Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Al-qaeda comfortably placed in Europe
The unearthing of the recent terror plot by Western spy agencies points directly to the deadly Al Qaeda. Western agencies say this is worrying, while Indian agencies warn that foiling the plot does not mean it's time to relax since there would be many more such attempts in the future.
At first, the biggest target on the radar of the Al Qaeda was the United States of America. However with the security beef-up there, it became virtually impossible to target the US and so, the Al Qaeda decided to move to Europe.
Sources in the Indian Intelligence Bureau told rediff.com that post 9/11, the Al Qaeda sensed it would be difficult to re-enter the US with ease. And so, they decided they would set up shop in European nations.
The first instance of this was seen during the London bombings. Although there was a major crackdown on the Al Qaeda following this attack, they refused to move their modules and cells from the UK. Instead, they went about setting up more cells in the rest of Europe. In other words, they decided to make western Europe their primary home.
Today, the Al Qaeda has comfortably set up base in Europe and the cadres are a deadly mix of locals and infiltrators from the Middle East. The war in Iraq was the primary reason given by the Al Qaeda to carry out attacks in Europe. This strategy did work for them and over time, they stopped looking for fresh recruits since many sympathisers came forward anyway.
The IB says the deadly cocktail of locals and men from the Middle East would hurt European nations. There is need for them to hunt down locals who are the primary financers and provide logistics as well. Normally, when the Al Qaeda plans such an attack it uses the resources of the local modules and pushes its Middle Eastern cadres into these countries several months ahead of the attack.
In western Europe, where the Al Qaeda base is the strongest, sources say the cadre has a good 480 men. Interestingly, the data collected after the London bombings found that there were more persons settled in Britain in this list than outsiders who had infiltrated with the specific purpose of carrying out the attacks. The rest of the cadre comprises, Yemenis, Lebanese and Sudanese nationals.
Intelligence reports suggest that future attacks would witness more Fidayeen-styled attacks instead of bombings or the one carried out during the 9/11 strike. The IB says that all new recruits are being trained in gun fighting and have been specifically told any future attack would be styled on the lines of the Mumbai attack.
A bombing will cause a scare and spread panic, but a sustained fight on roads with guns tends to have more impact. Such an attack not only creates panic, but also gives the outfit the time and platform to put forth demands.
The Al Qaeda does realise that it has been losing a bit of ground since the new breed of youth do not believe in meaningless violence. In case they carry out a Mumbai-style attack, they can put pressure on the government and also make various demands pointing to a political direction. The Al Qaeda bosses feel an attack sends out a strong message which speaks about atrocities against their men across the world, which in turn would help them build their cadre base.
The IB also points out that the western spy agencies are not wrong when they speak about specific threats since there is credible intelligence to show there is a build-up and the Al Qaeda has been planning attacks in this part of the world.
In addition, there is also the statement made by Ahmed Siddiqui to US interrogators in which he speaks about a meeting with Ilyas Kashmiri, the chief commander of the Al Qaeda. Siddiqui, who is now an informant, told the US officials that Kashmiris during a meeting with him had said he had sent in his cadres into Britain and Germany. Further, Siddiqui is also said to have claimed that the attacks had the blessings of the Supreme Commander of the Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden