Archive for September, 2009

My latest for HSToday, this one looking specifically at the transatlantic tensions between the UK and U.S. as a result of the conclusion of the recent trial against the group who were plotting to bring down a series of planes flying from the UK to North America. This is not to overplay the tensions, but this was the specific angle being explored here, and there has been a great deal of coverage about the trial more generally.

The Plot ‘Bigger Than 9/11’ Causes Transatlantic Tensions

by Raffaello Pantucci
Tuesday, 22 September 2009

IEDs would have been enough to blow hole in hulls of pressurized passenger jets
Coinciding with the commemoration of the 8th anniversary of Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, a jury at Woolwich Crown Court in London found three British Muslims guilty of plotting to simultaneously bring down seven passenger planes on transatlantic routes.
However, while the British government has been keen to highlight success of the trial as a victory in the fight against international terrorism, tensions have been exposed in the transatlantic partnership against Al Qaeda.


My latest for Jamestown, this time exploring the intricacies of what happened in Melbourne earlier this year in the alleged plot with links to Shabab. It seems as though some of the men may have been to train with the group, though it does not look like it was necessarily an externally directed plot. I suppose more clarity will come out in due course. Keep an eye on this space for a more detailed look at this and how it fits into other apparently Shabab linked groups around the world soon.

Did Somalia’s al-Shabaab Plan to Attack the Australian Military?
Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 27
September 10, 2009 06:04 PM Age: 3 days
Category: Terrorism Monitor, Global Terrorism Analysis, Home Page, Terrorism, Africa
By: Raffaello Pantucci

Operation Neath, one of the largest counterterrorism operations in Australian history, culminated in a series of early morning raids in Melbourne on August 4. The four men arrested were all Australian citizens of Lebanese or Somali descent and apparently part of a larger group of 18 individuals under observation by police (The Australian, August 4). In a press conference on the day of the arrests, police laid out their central charge that the men were “planning to carry out a suicide terrorist attack” on an Australian military base using “automatic weapons” in “a sustained attack on military personnel until they themselves were killed.” According to police, some individuals in the plot had been to and presumably trained in Somalia, and had sought a “fatwa” (religious ruling) that would authorize them to carry out attacks in Australia. [1]