The recent fears that arose with Tamil terrorists possibly arriving in Vancouver last week demonstrates how terrorism is always in the forefront of our conscience. In Seattle, being close to an international border means we must be vigilant in our actions to secure ourselves. The story published by Bruce Riedel in a Yahoo News exclusive about Al Qaeda planning a war with Israel, continues to exhibit a lingering fear of impending doom that exists in the international community.
Riedel, a former CIA officer and expert on Al Qaeda, has outlined what he believes may be the next big war. The theory is that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities (as it did against Iraq in 1981). Iran will respond by launching a massive assault against Israel and US bases in the region (including those in Iraq and Afghanistan). Hezbollah will join in the fight against Israel and attack from the north. Al Qaeda (which adheres to Sunni Islam) will exploit the battle between Iran and Israel by committing “assassinations of chance”. Two of Al Qaeda’s biggest rivalries (Israel – Jewish and Iran – Shiite) will essentially destroy themselves, leaving Al Qaeda to rally the Arab population and become the leading force in the region. Regardless of the outcome, any war between Al Qaeda’s two enemies will benefit Al Qaeda. Consider what would have happened during the Cold War if the Soviet Union fought a war with China and how the U.S. could have benefitted. The analogies are different, but concept is the same.
The theory is interesting and Riedel provides compelling evidence in his article, such as Al Qaeda basically taking over Yemen recently, however, it has some complications. The leap between using a war with Iran and Israel to their advantage and becoming a dominant force in the Middle East is quite a large jump. Riedel theorizes that Iranian proxies in Iraq and Afghanistan will attack American installations in the region and bog the Americans down in a wider, global war on terror. This is once again problematic because Iraq and Afghanistan are not friends, and calling them proxies is a huge stretch. Iraq and Afghanistan have enough trouble keeping their cities stable, let alone launching sophisticated external attacks. Nonetheless, the U.S. will be drawn into the conflict, but so will other global powers as billions of dollars in oil will be caught in the middle. Riedel does not address this fact.
Al Qaeda is clearly planning a massive action as evidenced by their expansion in training facilities in Yemen and Somalia. They have stated that they are “ready for the next war” and they are “ready for the apocalypse”. The world should take notice of this language. One of the most unfortunate failures of the U.S. current war is that the leader of the Al Qaeda in Yemen (Saeed al Shehri) was in U.S. custody for 6 years in Guantanamo Bay. Astonishingly, he was released in 2008 and is now thought to be 2nd in command to Osama Bin Laden. The prominent question being asked is if Shehri’s prediction of apocalypse should be taken seriously? According to CIA expert Bruce Riedel, he should be taken very seriously and one has to wonder why the U.S. government let him go to continue his reign of murder and terror.