From London to Toronto: Dismantling Cells, dodging their ideology
By: Dr. Walid Phares
The Counter Terrorism Blog
Paris and London, June 3, 2006
Over the past nine months, speeches by Usama Bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, other Jihadi cadres and the documents found after the arrest of Terror-architect Abu Musab al Suri all put the West and democracies on notice: the second generation al Qaida is marching. The Jihad country-list includes those countries whose troops are engaged in battles against the Terrorists around the world or whose police force is attempting to disrupt the cells at home. Beyond the "regular" countries-targets such as the United States, UK, Australia, Russia, India, Jordan and Israel, many others "infidel" countries made it to the top 20: Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Canada etc. The first type of countries, those who are engaged directly in confrontations with Jihadi networks on battlefields such as Afghanistan and Iraq, are open targets. This is the A list. However, countries on the B list are enemies of the cause but decisions to strike them fall into the hands of the local emirs.
This week two countries from the A and B lists witnessed ponctual counter Terrorism operations leading to the arrests of dozens suspects and the foiling, according to authorities, of potential future bombings: Great Britain and Canada. The security moves were successful but were the public statements as focused?
In the British capital, dawn operations ended with the arrests of young men accused of preparing for a "dirty bomb." Authorities asserted that an ongoing campaign aimed at exploding the bomb on British territory. "We are absolutely certain this device exists and could be used either by a suicide bomber or in a remote-controlled explosion," one source told the Sun newspaper.
At a first glance, connoisseurs of Jihadism realize this finding was strategically connected to the War waged on London last July. It goes without hard analysis that the Ghazwa launched on 7/7 was a first round, followed by a failed one during the summer, and most likely the most recent discoveries were to be the 2006 follow up strikes to last year's. However, one notices that UK spokespersons went to extra length just to underline that "there are no evidence in last week's arrests that is linked to July 7 Terror attacks." A proposition if anything, shows how fearful are British authorities from war statements. London's politicians theoretically mention the War on Terror, but when push comes to shove, refuse to look political reality in the eyes.
Suggesting that "nothing" indicates that the Jihadi cell that was accordingly about to massacre British citizens this year is linked to last year's attacks is indicative of strategic failure in the war concepts.
For once an enemy is defined all its forces are linked to each other. Otherwise, Londoners shouldn't have established a link between each wave of Stukas sent by the Luftwaffe during the 1940 Blitz. As I am meeting with European and British legislators, I realize that the debate about "Jihadism" is still raging on this side of the Ocean. Despite the fact that al Qaida's two generations are clear on the matter, yet officials are tip towing. If London doesn't identify the overarching ideology of the war waged on its people, it will hardly be able to connect any attack to another.
Canada is even more hesitant. While 17 suspects were arrested for plotting Terrorist attacks in Toronto, Canadian authorities and some media are struggling with "recognizing" the threat identity. "The men arrested yesterday appeared to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by al-Qaida," said Luc Portelance, the assistant director of operations with Canada's security agency. Hesitations in the rhetoric are impressive. Despite the clarity through which al Qaida and the Jihadists worldwide advance their doctrine designate their enemies, many in the West and now in Canada are still nervous. Ottawa mentions a "violent ideology," but refrains from citing its name, let alone its objectives.
Some in the press are running in the opposite direction by digging "reasons" for Terrorism. The Toronto Star reported Saturday that "Canadian youth in their teens and 20s, upset at the treatment of Muslims worldwide, were among those arrested." Probably without knowledge, the Toronto Star adopts the propaganda arguments of al Qaida. Indeed, the "story" of Bin Laden and his subalterns, laid out fully in his last April audiotape, is that "Muslims are under attack everywhere, hence, Jihad is prescribed."
Strangely, instead of citing courageous Muslim voices opposing Jihadism, journalistic analysis flows with the suspected bombers stated claims. Obviously, awareness is on its way as appropriate expertise is surfacing rapidly in the US and Canada alike and that thanks to al Jazeera and the Salafi web sites, the actual doctrinal injunctions behind the self established cells are coming to the light.
In three days, London and Toronto have experienced an encounter, thankfully successful with second generation Jihadis. Hundreds of citizens on both sides of the Atlantic may have been saved so far. But it is crucial as a new stage of the War with Terror develops that the minds of the public are served in as much efficiency as their security is. It is incumbent to authorities and hopefully from the press, to provide the public with as much data as possible about al Qaida's ideology, strategy and methodology.
Without a mass mobilization of the public and its talents, the next generations of Jihadists, already operating within democracies will be wrecking havoc in the lives of our current and future generations.