Some important things about that failed bombing attempt...
David Aaronovitch of the London Times lists six important things about the latest failed jihadi-attack...
But there are other important things that the Christmas Day incident reminds us about. The first is that successful suicide bombings are still happening all the time. In Pakistan yesterday, someone thought that his path to paradise was ensured by blowing himelf up in the middle of a peaceful Shia parade through Karachi. 25 people died. On Christmas Eve in Kandahar someone else achieved self-martyrdom near a hotel, taking eight others with him. This is a truly murderous ideology, as pernicious and brave as Nazism.
The second is that there are still sufficient numbers of jihadis who persist in trying to find a way to the next 9/11 in the West, and who continually experiment with ways of achieving that great result.
The third lesson is that real “grievance” is not a measuring-stick for a likelihood to attack in this way. There are no undiscriminating suicide bombers among the world’s many environmental activists, or among the Iranian opposition. Abdulmuttalab is the well-educated son of a plutocrat, and was wealther than almost all the British people with whom he mixed. He was, however, an Islamist extremist, believing in an ideology that will always provide the fanatic with a proximate cause.
Fourth, let’s mark his family’s statement that what he did was “out of character”, as though (BBC please note) there was ever an observable character for a suicide bomber. Fifth, he has been reported as having been the president of the University College London Islamic Society. We may allow that that society does many good things, but its sequence of meetings on the “War on Terror” held in 2008, and as reported on its own YouTube video, was a clear and propagandistic attempt to cultivate Muslim anger against the West.
Fifth, Abdulmuttalab’s movements remind us of the interdependence of our world. This was a Nigerian who had studied in Britain, travelled to Yemen for training and to be fitted for his bomb, going on to Nigeria via Ethiopia, then to the Netherlands, taking a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. It was of no interest to him whether most of the passengers were American, Dutch or British.
And sixth, though the Christmas Day bomb could have originated in a number of places, it is significant that it seems, like al-Asiri’s, to have been made in Yemen. Yemen is close to being a failed state, and this situation seems to have provided space and time for the training and experimentation needed for a plot of this kind.