Algeria hostage crisis may be future of terrorism
A general view shows an oil installation on the outskirts of In Amenas, deep in the Sahara near the Libyan border.
January 21st, 2013
12:01 AM ET

Algeria hostage crisis may be future of terrorism

EDITOR’S NOTE: Raffaello Pantucci is a Senior Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the author of the forthcoming 'We Love Death As You Love Life: Britain's Suburban Mujahedeen' (Hurst/Columbia University Press).

By Raffaello Pantucci, Special for CNN

At this still inconclusive stage it is difficult to know exactly what the aim of the groups involved in the attack on the gas installation in Algeria was. Did they truly want to ransom the hostages they took or massacre them, and was money or punishment to the Algerian or French government’s the driving motivation? What is clear is that the incident has immediately captured international attention, highlighting again how terrorism continues to be a tool that can be used by groups to bring focus to their causes. The deadly operation itself further highlights the direction that we are likely to see Islamist terrorism continue to go in over the next few years.

What seems clear is that the operation was conducted by a group of jihadist fighters under the command of Moktar Belmokhtar, a longtime fighter-criminal who had recently broken away from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to form a separate unit that was aligned with the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA). Reports seem to suggest that Belmokhtar is likely somewhere in the region of Gao, a city in eastern Mali that has recently been targeted by French forces as they seek to reclaim the country from Islamist extremists.

With a history of targeting foreigners and alignment with hardline North African (and international) groups, the attack on the site in Algeria is in many ways not surprising. Given the scale of the site they were targeting, the number of individuals sent and the tales of captives being told to contact their families and embassies to make demands while they had explosives strung around them, the initial evidence suggests this was an operation that was intended to end in a blaze of explosive publicity. That demands included freeing international political targets like Aifa Siddiqui, a Pakistani female doctor, and Omar Abdel Rahman, the infamous Egyptian ‘blind sheikh’, both high profile convicted terrorists in American custody. That, along with the demand that France withdraw from Mali, suggests wildly ambitious goals that are not expected to be met. Whether this was the intention all along or whether the group was backed into this by events on the ground is uncertain.

What is likely is that this sort of attack is to be the face of the terrorist threat that the west is going to face for the next few years. As security forces in Europe and the United States have become more adept at countering terrorists, plots in Europe and North America have been increasingly disrupted at earlier stages of planning. The days of terrorist networks like al Qaeda operating out of Afghanistan and directing 19 men to conduct the September 11 attacks or 4 young Britons to carry out the July 7 plot seem to have passed. Terrorist networks abroad remain ambitious and when individuals arrive who have the potential to carry out attacks back in the west, they are rapidly trained and sent back if at all possible, but these operations turn out in odd ways. For example, Mohammed Merah, the young Frenchman who killed three off-duty soldiers, a rabbi and three young Jewish children, received some training in Pakistan and was dispatched back with unclear orders. He seems to have gone quiet and then decided to carry out his particularly brutal terrorist plot in a direction of his own choosing.

But most plots in Europe with links to al Qaedaist groups or ideas of late have been disrupted at even earlier stages. In the run-up to the Olympics in London, a number of groups were disrupted seemingly in the early stages of planning. Other cases in the UK that have come to court have been focused mostly around training abroad, possessing ideological material or some connection to the Internet. In Spain a plot was disrupted last year involving a group of men of Chechen extraction who had allegedly trained at Lashkar e Toiba camps in Pakistan. Their plan appeared to involve flying remote control planes loaded with explosives, though its feasibility remains questionable. Under heavy surveillance they were apprehended when they finally moved to obtain explosives. France appears to be dealing with a more live problem, with the firebombing of a newspaper last year as well as a grenade attack on a Jewish supermarket. This second incident resulted in a large clamping down operation in France in which one of the culprits was shot as he resisted arrest.

The point is that Europe has become a difficult environment to conduct large-scale terrorist incidents and America even more so. But at the same time, groups desire to attack western targets both for ideological reasons and to attract attention to their cause has not diminished. The net result is that they will aim to target westerners where they can find and reach them. Consequently, we see foreign diplomatic representations repeatedly targeted in Benghazi by extremist groups and we see incidents like that in Al Amenas. Whether the group was specifically responding to the French decision to send forces to Mali or not, the French action in Mali would have spurred the plotters along in their action. And since a response in Europe would be challenging, a response at a site populated by foreign firms would have been an obvious choice.

