Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Alarms Bells Are Going Off As Al Qaeda Networks Spread

DR. LAINA FARHAT-HOLZMAN December 17, 2013
As a historian with a long view, I avoid alarming predictions of doom and gloom. Although Militant Islam is very dangerous, I don't think it has longevity. Wherever Islamists take over, they arouse the intense hatred of their subject people. Muslims in Mali, for example, celebrated when the French Army chased out the jihadis.

It is one thing to fantasize about a restored Islamic Caliphate (religious dictatorship) but quite another to live under it. Like all other meteoric phenomena, this one will undoubtedly crash and burn too.

However, we are in for a very nasty run with this Islamist meteor. Joel Brinkley, a cool-headed foreign policy columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, claims the "the Al Qaeda terror network is spreading like a cancer" (October 6, 2013). Al Qaeda is now threatening Americans in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Africa and Central Asia---as he notes, practically the entire world. The Senate Intelligence Committee warns the naïve fools among us who believe that this is not a war, but just a criminal issue. We should rethink our hostility to our spy agencies keeping tabs on wanabe jihadis.

One particularly deadly group is al-Shebab, in Somalia, which carried out the attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya last summer. The many jihadi groups can work independently, says Brinkley, but most coordinate their carnage with Ayman al-Zawahri, Bin Laden's successor, whom we have not yet managed to kill with a drone. We will get him sooner or later.

The State Department warns that "extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services; such attacks have already occurred in Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City. One anonymous Islamic cleric who posts on line predicts that the black Islamic flag will one day fly over the white house. He may also believe that the moon is made of green cheese.

Most alarming is the rise of fifth columns in our midst. Generous, immigrant-welcoming Canada, is now having indigestion. The same is true for the EU countries that have done the same. Thousands of young men are heading to Syria where they hope to die for Allah. I saw one Anglo-Iraqi interviewed on camera who could scarcely sit still, he was so excited to die in Syria "for Allah." Many of the Islamists are converts, which makes them even more fanatical as jihadis. The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service has reported that Islamist extremists are now radicalizing Canadians in mosques, dinner parties, and even in the family home.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company notes that with the exception of the United States, there are more terrorist groups active in Canada today than in any other country in the world. Since 2006, 25 individuals have been involved in plots against Canadian targets (happily unsuccessful). They plotted to behead Canada's prime minister, were caught making bombs, planned to bomb an Amtrak train running between New York and Toronto, and planned to celebrate Canada Day (July 1) with pressure cooker bombs to blow up the legislature in Victoria.

The majority of attacks, however, are currently abroad: in Syria; bombing a courtroom in Somalia; joining a Hezbollah attack on a bus in Bulgaria filled with Israeli tourists; and an attack on a gas plant in Algeria. In addition are the usual financial crimes, honor killings, human smuggling, and establishing safe houses for future capers. Most alarming are attempts to establish Sharia law in Canadian society, which a former attorney general, Marion Boyd, actually supported!

Germany is alarmed because 170 German Muslims have gone to join al Qaeda groups in Syria. If they do not die there, they might well return to do mischief in Germany.

French Interior Minister Manuel Vallis estimates that more than 300 French Muslims are fighting with Syrian rebels. Russia reports that 200 fighters have done so as well; the UK claims 100, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands each number their Muslim nationals at 50-100. This Jihadi Tourism may well come back to bite their hosts. Without the NSA eavesdropping, we might be sorry.

Contributing Editor Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of How Do You Know That? You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.

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