April 14, 2007
Maghreb Madness: Reflexions on the Return of Al Qaeda
Shamefully late, as I began working on this (as some of the articles will indicate) in February. Pity I got busy, as it would have been useful to be ahead of the curve. But better late than never. (NDLR: this was written before the bombings in Casablanca 14 April, and has been updated and modified) Today and earlier in the week were grim days.
First, some general reflexions.
The developments in the Maghreb, Morocco and Algeria, are of course personally disturbing as my brief is North Africa, but beyond this personal business obsession this is a sign of reconstituted risk, and that the simmering frustration of the slums has not gone away. As our friend Ibn Kafka wrote on his blog several days ago with respect to Casablanca earlier this week, this is not merely electoral propaganda to check the Islamist parties. As he says, "The spectre of 16 May 2003 has returned among us." His post is well worth reading, and I will return to a key point later.
[nb: fixed link issue on WP article below]
But other thoughts first. Although I am personally rather obsessed about potential business blow-back, the personal obsession has macro implications as moving capital into productive uses is of no small benefit to a growing private sector, benefiting all around. However, up-front risk makes cowardly capital run away, excepting "frontier investors" of which I suppose I might count myself. These events if they continue could strangle emerging signs of possible change in the Maghreb, possible positive change (unrelated to transformational fantasies I may add, but rather tied
The problem is frustration, blockages, unemployment, and also the ferment of social transformation as a youthful, but conservative ruralesque society is transformed into something else, in cities like Casablanca, Tangiers, Tunis, Qunstantiyah, Algiers... Not merely unemployment, or under employment, not merely socio-cultural disorientation, not merely rentier government that saps away opportunity, not merely a bloody-minded and gratuitous incompetence on the part of the Americans pushing young men to radicalism, not merely a grotesque and bloody minded ideology of takfir and idolization of murder and false-martyrdom by the murderous neo-Salafin. No. A rather nasty combination of all these elements.
It strikes me that the Algerian & Moroccan developments (one cannot doubt that Tunis shall not escape either) mark a significant step backwards. At risk is not merely the Maghreb, but also closely related communities in Europe, whose continental systems and immigrant communities suffer from eerily similar problems, but I shall leave this angle to the comment of others, such as Shaheen. At once it highlights the need for creation of economic dynamism in the region to provide opportunity, the simmering danger and the blow back from the stunning incompetence of the Americans in Iraq - and generally in the region. The sad spectacle of over-selling their initiatives and engaging in clumsy hypocrisy has done serious damage to both their ostensible goals (by both associating liberal democracy and economics with a particularly incompetent and naive form of neo-colonialism and by its over-selling on US side delivery, think only of the Millennium Challenge, the whanking about a MENA Fund for investment, and the democracy blather) and American credibility. The latter is of import as for better or worse, the US is a point of reference for political winds - pressure to reform or no - and a serious source of support for regimes with ... not so deep roots. Such as Egypt. But at the same time, that incompetence is merely a catalyst enabling the bloody minded neo-Salafis, the fundamental drivers for whom are the domestic blockages cited supra, and it is they who murder their “brothers and sisters.”
However it is easy to do as some Western commentators do, and see the entire Middle East and North Africa as one swamp, with one mind.
Let me return to Ibn Kafka’s observation that I alluded to above:
1- C'est sans doute grâce à l' intervention héroïque de Mohamed Faïz , simple gérant de cybercafé dans le bidonville de Sidi Moumen, que non seulement furent empêchés de passer à l'acte les deux kamikazes du 11 mars (l'un mourut dans l'explosion qu'il déclencha, volontairement ou non, l'autre fût arrêté par la police). Ce n'est donc pas une équipe de fins limiers, un commando d'intervention surarmé ou des écoutes judicieuses qui destablisèrent le complot terroriste, mais un simple Marocain comme il y en a des millions. C'est à la fois rassurant - esprit civique pas mort! - et en même temps inquiétant: si l'un des deux kamikazes du 11 mars s'était montré moins violent avec son clavier, il y aurait peut-être eu un 16 mai bis - la lutte anti-terroriste est lacunaire , et ne peut se passer de la contribution citoyenne...
