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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The French Attack attempt - Watch the Watchers to Find the Spie Masters

It is not surprise that an attack by Al Qaeda is being planned for France, or even that it is imminent in the next few months. Knowing that is coming can possibly prevent it from being successful, and further, can serve as an opportunity to round-up the intermediate threat.

Algeria and France have a long history together; and there were many years when a citizen of Algeria was considered a citizen of France. Many Algerian Families had members who migrated to France during that time, and they have maintained ties over the generations.

Also during this time, anti-France organizations formed in Algeria, many with an Islamic foundations. Some of those begin to form rebel groups. They have been in Algeria and the larger Sahel region for generations growing and shrinking because of Algerian government attacks. They are supported mainly by smuggling activities, and in the last 10 years or so, by kidnapping of Westerners for ransom.

It is not a surprise that al Qaeda cultivated relationships with these groups, who have clan and family relationships in France.

It is not a surprise that Al Qaeda rewarded these groups with an affiliate endorsement and prestige and recruit support (AQIM).

Al Qaeda has leveraged the relationships these Algerians hold with family and friends in France to create unrest, recruit, fund raise, and to create and train Intel teams in France. There have been attacks, but the last successful attack was 15 years ago.

It seems about correct in timing that newly trained Intel teams (since AQIM's endorsement by Al Qaeda) have reported on a number of French targets, and decisions are likely being made about where and how the attacks will be conducted. This is how they attacked Spain, the UK, and how they have tried to attack the US.

None of this is a surprise. What is a surprise is that old dormant islamist networks in France are being reactivated with fighters trained and experienced Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa and and Pakistan, as they come home.

It is not new news that AQIM fighters are planning an attack in and on France. Trained fighters returning home (after their failures abroad) suggest the possibility that an al Qaeda type attack (assaults on protected targets in waves, with suicide bombers spearheading each wave, with a trailing attack on emergency service workers) is being planned, to be carried out when sufficient numbers of fighters get back to France.

These will likely be stopped before they can be carried out, as they have in the past, because foreign fighters are being tracked carefully. When a critical mass of fighters get back to France, it is likely this type of an attack will be undertaken. After the attack fails in the short term or the long term, (and it will fail- the longer the attack goes before it fails, the more successful al Qaeda will judge it.)

Ikhwan leaders will gauge the response of Muslims in their organization to identify people who may be open to being recruited into other organizations for a longer term Jihad in France. They will talk of any French reaction or round up of suspects as an assault on the Ummah. Watch for who says these things, and who they are choosing to say them to.

The key is to watch the Ikhwan leaders, and the people they are watching among the Muslim immigrant population, as they search for potential recruits. They will be active in and around the next attack attempted on France.

Watch the Intel teams who watch the French repose to the attack attempt, who are gathering data while the attacks occur. Watch what they write and who they communicate to after the attack attempt.

The attack attempt will come, perhaps in the next few weeks or months, but the key is to watch both types of watchers, both watchers of the attack itself, and also those who watch and measure the response of the Muslim population in the weeks after the attack. These are the leaders of the intermediate threat of al Qaeda attack.

Spie masters, by any other name, still train recruit and train people to watch and report.

-Shimron Issachar

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AFP - France is at immediate risk of a major terror attack by Islamist radicals and has further reinforced already urgent security measures since last week, officials said Monday.

Asked about reports that an attack might be imminent, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said: "The threat is real, we have stepped up our vigilance."


TALKING POINTS

France faces 'real' terrorist threat

Separately, a source close to the ministry confirmed that police are probing reports that a female suicide bomber may be preparing a strike in Paris, but added: "That's not necessarily the most worrying thing."

Instead, he explained, Paris is concerned with intelligence received from an allied foreign spy agency that Al-Qaeda's North African branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was planning an "imminent" attack in France.

"It's a threat which we think might target transportation," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving further details except that the warning was received at 5:00 am (0300 GMT) on Thursday last week.


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The interior ministry played down the specific risk to transport, insisting that the threat was "against totally undefined targets."

Meanwhile, according to a police source, authorities have learned that two dormant Islamist networks in France have been revived to receive and host groups of Jihadi radicals returning from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Separately, officials from Paris's Grand Mosque confirmed that their rector, Dalil Boubakeur, had been placed under police protection and provided with an escort as he moves about the city.

Boubakeur is a moderate figure who has worked with France's government on issues of Muslim integration and has been threatened by radicals in the past.

On Tuesday, hundreds of tourists were moved away from the Eiffel Tower as it was briefly evacuated following a hoax bomb threat.

France's national terror warning plan, known as "Vigipirate", was already at alert level "reinforced red" -- one step down from the highest level, scarlet, which would represent a precise and imminent threat.

The warnings were the latest in a series given over the past 10 days since the head of France's DCRI domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini, said France had never faced a greater "terrorist threat."

They come at a time when France has been the target of violent threats on Jihadi websites, including from known armed militant leaders, over its ban on the full-face Muslim veil and its overseas military operations.

Senators voted last week to pass the ban on the burqa and the niqab and it will go into effect in around six months if approved by constitutional judges.

Before the law was voted, Al-Qaeda's Egyptian number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released an audio tape urging Muslim women to resist the ban.

French troops, meanwhile, are fighting Islamic militants in both Afghanistan -- where they are part of the NATO mission -- and northwest Africa, where in July they took part in a commando raid against a AQIM base.

The July 22 strike, carried out alongside Mauritanian troops operating in northern Mali, left seven militants dead, but failed to find a French hostage, 78-year-old aid worker Michel Germaneau, who is thought to be dead.

AQIM claimed responsibility for killing Germaneau and vowed to avenge the raid. The group is now the prime suspect in last week's kidnap in Niger of seven foreign nationals, five of them French.

The group is thought to have taken its captives, including a French married couple, to Mali. France has sent an 80-strong military intelligence detachment to Bamako to hunt down the gang, officials said Monday.

France has Europe's largest Islamic population, with around five million Muslims of mainly north African descent, but since September 11, 2001 has been spared the kind of large scale attacks that hit London and Madrid.

The last major Islamist bomb attack in Paris dates back to the summer of 1995, when eight were killed and 200 wounded in attacks on Metro trains.

The Rest @ France24

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