Thursday, December 22, 2005

Spain Seizes 15 Linked to Al Qaida in Iraq

Spain Seizes 15 Linked to Al Qaeda in Iraq - New York Times

MADRID, Dec. 19 - The Spanish police arrested 15 people on Monday on charges that they had formed a recruiting network linked to Al Qaeda that sent Islamic militants to Iraq, the Interior Ministry said.

The ministry said one man, a 25-year-old Iraqi identified as Abu Sufian, had close ties to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is the American forces' most-wanted man in Iraq.[snip]

He said there was no evidence the group was planning to carry out an attack in Spain. But he said the group had materials to make explosives and was clearly capable of an attack.

Is it me, or does this sound like a serious case of denial considering Spain pulled their troops out of Iraq after just such an attack hoping it would spare them future pain? Don't these folks get it yet? They are "Al-Andalus".

One of the men, a Belarussian identified as Sergei Malyschew, also known as Amin al-Ansari, is considered an expert in chemical weapons, the ministry said.

A 36-year-old Ghanaian identified as Muhammad G. appears to have helped Africans travel to the United States under false identities, but it is not clear if they had any ties to terrorist groups, ministry officials said.

Yeah, right.

This is why I am a) amazed at all the hoopla about the NSA "spying" on "American citizens" and b) that anyone thinks that people who discuss possible terrorism inside our borders is a "fear mongerer".

I also should mention Sergei Malyschew the chemical weapons expert. Obviously a Chechen related member of AQ and a reminder of how AQ operates. Since bomb makers and good operations planners are limited resources, these folks usually travel to a location, train the individuals and then disappear to their next location to set up a new cell. Secondly, the bomb and chemical weapons makers often hold "roving classes" since they no longer have a static location in Afghanistan in which to train.

My guess is that this is the "fly in, set up a group, train and fly out" situation for al-Ansari. Muhammad is a "facilitator". These men don't necessarily "recruit", but people who want to join the jihad, self-identify, ask around for directions to an appropriate person to ask, get vetted by outside members who only know Muhammad and then send the men on their way or recommend contact by Muhammad.

This is probably all occuring around a few specific mosques and it is highly likely that this is an "open secret" among the attendents. Which may be one of the reasons the Spanish are able to round these folks up, though it's just as likely that the tip came from captured jihadists in Iraq who gave up the information. Or, it could be that we have the "Africans" in the United States under surveillance and we tracked down a call from here to Spain (through that nasty NSA thing, invading our rights, etc), though I len towards the captured jihadist in Iraq.

It would be too much to hope that somebody has figured out how to infiltrate these groups.


Zarqawi Networks in Europe

A wave of arrests across Europe has thrown new light on a European terrorist network being developed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most prominent insurgent in Iraq.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
A growing number of terrorism investigations in Britain, Germany, Bosnia, Denmark and most recently Spain and France are linked to the man who has masterminded countless suicide bombings in Iraq, personally beheaded hostages and bombed three hotels in his native Jordan.

Some of the suspected networks appear to be involved only in supporting his operations in Iraq. But counter-terrorism officials are worried that Zarqawi could be planning to use his base in Iraq to start attacking Europe.

Security officials are particularly worried by indications that he wants to recruit white extremists who will be more difficult to detect than Arabs or Asians.

"Zarqawi thinks he is bigger than Iraq," a British source said. "He is spreading his tentacles in Europe. There is a sense that attacks are inevitable.

"Even before the invasion of Iraq, Zarqawi had a network in Europe that provided funds and recruits. The same pipeline will sooner or later pump the other way, from Iraq to Europe."[snip]

Last month Germany's leading intelligence official, August Henning, said that extremists in Europe increasingly admired Zarqawi and were trying to make contact with his network.

"We are seeing increasing noises in Europe and that causes us great concern," he said.

It emerged this month that a white Belgian woman, Muriel Degauque, had been recruited by groups linked to Zarqawi and blew herself up in an attack on an American convoy in Iraq.

In an email discussion with Athena at Terrorism Unveiled last week, we discussed the probablilities of how and why Muriel Degauque became a suicide bomber. As a reminder, she had married a Morrocan and had been married for several years before this incident. Also, what seems to get lost is that her husband also died in Iraq on the same day. The truth is, this is probably less about who Zarqawi wants to recruit (in regards to women volunteers) as it is a matter of the dynamics of interpersonal relationships between two people from extremely different social, cultural and religious backgrounds.