My quick translation:
It is without doubt thanks to the heroic intervention of Mohammed Faiz, the simple manager of an internet cafe in the slum of Sidi Moumen, that not only prevented, on 11 March, the kamikazes from going into action (one dying in an explosion that he set off, voluntarily or not, the other arrested by the police). It was not, therefore, a team with fine detectives, a heavily armed commando team, or judicious eavesdropping that undid the terrorist plot, but a simple Moroccan just like millions of others. That is at once reassuring – civic spirit is not dead! – and at the same time disturbing: if one of the two 11 March kamikazes had been less violent with his keyboard, on might have had a second 16 May – the anti-terrorist fight is incomplete and cannot go on without the contribution of the citizenry.
An important observation.
As I noted elsewhere, it appears some of the rest of the terror cell were caught due to the intervention of ordinary people, directing the police to them, not by real intelligence networks. Today’s events (of 14 April) showed similar signs from what I observed up close.
But the position of the population is the key, and as well understanding where terrorists are coming from. Frustration with the systems in the region is general, hardly anyone is the least bit content, and from high to low, there is revulsion and frustration that so much opportunity and talent is being wasted. Of course, the diagnoses differ – certainly the Islamists see corruption in society, and they’re not necessarily wrong in that either. A bit of moralising might not be misplaced, although dictatorial imposition of faux façade morality would of course produce the sort of institutionalised religious corruption of Iran. But I shall not fetishise secularism as such – much of the secular elite is in fact a source of the very problems – above all as they are attached to the vampiric socialist system of Arab Socialism (or in the Maghreb, really French statism).
I return to a comment by Ibn Kafka:
Cette lutte passe par l'isolation des réseaux terroristes, qui doivent être coupé de leur base naturelle que peut constituer les groupes islamistes radicaux. Quelles que soient leurs arrières-pensées, il faut ainsi se féliciter de ce que des leaders radicaux dénoncent le terrorisme - sachant par ailleurs que les principaux mouvements islamistes marocains, PJD et Al adl wal ihsan, n'ont jamais approuvé le principe même de ces actes de violence. Ce n'est pas en mélangeant dans le même opprobre terroristes et islamistes non-violents que la lutte anti-terroriste progressera, bien au contraire - d'autant que l'islamisme politique au Maroc pèse sans doute 50% de l'électorat.
This struggle is achieved by isolating the terrorist networks, which must be cut off from the natural base, which may be made up of radical Islamists. Whatever their prejudices, it’s necessary to recognize those radical leaders denouncing terrorism, understanding that the principal Moroccan Islamist movements never approved of even the principle of these acts of violent. It is not in mixing in the same approbation terrorists and non-violent Islamists that the anti-terrorist struggle will advance, quite the contrary above all as political Islamism in Morocco without doubt is about 50% of the electorate.
I absolutely agree.
Closing off the Islamist tendencies of the electorate, ones channeled through political groups working through the system merely directs frustration towards the radicals. And those frustrations as noted above, are fundamental, for all that Western stupidity helps catalyze the radicals attraction – merely helps catalyze, one has to keep in mind that reactions do not of necessity need a catalyst.
The sourcing of the suicide bombers, in 2003 and now the new events this year in both Morocco and Algeria, all highlight the fundamental sourcing of the radicals willing to blow themselves to bits – the slums and the general sense of despair from any sense of hope for progress. And of course, the clear blockages, feed up through society – the sad and bedraggled middle-class without any of the sensation of progress or at least self-satisfaction that one can find even in Continental Europe. It may be I am in error looking this rather too much from an economic point of view, however it seems to me that the core driver behind the appeal of radicalism are the frustrations engendered by largely economic blockages – blockages generated by statist economic policy, wearing either socialist or nationalist clothes, that enable the vampire elites whose orientation is skimming off the cream rather than creating value – although they themselves are often not fully conscious of these habits.
Now, some comments from now aged but relevant articles:
Terrorist Networks Lure Young Moroccans to War in Far-Off Iraq Conflict Is Recruiting Tool for Al-Qaeda Affiliates, by Craig Whitlock
Whitlock wrote a prescient article, one that provoked my original intention to write on this – the original save date on this article was 21 Feb.
Some commentary here:
TETOUAN, Morocco -- In the Arab world, this hilly North African city is about as far as you can get from Iraq. But for many young men here, the call to join what they view as a holy war resonates loudly across the 3,000-mile divide.
More than the Arab world – it would be better to note that Tetouan is in the heart of the Rif country, Rif Berbers. Not Arabs. Of course as most cities, it is Arabophone.
