Implications of London Bombing
The attack on London is not something it is easy for me to talk about in dry analytical terms. I’ve lived in London, doing research, have often visited, and have many friends there. I know the tube or subway stops being talked about, and have ridden the double decker bus that plies the area around Russell Square and Bloomsbury. I want all my British readers and friends to know with what horror and solidarity I watched those images.
But one must in the end turn to analysis. I heard Michael Scheuer, the former CIA Bin Laden analyst, a couple of times this morning, once on NPR’s Morning Edition and once on the Diane Rehm show. I thought his comments compelling.
He found the statement issued by a “secret jihad” web site similar in form and content to typical al-Qaeda communiques, including the threats against other countries (Italy and Denmark). He was sure this was an al-Qaeda operation.
He noted that Bin Laden had called off any ceasefire and had several times threatened to hit the United Kingdom.
He said that “chickens were coming home to roost” for US and UK politicians who had obscured the nature of the al-Qaeda struggle by maintaining that the organization attacks the West because “they hate our values.”
Scheuer believes that al-Qaeda is an insurgent ideology focused on destroying the United States and its allies, because its members believe that the US is trying to destroy them. Al-Qaeda members see the Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians, backed by the US; US support for military regimes like those of Pakistan and Egypt; and US military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq as evidence of a US onslaught on Islam and Muslims aimed at reducing them to neo-colonial slavery. That is, specific Western policies are the focus of al-Qaeda response, not a generalized “hatred” of “values.”
Scheuer opposes any attempt to configure the struggle against al-Qaeda as simple crime-fighting. He believes that they must be addressed through a thorough-going counter-insurgency effort.
All of this seemed sensible to me, and more sensible than most other analysts I heard.
I will try to say more in a bit. One point I haven’t heard so far: The trial of Abu Hamza Misri began a couple of days ago, and I suspect has something to do with all this.
Wikipedia has put up a translation of the jihadi statement on the London bombings. Responsibility for the bombings has not yet been verified. For Arabists, an image of the original was put up by Wikipedia here.
‘ Translated Statement
On 7 July, “Nur al-Iman” participant, identified as a “new guest”, posts to the jihadist website Al-Qal’ah (Fortress), available at ref HYPERLINK www.qal3ah.net/vb www.qal3ah.net/vb , a statement issued by “The Secret Organization Group of Al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organization in Europe”. In the statement, the group claims responsibility for the London “raid”. The following is a translated text of the statement:
“The Secret Organization Group of Al-Qa’idah of Jihad Organization in Europe (Jama’at al-Tanzim al-Sirri, Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Urupa) In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and the dauntless
fighter, Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace be upon him.
O nation of Islam and nation of Arabism: Rejoice for it is time to take revenge from the British Zionist Crusader
government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The heroic mujahidin have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern and western quarters. We have repeatedly warned the British government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahidin exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.
We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the Crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.
God says: ” (O ye who believe!) If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly.” ‘