What might have surprised the group was the level of attention that this assault brought them. This is something that would likely have been determined by the degree to which they were planning on sticking around in Algeria rather than fleeing back into the desert with their hostages. But were they planning a large-scale incident with the world’s eyes upon them, they have managed to do exactly this in an operation reminiscent of the Beslan school siege of September 2004 or the Mumbai attack of November 2008. In both of those cases, a small cadre of dedicated fighters appears to have riven havoc and drawn the world’s attention. Exactly the sort of conclusion that an international terrorist group seeks.

There are a number of lessons that need to be drawn from this incident, and more will likely come clear as the dust settles in its wake. The Islamist threat and general instability in North Africa that was allowed to fester after the fall of the Gadhafi regime was something that should have been addressed earlier. Additionally, companies and foreign nationals in regions like North Africa need to be alert to the danger of such incidents given the difficulties that groups will encounter in trying to launch attacks back in mainland Europe or North America. And finally, terrorism as a theatrical tactic still has a substantial draw. This final point is one that explains why incidents like this are likely to continue to be a problem for the near-term future.

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  16. Frankie "Five Fingers" Fiorenzia

    Pakistan is a bully and a trouble maker in that region. It has kept the neighbors behind due to constant bickering. Pakistan has always lived in the shadow of corrupt army dictators and has been forever defined by crook army rulers like Zia, and Musharraf. Blaming her neighbors like India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan for all the ills in Pakistani society. Let's face it, Pakistan is a decadent Sunni dominated culture with collapsed economy. Banks are run by drug lords, and criminals, industries controlled by Pashtun mafia, and army infiltrated by al Qaeda terrorists. Pakistan has become a failed State, or a junk yard State. Like Humphrey dumpy even USA, NATO and the entire free world are having a tough time holding Pakistan together from collapsing. Living in the shadows of fundamentalists financially supported by the US, EU, India, China, haunted by Baloch fighters, Punjabi Taliban, and punctuated by over 500 Terrorist Organizations, Pakistan is struggling to find a meaning for its existence after separating herself from India (besides Saudi run call centers aka madrassas) and a place in the new world order.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  17. Frankie "Four Fingers" Fiorenzia

    Now let us turn our attention towards a neighboring country called India where these extremists are getting all their inspiration from. 50 million girls in India have gone missing in 3 generations through practices like infanticide, feticide, deliberate starvation, dowry murders, bride trafficking, honor killings and witch hunts !!!! We need to demand accountability and action from the Indian Hindus and the Indian Brahmin government to stop female genocide in India forthwith. It is immoral, illegal, against all civilized norms, against the principles of most religions and above all it setting a bad example for all the neighboring countries. We strongly urge you to join this movement that is now ongoing on all social media.

    January 22, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  18. Frankie "Four Fingers" Fiorenzia

    India is a bully and a trouble maker in that region. It has kept the neighbors behind due constant bickerings. India has always lived in the shadow of Pakistan and has been forever defined by Pakistan. Blaming Pakistan for all the ills in Indian society. Let's face it, India is a decadent culture and economy on the verge of collapse. India has become a dinosaur. A Smithsonian specimen. Like humpty dumpty even USA, NATO and the entire free world are having a tough time holding it together. Living in the shadows of Pakistan, defined by China, haunted by Kashmir and punctuated by Terror Organizations such as Shiv Sena, India is struggling to find a meaning for its existence (besides a call center) and a place in the new world order.

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  22. Why do we need to put a name?

    Don't forget that America supplied Alqaeda with weapons.

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  27. Sammy

    Yes, we all see that the Obama administration and all the Democrats are following the example set by former President George W. Bush and finally taking Islamic terrorism seriously. Thank God Bush had the leadership to start the war on Islamic terrorism!

    January 22, 2013 at 1:10 am | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA.

      Another dumb comment from another weak minded Tea Partier. Thank you, Sammy but where's your shame?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:19 am | Reply
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  29. gfsetgjfdrgj


    January 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Reply
    • U.S.M.C. 1371

      Try again but next time wait till your sober

      January 22, 2013 at 1:39 am | Reply
  30. Mark

    Excellent. Shameless Islamists were defeated again.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Reply
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    January 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  32. John Geheran

    I'm getting aggravated at reading all these stupid posts here praising those murderous, trigger-happy Algerians for causing this needless bloodshed. It looks like the right-wing news media did a good job in brainwashing the public. Can't people think for themselves anymore? I guess not!

