What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The multi-dimensional geography of transnational terrorism: Yemen, Detroit, Iraq etc.

There is now bound to be some serious dot-connecting and some investigation into what happened back during Christmas, when the Nigerian "underpants bomber" struck.
I finally came across a source that did not shy away from mentioning what the "mysterious" second man at the airport in Amsterdam looked like (if he was there, as eye witnesses say). Excerpt:
"In an extraordinary twist, which will increase concerns over security failures, an American lawyer claimed he had watched at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport as Abdulmutallab was assisted by a "second man" as he tried to board without a passport.
Kurt Haskell, who was standing in line with his wife Lori on Christmas morning, said the Nigerian was with a man aged about 50 of Indian appearance in an expensive suit, talking to the ticket agent.
Haskell said the second man claimed Abdulmutallab was from Sudan and had no passport.
The ticket agent referred the men to her manager down the hall, and Haskell did not see Abdulmutallab again until after the failed bombing."
Amsterdam is no unguarded gateway to international aviation. Even the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is present there. So it will be interesting to see what is reported about this later on, and it is understandable that Obama and the rest of the White House are angry.
Meanwhile, a friend asked during the day why there was a six-year silent period as far as AQ in Yemen is concerned. Look at this chronology of Yemen-related major incidents to understand what we are talking about. There is a gap between 2002 and 2008.
Well, my tentative answer would be Iraq. Many now fighting in Yemen were there trying to fight U.S. troops in those years. (And of course the whole AQI phenomenon was boosted significantly, in several ways, by AQ-central, as it looked to react to its radically changed strategic environment with the U.S. in Afghanistan.)


Joshua Foust said...

A friend? Dude, you read it on Facebook/Twitter. NAME NAMES :-)

Péter MARTON said...

Yeah, it happened to be FB, so I was not quite sure how to treat this from a privacy perspective... So anyway, that's what I think part of the answer is... Iraq gradually brought an end to AQAP's first post-2001 Saudi attacks as well.