It is also one of the hearts of poverty in the Maghreb – as well as drug and people trafficking, the noxious mix of drug lords and religio-political radicalism not being strange to this area, although it’s not Columbia either.
About two dozen men from Tetouan and nearby towns in the Rif Mountains have traveled to Iraq in the past 18 months to volunteer as fighters or suicide bombers, according to local residents and officials. Moroccan authorities said the men were recruited by international terrorist networks affiliated with al-Qaeda that have deepened their roots in North Africa since the invasion of Iraq four years ago.
To stanch the flow, U.S. intelligence and military officials have tried to trace the fighters' steps. On the basis of DNA evidence recovered from the scenes of suicide attacks, as well as other clues, officials have confirmed that at least two bombers came from Tetouan, a city of more than 320,000 across the Strait of Gibraltar from southern Spain.
One of them, Abdelmonaim el-Amrani, a 22-year-old laborer, abandoned his wife and infant child in Tetouan to go to Iraq. On March 6, 2006, just before sunset, he drove a red Volkswagen Passat stuffed with explosives into a funeral tent in a village near Baqubah, Iraq, according to witnesses. Six people were reported killed and 27 injured. It was months before Amrani's family in Tetouan learned of his fate from Moroccan police.
Note the social background.
Moroccan authorities said they have identified more than 50 volunteers who have gone to Iraq since 2003, and many more are believed to have made the journey undetected. Security officials here said the problem is worse in other Arab countries.
Under U.S. pressure to act, Moroccan officials have tried to disrupt the recruiting networks in recent months, arresting more than 50 people since November.
"We have chosen to be extremely vigilant," Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa said in an interview in Rabat, the capital. "These cells all have international connections. They can function because they certainly all have support, especially in regard to training and in regard to logistics."
But Morocco and its neighbors are finding it increasingly difficult to suppress the militants. Several networks that used to operate independently in North Africa have put aside their differences, united in part by the ongoing violence in Iraq.
Indeed, “increasingly difficult” now seems an understatement.
Last month, for example, a group in Algeria that has waged a decade-long insurgency against the government there announced that it had changed its name to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb -- a reference to African lands north of the Sahara -- and joined forces with affiliates in Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania.
The organization asserted responsibility for a coordinated operation on Feb. 13 in which seven targets, mostly police stations, were bombed in a district east of Algiers. Six people were reported killed and 13 injured. In a telephone call to the Arab satellite television network al-Jazeera, an unidentified spokesman said the group was looking to expand its targets to focus on American interests. "Wherever we can find a U.S. presence, we will, God willing, pursue it and its agents," he said.
In December, the same group attacked a bus loaded with foreign contractors in a military-controlled zone of Algiers, killing the Algerian driver. Nine people were wounded, including four Britons and an American.
And now blowing the Prime Ministry in Algiers to hell.
American targets – for that they will find some sympathy as young men watch the disaster in Iraq and feel sympathetic anger. Natural reaction really. But how many can be converted to striking at closer targets? Some obviously. Above all when clumsy association of economic and political liberalism with “a common struggle” with the US makes locals sympathetic to such values look like stooges – unless they join in the denunciation of the US.
… Despite the surge in local strikes, North African intelligence officials and analysts said that al-Qaeda affiliates in the region remain focused on Iraq and rely on the faraway conflict as a recruiting tool.
"The big state for al-Qaeda is Iraq," said Mohamed Darif, a political science professor and terrorism expert at Hassan II-Mohammedia University in Morocco. "Al-Qaeda has the same strategy as the United States: It wants to win in Iraq so it can transform the whole region. They are fixated on Iraq."
This may indeed be true. But that does not mean local radicals will not turn to local targets, above all as the authorities, under American pressure, try to cut off the jihadiyah flow.
But returning to the economic theme:
In Tetouan, the local economy and culture lean more toward Europe than the Middle East. The narrow streets and whitewashed buildings appear to have changed little since the first half of the 20th century, when the city was the colonial capital of Spanish Morocco. Most storefronts feature signs in both Spanish and Arabic. Young men wear the jerseys of their favorite European soccer teams, particularly those from Barcelona and Madrid.
