Live from Brussels

Musings from a bored analyst/project-manager.
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Friday, January 02, 2004
Al Quaeda on Holiday?

So 2004 has begun without unexpected fireworks or major attacks. This is the second holiday season to pass without attacks targeting malls, massive street parties or football games. This despite the 'Orange Alert', causing some party people on Times Square to defiantly wear Orange Alert hats.

The more I think about it, the less I'm surprised by all of this. I'm not saying Al Quaeda is finished, far from it. The spate of warnings, flight cancellations and oil-tanker threats (read more about all of that
The Command Post - Global War On Terror page) seem to indicate
something is brewing. It even looks like the intel is so specific that they have flight numbers and all this time...

But it simply isn't Al Quaeda-style to attack the kind of targets I mentioned in the first paragraph, it seems to me. Their previous operations were all against 'everyday' targets like barracks, embassies, office-buildings, warships, passenger-jets... From an organizational point of view, a quite logical choice, if you ask me. Suppose you are planning a major attack, but one or more of your operatives get the flu or get stuck in traffic or whatever. Wouldn't you want to pick a target that was still there to attack the next day so you could just delay the operation? 9/11 or 9/12, what's the difference? You just want to kill infidels, right?

But if you aim for a Christmas-shopper-filled mall, or a Times Square full of New-Year partygoers, you don't have the luxury of being able to strike when you are ready. It adds an unnecessary deadline to your 'project'. Some of your operatives may not show up, others might expose their cover too early and get 'burned', leading to the dismantling of your operation before you've even been able to inflict any damage.

No, waiting and striking when you are ready and when your opponent least expects it, that's more like them. But then again, that might be what they want us to think...

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

I just read that one of my favourite restaurants in Leuven has burned down: Leuvens restaurant De Wiering uitgebrand (source: GvA). They had the best honey-sauce covered grilled ribs this side of the Atlantic Ocean. A sad day indeed...

Monday, December 29, 2003

Steven Den Beste has once again written a nice, long and yummy post over at USS Clueless: using ideas from chemistry, biology, computer science, engineering and many other fields he makes some very interesting conclusions regarding human hive minds and the internet. Worth a read if you have fifteen minutes to spare!