The hunt for those involved in the apparent plot to set off car bombs in London and Glasgow has broadened from London to Scotland and now to Australia:
(CBS/AP) British intelligence services increasingly believe that the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow bare the fingerprints of al Qaeda in Iraq, CBS News has learned.
Intelligence sources tell CBS News that the people behind the attempts were directly recruited by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, the present leader of the terror group’s Iraq franchise.
Police investigating the plot had arrested eight people Tuesday, including at least six suspects trained as doctors, including a man of Indian nationality arrested in Australia. Sources close to the investigation told CBS News on Tuesday that another two or three arrests were likely to be seen in Britain, but that two of the people already in custody were likely to be released without charge.
Sources tell CBS News that al-Muhajir recruited the men between 2004 and 2005, while they were living in the Middle East, upon orders from then-al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Al-Muhajir was told to recruit young men who could easily move into Western countries, assimilate and lay low until the time came to attack. Britain has a fast-track visa program for medical students which makes it easier for them to enter the country.
That would certainly be a substantial connection to al-Qaeda, proper. I look forward to seeing more details on this emerge, although given that laws governing publication in the UK are quite different from those here we may have something of a wait.
Of those being held nearly all are doctors and there are several good reasons for that. The first, mentioned above, is the fast-track visa program for medical professionals. Another is that, at least in Iraq, courses in medical school are conducted in English and, consequently, Iraqi-trained medical doctors tend to have facility in English. Is that true elsewhere in the Middle East? Perhaps some informed person could comment. Facility with English, higher pay and greater opportunities, and fast-track visa programs combine to make the United Kingdom and the United States good destinations for Middle Eastern medical professionals.
Napoleon observed that there are only two great motivators: fear and the hope of gain. I honestly don’t see what these men could have to gain from these attacks. Muslims only constitute a small percentage of the population of the United Kingdom. I don’t believe that terrorists will succeed in converting the 97.3% of the population that aren’t Muslims or wringing concessions on behalf of the 2.7% that are by these means. I think they’re far more likely to succeed in wearing out their welcome. Wasn’t that the response to agitation 25 years ago when the UK abandoned birthright citizenship in their reforms of the citizenship laws?
Perhaps Napoleon was wrong and unremitting hatred and the lust for vengeance are great motivators, too. Otherwise, what are they afraid of?