Although it is still not clear why so many men from Tetouan decided to abandon their lives and go to Iraq, there are some clues. Relatives and friends said several of the men were well-educated -- many took classes at local community colleges -- but struggled to make ends meet. They noted that the men's religious beliefs appeared to have deepened and that they had begun wearing long beards and loose-fitting Afghan-style clothes.
Economic struggles, a sensation of being cut off, and then the neo-Salafi come selling the idea of greater purpose.
Moncef ben Masaoud, 21, died in a suicide attack in Baqubah last fall, according to neighbors and relatives. Skilled in computers and math, he had attended college classes in nearby Tangier. On July 27, 2006, he left home as usual for school, but never returned.
"He told me he'd be coming back the same day," his father, Haj Ahmed Masaoud, a tire dealer in a Tetouan market, told the Moroccan newsmagazine Le Journal Hebdomadaire. "In mid-August, he called me and told me he was doing fine. He said he was in Syria. That was the last contact we had with him."
Masaoud was a close friend of Amrani, the young father who also carried out a suicide bombing near Baqubah, as well as a third Tetouan man, Yones Achebbak, 23, who left for Iraq last fall. Achebbak's fate is unknown.
All three men attended the same mosque in Tetouan, a white-arched building perched on a slope in the slum district of Mezouak. The mosque's imam, Fatal Abdelillah, was arrested in November as part of the investigation into the Iraqi recruiting ring.
The phrase slum district – bidonville – reoccurs again and again the backgrounds of the foot soldiers across the region.
It was not the first time the mosque and the Mezouak slum had drawn the attention of counterterrorism investigators. Five men from the area are suspects in the March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid, which killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800.
Al-Qaeda recruiters have focused on Tetouan because it has several extremist mosques but also because of its proximity to Europe, Moroccan officials and analysts said. Spanish counterterrorism authorities have warned that recruiting networks are also active in the nearby Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla, enclaves on the northern Moroccan coast that are a holdover from the days when the region was a Spanish colony.
Actually Ceuta and Melilla are holdovers of the Reconquista and early Iberian efforts to push into the Maghreb in the 15-16th centuries.
On the recruitment networks:
"Al-Qaeda was working very hard to create coordination cells in Tetouan, because it's a close point of contact to Europe," said Darif, the Moroccan terrorism analyst. He said the Moroccan cells smuggle recruits and other operatives across the Mediterranean Sea to Spain, where they pick up false passports and move on to Turkey or Syria before slipping into Iraq.
The recruiters screen rigorously, according to counterterrorism officials. Designated "watchers" hang around radical mosques and other places to look for young men angry about the conflicts in places such as Iraq and the Palestinian territories. For months, the watchers try to whip up the potential volunteers' emotions further and convince them that they have a religious duty to intervene.
"The recruitment does not exclusively take place in the poorest parts of society, nor in the category of illiterates," said Benmoussa, the interior minister. Instead, he said, recruiters "target a category of people that is extremely sensitive to what they consider international injustice."
However, you rarely find those from privilege blowing themselves up.
A close reading also of the PJD (Justice & Development Party)
Mustapha Khalfi, a member of Parliament from the opposition Justice and Development Party, said the government was arresting suspects, based on little evidence, to please U.S. officials. "They are pushing us to do some bad things," he said. "This conflicts with U.S. policy to strengthen democracy and to strengthen human rights."
Khalfi said the number of Moroccans joining the fight in Iraq had been exaggerated. At the same time, he added, as long as the U.S. military remains in Iraq, many Moroccans will feel duty-bound to help the resistance.
"There's a long tradition in the Muslim world of solidarity against occupation," he said. "It's rooted in our society. To explain it and understand it is easy."
That last is certainly true – the resistance to the French is lionized and in many ways recalls how Americans lionize “freedom fighters” – the concepts have similar resonance as well as similar ambiguities that allow for a certain sales job.
