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Share all Share options: Why attacks like 9/11 are more likely today than they were in 2001
How Many People Died In 911
There was an explosion that damaged the World Trade Center after it was hit by two planes on September 11, 2001, in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Iconic Images From The September 11 Attacks And Their Aftermath
On September 12, 2001, friends and family asked me, a terrorism expert, if al-Qaeda would strike again. Almost 15 years later, the same question hangs in the air, even though ISIS has replaced al-Qaeda.
Back in 2001, I predicted the possibility of another major attack in the United States. Fortunately, I was wrong. The truth is, for many reasons, America is safer today than it was 15 years ago.
This does not mean that America is free from terrorism: Orlando and San Bernardino are the latest reminders that terrorism remains a serious concern.
But the death toll of 94 people killed by jihadists since 9/11 is less than a mass casualty attack like the 2015 Paris attacks (130 dead), the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (168 dead), or the bombing of – Lockerbie in 1988 (270 deaths. ), not to mention the nearly 3,000 killed on 9/11.
September 11 Fast Facts
Of course, even if 94 innocent people were killed is too many, but if we remember the separation after 9/11, it seems like an amazing achievement.
On the other hand, although the terrorist threat to the US homeland is very low, terrorist groups threaten the US
Luck undoubtedly explains part of this amazing history, and near misses like the shoe bomb of 2001 or the underwear bomb of 2009 should give us pause. But there are many factors that have contributed to making the US a safer place than it was 15 years ago.
The first issue is the relatively small number of true jihadists in America. After 9/11, fear quickly emerged in large pockets of American Muslims who were expecting an attack.
Casualties Of The September 11 Attacks
These were false: Few American Muslims support extremist groups, and those who do tend to be isolated and not part of a larger group. Within this small pool, many tend not to know. Very few know how to build a bomb, fool the FBI, or pose a serious threat.
Bumblers can still kill, and some like Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, can get lucky and kill a lot. But it is no accident that the deadliest and most sophisticated attacks are carried out by well-trained terrorists.
When non-professionals gather in large terror cells to launch a major attack, chances are at least one member will sleep on the phone, divulge to someone with unreliable information, or seriously disrupt security services.
Often, practice trips such as trips to the firing range or trying to find bomb-making materials came to the attention of the security services.
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Before 9/11, al-Qaeda tried to solve this problem by taking thousands of young Muslims to camps in Afghanistan, building a small army there that allowed them to carry out terrorist attacks around the world.
But since 9/11, it has become very difficult for American jihadists to travel and train: the fall of the Taliban destroyed al-Qaeda training sites in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and frequent drone attacks. It is difficult for large groups to unite. Here
So it’s no surprise that some of the major post-9/11 attacks—Orlando, San Bernardino, and the Boston marathon, for example—have involved would-be terrorists.
This attack was deadly, but it could have been much worse if the killers had learned basic techniques and therefore managed to save their attacks, a more destructive bomb to build in the case of Boston, or to hit more important targets.
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A gay nightclub in Orlando and a regional health center in San Bernardino don’t make it to the Twin Towers and the American Pentagon.
The US government’s efforts to combat terrorism—through military strikes on terrorist infrastructure, international intelligence cooperation led by the CIA, domestic investigations by the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security—deserve a lot of credit.
Together, they make it difficult for al-Qaeda, and now ISIS, to train, plan, organize, infiltrate, and create incredible terror.
The 9/11 attacks took several years to pull off, and involved operations and individuals in Germany, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Here Are Some Of The Photographs Of 9/11
A similar conspiracy today – with more intelligence agencies, and key agency leaders hiding or on the run – would be very difficult to pull off.
Where al-Qaeda has succeeded, however, is in promoting an ideology of violence and hatred against the West, an ideology that has now been adopted by ISIS.
Before 9/11, most jihadist groups, let alone most Muslims, did not take seriously the idea that the United States and its Western allies were at the center of the world’s problems.
The intentions and values of the West are now highly suspect, however, and terrorist violence – as well as the hostile rhetoric of Western politics and minority discrimination such as the ban on the burkini – is exacerbating this.
World Trade Center
This idea has become even more powerful in the Middle East. On September 12, 2001, there was a jihadist presence in many Muslim countries, except Algeria was small.
Today, powerful Jihadist terrorism, mostly linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS, can be found in Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, among other countries, and key allies such as Egypt. . .
Jihadist groups exploit civil wars, exploiting them to mobilize and increase bloodshed. Instability has swept the Middle East and parts of South Asia, killing hundreds of thousands and threatening the stability of many US allies.
The United States has long shown interest in the stability of the Middle East and the security of Israel and the constant flow of oil (and, at times, showing the spread of democracy in the region): The spread of jihadist violence and humanity. wars are dangerous in all these concerns.
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The political debate in the United States, however, seems to be reversing everything. Politicians on the right and left want to turn inward, ignoring how terrorist groups are destroying entire communities around the world.
At the same time, railing against American Muslims and playing up the possibilities of ISIS disasters misses the reality of the threat and defeats it. American Muslims often cooperate with law enforcement, and to exclude this community would be an outrage.
Solving many of the Middle East’s problems—or even a few of them—seems like a bridge too far for many Americans. President Obama himself doubts these goals, especially in a region that has seen more US policy disasters than successes.
At least, however, the fight against terrorism and the policy of the US towards the region should be better coordinated, to ensure that countries at risk from high levels of terrorism such as Tunisia additional attention and support while the policy towards countries such as Egypt understands that the government is corrupt. all muslims can increase terrorism there and around the world
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Despite the fact that the US has not had a terrorist attack since 9/11, terrorism is still an emotional issue. Its dangers should not be ignored, but many times they are played up or misinterpreted, contributing to bad policies and helping terrorists create more terror.
Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a senior fellow at the Middle East Policy Center at Brookings. It is his last book
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Tuesday, September 11, 2001, started out as a normal day. In New York City and Washington, DC, the morning weather was sunny and clear. Students went to school, workers went to the office, and about 17,000 people went to work at the World Trade Center.
How 9/11 Changed The World
At the end of the day, the world had changed. The United States suffered a terrible terrorist attack, nearly 3,000 people died, and suddenly history moved in a very different and violent direction.
At 8:46 am, an American Airlines plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. On board were 76 passengers and 11 crew, all of whom were killed instantly. In the next few minutes, others thought it was an accident.
At 9:03 am, the second plane crashed into the South Tower. By this time it was clear that this had not happened. The terrorist attacks continued.
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