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Saturday, September 04, 2004

Better than in Russia, one hopes

From Debka:

Two security-related incidents Saturday temporarily shut several Los Angeles international airport terminals and prevented planes taking off. Roads to and from airport blocked. No details given out. Rumor of small bomb that exploded in a terminal and injured 7 passengers not officially confirmed.

Remember, a similar diversionary tactic was employed to help the two Chechen terrorists board the two Russian planes that were bombed. I wouldn't be surprised if we learn that there was a plan to go after some airliners at LAX, although if there was an attempt and it was stopped, we may never hear another word about this incident.

Debka also had some interesting, if somber analysis about the fragmentation of al-Qaeda, and how this may lead to a more dangerous situation.

In “Al Qaeda Today, Centralized Strategic Decisions, Decentralized Operations”, examination of the terrorist network’s operational deployment revealed that its supreme leadership was losing direct control over target selection or the modalities of attacks decided by local branches, beyond general directives. The brutal school siege in Beslan, North Osettia, this week, was on example of a regional operation run by semi-autonomous regional or local affiliates over which the overall leadership has little control.

The school siege was masterminded by the Saudi wing of al Qaeda in Chechnya. Al Qaeda cells based in Iran are prone to manipulation by Tehran for political and military ends that are foreign to the movement’s objectives. Al Qaeda is also found in league with Iran and the Lebanese Hizballah in attempting to grab footholds in South Lebanon and Gaza Strip....

The first cracks are marring the once rock-smooth relations of unity and obedience binding the fundamentalist terror network’s various operational branches to the directives handed down by the top leaders.

This fragmentation of al Qaeda into ungovernable entities allied with outside forces, embedded in civilian populations and targeting other civilians, seriously hampers the efforts of counter-terror force to catch – let alone prevail over - all its widely-diffused fighting elements – certainly not by conventional military means.

Isn't it interesting, how individuals from those two strategic centers I mentioned in the column on Clausewitz two months ago keep popping up. Iran and Saudi Arabia. Another lesson from the Russian school horror that the West should have learned from the seventies terror strikes is that capturing and holding terrorists is always a mistake. Many of the most brutal attacks are made in order to free previously captured terrorists.

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