Jakarta Hotel Bombings – 17 July

Indonesian counter-terrorist police commandos secure the damaged Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta.Jakarta, Indonesia – Two luxury hotels, the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton,  were struck by bombs that killed at least eight people this Friday. Although an international tragedy – two questions are raised.

Is a terrorist bombing of this nature unique and could we have predicted it?

The answer to the first question may surprise some, however, it is clearly a no. Within the past few days many communities have been shaken by the wrath of Islamic terrorism and sectarian violence.  The AFP report the death of two children, 10 and 11 respectively, at the hands of sectarian targeted bombings while VOA News reports the death of 5 children by Taliban roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

Aftermath of the Bali Bombings

Aftermath of the Bali Bombings

But lets move away from this one day in history. In August 2003, the same JW Marriott Hotel of these recent attacks was bombed killing 12 people. In 2002 over 200 were killed in the Bali Bombings; 19 were killed in another set of bombings in Bali in 2005;  and the list goes on.

So, could we have predicted such an attack? If we take past precedent as an indicator of future events, we probably could. Taking account of the internal shifts within Jemaah Islamiah (the organisation suspected for carrying out the bombings) including the rapid rise in radicalism among radicals, the likelihood of an attack was greatly magnified. Such was predicted moments before the attacks by a number of Australian advisory groups.

But when should a government act on such a threat? I would argue that the domestic government has a right to always act – and countries such as Australia, which have often been a victim of various terror attacks in Indonesia should always exercise caution whenever there is a real threat. I would hate to hear that Australia failed to act on reliable intelligence.

Morals of Islam: Rape + Suicide = Paradise

A WOMAN suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has confessed to organising their rapes so she could later convince them that martyrdom was the only way to escape the shame.

Samira Jassam, 51, was arrested by Iraqi police and confessed to recruiting the women and orchestrating dozens of attacks.

In a video confession, she explained how she had mentally prepared the women for martyrdom operations, passed them on to terrorists who provided explosives, and then took the bombers to their targets.

“We arrested Samira Jassim, known as ‘Um al-Mumenin’, the mother of the believers, who was responsible for recruiting 80 women”, Major General Qassim Atta said.

“She confessed her responsibility for these actions, and she confirmed that 28 attempts had been made in one of the terrorists’ strongholds,” he said.

Samira Jassim was arrested on January 21. She is allegedly linked to the Ansar al-Sunnah insurgent group.

Two of the attacks for which Samira Jassim admitted responsibility in the video confession took place in Diyala province, in central Iraq, which is considered one of the most dangerous areas of the country.

The Associated Press reports US military figures indicate at least 36 female suicide bombers attempted or carried out 32 attacks last year. Women are often allowed through military checkpoints without being searched, making it easier for them to hide explosives under their traditional robes.

Source: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25006101-12335,00.html
For once in my life I am speechless in regard to these abhorrent acts.

Al-Qaeda ‘used 24 child suicide bombers in last two years (Iraq)

Al-Qaeda has over the past two years used 24 children to carry out suicide bombings in Iraq, the director of military operations for the Interior Ministry, Abdelaziz Mohammed Jasim, told pan-Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat.

“Of the 24 children, five had a mental disability. From analysing the others’ remains, we established that they were homeless,” said Jasim.

American soldiers stationed in Iraq have reported that the insurgency has armed children as young as 11 to fight against them.

Al-Qaeda is targeting orphans, street children and mentally disabled children as suicide bomber recruits as well as women, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

There have been at least 16 suicide attacks carried out by women in recent months in the volatile Al-Qaeda stronghold of Diyala province, north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Iraqi children  in general make up 20 percent of the civilian victims of bomb attacks in the country.

Don’t be soft on Islam, says EU terror chief

Europe’s anti-terror chief has launched a stinging attack on the political correctness that he says is hampering the campaign against militant Islam.

Gilles de Kerchove, the EU counter-terrorism co-ordinator, said last week that concern about stigmatising Muslim populations was hampering policy-making and thus prevention. ‘One of the problems … is that some member states are extremely reluctant to be explicit about the link with religion,’ said de Kerchove. ‘Religion has been hijacked and distorted for political ends.’

