One of the keenest analysts of the Middle East and jihad terrorism, Walid Phares, explains at FrontPage magazine the significance of the new Code Orange alert:
Phares notes that “one main sound bite” dominated the airwaves yesterday: “Beware of crying wolf.” But he says that on the contrary, “the concern that repetitive calls for Orange alert may well weaken the whole system is a glaring consumer-driven fallacy. One of the strategic tools in the War on Terror is popular mobilization, which, combined with such an alert, can deter a terrorist strike by threatening to expose terrorist networks and their operations.”
Phares makes a key point: “Because of our failing intellectual elites, we are having a hard time situating terror threats as they unfold. Many journalists perceive the Jihadist threat according to their own standards. In reality, however, we need to evaluate al-Qaeda’s intentions based on their own mindset, not ours. We are facing a terrorist threat produced by a different political culture. The way it thinks, perceives its surroundings, and reacts to its environment is far from identical to ours, and the division is not religious or economic as much as it is ideological.
Also: “Al-Qaeda has a pattern of menacing Americans at home the closer they are to holidays — or important national dates such as the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. That pattern was tested and is ideologically grounded. The war is against the ‘infidels.’ For international Jihadists, it is crucial to strike fear in the heart of the enemy during its peak celebration of happiness and religious fervor. And on more practical realms, the launchers of the 9/11 attacks are still banking on its dividends. They know that the horrific images of that day of infamy are still present in the minds of all Americans. The terrorists continue to use the psychological interests of the ‘big day.’ If they have a greater weapon, they would use it while preemptively terrorizing their victims.”
And: “Bin Laden doesn’t care about the presence of Saddam, but he cares about his absence. Who will inherit the zaama (leadership) of the jihad? To us, it doesn’t seem important. To the Sultan of the holy war, it is crucial. Osama needs to strike at the heart of the enemy, to harvest the anger produced by the ‘dishonor’ of the captured Arab dictator.”
This is another important point which I develop in a forthcoming article.
“Psychologically, and by jihad logic, bin Laden has to do something, and something big. Did al-Qaeda wait until last week to plan the potential inland attack? Not at all. The cells have mandated the planning ages ago. The decision to use their resources was made based on Jihadist strategic needs.”
There is a great deal more. Phares’s insights are head and shoulders above those of most commentators. Read it all.