Nigerian Man With AQ Affiliation Attempts to Blow Up Passenger Airliner: Some Raw Analysis
As Americans across the country were enjoying time with family and friends on Christmas Day, other Americans were experiencing a frightening journey. Upon descending to Detroit, Michigan on the Christmas Holiday, passengers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight #253 were forced to fight-back a terrorist who was attempting to detonate explosives and blow-up the plane.
The White House has already called this incident an apparent terrorist attack, and Director Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security has already declared her order to boost preventive security measures in airports across the nation- measures that will include additional physical screening on passengers- in order to deter anymore slip-ups.
Besides the fact that Farouk Abdulmuttallab- the Nigerian charged with the attack- managed to fool security personnel in Amsterdam despite having explosives in his possession, this preliminary story shows us that terrorism against the United States is still alive and well.
While it is certainly true that U.S. Military Forces have made tremendous strides against Al’Qaeda’s leadership (our soldiers should be commended for their brave efforts in keeping the United States safe), U.S. counterterrorism officials are still acting in a passive fashion against groups and individuals sympathetic to AQ’s ideology. While Al’Qaeda may be virtually out of the picture in Afghanistan, its core leadership base is surviving quite comfortably in neighboring Pakistan; thanks to Pakistan’s reluctance in expanding their fight against Islamic militants into North Waziristan.
And of course, we cannot discount Yemen and Somalia’s increasingly pervasive role in international terrorism. Al Qaeda may be absent in Afghanistan, but the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa are quickly becoming staging-grounds for further AQ activity. These unfortunate developments do not even address the other numerous groups in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe that wish to curtail American power in a violent and indiscriminate fashion.
Obviously tracking down a few individuals is an extremely arduous task for any country, let alone a country that is fighting two wars on Muslim soil. Yet, good old-fashioned homeland security measures must continue to be a priority. This case demonstrates that a strong defensive capability is just as important as taking the fight to the enemy.
At the same time the President is revamping the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he needs to revamp the preventive abilities of the Department of Homeland Security.
-Daniel R. DePetris