Posts Tagged terrorist attacks

The Acute Jihadist Threat in Europe

The Acute Jihadist Threat in Europe is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By Scott Stewart, Vice President of Analysis, and Sidney Brown

On March 26, the Belgian federal police’s counterterrorism force, or Special Units, conducted a felony car stop on Hakim Benladghem, a 39-year-old French citizen of Algerian extraction. When Benladghem reacted aggressively, he was shot and killed by the police attempting to arrest him. The Special Units chose to take Benladghem down in a car stop rather than arrest him at his home because it had intelligence indicating that he was heavily armed. The authorities also knew from their French counterparts that Benladghem had been trained as a paratrooper in the French Foreign Legion.

Additional intelligence showed that Benladghem had traveled extensively and that, through his travels and email and cellphone communications, he appeared to be connected to the international jihadist movement. Rather than risk a confrontation at Benladghem’s apartment, where he had access to an arsenal of weapons as well as a ballistic vest and helmet, the police decided to arrest him while he was away from home and more vulnerable. The Belgian authorities did not want to risk a prolonged, bloody siege like the one that occurred in April 2012 in Toulouse, France, when French police attempted to arrest shooter Mohammed Merah. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Soldier’s Perspective: USS Cole Victims Spat Upon

“In 2000, I made a conscious decision to change my field of specialty within the Army. The catalyst for that decision was the murder of 17 Sailors on the USS Cole in the Port of Aden. In 1998, hundreds of people were killed in the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Two years prior to that, 19 more servicemembers were killed by Islamic terrorists. When the USS Cole was bombed, I made a conscious decision to stay in the military (I was contemplating getting out) and change my specialty to be in a position where I could make a difference in stopping these attacks. While I was in school, 9/11 happened, confirming I had made a good decision.

The hardest part of this job is the politics that goes into fighting terrorism, especially these days. The country seems to have lost focus and forgotten about all the events leading up to 9/11.

We seem to have forgotten all the events SINCE 9/11 as well: the Bali nightclub attack that killed over 200, the Beslan school hostage crisis that killed nearly 400, 53 killed in London subway attacks, over 200 killed in Mumbai train bombings, the “shoe bomber”, the Fort Hood massacre, the Arkansas recruiter shooting…I could go on and on and on about Islamic terrorism. And yet, our country just doesn’t get it. We continue to play politically correct and pretend that either we aren’t at war with Islam or Islam isn’t at war with us!

The fact that an extremist Muslim cleric wants to flaunt his people’s attacks on 9/11 by opening an “Islamic Cultural Center” near ground zero and on the anniversary of the attacks is seen as okay by some!”

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From Failed Bombings to Armed Jihadist Assaults

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

By Scott Stewart

One of the things we like to do in our Global Security and Intelligence Report from time to time is examine the convergence of a number of separate and unrelated developments and then analyze that convergence and craft a forecast. In recent months we have seen such a convergence occur.

The most recent development is the interview with the American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki that was released to jihadist Internet chat rooms May 23 by al-Malahim Media, the public relations arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In the interview, al-Awlaki encouraged strikes against American civilians. He also has been tied to Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was charged in the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the perpetrator of the failed Christmas Day 2009 airline bombing. And al-Awlaki reportedly helped inspire Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested in connection with the attempted Times Square attack in May.

The second link in our chain is the failed Christmas Day and Times Square bombings themselves. They are the latest in a long string of failed or foiled bombing attacks directed against the United States that date back to before the 9/11 attacks and include the thwarted 1997 suicide bomb plot against a subway in New York, the thwarted December 1999 Millennium Bomb plot and numerous post-9/11 attacks such as Richard Reid’s December 2001 shoe-bomb attempt, the August 2004 plot to bomb the New York subway system and the May 2009 plot to bomb two Jewish targets in the Bronx and shoot down a military aircraft. Indeed, jihadists have not conducted a successful bombing attack inside the United States since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Getting a trained bombmaker into the United States has proved to be increasingly difficult for jihadist groups, and training a novice to make bombs has also been problematic as seen in the Shahzad and Najibullah Zazi cases.

The final link we’d like to consider are the calls in the past few months for jihadists to conduct simple attacks with readily available items. This call was first made by AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi in October 2009 and then echoed by al Qaeda prime spokesman Adam Gadahn in March of 2010. In the Times Square case, Shahzad did use readily available items, but he lacked the ability to effectively fashion them into a viable explosive device.

When we look at all these links together, there is a very high probability that jihadists linked to, or inspired by, AQAP and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — and perhaps even al Shabaab — will attempt to conduct simple attacks with firearms in the near future. Read the rest of this entry »

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