Two high-profile terrorist attacked allegedly linked to al-Qaeda
may shine a revelatory light on the terrorist organization's goals and
strategies. What clues do the failed Detroit airline bomber
and the Jordanian double-agent's suicide attack
on Afghanistan Forward Operating Base Chapman provide for engaging and predict al-Qaeda? Here's what we may have learned.
- The Cost of Supporting Israel Salon's Glenn Greenwald points to
reports that the suicide-bombing double agent didn't turn until the
Israeli war in Gaza "changed" him. "There's just no question that the
U.S.'s loyal enabling of (and support
for) Israel's various wars with its Muslims neighbors contributes to
terrorist attacks directed at Americans." But he concedes, "Al Qaeda
leaders who actually care little about the Palestinian cause
have a history of exploiting that issue to generate public support. The
fact that Terrorists object to Policy X does not prove that Policy
X should be discontinued."
- Al-Qaeda's Non-Strategy Spencer Ackerman describes
it as, "Kill People & Blow Stuff Up." He notes that the Jordanian
double-agent's decision to blow himself up rather than spy on them and
provide them with misinformation makes him an unusual, and not so
effective, double-agent. The attack "raises the prospect that al-Qaeda
might think it knows all it needs to
know about U.S. intelligence operations in eastern Afghanistan."
- We're 'Fighting Blind'
Time's Joe Klein warns that intelligence on al-Qaeda remains
dangerously sketchy. "[I]t is likely that the attack on FOB Chapman
will spill over into the
efforts to train the Afghan army and police -- which was always an iffy
proposition and now faces a massive security question: How many of
these trainees are actually reporting to Mullah Omar and bin Laden?
After eight years in Afghanistan, is it possible that we're still
fighting blind?" He writes, "Given the skill of this operation, how
trustworthy are the other
sources the CIA has been using to help target its drone attacks against
al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan?"
- 'The Butt Bomb' The New Republic's Michael Crowley explores
"the alarming concept of explosive Al Qaeda asses." He explains of
anally secreted explosives, which have been used in the past to bypass
rigorous security, "even full-body-image scanners at airports might not
stashed explosives. The upside is that much of the blast from such a
rear-end bomb would be absorbed by the terrorist's body--perhaps enough
of the explosion that the airplane would not crash."
- What Recruits Terrorists RedState chief Erick Erickson insists
it's not the prison at Guantanamo Bay. " According to Barack Obama, Al
Qaeda keeps attacking us and recruiting new terrorists because GTMO
exists. Unfortunately for Obama, Al Qaeda says the recent attack on the
CIA was actually because of our drones. If we follow Obama's logic that the existence of GTMO causes terror
attacks, we must conclude that Obama will now shut down the remote
- 'Terrorists Are Stupid' James Joyner thinks
it's just that simple. "Like most other criminals, terrorists just
aren't very smart. Given how lousy we are at catching them, that's a
good thing." He points to the suicide bomber who "blew up seven
low-level agents rather than actually gaining complex intelligence or
at least waiting for a higher-profile target" and to the Detroit bomber
who carried no luggage with him. "Anyone who even remotely keeps up
with the news knows that one-way
tickets and a lack of luggage are going to raise eyebrows. So, why
wouldn't terrorists -- let alone those sent by the well-financed al
Qaeda to pull of major jobs -- avoid these traps?"
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