The FT reports that the intensification of US drone bombardment of suspected al-Qaeda positions in Pakistan’s tribal northwest in recent days appears to have been related to intelligence that the cells were planning to hit a number of Western European capitals with “Mumbai-style” random machine gun and bombing attacks.
One of the drone strikes is said to have killed the Egyptian, Shaikh Fateh.
There have been 20 such strikes since Sept. 1.
But CBS says the reason for the increase is that the US military in Afghanistan has come to the conclusion that Pakistan simply is not going to curb some of the insurgent groups (probably a reference to the Haqqani Network).
I am not entirely sure how drone strikes on North Waziristan would disrupt bombing attacks in the capitals of Western Europe. Presumably the cells have sleepers already in Europe who can be deployed even if the cell leader in Pakistan is killed. The drone strikes could interfere with planning meetings and travel to the region by European jihadis. But if the plan were advanced, there wouldn’t be that much of these activities any more.
No doubt more details will emerge.