A More Likely Scenario

The shooting on November 5th at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas may indicate similar attacks to come. The shooter carried out an attack on specifically outbound soldiers for deployment at the Soldier Readiness Center. Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan was raised as a Muslim and was opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The fact that he chose to kill or maim over forty U.S. soldiers rather than go to war against Muslim jihadists is indicative of another motive. Explaining away this massacre as a conflict of conscience seems an oxymoron. Looking past the incident as a singular event, you'll find a very different possible reason for the attack.

According to a November 4th Stratfor report, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wahayshi wrote an article last week in an online magazine, Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of the Battle). In it he called for jihadists to conduct easy attacks on targets in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, as well as in Western nations "at war with Islam." They were to use easily accessible weapons and explosives and to not "waste a lot of time finding the materials." The way in which this information was disseminated is just as telling as the article itself. According to the Stratfor,
That al-Wahayshi gave these instructions in an internet magazine distributed via jihadist chat rooms, not in some secret meeting with his operational staff, demonstrates that they are clearly intended to reach grassroots jihadists -- and are not intended as some guidance for AQAP members.
In another Stratfor report from June of 2006, called "Al Qaeda: The Next Phase of Evolution," it was suggested that the rise of local, unaffiliated terror cells are becoming the most effective form of guerrilla warfare. Al-Qaeda is morphing into something similar to a "pre-9/11 Operation Model." It relies on grassroots elements that "think globally and act locally." Stratfor calls this the "4.0 Operation Model," in which al-Qaeda can:

... Entail more sophisticated levels of coordination -- and the possibility of simultaneous strikes against geographically diverse targets (for instance London, Toronto and New York). Previously, such a feat could only have been accomplished by the core al Qaeda organization. For a grassroots network to accomplish that feat, without direct involvement from the central leadership, would represent a generational leap forward in jihadist operations.

Terror cells aren't the only form of recent jihadist activity, and roadside IEDs aren't the only form of explosives for these new attacks. In Nasir al-Wahayshi's article last week, he cited an incident a few weeks ago where an assassin wore a small IED in his anal cavity to attack  Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. This was a new and unexpected form of suicide bombing. It was unsuccessful in killing the target, only slightly injuring him, but the method proved effective against detection.

Also in the article, al-Wahayshi mentioned a specific amount of explosives that could be made from household items, suggesting similar IEDs could be improvised. Grassroots jihadists may also be interpreting attacks to be suicide bombings on individual targets as well as in specific geographical locations. 

Whether Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan acted out of insanity or some bizarre moral dilemma, he conducted an attack of a terrorist nature on U.S. soil. Americans need to become more vigilant, as we are more vulnerable to attack from jihadists now than ever.

Terror cells will be even harder to prevent, as new grassroots jihadists do not need to communicate directly with a central authority. They now get their information from websites and take cues from leadership messages published on them. There will be less chatter to monitor because these groups will find each other locally and keep their operations small and low-key.

Now is the time for our current government to become proactive in thwarting terrorist plots. Being reactionary just won't cut it anymore. The fact that the Obama Administration renamed the "War on Terror" to the "Overseas Contingency Plan" highlights just how off-base they are on the threat our country now faces.

Our intelligence agencies also need to be allowed to do their job without fear of persecution. Nancy Pelosi's shameful display of classic CYA against the CIA doesn't give the FBI much incentive to help conduct domestic surveillance on these new groups.

My prediction on the matter is that the issue will be resolved only as "a U.S. soldier carried out the Fort Hood attack" and let the assumptions about a violent soldier fall where they may. For this administration and its cronies, it's a lot more convenient than fulfilling one of the only stated responsibilities of our federal government.

