Monday, April 22, 2013

The foiled terror plot - initial thoughts

I've decided to end my CISPA blackout early in light of the "foiled" terrorist plot here in Canada. The purpose of this post specifically is to clear up some of the initial information and arguments that are already brewing.

First, the 'timing' conspiracy. I do not believe this was timed to coincide with the #S7 debate. Quite frankly, if it was then it has failed miserably as A) The fact the plot was foiled would seem to indicate to me that we don't need S7 to capture terrorists and B) the impact on public opinion has been negligible, almost joke-like. If there is a conspiracy to the timing, I would have to say that it's more likely an attempt to distract from how quickly the Boston mess is being pulled apart. Aka, law enforcement needed a "win" which shows the anti-terror system works (Boston showed it to be a failure).

Another statement which has become popular is that Al-Qaeda can't possibly be involved because they are at religious odds with Iran. This is true they are at religious odds with Iran which is why the fact the RCMP said it's not "state-sponsored" is extremely important.

I'm not saying don't question the events by the way, what I am saying is make sure you fully understand what's being reported before spreading misinformation.

Strange bedfellows -- Iran and al Qaeda
The Iranian regime likely saw the al Qaeda operatives as useful bargaining chips with the United States in the event of some kind of peace negotiations with the Americans. That peace deal, of course, never happened.

Of course, for Iran the adage, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" may have also come into play, although there doesn't seem to be evidence that Iran and al Qaeda have ever cooperated on a specific operation.

That said, the 9/11 Commission found that of the 19 hijackers, "8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi "muscle" operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001." Whether this was with any degree of Iranian complicity is still an open question.

The fact that leading members of al Qaeda were based in Iran from 2002 on
was known to the U.S. government at the time. (In fact, in early 2003 counterterrorism officials briefed me about this development).

There is something of an irony here. This was during the same time period in which senior administration officials under President George W. Bush were citing the alleged presence of al Qaeda members in Baghdad and a supposedly burgeoning alliance between al Qaeda and Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein as a key reason to go to war against Saddam, Iran's bitter enemy.
Iran, al-Qaeda relationship is showing cracks, U.S. officials and analysts say
At the same time, Western intelligence agencies see steps by Iran to preserve ties with al-Qaeda by allowing the group to use Iranian territory as a transit route to and from Afghanistan, U.S. officials and analysts say.

“We believe that Iran continues to allow al-Qaeda to operate a network that moves al-Qaeda money and fighters through Iran to support al-Qaeda activities in South Asia,”
David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in an interview.

Highlighting the sometimes contradictory nature of the relationship, Cohen said the same transit networks send “funding and fighters to Syria,” where militant Islamists linked to al-Qaeda are battling pro-government forces supported by Iran. A group of fighters from the militant ­al-Nusra Front, which the State Department has said is linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq, is regarded as one of the most powerful anti-government forces in Syria.
Now, here is where it gets really interesting. It's widely reported that Iran is essentially a transport conduit for funds, equipment and soldiers with Iran essentially turning a blind eye. Again, remember the RCMP: "this is not state-sponsored", so who did sponsor it? Well one might have to assume that if funds can travel into Syria, they can probably travel out too, right?

Militant rebels in Syria announce merger with al-Qaeda
US approves additional $123m aid to Syria

It is however very plausible to believe that somehow, directly or indirectly, the U.S. sponsored the attack. As more information comes out we'll review this situation.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for CenturyLink

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

1 comment:

  1. There needed to be a reason to suddenly bring out of storage this piece of legislation for a couple of reasons. First, the NDP or Liberals could embarrass the Tories by asking why the legislation was buried when terrorism is very active, even if not here yet. Second, these arrests, right after the legislation was moved forward will make the public believe that this government is proactive - a plus for the Tories. Thirdly, I am suspicious of this because Stevie and his crew seem to stop at nothing to vilify their opponents and/or boost their own image.

    And, I don't really believe in coincidences.