Thursday, August 18, 2005

Terrorism metastasizes

After reading a long, unsettling piece about avian flu, the unpredictable way that influenza viruses mutate, jumping from species to species...I started my morning surfing of the internet.
Wouldn't you know!
The first thing I hit was this reference by John Burgess pointing to a terrorist outbreak in Bangladesh.

...300 bombs that went off all over Bangladesh yesterday may have been crude and technically unimpressive devices but the level of organization that went into their being placed in 50 different towns and cities is worthy of note...It is also a puzzling matter as to why an organization such as Jamatul Mujahedeen would mount such a spectacularly big assault with such relatively low deadliness. Could it be that the real targets were not the innocent Bangladeshis caught in the blasts but the higher echelons of Al-Qaida leadership? ...If yesterday's mass attacks were indeed an attempt by Jamatul Mujahedeen to establish its credibility with Al-Qaeda, then particular attention need to be paid to Bangladesh's homegrown terrorist outfits. LINK

Tragic as it is, it would be unremarkable except for this...
This Arab News editorial is interesting. It posits that the rash of explosions across Bangladesh was not Al-Qaeda sponsored, but instead a plea by indigenous Islamic extremists for Al-Qaeda assistance in the future. By raising their profile, the piece suggests, the Bangladeshi extremists are showing that they're ready for the big leagues...all they need is resources.
My opposition to what we are doing in Iraq is not based on any idea that we have bad motives or are failing to get good results. The problem I see is that in a good faith effort we are inadvertently doing as much harm as good because of "collateral damage." In a broad sense, this damage, like the flu virus, spreads far beyond its immediate impact as it feeds a negative image of the US in the imaginations of ignorant populations worldwide. Combined with the equally poisonous credo of Al Qaida and its children, the result is incubating virulent groups such as this one in Bangladesh.

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