Andie Brownlow blogs at AndieBrownlow.com

Sources:

Burton, Fred (2006-06-08). "Al Qaeda: The Next Phase of Evolution". Stratfor

Maskaly, Michelle, and Associated Press(2009-11-05). "Sources Identify Major as Gunman in Deadly Shooting Rampage at Fort Hood". Fox News.com

Stewart, Scott, and Fred Burton (2009-11-04). "Counterterrorism: Shifting from "Who" to How". Stratfor
The shooting on November 5th at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas may indicate similar attacks to come. The shooter carried out an attack on specifically outbound soldiers for deployment at the Soldier Readiness Center. Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan was raised as a Muslim and was opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The fact that he chose to kill or maim over forty U.S. soldiers rather than go to war against Muslim jihadists is indicative of another motive. Explaining away this massacre as a conflict of conscience seems an oxymoron. Looking past the incident as a singular event, you'll find a very different possible reason for the attack.

According to a November 4th Stratfor report, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wahayshi wrote an article last week in an online magazine, Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of the Battle). In it he called for jihadists to conduct easy attacks on targets in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, as well as in Western nations "at war with Islam." They were to use easily accessible weapons and explosives and to not "waste a lot of time finding the materials." The way in which this information was disseminated is just as telling as the article itself. According to the Stratfor,
That al-Wahayshi gave these instructions in an internet magazine distributed via jihadist chat rooms, not in some secret meeting with his operational staff, demonstrates that they are clearly intended to reach grassroots jihadists -- and are not intended as some guidance for AQAP members.
In another Stratfor report from June of 2006, called "Al Qaeda: The Next Phase of Evolution," it was suggested that the rise of local, unaffiliated terror cells are becoming the most effective form of guerrilla warfare. Al-Qaeda is morphing into something similar to a "pre-9/11 Operation Model." It relies on grassroots elements that "think globally and act locally." Stratfor calls this the "4.0 Operation Model," in which al-Qaeda can:

... Entail more sophisticated levels of coordination -- and the possibility of simultaneous strikes against geographically diverse targets (for instance London, Toronto and New York). Previously, such a feat could only have been accomplished by the core al Qaeda organization. For a grassroots network to accomplish that feat, without direct involvement from the central leadership, would represent a generational leap forward in jihadist operations.

Terror cells aren't the only form of recent jihadist activity, and roadside IEDs aren't the only form of explosives for these new attacks. In Nasir al-Wahayshi's article last week, he cited an incident a few weeks ago where an assassin wore a small IED in his anal cavity to attack  Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. This was a new and unexpected form of suicide bombing. It was unsuccessful in killing the target, only slightly injuring him, but the method proved effective against detection.

Also in the article, al-Wahayshi mentioned a specific amount of explosives that could be made from household items, suggesting similar IEDs could be improvised. Grassroots jihadists may also be interpreting attacks to be suicide bombings on individual targets as well as in specific geographical locations. 

Whether Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan acted out of insanity or some bizarre moral dilemma, he conducted an attack of a terrorist nature on U.S. soil. Americans need to become more vigilant, as we are more vulnerable to attack from jihadists now than ever.

Terror cells will be even harder to prevent, as new grassroots jihadists do not need to communicate directly with a central authority. They now get their information from websites and take cues from leadership messages published on them. There will be less chatter to monitor because these groups will find each other locally and keep their operations small and low-key.

Now is the time for our current government to become proactive in thwarting terrorist plots. Being reactionary just won't cut it anymore. The fact that the Obama Administration renamed the "War on Terror" to the "Overseas Contingency Plan" highlights just how off-base they are on the threat our country now faces.

Our intelligence agencies also need to be allowed to do their job without fear of persecution. Nancy Pelosi's shameful display of classic CYA against the CIA doesn't give the FBI much incentive to help conduct domestic surveillance on these new groups.

My prediction on the matter is that the issue will be resolved only as "a U.S. soldier carried out the Fort Hood attack" and let the assumptions about a violent soldier fall where they may. For this administration and its cronies, it's a lot more convenient than fulfilling one of the only stated responsibilities of our federal government.

Andie Brownlow blogs at AndieBrownlow.com

Sources:

Burton, Fred (2006-06-08). "Al Qaeda: The Next Phase of Evolution". Stratfor

Maskaly, Michelle, and Associated Press(2009-11-05). "Sources Identify Major as Gunman in Deadly Shooting Rampage at Fort Hood". Fox News.com

Stewart, Scott, and Fred Burton (2009-11-04). "Counterterrorism: Shifting from "Who" to How". Stratfor