Related comment on the Economist story of the same month, Murder in the Maghreb:
The chief concern of Western powers is not so much the existence of a serious threat to stability in Algeria itself, but rather the prospect of disparate groups in North Africa and the Sahel region coming together under the al-Qaida banner and opening a new base of operations for Islamist terrorism. ... The most worrying of the operations from the point of view of the security services and Western allies of Algeria was the attack on the bus carrying contractors working for a local affiliate of Halliburton of the US. This attack appeared to be modelled on the roadside bombings that have become a major feature of the Iraqi insurgency, and it took place in a heavily policed part of the city. It was also the first time that the GSPC had chosen to attack foreigners. A few weeks later, Tunisian security forces claimed to have foiled plans by a group of Islamist militants, some of whom had infiltrated from Algeria, to attack a number of Western embassies and hotels in Tunis. ...However, the symptoms that led to the rise of a formidable Islamist political movement in Algeria before its suppression by the military in the 1990s have by no means disappeared, despite the immensely improved economic position of the state thanks to buoyant oil and gas revenue and the appearance of a more settled political scene. The peace and reconciliation initiative …has brought a measure of relief, with more than 2,000 Islamist militants released from jail and compensation being paid to families of victims of state violence, but former Islamist activists have been excluded from taking part in public political life. Disaffection with the Algerian state and the enduring appeal of al-Qaida's call on true Muslims to resist the US and France are likely to ensure that Islamist violence will continue. The test for the Algerian authorites and their concerned Western allies will be to make sure that it is contained.
The question properly posed by Ibn Kafka is what does contained mean.
If it means that only the faux secularists who make the Western diplomats comfortable drinking gin together are allowed to compete for power, the long term result will be failure.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Just a quick note about Tetouan.
You can hardly say that it is in the heart of the Rif-country.
Its on the far northern edge of the Rif-country
Posted by: Youssef at April 14, 2007 07:18 PM
Well done. I don't doubt that economic determinism has something, maybe a lot, to do with Islamist recruitment but all too often we underestimate the legitimate arguments of the Islamists and how that is used to sway the religiously inclined. You quote ibn Kafka:
. Disaffection with the Algerian state and the enduring appeal of al-Qaida's call on true Muslims to resist the US and France are likely to ensure that Islamist violence will continue.
That seems a fair summation of the Materialist versus Idealist debate. When al Zawahiri goes on and on about al-wala wal-bara it resonates with more educated Muslims, too, for whom economic concerns are perhaps not so important. A muslim can rationalize, compromise or adapt his or her Muslimness but cannot simply ignore the real obligations that Islam demands. One can dispute with the Islamists about who or what is a true Muslim, but we can't simply say that their position is utterly and totally wrong; when we do that, me make takfir.
And no. I am in no way defending the extremists or terrorism. It's just that we too often underestimate the effects of Muslim guilt and how that is used to recruit. After all, the papers are filled with reports of excessive violence against Muslims in Iraq and Af, things that make most Muslims question the intentions of the West.
Then there's this, the base-text of economic determinism:
In the twenty-first century, only nations that share a commitment to protecting basic human rights and guaranteeing political and economic freedom will be able to unleash the potential of their people and assure their future prosperity. People everywhere want to be able to speak freely; choose who will govern them; worship as they please; educate their children—male and female; own property; and enjoy the benefits of their labor. These values of freedom are right and true for every person, in every society—and the duty of protecting these values against their enemies is the common calling of freedom-loving people across the globe and across the ages.
I call you attention to the evangelical last sentence and how that might in some way conflict with Koran 5:3. If you don't know where that quote comes from, the Islamists do. Freedom, freedom, always freedom - but not a word about justice.
One question. I know little of the Maghreb but thought that rural areas were more the pir-murshidi type of conservative Islam, and that it was in the cities that the Islamists recruited more.
Posted by: jr786 at April 15, 2007 09:32 AM
First, on location. Call it the northern edge if you will. I'd say Hoceima is northern edge, but it's all relative mate.
Second, re JR:
I frankly do not see a necessary contradiction. Disaffection with the State is tied very much to the generally ineffectual and vampiric nature. The sense of frustration and lack of justice, social, societal, moral, is intimitately tied to the economic/material frustrations. Of course the spiritual factor is there, it shapes the understanding and response.
Tie that to the general sense - oft exageratted - that the West is the responsible party for the suffering (in Iraq of course that is a fairish cop, Palestine perhaps in part, other places, not a fair cop at all), directly or indirectly and voila. Nice external enemy to blame in part domestic failure on. And not entirely undeserving.
I have no idea what pir-murshidi is, I presume some whacky Indo-Pak muslim phrase, but Murshid style rural soufism - although the terminology is different - is indeed a dominant form in the countryside. However, it's when these relatively unlearned folks migrate to the cities that they come into contact with modern neo-Salafist ideas, and their rural soufism doesn't fit anymore with the rather Dickensian slums.