    January 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • U.S.M.C. 1371

      What's wrong with treating animals like animals?

      January 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • Sammy

      The only murderers were the Islamists.

      January 22, 2013 at 1:06 am | Reply
      • U.S.M.C. 1371

        Yep and they got what they deserved a place in the ground.

        January 22, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • George Patton

      phunnie boy strikes again under different name !! take it easy my friend, nothing wrong in killing bad Islamist dogs, any place any where any time. We don't want to see Algeria becoming Pakistan of African continent. Good job by Algerian forces !!!

      January 22, 2013 at 9:54 am | Reply
      • Phunnie boy

        Here I go again, posting under George Patton's name. This antiwar fool hates anything that has to do with bloodshed so I'm going to do whatever I can to discredit him. With jerks like him around, we'll never get a decent war off the ground!

        January 22, 2013 at 11:01 am |
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    January 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • jermain

      heard ur abbu was raped up the Arss too .. so sad .. Indian are bunch of mean pple

      January 21, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply
    • xyzthegreat

      where ever muslims breed and increase in number they leave the legacy of terrorism and fanaticism. Indian govt, is doing a great job. i congratulate them. let them kill more if it helps. but do not budge to terrorists. Algeria has shown the way how to deal with these terrorist thugs.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Reply
    • ab

      Mass graves of Muslim terrorists? I call that a good start. Keep up the good work.

      January 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  35. John Geheran

    At the risk of appearing arrogant, one would think by this time the root cause of Islamic terrorism would have been deciphered. It's hard to account for this lapse in intellectual honesty. Is it due to PC, willful blindness, death wish, moral relativism or just plain stupidity? Or perhaps a case of deja-vu all over again. How long did it take Western liberals who, for decades, were duped into believing Communism was the best thing since sliced bread, to realize that it was all a big lie? Was it the fiendishly clever propaganda of the Comintern, the Potemkin showcase villages or articles in the New Republic by John Dewey (father of modern public education) praising Russian leadership for their bold vision of the future – all designed to convince the 'proletariat' that the time had come to overthrow the capitalistic society. What is the common denominator of this madness? Could the answer be a belief system that is so deeply flawed, it spawned 150M misunderstaners (that's only a "tiny minority" of 10-15%) who wreak havoce not only on unbelievers but also their brothers and sisteers cut from the same cloth?

    January 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • A reasonable human being

      Thank you. I was wondering pretty much the same thing.....

      What ARE these monsters trying to REALLY accomplish (if anything)? From my viewpoint seems like all they want to do is kill and destroy JUST for the sake of killing and destroying. It looks like they want us to live in caves and live like Neanderthals again with murder being a commonplace tool for "tribal" discipline, with them in charge of course.

      If they had a decent agenda they should have made it clear but their silence on the subject is deafening. Rambling, disjointed "manifestos" are NOT the same as a clear, cogent, well spoken, well framed goal. But I realize they don't think the rest of us infidels deserve to know why we are supposed to die and die and die.

      How ashamed the ancient scholars would be of these murders.

      Grotesque. Barbarous. Utter filth. And that's putting a "nice" face on it.

      January 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Sorry folks, I never posted that idiotic statement above. Some mindless, right-wing, PC Tea Partier just posted his drivel under my name trying to make me look like a fool.

      January 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm | Reply
    • Cynthia

      John (a...hem,) I think you have it in a nutshell – a deeply flawed belief system. Those who are loyal to the Queran, must murder infidels. Jihad is a sacred duty. Islamic radicals are actually those who most closely live by the ideals set forth by Mohammed, and view this murderous loyalty as the promised route to heaven. This belief system is growing and spreading like wildfire, leaving a swath of violence and rape in it's path. The Algerians protected the initial target, two busloads of foreign workers, with armed military escorts, and saved the mined Natural Gas compound which was set with explosives. The casualty rate would certainly have been much higher with a less certain and instant armed response by the Algerians. We should take a lesson. Four days, and it's over.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  36. The Decisions of God

    Islam requires that the Quran be believed to be literal truth, just like Christianity requires the Bible to be believed as literal truth and the problem with both religions and with Judaism as well is that God is described as a hideous character who demands worship at the cost of eternal burning in fire. This instills fear in young men who grow up to believe they are not worshipping this horrid being sufficiently if they are not enforcing belief and punishing non-believers with violence.

