Written By: Elena White
Article Date: Jul 4, 2012 - 8:01:46 PM
Officials from three prominent intelligence agencies told the press earlier this week that al-Qaida was now targeting western recruits in a bid to over-ride security profiling and visa restrictions, adding that a Norwegian man had been arrested and held for interrogation on suspicion of terror activities.
The man has yet to be charged. Security analysts Marcy Kreiter told the Yemen Observer that the move was bound to seriously put in questions profiling parameters as national descent would no longer serve as a reference.
“Even if countries maintain that there is no such thing as racial profiling we all know that Arab men are more likely to be checked at an airport than a European. A change in the game will mean that national security agencies will have to review their protocol. It will be challenging.”
Kreiter added that analysts long warned governments that al-Qaida would eventually resort to such schemes – the enrolling of western convert - to carry out terror attacks in their homelands or abroad.
The Norwegian national whose identity was not revealed for security reasons was labeled by the agencies as “operational”, meaning that he had completed his terror training and was awaiting orders from al-Qaida to strike. Officials said Monday “We believe he is operational and he is probably about to get his target,” one security official said. “And that target is probably in the West.”
A security official in a second European country confirmed the information, adding: “From what I understand, a specific target has not been established.” If in recent years al-Qaida radicalized young Muslims in Europe and the U.S. by playing up to its advantage potential identity issues, turning their social malaise into a hatred of the West, it the first time that the terror organization is targeting western-born westerners , having managed to convert them to its cause. An official revealed that to make matters worse the Norwegian national had to criminal record, making him a perfect al-Qaida weapon.
“A European looking man with no criminal record could pretty much travel across the Globe without ever rising any suspicious. This is deeply troubling,” said Kreiter. According to preliminary reports on the Norwegian la-Qaida militant, the man – in his 30’s - would have converted to Islam in 2008 and traveled to Yemen where allegedly he became radicalize after meeting with clerics linked to al-Qaida.
Officials so far refused to comment on what made the intelligence services believe that the Norwegian national had been recruited by al-Qaida to carry out strikes against western interests only saying “there is a well-established relationship between Western security services, and they share the information needed to prevent terrorism.” Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier told the Associated Press that signs that a would-be jihadist is ready for an attack could include the creation of so-called martyrdom videos for release online in conjunction with an attack, or an abrupt cutoff of communication and contacts with peers to avoid detection.
Moreover anonymous sources within the British intelligence services told the press that a reported 200 radicalized Britons were currently operating alongside al-Qaida in the Middle East and Africa. “The idea that al-Qaida will now recruit its next generation of soldiers from within western society poses a very real threat. Governments will try in order to protect society to infringe on civil liberties and personal freedom.
The fear of terrorism will erode democratic principles and lead to police states, the very thing the West stands against,” said Ahmed al-Sofy to the Yemen Observer. The renegades from across the UK are believed to have joined forces with the heavily armed Islamist terror groups in Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria – and have even fought British troops in Afghanistan.
Only recently Jonathan Evans, MI5 chief said that the Middle East had become once again a safe haven for al-Qaida as the Arab Spring movement had destroyed all security apparatuses; living terror groups the opportunity to strive on instability.
In his first speech since 2010, the security service’s director general said: “Parts of the Arab world have once more become a permissive environment for al-Qaida.” He added: “A small number of British would-be jihadists are also making their way to Arab countries to seek training and opportunities for militant activity, as they do in Somalia and Yemen. “Some will return to the UK and pose a threat here.
This is a worrying development and could get worse as events unfold.”
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