Mumbai attacks call for new counter terrorism strategy: Obama

January 12th, 2009 - 10:44 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 12 (IANS) President-Elect Barack Obama has said that the Nov 26 Mumbai terrorist attacks point to a new strategy for dealing with terrorism as potential copycats may try to replicate them.”When you see what happened in Mumbai, that potentially points to a new strategy, not simply suicide bombings but you have commandos taking over…,” Obama said in an interview Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week”.

Asked if Mumbai type attacks could take place in the US as feared by Ken Wainstein, President George Bush’s homeland security adviser, Obama said:

“Well, I think that the dangers are always there.”

“And I think you have to anticipate that having seen the mayhem that was created in Mumbai, that there are going to be potential copycats or other terrorist organizations that think this is something that they can replicate,” he added.

“And then, so we’re going to have to be vigilant in terms of our intelligence, we’re going to have to make sure that we are more effective in terms of anticipating some of these issues,” Obama said.

“We’ve got to continue to put pressure on Al Qaeda, which is our major target - that’s something that I talked about extensively during the campaign,” he said. “That has to be one of our primary areas of focus when it comes to our international security.”

Referring to Mumbai attacks, Wainstein had said in a recent interview: “You could envision it happening in any American city. It’s chilling when you think about it.”

Asked if he agreed with the president’s daily intelligence brief on homeland security that he has been getting along with Bush since his Nov 4 election, Obama said: “I think that homeland security always has to be our number one priority.

“When I set up the hierarchy of things that I’ve got to do, my number one priority every single day that I wake up is how do I make sure that the American people are safe,” he added.

Asked if on the basis of the intelligence briefings, he could say whether the US was safer or more at risk than he believed during the campaign, Obama pleaded confidentiality, but said: “I think that we have made progress in certain areas, but those dangers are still there.”

“And those dangers are not going to immediately go away, because we’re not talking about conventional armies where we have very clear measures of what their capacity is. We know exactly what they’re planning, where they’re positioned.”

“You know, if you have a small group of people in today’s world, with today’ s technology, who are intent on doing harm and are willing to die, that is something that’s always going to be a challenge,” Obama said.

Asked if he had been shocked by anything that he learned from the briefings, the president-elect said: “There hasn’t been something that was eye-popping. But, you know, the situation still requires vigilance.”

On Vice President Dick Cheney’s advice that he should first find out all about Bush counter-terrorism policies that had definitely made the US safer before starting to implement his campaign rhetoric, Obama said: “I think that was pretty good advice.”

“…I should know what’s going on before we make judgments and that we shouldn’t be making judgments on the basis of incomplete information or campaign rhetoric. So, I’ve got no quibble with that particular quote,” he said.

“My general view is that our United States military is under fire and has huge stakes in getting good intelligence. And if our top army commanders feel comfortable with interrogation techniques that are squarely within the boundaries of rule of law, our constitution and international standards, then those are things that we should be able to (do)…”

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