De Kerchove’s statement comes against a background of infighting within the EU over counter-terrorism policy. The European Commission has been working for several years on a paper analysing militancy in Europe and outlining policy to combat radicalisation. The Council of Ministers is still waiting for the now long-overdue paper, on which future policy will be based.

EU officials claimed last week the delay was because Jacques Barrot, the French Commissioner for justice, freedom and security, had grave reservations about the definition of terrorism in the commission’s policy paper and had delayed signing the policy document as it ‘went too far in blaming Muslim communities’.

A spokesman for Barrot refused to comment. ‘There is a paper that is being prepared. Our services are working on it and there is no fixed timeframe at the moment,’ he said.

De Kerchove praised the Home Office’s emphasis on countering the extremists’ message through the media. ‘We have to provide an alternative narrative,’ he said. ‘A lot of research is showing that young people being radicalised are looking for thrills as much as anything ideological. We need to show the violence for what it is, bloody and indiscriminate, and the people who do it for what they are, ugly criminals not heroes.’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/28/terrorism.eu

Marriott bombing group threatens fresh attacks on US targets

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has said he will not allow any foreign power to violate the country’s soverignity “in the name of combatting terrorism.” In his opening address to the joint houses of parliament in Islamabad on Saturday, he said that Pakistan should also understand the limits of confrontation.

This was his first speech to MPs since he replaced Pervez Musharraf in August. It was also the first by a president in almost six years.

Ahead of his first meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York, Zardari also said that ties with India need to be “creatively re-invented.”

Zardari said that he would like to move ahead with India based on three pointers which were, as espoused by former PM Benazir Bhutto, to come up with new ideas, to make bold committments and to be honest in the relationship.

Zardari called for a parliamentary committee to investigate abolishing his powers to dissolve the assembly and dismiss the government.

“In the history of Pakistan this is the first president who is giving away his powers, he commented.”

Islamic Jihadists Hit Australia (but caught first…)

Car bomb at U.S. embassy kills 16 (Yemen)

A car bomb set off a series of explosions outside the heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Yemen on Wednesday and a Yemeni security source said at least 16 people, including six attackers, were killed.

A U.S. embassy official confirmed that the blasts were caused by a car bomb and that there were reports of casualties.

“This morning a car exploded at the main gate of the embassy in Sanaa. There was an initial explosion and several secondary explosions,” a U.S. embassy spokesman told Reuters by telephone.

“We do have reports of casualties. Right now, I cannot confirm the number, nor the nationality nor the severity of the casualties.”

A group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Yemen claimed responsibility for the bombing and threatened attacks on other embassies including those of Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

It had threatened in a previous statement on Tuesday to launch a series of attacks unless the Yemeni government met its demands for the release of several members from jail.

“We, the organization of Islamic Jihad in Yemen declare our responsibility for the suicide attack on the American embassy in Sanaa,” the statement read.

“We will carry out the rest of the series of attacks on the other embassies that were declared previously, until our demands are met by the Yemeni government.”

Smoke was seen rising from the heavily fortified U.S. compound in Sanaa and ambulances and fire engines raced to the scene, which was cordoned off by police, witnesses said.

The security source said that six attackers and four bystanders were killed, while the rest were Yemeni security forces.

Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, has grappled with a spate of al Qaeda attacks this year, including one on the U.S. embassy, another near the Italian mission and others on Western tourists.

An al Qaeda-affiliated group claimed responsibility in March for a mortar attack that missed the U.S. embassy but wounded 13 girls at a nearby school.

The United States ordered non-essential staff to leave Yemen in April, a day after an attack on a residential compound.

The Yemeni government joined the U.S.-led war against terrorism following the September 11 attacks on U.S. cities in 2001.

It has jailed dozens of militants in connection with bombings of Western targets and clashes with authorities, but is still viewed in the West as a haven for Islamist militants.

The government of the poor Arab country has also been fighting Shi’ite rebels in the northern province of Saada since 2004 and faced protests against unemployment and inflation.