant leaders as a more effective tactic than large-scale, dramatic suicide bombings and explosions. However, the success that militants saw in Mumbai was more a result of the permissive environment that they encountered, namely unprepared security forces, rather than extraordinary capabilities on the part of the gunmen.

    In Mumbai, the police response was ineffective and special hostage rescue teams were slow to respond, culminating in a multi-day crisis that allowed the attackers to kill 166 people -- many of whom were foreigners -- and paralyze the city. Similar attacks launched in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been far less successful. However, adopting similar tactics in a European city, where police have trained to counter such attacks, have much quicker response times and better information sharing, would be unlikely to produce the spectacular level of carnage seen in Mumbai.

    Copyright 2010 STRATFOR.
  2. Interesting comments, considering the recent discussions on the future of TA SAS.

    'Both officers believe that such a threat could be countered in part by the creation of an armed reservist marine force equipped and trained to intercept and search every suspect vessel entering the Thames which could block "this avenue of attack".

    The officers argue that such a force would be relatively inexpensive, because it would be based on reservists who cost 80 per cent less than regulars, and would greatly add to home land security. '
  3. The last paragraph pretty much undermines everything that precedes it. Police in European cities are better trained to handle a Mumbai Reloaded? Not in the UK, where twice this year already lone gunmen with relatively poor weapons and no military training managed to kill and wound pretty much at will for an extended period of time before armed police finally tracked them down.

    Anyone who thinks CivPol will be able to stop well trained, fanatical, heavily armed terrorists without massive casualties needs to take a long, hard look at the Derek Bird and Roal Moates incidents. If it took 800 armed police, one tenth of the AFO's in the UK, a week to track down Moates, how the fcuk can they be expected to deal with multiple attacks by trained terrorists carrying military weapons?

    London has CO19, the biggest and best CivPol armed response unit. But given the size of London and the multitude of potential soft targets, it would be very easy to overstretch CO19. Remember that one of the deciding factors in the DeMenzies cluster-fcuk was that the closest CO19 team was miles away and had to race across London to catch up with DeMenzies. Multiple, simultaneous attacks would quickly over-stretch the police and even THEM.

    Remember, it's not like the movies: no matter what advantages they have over the terrorists in training and equipment, the last thing CO19 and THEM want is a fair fight. They will need to send as many Hooligans/AFO's as possible to each incident in order to deal with it as effectively as possible.

    And in any case, while London is the dream target, Mumbai Reloaded in other cities would be even easier to stage; how many armed police does cities like Manchester or Liverpool or Newcastle have? Even given the level of Gun Crime in these cities, they would still have less resources to call on than the Met. And even more importantly, while London has THEM on standby, provincial cities would take much longer for military reinforcements to reach.

    If I was leading an AQ Cell, I'd hit every city BUT London. As Lenin said, the purpose of terrorism is to terrorise. The wider area I can effect, with people afraid to go about their daily lives, the better I've done my job. The IRA bombings had little effect North of the Border, since we knew that Scotland was too unimportant for the IRA to bother hitting. Even 7/7, after the intial shock, had little impact outside of London itself. But people gunned down day after day(stagger the attacks)in Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh...that takes the Game to a whole new level.

    Maybe the warnings we've read have been an over-reaction this case. Maybe the intelligence was flawed. But a Mumbai Reloaded WILL be coming to UK city. And my feeling is, it will be sooner rather than later.
  4. Interesting point you make but if you honestly believe that the police would deal with such an incident then you are naive, we have ninjas for such things, the police only respond to certain incidents and beyond that it is the blacked out eye individuals that sort things out, I would argue that as a result of not only The prior and continuing threat from NI groups and the 7/7 attack we are better prepared than any other European nation for a Mumbai-style attack, mainly because we expect it, based on our close ties with the US and our recent shenanigans in the middle east.
  5. My bold

    Supposition only, noone knows who or what the source/s is/are.

    My italics

    Not true. Going from room to room in a large hotel with a shotgun will give the same result as doing it with an assault rifle. One or two raids on village gun shops will gift hundreds of rounds for the job. Then all you need to worry about is providing protection from the eventual arrival of armed response. 50 people legitimately buying rounds in, say, Belgium will provide the necessary. Then of course there is the black market.

    My underlined

    Again, not true. Whilst there may be adequate armed response in some major cities they could not mount an operation in the time it takes to take a hotel and start killing, and if you go to a provincial town you would not see a single armed policeman. For instance, Hit Harrogate whilst the Great Yorkshire Show is on and the killing spree will be uncontested for much longer than it would be in London, with still thousands of targets to go at.
  6. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    Certain towns in the UK would be the terrorist dream targets, a couple of co-ordinated motorway smashes and you could cut off some very important places for some time,add a bit of fire power and the government might see the reason for MBTs in the UK. No names but just look at the South Coast and think military
  7. With respect, I venture to suggest that you are naive: we don't have anywhere near enough "ninjas" to go around. As I pointed out, multiple, simultaneous attacks, especially outside of London, would be impossible for SF to deal with in time to prevent massive casualties.

    In any case, the first person to respond to such an attack would almost certainly be an unarmed copper. At which point he either becomes a casualty himself or, if he's lucky, manages to find a place of safety and call for armed response. Remember the coppers who tried to tail Derek Bird? As soon as he pointed his weapon at them, they had no other option but to break off pursuit.
  8. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    FFS with enough armed men,and not that many ,you could take a whole town hostage, with a bit of military training and some modern weapons it would take a battalion at least to get you out, if you didn't give a shite about your own survival
  9. I wouldn't venture to assume we don't have enough specially trained individuals but they have been involved in every terrorist incident this country has experienced in the last twenty years, we have a security service whose sole job is to deal with internal security threats and we have a long history of dealing with terrorist attacks, it is a well known fact that our special forces groups have teams permanently on standby for terrorist attacks, that being said as has been pointed out if they wanted to do something they could, as they used to say we have to be lucky all the time, they only have to be lucky once however if in the context of the prolonged Mumbai-style attacks were to occur they (the terrorists) would be dealing with far worse then a bobby on the beat.
  10. Mumbai Style Scaremongering?

  11. God, I hope they do Newcastle first.
  12. Eventually. But until the heavy mob turn up, and that could take some time depending on where the attack is, it's a turkey-shoot for the bad guys.

    Best case scenario and armed response or whatever are on the scene 10 - 15 minutes after the attack has started - how many casualties do you think we are talking about if it's two or three terrorists brassing up say, a nightclub with AK's?
  13. Ban shotguns. That way there'll be no need for 'village gun shops' - thus reducing the chances of them being turned over by international terrorists... or pikeys.
  14. You're wasted in Tescos.
  15. I am hoping for Tate Modern. No one I know will be there and guaranteed to be full of pretentious muppets. Another win, win.

    Also what is this fixation with night clubs? The tube is what I would be avoiding personally.