October 31, 2010

THE GUY WITH THE LAMPSHADE ON HIS HEAD:

The Cargo Terror Culprit: All signs point to Al Qaeda's Yemen branch, which has a clever bomb-maker and a U.S.-born mastermind. Ex-CIA analyst Bruce Riedel on how to defang our most dangerous enemy. (Bruce Riedel, 10/30/10, Daily Beast)

There is much we do not know about the latest terror threat this weekend. Who was behind it? Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen has a clever bomb maker in Ibrahim Hassan Al Asiri; was it AQAP? How lethal were the explosive devices discovered? Forensics will tell a lot soon. Who provided the tip-off? The Saudis? Information from the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates? How did the informants know?

But there is one thing we know for sure: the timing, the weekend before Election Day. That timing is vintage al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden has been focused on American elections and our politics for years. Most famously he put out an audio message on the eve of the 2004 election to remind voters he was still alive and dangerous. His deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, spoke out in 2008 as the election neared. It's not that al Qaeda cares who wins our elections; the group regards all American political leaders as Zionist-controlled, war-mongering Crusaders. They just want to crash the party.


However, the fact that these "missions" are no longer even related to the original al Qaeda leadership--dead and scattered in AfPak--and that they have been thwarted can't help but minimize the threat in the mind of American voters and suggest to them that W and the UR have rather successfully prosecuted the WoT.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2010 7:26 AM
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