    The God we can all see, if God exists at all, is very beautiful and benevolent towards man. We can all see this when we close our sad books of scriptures and open our eyes to see the decisions of God, the decisions God is making every day of our lives, the decisions to create newborn children and to entrust them to us to raise.

    God creates children and entrusts them to us. We should raise them in truth and in love. Why must we instead teach and even force them to believe God is some troll in heaven who is planning to burn two thirds of them forever in fire for having been taught or forced to believe the wrong religion? That god has never existed.

    God is beautiful; our ancient scriptures are filled with stories that are all wrong. Let us teach our children the truth about the beautiful God we all can see by observing the decisions of God. And we should teach them that it is true, that God might not exist at all.

    The truth that we all can see is this: In either form of universe, created or evolved, we awaken to find that we are all in this together, we are all brothers and sisters in this universe, we can be our brother’s keeper without a single word from God. And if God exists, we can love the things God loves, we can love each other as our only meaningful response to how cherished we awaken to find ourselves, how cherished we are by our loving God.

    January 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  37. Tom

    No negotiations with the Islamists is the only correct approach. Too bad the hostage casualties were rather high. It's good that they did not try to capture the Islamists and instead chose to get rid of the terrorists. Capturing Islamists will only give them a reason to attack again to negotiate the release of the captured terrorists. When Islamists are involved, take no prisoners.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Another stupid comment from another mindless Tea Partier. These people must really pride themselves on their stupidity!

      January 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  38. Jesse

    Are we surprised? Africa has long been an unstable continent and just like the middle east has a low tech advantage. Combine those two things with rising population levels and weak governments and you will have major challenges to western influence in these parts. That said do we strive to project influence into these countries despite the risk or look elsewhere to what the next 100 years holds. We have a variety of technological breakthroughs on the horizon. We have been able to store Anti matter for example and have increased computational ability through the roof in design and application. The way forward in my opinion is not to look back at the old world but forward to the next big thing. Colonies in space as well as finding other worlds. The revenue generated from that alone is unreal.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      "Western influence" has been the bane of Africa for centuries.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  39. George Patton

    Given training and resources, Algerians did the right thing. Killed all terrorists.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  40. Johnna

    I say send the drones in and let them decide the terrorists fate in Mali (the new islamic terrorist nation).
    Kill them all, collateral problem at all. Sort them out after they're all DEAD !!!!!!!!

    January 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • xyzthegreat

      well said

      January 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Come on Johnna, are you truly that proud of being stupid? If being stupid was a virtue, you'd be a living saint!!!

      January 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  41. rad666

    Face it, humans are a vicious species.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  42. Re-posted With Intent To Educate CNN Bloggers

    Renowned Muslim activists and generalists in more moderate muslim countries like Turkey have decried the silence of the corrupt muslim governments over the continued “brutal murders of innocent peoples by their tyrants like 100 Shia were cold bloodily murdered in Pakistan by Sunni terrorists” and said all minorities should be given the right to self-determination.

    “Pakistan, Yemen, Benghazi, Somalia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, and almost all muslim countries are poverty ridden, uneducated, and bloody occupied by al Qaeda fighters, or some other types of muslim terrorist groups.

    Under the military rules in these countries, freedom of speech is non-existent and human rights abuses are wide spread by mullahs. A survey said 5 out of 10 grown up muslim man has never heard words like "Job", 'Education", "Election" or "Democracy".

    Lives of muslims in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Benghazi, Algeria, Syria are made miserable by gun-totting army personnel or Jihadist terrorist groups, who routinely harassed, extorted money, committed raps, or terrorized people with impunity, adding that disappearances are almost a daily occurrence as also kidnapping, arrests, fake encounters and torture. Mass graves of minorities have been discovered in these muslim counties and the conscience of the world remains un-stirred................

    Tourism in Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Nigeria have virtually dropped to zero, while terrorism, unemployment, religious teaching have gone through the roof. More and more young muslims are joining terrorist groups to support their families. These young muslims are more vulnerable to be exploited by mullahs also known as terrorist recruiters. All mosques are becoming terrorist recruiting centers too in countries like Pakistan, Yemen, Benghazi.

    The apathy towards minorities of muslim countries like Pakistan, Somalia, Benghazi, Yemen, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, especially in the western world, is because of their pursuit of oil interest in the Middle East, where these USA, EU countries are more eager to “secure their oil supply with crook Arabs of Saudi Arabia, UAE than human rights in poor muslim countries"...........

    January 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • jermain

      very well sed sir

      January 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  43. Amir

    I like how any tragedy done by a "muslim" is considered to be a terroist. American fools out there are a disgrace to our country.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Pete Sommer

      You are so right, sir. Thanks for the post.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • John Geheran

      Well said, Amir. Thank you. I'm sick and tired of reading all these idiotic,gung ho, right-wing, "let's go shoot'em up" posts here!

      January 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  44. jermain

    why would a begger want to work if he is getting free money . If we stop aid to pakistan trust me they will put there mind aside of terrorist activities

    January 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  45. abuck

    This is from "Terror In The Name Of God", a great book, if interested in studying this topic. There are two specific parts of defining it, "terrorism is aimed at noncombatanats" and second, "terrorists use violence for dramatic purpose: instilling fear in the target audience is often more important than the physical result" The "deliberate creation of dread" is the distinguishing factor.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • abuck

      The previous post was a reply to someones questions on the definition...not just a random statement.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply


    January 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  47. ug

    There is a terrorist in the WH.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • TJ

      LOL... I saw the "New Face of Terrorism" headline in my RSS feed, and thought this was another article about mr. obama. Then I remembered this is the Communist News Network whose darling is mr. obama.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • ug

      and thanks god he is half muslim. No one blames American for her half-muslim president killing so many full muslims. Americans are smart.

      January 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Reply
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      Washington is a hot bed of terrorism.

      January 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  48. alakhtal

    I don't feel sorry for BP Roughnecks. They’re very highly paid petty thieves hired to steal hydrocarbon & starve natives for living. The useless Algerian jumpy Army murdered 37 BP Roughnecks who’re taken hostage by Algerian Militants. Algerian Army seen anything moves in their way is an enemy of the state and must be gunned-down. During election, Obama vowed to protect Abdelaziz Bouteflika if he will supply Israel Algerian gas instead of Egypt at 10% of Platt or for free incase al-Qaida fiddled with the gas-meter. Now that Obama inaugurated. I don’t think he needs neither Abdelaziz Bouteflika nor Israel. After all BP is British Norwegian SWF and those 3 Americans who lost their lives are BP Roughneck Collateral victims covered by huge variety of good quality Insurance coverage. Abdelaziz Bouteflika Algerian Regime coldblooded hypocrisy condolences insulted concerned governments and victims' families. Since Abdelaziz Bouteflika jumpy Army is to be blamed for murdering BP Roughnecks. Dumb-down now! Nobody would dare to ask. What’s the Algerian Militants motive and why 29 are martyred and 3 captured. Is it greed as Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s Oh No.? Boring. Abdelaziz Bouteflika would privilege Algerian Militants to fight Arabspringers for him but Algerian Militants ditched Abdelaziz Bouteflika and preferred trouble to prosperity to commit extreme crime to have the World’s attention outloud: No Thugocracy on planet earth has the birthright to appropriate commonwealth to BP & its siblings. Such showdown ain’t first but it’s a beginning of new era of hydrocarbon terror.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply


      January 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  49. wjmccartan

    Those trigger-happy Algerians need to somehow be held accountable for this needless tragedy. They should have made an effort to talk to the hostage takers in order to find out what they wanted. This way, most of those deaths may have been averted. By the way, the French didn't have to needlessly jump into Mali and interfere in that country's civil war but they did.

    January 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • cbc

      Thank you, Jimmy Carter.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  50. Houbie

    "At this still inconclusive stage it is difficult to know exactly what the aim of the groups involved in the attack on the gas installation in Algeria was. "

    That is they key. Everybody wants something. Is it that we do not know, or that we refuse to accept the answer? Do we not know because our paradigm cannot process the answer, or because our paradigm refuses to process the answer.

    Terrorism can be eliminated. We just need to clearly understand what they want and put a plan in place to deal with it.

    Many of you are too young to remember when Israeli plane hijackings were seemingly a weekly event. The Israelis figured out what the hijackers wanted and put in place a plan to deal with it. Now, they never have hijackings.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
  51. caesarbc

    Just think... if the US could simply begin creating jobs for people, at home and aroun d the world, then we would not see such a state of anomie in many of the suicide attackers around the world(?)...

    January 21, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply
  52. George Patton

    Those trigger happy Algerians would mess things up. Had they been more reasonable, far fewer people may have lived through this. Now I guess Phunnie boy the Tea Partier is going to mimic what I just said here for his personal amusement as he has been doing lately.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Does your middle name start with H too?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • cbc

      " Had they been more reasonable, far fewer people may have lived through this." So, if they had been perfectly accomodating, everyone would have died?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  53. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    This place has been a danger zone for decades. I remember almost 20 years ago, a friend's fiance was working at one of these facilities. According to him, the only difference between a supermax prison and the compound where he worked was the concertina wire was outside the perimeter fence and the machine gun emplacements were pointed outside the compound – not in to the central area. People were shuttled back and forth in armored vehicles, supplies were delivered by military convoys.

    Similar to the folks working at facilities in northern Alaska, you were there for a couple of weeks at a time, eating, sleeping and "relaxing" at the compound. They discourage you from going outside, where you could become the victim of a sniper. All-in-all, not a fun location to work.

    January 21, 2013 at 11:11 am | Reply
  54. glenview0818

    Someone has to clarify this for me, if someone on the middle east straps on a bomb and blows up a school bus it is "terrorism", but if someone takes a gun and shoots up a classroom it is "gun violence". Not sure I get the difference? I know smarter people than I will be able to explain the political differences.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:56 am | Reply
    • cancerman48

      One should further ask, how a gang "terrorizing" a neighborhood and peddling drug activity is not Terrorism?

      January 21, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • Will S

      As I understand it, terrorism ultimately involves achieving some sort of political or ideological goal. Killing people for profit, prestige, or because you are crazy is just violence; killing people to influence historical events is terrorism.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • Lester

      I understand the difference as this. If the people involved in the action are killed or captured, it is gun violence. If a number of co-conspirators remain at large and are likely to act again, it is terrorism.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:24 am | Reply
    • ouflak

      Terrorists tend to kill in the name of God, or Allah, or for a 'homeland' or some such reason. They are typically very ideologically driven, to the exclusion of valuation of human life – including their own, and have to depend heavily on some interpretation of their ideology to excuse and even warrant their attacks. They are always part of a group who shares their views and act in their name and often with coordinated efforts (training, planning, contacts, supplies, money, etc...).

      The people who go on shooting rampages just seem to be plain crazy and/or sociopaths. There is no doubt that some of lunatics may claim to act in the name of God or 'against the government' or similar. But their rants, if they haven't taken their own life, are their own and are entirely irrational.

      The difference can be blurry in some cases. I won't argue that. But it is usually rather obvious.

      January 21, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • wjmccartan

      Terrorism is just another form of guerrilla warfare. It has a military or political agenda whereas just plain gun violence is deemed criminal activity. In that context, the British could have easily labelled us as "terrorists" during the Revolutionary War(1775-1783).

      January 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        Well perhaps not in so many words, but they pretty well did.

        January 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Along for the ride

      It's a question of nuance. In both examples the attacks are over – nothing can be done to help the dead or save the dying. The official response becomes political. Calling one "an act of terrorism" harnesses resources and public support to find and neutralize the group responsible. It also provides cover for an implied intelligence failure. The latter incident is the activity of a twisted jerk who acted alone. It becomes necessary to use a different descriptive term such as "gun violence" otherwise excessive use of the word "terrorism" will dilute its impact in the public's mind. Remember the tale of the boy who called "wolf" all too often?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  55. topperG

    The only future of terrorism is the one this country quit trying to strike fear in us to justify the overspending going on in our government. Same ole crap has been going on with drugs as well....

    January 21, 2013 at 10:27 am | Reply
  56. Mohammed

    please stop using "Islamist" for criminals. True Islam has nothing to do with crime.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • EVN

      Sorry Mohammed, there was a time when there might have been some weight to the argument, but the supposed "true followers of Islam" gave up the high road when they remained silent year and year, attack after attack, and did nothing to condemn those you now want to call "criminals" from hijacking the religion. Unless and until moderate Muslims confront the twisting of Islam into the justification for terror that it has become, Islamistists are criminals, and the often repeated assertion that Islam is the religion of peace is worse than a bad joke as it is demonstrated again and again that the assertion is a lie.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:21 am | Reply
      • nobrainer

        Muslims do condem the actions of terrorism but its not publicized in the media at all! to a point where the media makes it appear that muslims condone such violence. People like EVN don't want to believe that Islam is a religion of piece; they find any felony that a muslim commits and blames it on the religion. where as if a christian/jew/whatever commits a crime then its his mental state that pushed him/her to do it. this all started in the U.S. after 9/11 where the government wanted to make muslims appear like monsters to justify invading their land and killing them. Its a war strategy used for thousands of years by all religions and nations.

