Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Crash And Burn

Image courtesy BBC News

What exactly is the logic of a fanatic militant using a seat belt and activated air bag when on a suicide mission?

And why exactly does it take two people to drive a car acting as an incendiary bomb when one "martyr" will do? Does the "side kick" get to share "half" the "reward" in heaven? Or does "coolness by association" also work here?

And why drive erratically your home-made incendiary vehicle to such an extent that would result in knocking over a dustbin before running away NOT gain ANY attention whatsoever?

Or better yet parking illegally your home made vehicle bomb will make it oh-so-inconspicuous?

And construct an incendiary device so expertly that it fails to detonate despite repeated cell phone calls and the sheer quantity of gasoline leaking out from the car appeared to be like smoke and thus draw NO concerned spotlight of notice?

Or Mensa-style tell the whole world days before via an internet chat room what was about to happen to NOT alert authorities?


Despite the stated suspicion that these fanatic militants have possible links to al-Qa'ida (yay! more effective free advertisement for a weak organisation), these aspirant and incompetent "Carry-on" theatrics point to one of two main possibilities: -

1) These are amateurs without the requisite skilled training, patience, competence and experience linked strongly to hardened trans-national terrorist group(s) but acting autonomously or semi-autonomously through inspiration or loose affiliations to emulate the "bigger boys" with the "bigger toys".

2) The trans-national terrorist groups are now so weakened and incapacitated at a tactical level through counter-terrorism measures that effective implementation of their tactics is now reduced to the level of using incompetent foot soldiers, either as pawns for actual strikes effective only at a psychological level (if the "targets" allow it to be), or as a "test run" for more spectacular and professionally managed attacks later.

It's probably a bit of both.

The timing of the carefully planned London attacks was likely political to coincide with the handover of the British leadership, and the second Glasgow attack with an improvised incendiary device was likely a hastily engineered event as the militants realised the net was closing in on them.

I'm glad that the newly installed Prime Minister Gordon Brown, community leaders and the public in the UK have acted calmly, and/or collectively called for a condemnation of such acts by fanatic militants as incompatible with any religion, as Muslims and/or "Asians" and "Middle Easterners" inevitably will feel even more scrutinised and viewed with suspicion. Tarring everyone in a community with the same brush due to the actions of a few is only going to make matters worse. And once again Muslims as a community themselves also need to stop being in denial by simply blaming everyone else but themselves and recognize that radicalization of disaffected individuals do occur and prevent extremist ideas from proliferating amongst themselves and unwittingly succour such fanatics.

These recent events in the UK by fanatic militants provide learning opportunities for counter-terrorism authorities, industries and the public...and the militants themselves. No doubt the latter will strike again.

It is indeed not a conventional military warfare but one of an ideological war that exists only in the minds of those who feel strongly enough about real and perceived injustices, and where "sides" are usually painted in black and white when the reality exist in many gradations of shades. It is right that authorities should hunt down these criminals but wiser analyses need also consider the motivations that drive (uhm pun intended) these people to do what they do rather than just label them as nutjobs. Only fools continually propound the ignorant ideas that are the lifeblood and allowance for this "war" to continue. And this cuts many ways.

The attempted use of incendiary vehicle devices is so emblamatic of what these fanatic militants were trying to achieve: to "get even" and ignite enmity between individuals, families, communities and nations and "unite" other similar minded people. But the failure to successfully ignite the incendiary devices is also emblematic of what is going on - it failed.

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