Counter-Terrorism: March 7, 2005


Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the head of al Qaeda terrorism in Iraq, is an inspiration for Islamic radicals. Zarqawi, unfortunately, is carrying out his terrorist attacks mainly against fellow Moslems. This is not unusual, as, so far, most al Qaeda attacks have been against other Moslems. But for Arabs, living in Arab countries, the al Qaeda carnage in Iraq is scary, and disturbing. But for Moslems living in Europe, North America and other non-Moslem nations, the death of so many Moslems, at the hands of other Moslems, is inspiring. Especially with the young Moslems in places like Europe, its easy to swallow the official al Qaeda line that the Iraqis killed by al Qaeda bombs deserved to die. Moslems in Moslem countries know better. This generation gap is being exploited by al Qaeda, and has made Zarqawi a hero to many of these European born Moslems.

Youll even find this Zarqawi hero worship in the United States, but with a difference. While America has a tradition of assimilation, such is not the case in Europe. There, the immigrants are encouraged to hang onto the culture and customs of the old country. This makes it easier for terrorists to operate. Fewer people will turn them in, and recruiting prospects are better. In the United States, theres too much danger that someone in the community will call the FBI or police. Even before September 11, 2001, this was the case. And since late 2001, the American Moslem community is even more dangerous for Islamic radicals and terrorists. This, and recent reports that bin Laden is urging Zarqawi to make attacks in the United States, makes European counter-terrorism people very upset. They know that any serious Islamic terrorist efforts are more likely to happen in Europe. Its that old how do you deal with the danger of grizzly bears when you go hiking? Always go with someone you can outrun routine. Islamic terrorists know that three years of efforts to carry out more attacks in America have only filled the jails with Islamic radicals. The only hope the terrorists have is that the American counter-terrorism people will get lax and lazy, as they did in 2001. 

The 911 attack team was typical of Islamic terrorists in that they were not highly disciplined when it came to OPSEC (Operational Security). After the fact, it was discovered that there were numerous opportunities to catch them if the FBI and CIA had been more on the ball. This is an old problem. After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the FBI got a lot more money for counter-terrorism, and the CIA paid more attention to al Qaeda. But this effort grew weaker as more was known about al Qaeda, and their sloppy methods. It was another example of dont underestimate your enemy. The danger now is that the greater terrorism danger to Europe will make American counter-terrorism organizations assume that the terrorists are giving up on attacks in the United States. That will never happen, and its the not-so-bright, not-well-trained or disciplined terrorists, who keep coming, that you have to worry about. 

What is scary is how easy it is to carry out a high profile terrorist attack in the United States. For example, there are still plenty of Islamic radicals willing to make suicide attacks. Get a trained bomb maker into the United States, and you can have one or more suicide bombers walking into public places and setting off bombs they are wearing. The FBI has spent a lot of time with Israeli counter-terrorism experts, and learned what there is to know about how these attacks are carried out. The Internet is full of pictures of the bomb belts, and how they work. Its also clear that al Qaeda is getting desperate to make a statement. With democracy, and anti-terrorist attitudes breaking out in the Middle East, some of the Islamic radicals can see they are losing ground. September 11, 2001 now looms as their high point. Since then, its been constantly downhill. Even the daily terror attacks in Iraq serve only to make Iraqis hate the terrorists more. The Palestinian terrorists are talking peace (or, ceasefire) and trying to cope with a loss of popular support. 

But in Europe, the fire of Islamic radicalism still burns bright. Here are Moslems who live in a democratic society, and still want to kill their infidel neighbors. None of this assimilation crap in Europe. Its a place where jihad can be made. Why wait for the Americans to get complacent and sloppy again. If you are an Islamic terrorist, Europe is the most inviting target. Counter-terrorism efforts are finding more and more of the trained terrorists, the organizers, headed for Europe. While the terrorist bombs are going off in Iraq, the war on terror is quietly moving to Europe.


Article Archive

Counter-Terrorism: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close