Thursday, December 20, 2007
The Shifting Burden
Le Figaro is reporting what a French intelligence source called one of the "most important operations of 2007": the arrest of at least eight men suspected of furnishing logistical and material support to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. From the report, it seems the network operated as an IT support cell, providing computer and telecommunications equipment. Seven of the suspects are Algerian, one French.
The arrest contrasts with American counter-terrorism arrests of the past few years, or at least the ones we've heard about. No outlandish plots, no comic twists, no high-profile grandstanding, and above all, no fear-mongering. The intelligence sources all emphasized that they'd intervened for operational reasons, downplaying the threat of any imminent attack. Still, as one of the article's sources put it in a typically French way, "We got into the hard wood."
The arrest, as well as others like it in Denmark and Germany earlier this year, also serves to demonstrate the real impact of America's hysterical response to the attacks of 9/11: to shift the burden of the terrorist threat to Europe.