And of course it's no accident that this happens in a place like Casablanca where you have a "native" population that is highly cosmopolitan (more or less up and down the social ladder) mixing with people from far less cosmopolitan backgrounds, enormous social tensions, a poor labour market, not enough job creation, and miserable living circumstances cheek-and-jowel with standards of living of 'poor Europe' quality, never mind the elite who live like Parisians.
All the bombers in Morocco so far have come from the most dire urban poverty in the country.
Same kids who smash cars when coming back from football games. Come into center city for football, see the fancy life, get angry....
Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 15, 2007 11:58 AM
No disagreement with anything here. Of course, the Islamists will tailor their message to their audience, so urbanity and 'cosmopolitanism' will be used to reinforce the good, 'simple Muslim' discourse of the Islamist recruiters - everybody like to be told that they are the 'real' Muslims. I guess it's a kind of Islamic populism, as your your last sentence suggests - one cure, at least, for economic-based resentment is the idealist discourse of the Islamist. Too many people, for too long, have underestimated the strength of the Islamist argument, how sophisticated they really are. I'm not saying that you are one of those people, although I was, just that the combination of economic disenfranchisement and really skillful Koranic exegesis is tough to fight against. A lot of non-Muslims seem to think that the Islamist argument is just claptrap, but it's not. I'm not even considering the colonial history and current American led butchery of the Muslims.
The greatest danger has always been that better informed Muslims would come to believe that Islam itself really is being threatened. I think this is the moment that we are living now - it's getting harder to argue against this, something that the Iranians, for example, understand very well.
Well, watch yourself, and remember the suras of protection - no joke. These are sad days for us, G-d protect us.
Posted by: jr786 at April 15, 2007 08:14 PM
There's another factor that should be weighed in as regards the public reaction to the recent bombings in Casablanca: the bombings on March 11 and April 10 took place in poor areas (Sidi Moume, Hay Farah), and although boulevard Moulay Youssef is upscale it is still a fairly mixed area. The feeling among those I've spoken with is that everyone is at risk - in contrast with May 16, 2003, where the targets where Jewish or Western (Spanish restaurant, hotel), this time every Moroccan felt that it could have been his or her turn to be struck down in a suicide bombing.
This really makes a difference, I think, and explains why public reaction has gone so heavily against the terrorists. I wish to underline this, since I've been struck with how little people in Casablanca seemed to care about May 16, 2003. Today, the reaction is very different (not to say that back in 2003, public opinion backed the terrorists - the bombings were roundly condemned, but spontaneous public outcry was limited). Many avaerage citizens in Hay Farah and around boulevard Moulay Youssef took actively part in looking for suicide bombers, and the third suicide bomber arrested on Saturday was chased by a group of policemen and bystanders.
Anyway, the social dimension of the present surge in terrorism in Morocco is striking. According to witnesses interviewed in the press, the suicide bombers last Tuesday and this Saturday were at pains to avoid blowing themselves up among civilians, and aimed at policemen - and Americans in the case of the boulevard Moulay Youssef bombers.
The situation in Algeria is different, for now at least - the terrorists didn't hesitate to kill indiscriminately, and it is after all the continuation of the civil war of the 90's, which had mixed social and political roots.
Posted by: Ibn Kafka at April 16, 2007 01:38 PM
I agree, although my sensation of 2003 was slightly different insofar as I thought there was spontaneous revulsion - but in this instance, as I was right at the site, by bad chance taking my breakfast at that certain hotel, the popular revulsion was palpable.
It was clear people were angry, and from what I saw from a distance re the 3rd guy, he was lucky the police were there, I think otherwise he might have been beaten to death.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at April 16, 2007 02:03 PM
I don't mean to say that there was no revulsion in 2003 - there certainly was, and no substantial quarters of the population expressed support for what happened. It simply seems to me, based on anecdotical evidence and on what I've read and heard on the media that the revulsion is coupled now with real anger at the terrorists - and my guess is that this is connected to the fact that they chose to blow themselves up in the street, in poor or mixed areas, and not in targeted locations such as hotels, restaurants and the like, not frequented by 90% of the population.
"from what I saw from a distance re the 3rd guy, he was lucky the police were there, I think otherwise he might have been beaten to death" - well, it's early yet...
Posted by: Ibn Kafka at April 17, 2007 06:41 AM