This morning the European angle on the last week’s surge in drone attacks in FATA is considerably different than that I am reading and hearing in the United States. Some examples:
A plot to launch “commando-style” attacks on Britain, France, and Germany has been intercepted and foiled by drone attacks on militants based in Pakistan, security and intelligence sources said last night. The plan for suicidal onslaughts similar to the 2008 atrocity in Mumbai – where 166 people were killed in a series of gun and grenade assaults – was disrupted after a combined operation involving US, UK, French and German intelligence agencies, officials said. British security and intelligence sources, who have been concerned for some time about the possibility of a Mumbai-style attack in Europe, confirmed that they believed a plot was being hatched from Pakistan. MORE
An Islamist plot to launch simultaneous armed raids in major cities in Britain, France and Germany has been uncovered, media reports said on Wednesday. The attacks – planned from Pakistan and being tracked by anti-terrorism agencies – are said to have advanced to a planning stage… MORE
Pakistan is investigating reports that a CIA missile strike killed a senior al-Qaeda commander as he traveled in a tribal region near the Afghan border, security officials said Wednesday. If confirmed, Sheikh Fateh al-Misri’s death would be the covert US missile program’s latest blow to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. Al-Misri is believed to have replaced Mustafa al-Yazid, who was killed in a missile strike in May and characterized by the group as its No. 3 commander. MORE
Tuesday the Wall Street Journal’s lead story was focused on similar reports (andthe WSJ is, in fact, quoted by European media). But the Journal seems to be an outlier among its US peers.
UPDATE: Since this post appeared very early this morning the New York Times has published an online piece that will also appear in tomorrow’s print edition: Al Qaeda is plotting attacks on European cities. Some other related stories since this morning:
The Coming Terror War (Newsweek)
How European terror plot came to light (CNN International)
Terror Plot Foiled (SkyNews)
I am not really seeing much new (It is now about 1630 Eastern). All the stories seem similar, but there is some additional background being reported. It is difficult to from this angle to differentiate between original sources and the media echo-effect. I think it is a tad interesting that the Pakistani army spokesman thought it would be helpful to dismiss the stories as “speculative” according to DAWN.
It’s nearly dawn in London and some “new” news is beginning to emerge, a couple of interesting bits:
At least 20 Britons are undergoing terrorist training in Pakistan to launch Mumbai-style shootings and suicide attacks in Britain, intelligence sources have told The Daily Telegraph. MORE
Prime Minister David Cameron utilized the threat of a Mumbai-style attack on London to conduct a full-scale execise of response capabilities to such an attack. MORE
The lead editorial in the September 30 edition of the Daily Times (Pakistan) offers an alternative to the effort (above) by the Pakistani army to discredit “speculative” reports about Mumbai-style attacks originating in Pakistan. In part the editorial reads:
North Waziristan has been a hot issue for quite some time now for the western forces. The notorious Haqqani network is accused of providing safe havens to foreign terrorist networks. It has also been alleged that the Haqqani network has the covert support of Pakistan’s military establishment. With endgame in Afghanistan approaching, the military establishment thinks that it can pursue its ‘strategic depth’ policy without any repercussions. What it does not envisage is any international terror plots emanating from our soil. The Haqqani network itself may not be involved in pursuing such attacks outside the region, but its affiliates like al Qaeda are being provided with shelter and training in North Waziristan. Now that such plots are being uncovered, it is time to scrap this deadly foreign policy. A recent drone attack killed al Qaeda’s operational chief, Sheikh Fateh, in North Waziristan. It shows that the al Qaeda leadership is indeed hiding inside Pakistani territory. It is time that the Pakistan Army stops giving a free rein to the Haqqani network and launches a crackdown against all such elements that can lead to the destabilisation of the country, the region and the world at large. MORE