Wednesday, October 13, 2004

"Spectacular" Pre-Election Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Reportedly Being Debated in Tehran, Damascus and Islamabad

Jason Fuchs reports in Tuesday's Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily 1 that "spectacular" attacks against targets in the West and particularly the United States, prior to the U.S. elections on November 2, are the subject of "intense strategic discussions" involving Islamist-jihadist groups along with their chief state sponsors, Iran and Syria. Global Information System (GIS) sources report that, on the question of a major Islamist offensive, "[Government officials in] Damascus and Tehran, and Islamist leaders in Islamabad are engaged in the debate and having "major input."

"Damascus and Tehran, and [Islamist leaders in] Islamabad are in on the debate and are having major input."

Though the debate is formulated in theological language, the GIS sources describe it as "extremely pragmatic." The utilitarian calculation involves an estimation of the probable reaction of the US electorate to pre-election attacks, described as a new mass-casualty "spectacular," and the danger of retaliation directed toward the sponsoring states. There is also some discussion of how the Muslim world will respond to the extreme violence and bloodshed being proposed.

Sources have stressed that the sponsoring states have the power to prevent the attacks on their own, "in more than one way," should they choose to do so.

This is not the first report of plans for a major attack against the West. A leaked Iraqi intelligence report, published in the Iraqi daily al-Watan on September 22, 2004 (and discussed by headland on September 24 in Al-Zarqawi planning major attack in Europe or US." 2), alleged that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was preparing cells for a big attack, "along the lines of 11 September," in Western Europe or the United States.

GIS sources characterized these reports as somewhat misleading, inasmuch as Zarqawi has no direct control over significant assets in Western Europe. Nonetheless, some of the non-Iraqi Islamist fighters who have fought in Iraq under Zarqawi's command and in association with his Jamaat al-Tawhid wa'l-Jihad (Unity and Jihad Group) have returned to Islamist units in their home countries. These operatives are under commanders in Western Europe and await the directions of the high strategic operational command led by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and his associated state sponsors.

TO BE CONTINUED.

NOTES
1 Jason Fuchs (Global Information System UN Correspondent), "Intense Debate by Islamist movements and Sponsoring States on New Terrorist Attacks on the West," Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, October 12, 2004.
2 The headland report, Al-Zarqawi planning major attack in Europe or US.", was based on a BBC Worldwide Monitoring translation of the al-Watan report, published on www.al-watan.com in Arabic.

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