Tuesday, December 17, 2013

17-Dec-13: When they next tell you that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter etc etc [UPDATED]

Closed-circuit video at this link
Max Boot writing in Commentary Magazine ["AQAP’s Global Threat"] yesterday:
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula doesn’t get the kind of publicity that al-Qaeda central, based in Pakistan, receives but it has emerged as one of the deadliest terrorist groups on the planet–and one that is a direct threat to the United States.
If you want to know how bad AQAP is, all you have to do is look at the horrifying video footage of its attack on a military hospital in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. The WallStreet Journal summarizes some of the atrocities the terrorists committed:

A gunman walks toward more than a dozen men and women clustered in the hospital corridor. He raises his assault rifle in his left hand as if to shoot them, but then puts his right hand up and tosses a grenade into the crowd a few feet away. It lands at the feet of a frail-looking man stooped over an IV pole. He stares down at it for a moment, then a woman lunges to try to clear the grenade, her black robe whirling around her in the seconds before it explodes.
Some 63 people died in this ruthless and merciless mass murder spree.
He goes on to connect the horrifying Pakistani carnage with a matter to which we related here two days ago ["15-Dec-13: Now what could possibly motivate a man to load up a car with explosives and drive onto an airfield tarmac?"]
If you want to know why this is of concern beyond Yemen’s borders, consider the little-noticed arrest over the weekend of an airport technician in Wichita, Kansas, named Terry Lee Loewen... He was arrested for plotting to set off a car bomb at the Wichita airport. Luckily the FBI was onto his plot and the man who he thought was helping him turned out to be an FBI agent. Easy to overlook in the perfunctory news reports on Loewen’s arrest was the fact that he was a jihadist with a devotion to AQAP whose act of would-be violence was inspired by AQAP’s late propagandist, the American-born Anwar al-Awlaki. [Commentary Magazine]
(There's some harrowing closed-circuit video footage here, with Arabic-only commentary.)

It all seems so far away and just-marginally relevant when terrorism is something you associate with the evening news and foreign correspondents. More and more, ordinary people are coming to understand that it's actually an all-encompassing phenomenon. And we're all in it, even if not all of us fully understand that yet.

UPDATE December 22, 2013: About that hospital massacre in Yemen? Relax. A mistake, a huge, thoughtless mistake and a pity about all those dead people. The point of a YouTube video, posted on Saturday December 21, 2013, featuring a cool and calm Al Qaeda murder-spokesperson, is to say this was one big misunderstanding, and let's just move on while "we continue our jihad" (direct quote from the "apology"). If you have the stomach for it, it's here in Arabic with English subtitles. Along with large swatches of the jihad industry, these people know their audience and understand the marketing and branding game and the need to unbalance and confuse public opinion. Keep an eye on the mainstream media and you'll see their tactics generally work.

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