Al-Qaeda More ‘Indiscriminate’ in Killing Muslims, Report Says
By Ed Johnson
Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Al-Qaeda has become “increasingly indiscriminate” in attacks that kill mostly Muslims in countries including Iraq and Pakistan, according to a study released by the U.S. Military Academy’s counterterrorism center.
From 2004 to 2008, 15 percent of al-Qaeda’s victims were Western, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point said in a report. Only 2 percent were from the West between 2006 and 2008.
The network has “limited capability to strike against its Western enemies” and “maintains its relevance by attacking countries with Muslim majorities,” according to the center. “If history provides a glimpse into the future, the group and its associates will pose the greatest threat to fellow Muslims.”
Al-Qaeda has been criticized in the Middle East over bombings that have claimed Muslim lives and in late 2007 the network’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri participated in an online forum in which he defended such attacks. He blamed the West for using Muslims as human shields and said if innocents were killed it was “either an unintentional error, or out of necessity.”
The study used a database maintained by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center to draw up a list of al-Qaeda attacks and then relied on Arabic news reports for details of fatalities so they would be seen through a “non-Western prism.”
To be included in the survey, the attack had to be carried out by al-Qaeda or a group publicly associated with the network and the perpetrators needed to claim responsibility.
During the period 2004 to 2008, there were 3,010 victims of 313 attacks, according to the survey.
Al-Qaeda was “marginally successful” in attacking Westerners in 2004 and 2005 with the attacks in Madrid and London, according to the report.
Groups inspired by al-Qaeda planted bombs on commuter trains in Madrid in March 2004, three days before an election, killing 191 people. In London, four bombers killed themselves and 52 other people on three subway trains and a bus during morning rush hour in July 2005.
Excluding the Madrid and London attacks, only 4.4 percent of al-Qaeda’s victims during the four-year period were Western, the survey said.
The study also broke down fatalities after excluding attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, acknowledging it could be argued that Muslim casualties there were “unfortunate martyrs or collateral damage” in the wars.
“Outside of the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, 99 percent of al-Qaeda’s victims were non-Western in 2007 and 96 percent were non-Western in 2008,” the study said.
During the online forum, several questions out of the 90 Zawahiri selected to answer challenged him over attacks that killed Muslim women and children, according to IntelCenter, a U.S.-based group that monitors terrorist communications on the Internet.
One participant, identified as an Algerian medical student, challenged Zawahiri over the Dec. 11, 2007, suicide bombings in Algiers, IntelCenter reported in April last year when al-Qaeda’s media production unit released an audio file of him answering the written questions.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the attacks on the United Nations office and the Constitutional Council building that killed more than 60 people, including 17 UN workers.
Those killed were “not from the innocents,” said Zawahiri. “They are from the crusader unbelievers and the government troops who defend them.”
***MS*** Tell me again, O wannabe-jihadi, how this is what Allah ordains? Tell me again what your proof is to slaughter children in Mosques, or on trains, planes and marketplaces - of Muslims and non alike?
Tell me especially, how much closer you are to your imaginary magical Muslim state where every one is a perfect Muslim? In order to be a half-decent Muslim, you need to be a half-decent human being but alas, you cannot even get that right.
"And Allah is swift in His Judgment" remember?