In the case of Muriel, obviously, non-religious factors may have driven her to seek this type of commitment. First, the fact that she married outside her faith. Not to be discriminatory, but generally, this is an existent grouping that people tend to stay in unless of course they do not feel part of the group or they feel that the group has denigrated them in some way. We are all always looking for acceptance and we frequently go to places or do things we think will get it. Secondly, once she married some one who was Muslim, she must have felt that she could not fully achieve HIS acceptance and love because she could not fully participate in his life either through culture or religion. Since HIS acceptance was paramount in order to achieve her mystical idea of "love" and he belonged to this group, then she must become its embodiment.

The man, for his part, may not have actually planned it from the get go nor even implied or directed verbally at first. It may have simply been the nature of the relationship and his own cultural beliefs about women that excluded her through no original intent. However, the ego is a powerful thing and once she determined her path to acceptance he may have found it extremely gratifying to find such a willing follower when he himself has always seen himself as simply a follower. further, because the nature of the cult behavior which precludes living for today and always looking or doing something for tomorrow (ie, the Islamist ideology of planning always for paradise or the future caliphate which none are likely to see in their life time - if ever), he may have eventually indoctrinated her into the idea of this future and seen it as a way that they could both achieve their desires: she to be finally accepted and in a perfect relationship with him and he achieving paradise.

I originally explored the three concepts of how terrorism originates in three parts:

Part I: Terrorism By a Group As Part of a Rational Strategy and Tactic
PartII: Terrorism As Second Generation Evolution from Existing Movements
Part III: Terrorists Self Select

In part three I wrote in reduction of the book "Origins of Terrorism":

The originating group may have a political agenda that drives their terrorist acts, but subsequent members do not always start out at the same political view or even care about the political view except that some of its agenda coincides with their ideas or that it allows them an outlet even if they do not or did not believe 100% in the movement's agenda. As a matter of fact, it appears that the subsequent members may drive the terrorist organizations to commit even greater atrocities as the morality or lack there of of these subsequent members changes the organization over time. Further, and even more interesting, those that join later have often suggested or participated in even greater acts of terror in order to prove their devotion to the movement.

The Telegraph report goes on to discuss other individuals that have been arrested and their nationalities:

Last month Bosnian authorities arrested a Swedish national of Bosnian origin, Mirsad Bektasevic, and a Turkish man, Cesur Abdulkadir, in a Sarajevo flat where they allegedly found bomb-making materials, a suicide vest, weapons and extremist propaganda.

These gentlemen probably fall under both Part II and Part III as it is very likely that the Bosnian and Turk had both been part of other organizations prior to moving towards the Islamists.

Read the rest.

H/T: Captain's Quarters

The truth is, terrorism will never be gone from society because the motivations for terrorism are different among all the actors. Terrorism as an act continues to find those groups and people who are willing to act using whatever different ideology or claim of persecution or injustice to validate their actions. This is why the "War on Terror" identification of the current conflict is inappropriate since it does advocate, in light of the history of terrorism, an unending war. What we see now is that Islamist ideology is the most prevalent and largest draw for malcontents. Eco-terrorism coming in an extremely lame second, but still a path and idea that allows people to act out their discontent.

Islamist ideology being the most prevalent, it is, in fact, a war against Islamist terrorism. There is little that can be done to stop individuals from self selecting, but there is much that can be done about eliminating the avenues through which they can act. In this case, discrediting and dismantling Islamist ideology and leadership. Eventually, even as it spreads for a short time, as the most experienced and capable are captured or killed, the ability to actually undertake large scale or multiple attacks with a direct strategic or tactical purpose will be diminished.

At the same time, as the core leadership breaks down and the groups become more disseminated, less command and control means that groups will undertake activities outside of the original strategy or plan of the core group. Less command and control also means that the individual groups will most likely be motivated to act out in even more extreme, fantastic and murderous ways that will result in mass casualties. It will also have a catastrophic effect on the organization or ideology itself as such activities often serve to unite opposition groups as well as act as a catalyst to move society towards disclaiming, disowning and generally denigrating the ideology and any of its claims since such actions will seem counter to the idea that the group is fighting for "justice". That means that groups that nominally support or at least sympathize with the terrorists claims will most likely be affected (see Jordan bombings; also history of Bader-Meinhoff Group) and will most likely be the group that rejects the ideology even stronger than the original opponents and moves to irradicate by any means necessary.

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