A radical Islamic extremist website posted a new threat from Al-Qaeda this week that promised the organization was preparing “shocking” new attacks on the United States and their allies.
“The answer for it, in short: The coming strikes by al Qaeda, with God’s Might, will be in the heart of the land of nonbelief, America, and in France, Denmark, other countries in Europe, in the countries that helped and are helping France, and in other places that shall be named by al Qaeda at other times,” a translation obtained by the Washington Times says.
The author guarantees the attacks will be “strong, serious, alarming, Earth-shattering, shocking, and terrifying,” and involve “group and lone-wolf operations, in addition to the use of booby-trapped vehicles.”
“All operations will be recorded and published in due time … let France be prepared, and let the helpers of France be prepared, for it is going to be a long war of attrition,” the author wrote in clear reference to French military operations ongoing against Islamist insurgents affiliated with Al-Qaeda who control sections of northern Mali.
Should we take the posting as credible? While the Ansar al-Mujahidin network is well-known forum which has published “reliably accurate propaganda messages,” there are nigh-infinite reasons to be skeptical.
For one, while Al-Qaeda has proven recently that elements of their network are still capable of launching large-scale operations (such as the recent assault on a BP facility in Algeria which resulted in 37 hostage deaths), there hasn’t been a successful Al-Qaeda attack in the Western world since 2005.
Since then, the network has been crippled by a series of assassinations and arrests of key leaders. The only remaining member of Osama bin Laden’s original circle, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is on the run.
While other leaders have popped up, they are primarily regional militia leaders rather than heads of transnational conspiratorial groups. Mokhtar Belmohktar, mastermind of the Algeria attack, fits into the mold of someone more concerned with coordinating Al-Qaeda’s regional power structure than launching major attacks in the European or American theatres.
Government officials should take the threats seriously, but there is absolutely no reason to give extremists what they want and react with fear or alarm.
In other words, continue your business as usual, everyone.