The terror chain

The day after last September’s terrorist attacks on the USA, Western analysts cautiously observed that we would be living from now on in fear of a chain of terrorist attacks by Islamist fundamentalists against innocent citizens of the world. Saturday’s bomb attack on hundreds of tourists in Bali justified and intensified those fears, expanded the remit of international terrorism and also demonstrated the power of the Al Qaeda organization – if indeed it carried out the attack as current speculation suggests. If this is the case, the whole of humanity risks being irrevocably exposed to Al Qaeda’s new strategy of attempting to crumple American arrogance. Earlier this month, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman noted that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is not the problem because he loves his life. The problem is, rather, Muslim extremists who do not love their lives which they would sacrifice in the slaughter of innocent people. Since the Bali attack, concern has grown that President Bush’s persistence against Baghdad undermined his initial strategy of eradicating Al Qaeda. It is unclear whether an attack on Iraq is still regarded as urgent. What is certain is that the Bali tragedy – apparently linked to several recent attacks on American and French interests – will oblige the US government to redraft its priorities and probably conduct a series of operations in Muslim countries which harbor terrorism where the true path of Islam is changing into a never-ending course of revenge.