Germany: Homegrown Terror Takes on New Dimensions (Spiegel Online)
May 9, 2011 – Osama bin Laden may be dead, but al-Qaida is alive and well in Germany. Each month, an average of five Islamists leave the country for terrorist training camps in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. Recent arrests in Düsseldorf show just how dangerous homegrown terror has become. MORE
United Kingdom: Five men held after ‘taking pictures’ of nuclear plant (The Telegraph)
May 3, 2011 – Five men were being questioned by anti-terrorism officers last night after being arrested for allegedly taking pictures outside the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death. MORE
Morocco: Marrakesh cafe bombing (AFP)
April 28, 2011 – A bomb attack at a crowded tourist cafe in the main square of the Moroccan city of Marrakesh killed 14 people, mostly foreigners, as world leaders denounced the “terrorist” act. (Since the initial attack three more have died and three suspects have been arrested.) MORE
Indonesia: Arrests Point To New Face Of Terrorism (Jakarta Globe)
April 23, 2011 – The arrest of 19 terrorism suspects and the subsequent discovery of a Good Friday bomb plot appears to have revealed a new breed of terror. Most of the newly arrested were university graduates and were apprehended in various parts of the country in relation to the series of book bombs sent to various prominent figures in Jakarta last month. MORE
Some personal notes related to the Marrakesh attack: I have enjoyed the shade and refreshment of the Argana Cafe, bombed late last month. On a visceral level this attack so far away has, perhaps, been the most personally real for me. It is interesting the regional affiliate of Al-Qaeda has since rejected responsibility for the bombing. It is even more interesting that over the last two weeks large crowds of Moroccans have married calls for domestic political reform with rejection of terrorist violence. In Libya and Syria this non-violent activism has been taken to its nearly suicidal limit. In Egypt peaceful non-cooperation has, so far, been an extraordinary success.
There are implications here for any us inspired by Gandhi and King. President Obama appreciates the advocates of ahimsa, but has decisively demonstrated he is much more a disciple of Reinhold Niebuhr and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
It will be interesting to hear what grand plan bin-Laden might have been trying to hatch in Abbottabad. But right now the evidence suggests our terrorist problem is much less a starkly Manichean struggle and much more a matter of frustrated narcissists.
This is not to dismiss a very real threat. See each report above. But part of our plot problem has been a tendency toward narcissism even by the good guys. In every story of good conquering evil I have encountered, the good guys and gals are quiet realists and the evil-doers are undone by their excesses… especially of delusional self-regard.