Thursday, July 21, 2005

London Blasts - Terrorist Strategy?

On my way into work this morning, I heard the news of the new round of explosions in London.

Just like the July 7 bombings, these four were near simultaneous, three on the Tube (Subway / Metro), and one on a bus. Fortunately, no one was killed, and only one person mildly injured. These explosions were minor by comparison to July 7, and apparently only were caused by detonators. No additional expolives were involved.

There will of course be innumerable questions that will arise as a result of this 'copycat' attack. Was it related to the first attack, or merely opportunistic? What can be done to prevent another round?

It really does not matter whether or not this is a follow on attack, or an opportunistic copycat action. It will have succeeded in making some people afraid. Sadly, that is the terrorists goal; to seed fear in the populace. Alternately, a number of people will shrug off this attack, and with typical British flair, will comment more on how the bumblers messed up. They'll show a sense of bravado. It is definitely steeling the resolve of people to deal with the the terrorist threat.

The fact is, the terrorists don't need to set off large bombs with each attack. If they keep setting off small attacks, and only occasionally set off a large one, they'll likely succeed in making people paranoid. Hopefully it won't reach that stage though.

Interestingly, and hopefully, the 'success' of this small attack might also work against them. People will become more vigilant. They will learn to watch for signs, they will become more aware of what's going on around them, and the authorities will get more useful tips and information to work with, which will allow them to prevent more attacks.

Having dealt with the IRA for so long, Britian's security forces are more prepared than most for this type of counter-intelligence, and for the infiltration of potential threats. Hopefully, they can learn enough and will be able to identify individual cells based on commonalities or relationships, and shut them down before they can act.

In the immediate future, I hope that the perpetrators of these attacks will hopefully be found quickly, and brought to justice. Hopefully enough can be learned during the investigation to prevent other attacks by realated groups.

I am grateful that no one was seriously insured in these attacks. I hope that Londoners can return to their routines quickly, and that no future incident occur.