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Richard A. Clarke was the nationwide coordinator for safety and counterterrorism within the Invoice Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
A twisty, slim manner within the cramped coronary heart of Vienna’s oldest quarter, a busy road in an upscale neighborhood of Tehran and distant woods in Nigeria appear unlikely to share a theme or have relevance for the incoming Biden administration.
As Viennese had been having fun with their final night time out within the little bars of the Innere Stadt on Nov. 2, earlier than one other COVID lockdown began, the music and good instances had been out of the blue punctuated by the sharp staccato of gunfire. A younger radical Islamist ran via the cobblestoned alleys close to the outdated synagogue, capturing 27 individuals, 4 fatally, earlier than being shot lifeless by police. An Austrian-born son of immigrants, the 21-year-old shooter had beforehand been in custody for help of ISIS.
Three months earlier, in a cushty neighborhood north of downtown Tehran, as residents walked alongside the tree-lined streets after dinner on a summer time night time, 5 photographs rang out. Two males on a bike sped away from the scene, leaving the motive force and the passenger of a Renault bleeding out within the entrance seat. The killing got here on Aug. 7, the anniversary of al-Qaida’s murderous assaults on two U.S. East African embassies in 1998.
The lifeless man, identified to the U.S. as Abu Muhammad al-Masri, had masterminded that 1998 operation and lots of different of al-Qaida’s lethal actions. On the time of his loss of life, he had turn into the deputy chief of the fear group and was dwelling undercover in Iran. The New York Instances reported that his loss of life was carried out by Israeli intelligence property on the request of U.S. authorities, who had al-Masri on the FBI Most Needed Listing for years.
In between the shootings in Vienna and Tehran, an American dwelling on a farm in Africa, 5 miles inside Niger from the Nigerian border, had been kidnapped by six armed males. 4 nights later, on Halloween, because the hostage-takers stood about their camp in Nigeria, 5 of them collapsed, concurrently falling to the bottom lifeless from silenced rounds shot from the darkness.
U.S. Navy Seals had flown in from Virginia, silently jumped from MC-130 plane onto an improvised touchdown zone miles from the camp, and walked to their firing positions. The quiet was then damaged as U.S. Marines’ Osprey plane landed to extract the Seals and the rescued American. U.S. authorities had acted shortly to stop the hostage from being handed over to an ISIS affiliate group working within the space.
None of those dramatic occasions garnered a lot media protection within the U.S., targeted because the nation is on the presidential election and public well being disaster. If the reporting round every of the three occasions is correct, as seems to be the case, collectively they need to serve to remind us of three issues.
First, ISIS and even al-Qaida are nonetheless extant and plotting additional assaults on the West and the U.S. Furthermore, the Tehran authorities, which has denied each the reviews of the al-Qaida chief’s loss of life and likewise any Iranian function in any respect in supporting terrorism within the area, seems to have had a hand in supporting the remnants of al-Qaida for years, together with offering its management secure haven.
The capturing in Tehran additionally served to remind us of Iran’s persevering with hand in terrorism in Iraq. Maybe not coincidentally, the assassination final August befell in entrance of the Tehran secure home of an Iraqi terrorist chief. That man, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, was additionally killed by the U.S. He was hit together with Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad by a U.S. drone strike.
Second, the USA, appearing with its companions, continues to be conducting counterterrorism operations in areas the place terrorists may need judged that they had been safe and immune from U.S. justice. No different nation on the earth may, or would, have been capable of rescue considered one of its residents 96 hours after being taken, by sending a commando group greater than 3,000 miles supported by an air armada of specialised plane. The hit on al-Masri, coming 22 years to the day after the assaults on our Nairobi and Dar es Salam embassies, additionally signifies but once more that neither Israel nor the USA stop to pursue terrorists who’ve killed their residents, irrespective of how lengthy it takes.
Third, focus because it should on the pandemic and rebuilding America’s standing overseas, the Biden administration can not afford to assume terrorism is a threat of the previous. In fetid ISIS refugee camps and detention facilities in Iraq and Syria, the following era of terrorists is being radicalized to hunt their revenge.
Radical Islamist terrorism may largely be out of sight for People of late. It should not be out of thoughts.