Archive for October, 2008

This is a distinctly more academic article I have written for the Perspectives on Terrorism journal that looks in detail at a recent network of plots. This group seems to show a potentially very interesting set of developments, and I think the information about them is not yet all out, as there would seem to be a number of loose ends – and other cases in the pipeline.

Operation Praline: The Realization of Al-Suri’s Nizam, la Tanzim?

By Raffaello Pantucci


This article will attempt to show how a recent plot in the United Kingdom, known by its police codename Operation Praline[1], and the broader international conspiracy that supported the  group responsible may constitute an organic evolution of terrorist networks towards al-Qaeda “architect” Abu Musab al-Suri’s nizam la tanzim – “a system, not secret organization.”[2] This is not to conclude that Aabid Khan and his broader network were necessarily purposefully moulding themselves in this direction – as the author has not seen evidence supporting this assertion – but rather this article attempts to show how al-Suri’s framework for global jihad offers a good prism through which to analyse this group since they would appear to have developed in broad accordance with al-Suri’s principles, whether wittingly or no.


Al Qaeda’s Seven Year Itch

Posted: October 30, 2008 in HSToday
Tags: ,

This could probably already do with a bit of updating, but the information remains interesting and valid and is part of ongoing thinking about AQ’s use of the internet. They still have that awful photo of me though.

Al Qaeda’s Seven Year Itch

By Raffaello Pantucci

Wednesday, 19 October 2008


Videos reach out to audience who believes terrorist group not weakenedLess than a month ago, after some delay, Al Qaeda’s media wing, As Sahab, finally released the terrorist group’s perennial anniversary 9/11 video. While it contained few surprises, it once again emphasized the utility of the Internet to Al Qaeda, and highlighted how the dark side of globalization has managed to harness its most useful tool.As it so often is with the online world of smoke and mirrors where Al Qaeda lurks, the reasons for the delayed release of the video are unclear. Preceeding the 9/11 anniversary, a number of the principal websites and chat forums where Al Qaeda videos and statements are usually posted were knocked offline (a few appear to have been reinstated)—an event that sparked considerable speculation about some sort of pre-planned attack, presumably by Western intelligence services. (more…)

My latest for Jamestown looking at the current ongoing terrorist trial against the two individuals apparently behind the attempts in late June of 2007. I have a feeling that it is going to prove hard for the prosecution to charge one of them. The other I feel like is probably in trouble, as he was caught literally sitting on top of one of the two devices. As more emerges, I will probably write more about this plot.

“Doctor’s Plot” Trial Examines Unexpected Source for UK Terrorist Attacks

Terrorism Focus Volume: 5 Issue: 36

October 23, 2008 01:01 AM Age: 36 days
Category: Terrorism Focus, Europe, Middle East

Londoners were awakened once again to the very real terrorist threat they faced late on the evening of June 29, 2007. In a callous move aimed at targeting revellers in a central London nightclub, terrorists left two improvised explosive devices in old Mercedes cars outside the Tiger Tiger bar just off London’s Trafalgar Square. Planted so that those fleeing the first bomb would run into the second, the devices were set to go off using mobile phones as remote detonators. However, the bombs failed to explode and staff members of the club called emergency services after noticing white vapour coming out of one of the cars, a strong smell of gasoline, and blankets covering objects in the back seat of the closest car (Guardian, October 10).


My latest on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website. I see it has sparked off some debate, though i also see the Doctor’s plot trial in the UK started today as well, which i now somewhat regret not referencing in some way. Oh well, that’ll be for next time.

Community is key to tackling Islamic extremism

The ‘Prevent’ strand of counter-terrorism is difficult to implement. But security services should see those at risk individuals first.

The British government is reported to be overhauling its counter-terrorism strategy. The threat is apparently as high as ever and there are heightened fears about the appearance of “lone wolf” terrorists self-radicalising and moving into action without the usual connections to known networks.

At the core of this overhaul is an apparent revision of the “prevent” strand of the policy and the problem of measuring success in this opaque field.