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Method of Predicting Al-Qaeda Attack

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posted on Jan, 11 2004 @ 12:27 AM
Everyone may be interested in this method of prediction I came across at Journal of Homeland Security titled,

How to Forecast and Preempt al-Qaeda’s Catastrophic Terrorist Warfare.

From an article by Joshua Sinai, Ph.D.

This article outlines seven predictive attack indicators to forecast catastrophic terrorism. Political leaders, policy planners, and military, intelligence, and law enforcement operators at all levels will greatly improve their capabilities to respond to the terrorist challenge if they operationalize these predictive indicators against al-Qaeda’s historic and potential strategies, tactics, and targeting. Such “red-teaming” of a terrorist group’s warfare potential is similar to the way military commanders play adversary forces (the “red teams”) against their own forces (the “blue teams”).

Methodology to Forecast Catastrophic Terrorism Against the U.S. Homeland,

Attack indicator #1: Previous terrorist attacks, failed attacks, or plots not yet executed, which serve as blueprints for intentions and future targeting

Al-Qaeda and its allies have carried out numerous successful attacks since the early 1990s; however, they also have experienced quite a few significant failed attacks. In other cases, some plots have never been executed. Synthesizing the lessons learned from a group’s successful attacks, failed attacks, and plots can generate insight into its future intentions and capabilities.

Attack indicator #2: A terrorist group’s modus operandi, especially tactics

Al-Qaeda’s modus operandi, as demonstrated by the 11 September attacks and outlined in its training manual, involves meticulous planning, training, and precisely timed simultaneous execution. Such warfare capability is attained through extensive training and operational and tactical innovations.

Attack indicator #3: Use of particular types of weapons and devices that a terrorist group perceives will achieve its objectives

The simultaneous suicide bombing attacks of 11 September portend that the next phase will likely involve even more catastrophic assaults, with each successive plot employing highly innovative and deadlier weapons and devices to inflict maximum casualties and physical damage.

Attack indicator #4: The objectives of a group’s state sponsor

State sponsors are crucial to terrorist groups engaging in catastrophic warfare because the resources of a state can be helpful in so many ways. Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers provided bin Laden and al-Qaeda with a safe haven. Saddam’s regime in Iraq, until its overthrow, may have provided the group with some degree of support because of the convergence of their objectives, particularly in taking revenge against the United States. According to press reports, terrorists have been trained at Iraqi camps in chemical and biological warfare and in flying commercial aircraft. Press reports also indicated that an al-Qaeda operative, Muhammad Ataf, met an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague several times. Iran now is reported to provide al-Qaeda with logistical and other forms of support, including collaboration with Iran’s terrorist proxy, the Lebanese Hizballah.

Although there may be few apparent smoking guns, it is reasonable to assume that al-Qaeda is interested in obtaining the support of Iran’s radical clerical leaders in mounting its catastrophic warfare against their common adversaries. Such state support would provide al-Qaeda with access to certain types of weapons of mass destruction that would be difficult for the group to obtain on its own.

Attack indicator #5: The geographic factor.

Based on this predictive indicator, potential regions to be targeted by al-Qaeda are likely to range from the United States to foreign lands, especially those where the United States maintains facilities that represent significant trophy targets, such as military bases or symbols of America’s economy—a fast food restaurant chain, a hotel chain, a cruise liner, or car dealerships.

Attack indicator #6: Historical dates of particular significance to terrorist groups

Terrorist groups, particularly religious groups, place a high premium on historical dates that are significant to their religion or their religio-ethnic community. Other types of historical dates, such as politically or militarily traumatic events, are also significant. 11 September may have been especially significant because the conspirators who carried out the 1998 African embassy bombings were to be sentenced the following day for their crimes. During that period, the conspirators were in a holding cell at a courthouse in downtown Manhattan near the World Trade Center, which fact may have propelled the terrorists to attack on the preceding day.

Attack indicator #7: Triggers that propel a group to launch attacks in a revenge mode as quickly as possible ahead of a previous timeline

A spectrum of triggers propels terrorist groups to hasten the timing of terrorist attacks, usually resulting from sudden developments, such as a severe military setback. For example, al-Qaeda’s conspiracy for the 11 September attacks began some two years prior to the attacks, but 12 September may have served as a trigger for the attacks to occur on the previous day.

New and devastating al-Qaeda attacks are likely to be triggered in response to its recent military defeats, particularly in Afghanistan, the detention of their captured operatives in centers at Guantanamo Bay and other areas, the overthrow of their previous state sponsors in Afghanistan and Iraq, and other factors.

Joshua concludes,

Failing to anticipate the 11 September horrific attacks represented more than a failure of intelligence—it was a failure of imagination. Previously, such attacks were viewed as too grandiose and farfetched to be taken serious by intelligence and law enforcement authorities. Now these attacks, the attacks that have been thwarted, and other plots are perceived as likely blueprints for future catastrophic terrorist operations against the United States and its allies.

Within this context, this threat assessment is intended to provide some of the initial conceptual means to anticipate and prevent catastrophic terrorist attacks, such as those that occurred on 11 September, from occurring again.

[Edited on 11-1-2004 by Phoenix]

[Edited on 11-1-2004 by Phoenix]

[Edited on 11-1-2004 by Phoenix]

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