mapping Al-Qaeda terror since 9-11

Garance Franke-Rute of TAP has compiled a list of terror attacks by Al-Qaeda. I've listed the ones that have occurred post-9/11 below and have also mapped them by country. Note that I am also including Iraq, since there is general agreement that Al-Qaeda was behind most of the larger terror attacks against the Shi'a in the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. However I lack the resources to find reliable estimates of civilian casualties. Also note that I have omitted Israel because Hamas, not Al-Qaeda, is behind the murders there.

country list of terror attacks. click for victim mapThese attacks are also displayed graphically by country at right using the Visited Countries mapping application. Clicking that map will reveal another map of all countries who have lost civilians to Al-Qaeda attacks since 9-11, on or off their soil.
  • April 2002: Explosion at historic synagogue in Tunisia leaves 21 dead, including 14 German tourists.

  • January 2002: Kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

  • May 2002: Car explodes outside Sheraton Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 14, including 11 French naval engineers.

  • June 2002: Bomb explodes outside U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12.

  • October 2002: Nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia, kill 202, including 88 Australian citizens and 23 Britons.

  • November 2002: Coordinated attacks in Mombasa, Kenya; 16 killed in a suicide bombing at a hotel, while surface-to-air missiles were fired at a chartered Israeli airliner.

  • May 2003: Suicide bombers kill 34, including eight Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

  • May 2003: Four bombs targeting Jewish, Spanish, and Belgian sites in Casablanca, Morocco, killing 33 and injuring more than 100.

  • August 2003: Suicide car bomb kills 12, injures 150, at Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • November 2003: Explosions rock a Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, housing compound, killing 18 and wounding 122, including many workers from Egypt and Lebanon.

  • November 2003: Suicide car bombers simultaneously attack two synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 25 and injuring hundreds.

  • November 2003: Two truck bombs explode outside the British consulate and the headquarters of the London-based HSBC bank in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 26 and injuring hundreds.

  • December 2003: Attempted assassination of Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff.

  • March 2004: Train bombing in Madrid, Spain, kills 190 and injures more than 1,000.

  • March 2003 - March 2004: ongoing attacks against civilians in Iraq, especially large bombings in Najaf and Karbala against Shi'a pilgrims.

Ardent Bush partisans will try to paint the mere statement of these facts as the straw-man argument "Lefties blame Bush!" but this isn't about blame, it's about evaluating performance. As Garance notes, Al-Qaeda has evolved thanks to the breathing room it gained in Afghanistan while our attention has been focused on Iraq. The result has been an explosion in Al-Qaeda activity worldwide, stretching across the Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the South Pacific. The cancer analogy is apt - these are metastases, and the proliferation of al-Qaeda across the planet means that we are also at larger risk.

We cannot leave Iraq, however, so we are stuck in this situation for the forseeable future regardless of who wins the election in 2004. I think that 2004 needs to be a referendum on the success of the current Administration in containing and eliminating the worldwide threat of terror, not just move it off our shores for a brief interval. An interval that is rapidly drawing to an end:

The FBI issued an alert Thursday to tighten security in the petrochemical industry because of uncorroborated information that al-Qaida may try to blow up pipelines and refineries in Texas to influence the November presidential election.
The Houston region is home to four of the 10 largest refining facilities in the nation.

Of course, funding for Homeland Security is inherently constrained by the higher priority given to tax cuts, Iraq reconstruction, and falsely-advertised Medicare bills by the present Administration.

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