Terrorism: Find Foot, Take Aim, Fire


November 11, 2005: Al Qaeda took credit for a triple suicide bombing in Jordan on November 9th. While the targets were three hotels with Western names (Radisson, Hyatt and Days Inn), nearly all the victims (60 dead) were Arabs, mostly Jordanian. Two senior members of the Palestinian Authority died as well. The most casualties were at a wedding reception, where the fathers of the bride and groom were among the dead. This attacks caused enormous popular anger against al Qaeda, and did hardly any damage to Westerners. While al Qaeda is hostile to the monarchy that runs Jordan, this country was one of the few where approval for al Qaeda actually went up in the last two years (from 55 to 60 percent.) But that was mainly because of the large Palestinian population, and a large number of Sunni Arab Iraqi refugees. Oddly enough, there were not a lot of Jordanians insisting the attacks must have been the work of the CIA or the Mossad (Israeli intelligence.) This is what usually happens when Islamic terrorists do something counterproductive.

These attacks only hurt al Qaeda, big time. Not just in Jordan, but throughout the Arab world. What were the leaders of al Qaeda thinking? Who knows. The terrorist "organization" has been remarkably unsuccessful in achieving its goals (driving non-Moslems from the Middle East, establishing Islamic republics, making attacks in the West.) Despite some (although declining) popularity among Moslems, Islamic terrorists have destroyed much of that by killing so many Moslems. That policy in Iraq has made al Qaeda unpopular even among the Sunni Arabs, who comprise the core constituency for the terrorist organization.

One explanation for this counter-productive behavior can be found in the quality of al Qaeda personnel. It is low, with most members having few skills and little training. While the media concentrates on the few successes al Qaeda has, the majority of the terror groups operations are sloppy, ineffective and counterproductive. One should be thankful for incompetent terrorists, although in this case that's only natural. Al Qaeda's goals and methods are based on fantasy and self-delusion. Many of those who join al Qaeda have bought into the delusions, and are not terribly rational themselves. Thus al Qaeda's strategy is, currently, to kill at every opportunity, without paying attention to who the victims, or consequences, are. Al Qaeda gunmen are not noted for their accuracy, except when the target is their own foot. Let's hope they never change.


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