Another terror plot foiled in Somalia?
A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Somali man, whose name has not been released, was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off. It was scheduled to travel from Mogadishu to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai. A Somali police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise, said the suspect is in Somali custody.
"We don't know whether he's linked with al Qaeda or other foreign organizations, but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed," Mr. Barise said.
A Nairobi-based diplomat said the incident in Somalia is similar to the attempted attack on the Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day in that the Somali man had a syringe, a bag of powdered chemicals and liquid -- tools similar to those used in the Detroit attack. The diplomat spoke on condition he not be identified because he wasn't authorized to release the information.
Barigye Bahoku, the spokesman for the African Union military force in Mogadishu, said the chemicals from the Somali suspect could have caused an explosion that would have caused air decompression inside the plane. However, Mr. Bahoku said, he doesn't think an explosion would have brought the plane down.
A second international official familiar with the incident, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the case, confirmed that the substances carried by the Somali passenger could have been used as an explosive device.
OK, so no one knows if the guys is connected to al Qaeda, yet, but that doesn't change the fact that he had liquid explosive components, and God only knows what his target was. It's a safe assumption, at this point, that even if his only target was to blow up the jet, that would still be a significant attack. It should be noted that the airliner in question has ties to not only Dubai, but France as well.
So, if it's discovered that this man is connected to al Qaeda, is it safe to say that al Qaeda was planning on carrying out a winter offensive on the West? I'd say so. While we know, to some extent, that the Christmas Day attack was likely just one that would've killed a bunch of innocent people on a plane, there is no telling what this individual was planning. The plane's itinerary doesn't give us any clue as to a possible target aside from the planeload of people alone.
One thing is sure: Regardless of their affiliation, our jihadist enemies have been busy in the last few months planning out attacks on the West, or nations allied with Western nations. And while we have news reports today that Yemeni forces are going after al Qaeda there today Bill Roggio reports from The Long War Journal that Yemen hardly has a solid track record of cracking down on al Qaeda. The Yemeni government seems to let them operate in the open, which isn't a good thing, but given the war torn continent of Africa, it's not a surprise, either. We know for a fact that when al Qaeda's operations were disrupted in Afghanistan that the terror group scattered, and thanks to the excellent reporting of Bill Roggio, we know they began to reconstitute themselves in Africa; notably north Africa.
Barry may think that this war is over, and we can pay little attention to what our enemies are planning. And he may have been given a slim window of being able to turn a blind eye to the war, thanks to the efforts of the previous administration, but this Christmas season has shown our enemies haven't given up the fight. They're still in the game. It's time this administration keeps its head in the game, and maintains a war-footing. Our enemies haven't given up, and neither should we.