View Full Version : Policing Networked Diasporas

07-11-2007, 08:43 PM
SWJ Blog - Policing Networked Diasporas (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/07/policing-networked-diasporas/) by Lt. John Sullivan (LASD).

Over the last weekend in June, three failed car bomb attacks in the UK signaled the potential resurgence of al-Qaeda and groups sympathetic to its global salifist jihadi network...

Four immediate observations can be drawn from an assessment of these attacks.

• First, their timing coincides with the arrival of a new government. This reminds us that all terrorist attacks are instrumental in nature. These attacks were coordinated to yield maximum political influence as well as maximum casualties.

• Second, the “Martyrs of Mesopotamia” are inspiring “Global Martyrs.” The use of car bombs demonstrates the migration of tactics employed in Iraq to other theatres of operation. As Sir John Stevens, the UK’s senior counterterrorism official has warned, al-Qaeda has “imported the tactics of Baghdad…onto the streets of the UK.”

• Third, while these attacks were unsuccessful in generating casualties or damage they can be viewed as a success from the jihadi standpoint. While the operational bombing technique has not been refined, the power of the message remains. Failed attacks still signal resolve and cause mass or systems disruption. Police and intelligence services can become swamped and distracted as failed attacks enhance the level of “noise” which they must assess to discern emerging threats. Failed strikes draw resources and attention serving as means of deception masking other conspiracies and clouding the indicators of pending attacks.

• Fourth, networked diasporas require attention. Diaspora communities can provide extremists with a permissive environment that can favor conditions that enable the emergence of extremist cells. Radical enclaves may emerge with diaspora communities and serve as catalysts for radicalization. When linked to lawless zones and other radical enclaves through social networks and Internet media a powerful “networked diaspora” results...

Pragmatic Thinker
07-12-2007, 12:32 PM
Concur with most points...

1) Timing of the attack cannot be dismissed, however, there are those who theorize that 9/11 was supposed to happen earlier then it did and even to most of the AQ planners involved the effect of the attack was far greater than they anticipated. Just not sure this was timed based on the changing of PM positions within U.K. I would have to see the reporting (which I won't get to see...) from the interrogations of the individuals in custody to determine that but until then it would be speculation and one I wouldn't announce publicly as to allow Zawahiri the chance to include in his next audio release. I am curious to see where they trace this one back to because last year's airline attempt was traced backed to Waziristan, Pakistan so more to follow I think...

2) The use of the car bomb is probably a migration of a tactic that has precedence in U.K. already by the IRA, not to say this latest incident had anything to do with the IRA but rather a terrorist/insurgent/guerilla (whatever label you choose to give them) will use the best and more importantly lethal means at their disposal. In OIF there has been a marked increase in the use of car bombs, much like the VC who used punji pits and other booby traps in the jungles, it is a low tech means of putting lethal effects against your enemy. Not so much significant as it is difficult to defeat but I think Britain has had more than its share of car bombs and probably will continue to do so... I think that Britain lacks the response options of the United States. For example, if we were to suffer a 7/7 like attack and were able to trace it back to Pakistan (as an example) we would most likely bomb some targets within that country as potential response to an attack. Britain has no record of this type of response and if I put on my Al Qaeda bad guy hat for a moment, this is something I would consider as I plan my attacks. Just my thoughts...

3) I wholeheartedly agree with this point, which I many times come in conflict with my colleagues who believe that any foiled attempt automatically equates to a "win for the good guys" which I am just not in full agreement with....from a security standpoint we should flaunt this as a success, however, unlike last year's foiled airline plot which was good intelligence and information exploitation this one appears to be mostly luck. But again, any time CNN, FOX, MSNBC, BBC, SKY, and all the other glossy "news" channels provide non-stop coverage of these attempts I see it as free advertising for our adversaries.

4) Unfortunately in Britain there are many of these Muslim "diaspora" communities who are sympathetic and in some cases outright providing support to the lunatics who would blow themselves up in the name of their God... Despite community crackdowns and closing of religious establishments who preach anti-British messages these communities are still producing these types of individuals who are willing to commit these acts of violence. Something short of internment camps and denying entry into the country I am not sure I have a pleasant answer to this problem. It took dropping two atomic bombs on the Japanese to finally put an end to their militancy, not sure if this is a good comparison but I think using "kids gloves" isn't going to reverse this trend.