What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pranksters and the Weekly Great Game

So it's not only bloggers any more, messing around with world politics. Pakistan is another country where now pranksters do that, too. Their actions make me post today as part of my earlier-abandoned Weekly Great Game series (I'm tagging the post so).
This is coming in from AP today:
"A man pretending to be India's foreign minister called Pakistan's president and talked in a "threatening" manner during the Mumbai terror attacks, prompting Pakistan to put its air force on high alert, a security official and a news report said Saturday.
Dawn newspaper said authorities were investigating the circumstances of the hoax, which occurred as tensions spiked between the nuclear-armed neighbors during the attacks.
A day after the call, two Pakistani security officials warned the government would pull its troops from the anti-terrorism fight along the border with Afghanistan in order to respond to any Indian military mobilization.
During a briefing, one of those officials said someone from the Indian Foreign Ministry had called "a top Pakistani personality" and threatened military action if Pakistan did not cooperate with New Delhi.
The rising tensions between the two rivals prompted an intense round of international telephone diplomacy that night and into the next day. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke to Zardari and Mukherjee.
Dawn reported that Rice asked Mukherjee why he took such a threatening tone with Zardari. He replied he had had no contact with the president, the newspaper reported, in what apparently led to the hoax being uncovered.
Dawn reported that none of the normal checks on establishing callers' identities before putting them through to the president were carried out because of the urgency of the situation during the attacks."
Pranksters have a surprisingly good appreciation of the strategic context of their actions at times. This one knew the right (the most sensitive) moment to make a call, to create some tensions and mistrust. He realised with clear sight what one of the main objectives of the LeT attack on Mumbai was. He even knew Zardari's telephone number. And apparently it wasn't the only call that may have been made.
Well, even pranksters themselves may be coming in twos and threes, you never know.

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