ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, July 15, 2005

Arrest in Egypt

The Counterterrorism Blog has a post on the biography of suspected terrorist Magdi Asi el-Nashar who was arrested in Egypt today:

El-Nashar earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry and organic chemistry, respectively, at Cairo University.
[...]
Michael Cutler reminds me that his interests are noted as "biocatalytic materials and ...enzyme immobilization...biocatalysis and the design and operation of biocatalytic processes with potential for technical applications," which sounds to us laymen like the study of bio-chem warfare.
Sounds that way to me as well. Two thoughts:

1.) It sounds like the 4 that blew themselves up in the attacks did not make the bombs used in the destruction. So without educated Mr. el-Nashar, their attacks wouldn't have been able to proceed.

2.) A bio-chem expert is making conventional bombs. And exposing himself to potential arrest, etc. Why expose such a valuable asset?

Possible reasons:
a) Al Queda has plenty of chemical engineers in its employ, so this one wasn't that valuable

or

b) Al Queda was desperate to launch an attack, and hasn't been able to create the materials necessary for a more deadly attack using biological or chemical weapons.

or

c) Mr. el-Nashar (or whoever masterminded the plot) couldn't wait for orders on high any longer, and ran a rogue operation on his own.

or

d) something else entirely, or a combination of the above.

B and C would suggest that Al Queda is running out of options or control of its network. A good thing in my book and valuable confirmation that the U.S. and the rest of the Anglosphere is on the correct track in the Global War on Terror.

Item A suggests that a more significant attack is around the corner, but if thats the case, why hasn't it happened?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian