Jihad: More Than an Eight Second Ride

Viewpoints on the Global War on Terror from a Home on the Range.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bali Attacks of October 1st

Three bomb attacks hit the resort-haven of Bali, Indonesia yesterday, two in Jimbaran and one in Kuta beach, killing at least 26 and wounding about 130. The attacks came not far from the site of the October 12th 2002 bombing that killed 202 people.
The attacks occurred very close together, Indonesian news agencies reporting the first detonations (in Jimbaran) happened at 6:50PM and the third, in Kuta, happenings at 7:00pm.
Thanks to a recovered camcorder video and remains analysis Police in Bali are saying the attacks were the work of suicide bombers. "I have seen them. All that is left is their head and feet." Maj Gen Ansyaad Mbai said. The devices worn by the bombers were probably laden with ball-bearings or similar "added-shrapnel" pieces designed to increase the number of casualties above and beyond those injured by the blasts alone. Several victims presented with serious shrapnel wounds and others have reported to the media that their x-rays have revealed ball bearings or similar particles embedded into their bodies.
The attacks are the work of Jemaah Islamiyah, the Al Qaeda connected Islamist terror group responsible for the October 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali, resulting in 202 deaths (a majority of those foreign tourists). Jemaah Islamiyah (sometimes seen Jemaah Islamiah) is also considered responsible for the 2003 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia that killed 12 people, and the 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, resulting in 11 deaths.
Major media has reported, and still continues to report after this latest series of attacks, that Indonesian officials have been successful in disrupting JI and weakening the organization with arrests of many members, including key figures (such as Abu Bakar Bashir) behind the 2002, 2003 and 2004 bombings. This is gross-overstatement. The latest series of attacks should prove that JI, like any other organization, can successfully mount operations with many members and key figures in prison. The steady pace and continued success of JI's attacks should also speak strongly to their resiliency and flexibility as an organization - Since October of 2002 there has been one significant attack a year from JI, all in the August to October time-frame.
Two key figures in all the attacks, Dr. Azahari Husin and Noordin Mohammed Top, are still on the "run" from Indonesian authorities, and have been since 2002. Despite their fugitive status Husin and Top remain active, and are considered two of the key bomb makers for Jemaah Islamiyah. Husin is believed to have written the bomb manual that was used in the 2002 and 2003 attacks. Even if they are arrested soon their knowledge has still been spread within the network of JI, and their "contribution" to the cause will continue to be seen as other attacks are carried out. Leaders, and formal organization structures are not needed to successfully mount terrorist attacks for furthering the goals of caliphist terror organizations.

The latest attacks come at a key-time, the same day that Indonesia cut fuel subsidies raising gas prices by 125%, just two days before the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan and within the same time frame as the previous attacks. It is also a school-holiday in Australia, and an estimated 7,500 Australians were visiting Bali.
This is in keeping with the nature of the attacks of the past three years, targeting the tourist population in particular. This continues the pattern disrupting tourism, and interfering with the economy of Bali to attempt affecting Jemaah Islamiyah's goals.