You could almost feel sorry for Al-Qaeda. Ten years ago, these terrorists were able to make the world tremble with shock and awe (which you can’t really blame them for, because what else would be the purpose of a terrorist organization), get long-established democracies to throw their principles over board (for which these countries could very well be blamed) and to seduce NATO into a lengthy military campaign far from its original geographical domain.
Already in the years after their large-scale attacks with planes, the weaknesses of Al-Qaeda became obvious. As is so often the case, the problem originated with the human resources department. Nobody will be scared of a “shoe-bomber” who has 6 hours time during a transatlantic flight but only manages to set his shoelaces alight or of an “underwear-bomber” who causes the most embarrassing injuries only to himself, in the process also earning the most embarrassing nickname of all the graduates of his year at Terrorism High School. In 2010 Al-Qaeda was lacking personnel so severely that they mailed packages with bombs to Jewish organisations in the US in the hope that the recipients would detonate the bombs themselves. Which they didn’t.
By then, the guys with the long beards should have learnt from the history of the guys with the long hair and should have dissolved themselves just like the Red Army Faction in Germany did. But like most megalomaniacs before them, Al-Qaeda missed the right time for retirement.
The final evidence for their demise is provided by the terror organization in its own English-language magazine Inspire. Earlier editions had included instructions on how to blow up skyscrapers, but the Spring 2013 edition suggests a completely different form of jihad: Muslims are encouraged to pour oil on the highway to cause accidents, to set fire to parked cars and to put boards with nails on the road.
The section on setting fire to parked cars explains how a match becomes a weapon of jihad: “While the Kuffar are deluded into thinking that their superior technology will defeat us, we put forth that we will defeat you even if it is by a matchstick.” The young terrorists are explicitly admonished to ensure that they don’t set fire to the cars of Muslims (a precautionary measure which most suicide bombers overlook). If you ever received one of those free copies of the Koran, you can now leave it on the dashboard. It’s a better protection against terrorism than all the NSA snooping could ever provide.
The instructions for building the board with nails to be placed on the road read like an assembly instruction from IKEA. The editors of Inspire have taken into account that the latest generation of terrorists is not too bright, as they have to spell out the warning against leaving any incriminating evidence, like ID cards or schoolbooks, at the scene of the attack.
The funniest thing of the whole magazine is the reason provided for the attacks on cars: “The goal is inshallah that if enough Muslims fulfil their obligations of Jihad, the Kuffar and their insurance companies will be so sick of the terror caused and money wasted by these simple operations that they will press their government to stop the tyranny against Muslims.”
This background puts the report on the recent traffic accident of German Chancellor Angela Merkel into a far more dangerous perspective. I hope that the German counter-terrorism community is on full alert and will finally press for a speed limit on the Autobahn.
(Dieser Artikel ist auch auf Deutsch erschienen.)