        January 21, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        Get off your high-horse, EVN. Christians are as blood-thirsty as anyone else.

        January 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Michael, Chapel Hill

      Hi Mohammad,
      You have to ask, Obama/Napolitano/CNN for using the term, "Islamists." "Terrorist," is not PC and the word has been taken out of Homeland security dictionary. Now they use,"Islamists," supposed to be less offensive to Muslims, it seems.
      PC is the modern alternative to brainwashing.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      but they do blow up or take people hostages ?

      January 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  57. hftyuhgfhjtj


    January 21, 2013 at 10:05 am | Reply
  58. Bangash

    Why these Al-Qaida guys are found in OIl and GAS rich areas and are attracting oil groups in the West to intervene and then occupy? Same Al-Qaida is an ally in Libya, Syria and rest of Middle East in prevailing uprising against dictators while in Afghanistan as well as now Algeria they are enemies. Without Alqaida American had no reason to occupy Afghanistan however Taliban knew that Alqaida and CIA are same against Afghans therefore carried on resistance on their own till foiling this evil conspiracy.

    January 21, 2013 at 9:19 am | Reply
    • I Am God

      Blah blah blah. Government of Libya had nothing to do with the terrorists.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:29 am | Reply
      • Bangash

        You the enemy of God you are right that Libyan Govt under Qadafi had nothing with terrorism but in resistance against Qadafi USA and rest of the West supported what Americans called AlQAIDA terrorists. Same is going on in Syria.

        January 21, 2013 at 11:58 am |
      • I Am God

        I figured you would say that you dumb uneducated troll. Gadaffi helped more terrorists in his country then any other country in the world. He allowed terrorists in his country and outside his country to cross borders into Iraq to help the damn insurgents.

        January 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • mdbill

      seriously? you need medication. just because you can type a little english doesn't mean you should.

      January 21, 2013 at 10:03 am | Reply
  59. George Patton

    Not only Algeria hostage style crisis but Mumbai style attacks on hotels, subways, hospitals, schools by these muslim terrorists is the future of terrorism. They have no balls to fight against well trained army, not even Algerian or Somali armies, so they attack civilian facilities. Hey phunni boy do you agree or not?

    January 21, 2013 at 8:16 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      If you're going to mimic me Phunnie boy, please cut out that nasty Tea Party lingo above. Your political correctness is starting to get old anyway!

      January 21, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
      • George Patton

        kill all terrorists as humanly as possible. drones 'em all MF.

        January 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  60. Adam_Smith

    "Europe has become a difficult environment to conduct large-scale terrorist incidents and America even more so."

    Events indicate that the best defense is .. defense. "homeland security", the policy not just the agency, has been effective while heavy-handed military invasions abroad has stirred the hornets nests, attracting recruits to terrorist causes and spreading terrorist organizations throughout South Asia and Africa.

    January 21, 2013 at 6:31 am | Reply
    • Guest

      I think you're discounting just how much of an impact our overseas operations have had. The large terror organizations that most of the public is familiar with have been massively destabilized by our foreign operations, not by us waiting around for them to work up the nerve to come to our shores.

      I'm all for shifting a little more of the focus to defense, but pretending that we can just build the country into a fortress that will never be breached is folly.

      January 21, 2013 at 6:43 am | Reply
      • Paki Sensor

        you are nothing but a st pid Pakistani no matter how hard you try to write like an American.

        January 21, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  61. Thinker

    Solution. Rent Pakistani soldiers

    January 21, 2013 at 2:14 am | Reply
    • Thinker Sr

      You are thinking wrong my boy. Take daddy's advice and rent Somali pirates. Pakistani soldiers are Sunni muslims and terrorist sympathizers.

      January 21, 2013 at 9:54 am | Reply
      • Thinker Sr Sr

        Thinker Sr. You are an idiot.

        January 21, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Thinker Sr

        thanks grand pa for banging a homeless on subway and keeping your family tree alive, take advice from your idiot son. Pakistanis soldiers are terrorists and you can't trust A holes to fight against Arabs.

        January 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Tom

      And hire the BTK killer to babysit your little ones? I am sure he can be trusted too.

      January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply

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