Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Inside the war

Joshua Sinai, The Washington Times (US: Washington DC)

"The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack" is a remarkably insightful and revealing look at how U.S. counterterrorism agencies and their top players conducted America's attacks on al Qaeda and its affiliates prior to and following September 11 ... Art Cummings, the FBI's Counterterrorism Division's deputy assistant director, explains that many of these operatives are not "religious fanatics," although "Islamic extremism was a factor. But a lot of these guys were young and adventure-seeking. A lot of them were pressured by their families to go check that box: They wanted the jihadi badge of honor." As a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo, who had gone to Afghanistan to fight, told Mr. Cummings, "I think about humanity, the ummah — the Islamic community that follows Mohammed. I'm coming here for you, to fight the broader cause, for Islam." There now exists a new variety of terrorist operatives, who Mr. Cummings describes as a combination of home-grown wannabes, "inspired by bin Laden rather than controlled by him," and professional terrorists. The former type is particularly worrisome because while they may not be as sophisticated as al Qaeda's seasoned operatives, to Mr. Cummings, they are "becoming more common," and therefore "exceedingly dangerous because they're willing to give up their personal safety and personal freedoms to go overseas to a foreign place, with people that are going to teach them how to become a terrorist, essentially. It's this convergence of capability and willingness that cause the person to be unbelievably dangerous."

No comments: