Missile Vs. Missile

Missile Vs. Missile

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Intelligence agencies have stepped up drone attacks in Waziristan, but the
Taliban say they’re still plotting a big attack on the West.

Thibault Camus / AP

A bomb scare closed the Eiffel Tower this week.

For weeks now, as missiles from American drones have snuffed out their leaders and terrorized their recruits in the remote mountains of Pakistan’s North Waziristan area, Al Qaeda fighters have kept their spirits up by telling each other they were about to have their revenge. “It’s like they’ve just been waiting for news, as if they were all excited about something big about to happen in the West,” says an Afghan Taliban intelligence officer known to NEWSWEEK who operates as a liaison between his organization and Al Qaeda. For security reasons he would not allow his name to be published. The source said one senior Qaeda activist told him that Europeans and Americans think “our minds and bodies are in the mountains of the [Pakistan] tribal areas, but soon we will carry out a visible offensive with long-term consequences in their own Western homes and cities.”

Reports out of Britain overnight suggest that more than bravado may be at work here: intelligence agencies have uncovered terrorist plans to launch simultaneous commando-style attacks in Germany, France, and Britain that would be reminiscent of the slaughter in Mumbai almost two years ago. Such attacks have been a major concern of Western police forces because they require no special weaponry—just guns, training, and a will to die fighting.

The dramatic increase in drone attacks over the last few weeks is intended to disrupt the plot against European targets. One drone strike reportedly killed the head of Qaeda operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, known as Shaikh Fateh, just last Saturday. The Qaeda plot was in an “advanced but not imminent stage” and that intelligence agencies had been tracking the operatives “for some time.” The implication is that the onslaught of drone attacks, especially in the last month, has succeeded in thwarting the plot.

The anxiety among intelligence agencies in Europe is obvious. In Paris the Eiffel Tower was evacuated last night—the second time this monthbecause of a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax. The busy Saint-Lazare train station was cleared out for the same reason on Monday, and the Saint-Michel underground hub was emptied on Sept. 14. French soldiers in combat gear are patrolling conspicuously around several potential terrorist targets in the city.

On Sept. 11, the anniversary of Al Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington, the head of France’s counterterrorism operations, Bernard Squarcini of the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence, said the risk of attacks on French soil has “never been as high” as it is now. Squarcini did not elaborate on the nature of the plots against the country, but he did touch on some of Al Qaeda’s motives for targeting France. The French Parliament’s recent passage of a law to ban veils covering all or most of a woman’s face is also a factor heightening the threat against the country. Such coverings are considered mandatory by many extremist Muslim groups, but even moderates feel the issue has been used as part of widespread anti-Muslim rabble-rousing in Europe.
“Homegrown” terrorist cells in Europe and the United States are often less well trained and less effective in action. But there have been growing indications in recent years that the core leadership in Al Qaeda is trying to pull these disparate elements together in the hope that it might carry out another terrorist spectacularif not on the scale of 9/11.

The same source said Al Qaeda is looking to establish training areas outside Pakistan and Afghanistan. Conceivably, some of these may be in remote areas of Central Asia or Africa. AQIM is expected to link up soon with the Al-Shabab militants in Somalia, if indeed it hasn’t done so already. But Al Qaeda’s core leadership may also encourage training operations inside Europe and the United States.
In the meantime, technology is allowing it to improve what New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has called its “virtual Afghanistan,” using Web-based voice and video communications. As a young Taliban fighter told NEWSWEEK recently, “I can train people on the Internet or on the telephone, no problem.”

Increasingly, the fight against Al Qaeda and its affiliates is a race: can the West penetrate its strongholds and eliminate its leadership faster than it can organize attacks in the West?
Both sides have started a dangerous sprint, but the finish line is nowhere in sight.

Lone Star Lady's Note: As long as we have the most radically liberal, Pro-Muslim President in Obama, America will never stand strong against radical islam! When we are attacked again (and we will be), Obama He will SLITHER off to join his other SLIME commie-Czars! After all, he's one of them! Just my opinion.