Posted by: bklunk | November 12, 2006

A Better Way?

s-alves1 discusses the difficulty of dealing with terrorism:

In Response to : “British Muslim Sentenced in Terror Attacks”

In Response to : British Muslim Sentenced in Terror Attacks ( November 8, 2006) by Alan Cowell

“A British Muslim was sentenced Tuesday to a minimum of 40 years for planning terror attacks in the United States and Britain intended to bring what the judge in the case called carnage ‘on a colossal and unprecedented scale.’” (Cowell). The British Muslim sentenced in this case “was said by the police to have been the most senior figure of Al Qaeda brought to trial in Britain” (Cowell). The article went on to insert that no evidence was presented at the trial that the defendant was on the brink of carrying out an attack when he was arrested. The reason he was arrested was that his ability to temporarily evade British surveillance set off a major terrorism alert in the United States, and his background of having attended terrorism training facilities in Pakistan and possibly Afghanistan assisted in making him a terrorist suspect. This alert was not in vain as the defendant “planed for attacks in the United States were put on hold after the Sept. 11 attacks, and he began to focus on Britain. He planned attacks using so-called dirty bomb radiation devices and the detonation of a subway train under the River Thames.” (Cowell). This case is an important one as it highlights the ability of the US and UK intelligence to apprehend terrorist suspects before they have a chance to move their plans into action, but what does this mean for Al Qaeda? I do not think that this will truly affect Al Qaeda. Due to the fact that Al Qaeda is a terrorist network, the apprehension of one member will not affect other parts of the network. A network is an organization where a group of people who exchange information, contacts and experience for professional or social purposes (websters). In dealing with terrorist networks, it is not as if we are dismantling the head of a hierarchal organization (networks are not hierarchal), in reality there are many pieces of the Al Qaeda terrorist network and advances in shutting down one piece of the network will not stop it all. In stating this I do not wish to be pessimistic, it’s just in reality the United States and its allies have got their work cut out for them. Is there hope for truly ending terrorism? Professor Larry Pintak, a Middle East Specialist teaching at American University in Cairo, is of the opinion that the best way to end/diminish the power of terrorist organizations is to develop in those areas of the world, which are susceptible to terrorist, networks, like the Middle East and Northern Africa. In my personal study of international relations I believe this a valid opinion, by focusing on development, much like what the US did in Europe post WWII we would be changing the way the Middle Eastern people view the west, possibly becoming more of a friend rather than a foe.

James Fallows from The Atlantic Monthly has argued that the U.S. is doing better against Al Qaeda than is generally appreciated.  It’s worth a read.

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  1. It may be true that the apprehension of one individual may not have profound effects in the war on terrorism, but you have to start somewhere. The more terror suspects taken into custody the better. Furthermore, governments are making it harder for terrorist organization to operate and by apprehending an individual here and there it disrupts their network and makes them less effective. In regards to the end of the post I think the author described what is going on in Iraq right now. The U.S. is trying to develop Iraqi and as a result it will hopefully become a friend of the U.S.

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