Likely Targets?

By Miniter, Richard | Newsweek, May 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Likely Targets?


Miniter, Richard, Newsweek


Byline: Richard Miniter

Al Qaeda will surely seek reprisals for the death of Osama bin Laden. While no one can predict where or when with any certainty, here is a list of targets that might draw al Qaeda's fire.

RAS Tanura Oil Terminal

Six percent of the world's oil flows from this single facility in Saudi Arabia, making it an ideal target. Its destruction would cause a headline-grabbing explosion, wreak economic havoc by driving up world oil prices, and hurt the U.S. and Saudi Arabia simultaneously. (The terror network considers the leaders of the oil kingdom to be apostates.) The terminal has been attacked at least twice before and was narrowly saved by heroic guards each time. Al Qaeda likes to return to targets until it succeeds in destroying them, as the attacks on the World Trade Center (1993, 2001) and U.S. warships show.

U.S. Embassy, Amman

While U.S. embassies and consulates have been targets of Al Qaeda for almost 20 years, most have been relocated far from city centers or reinforced with rings of steel and concrete. The embassy in Jordan's bustling capital has been slow to put all its armor on. That vulnerability has not gone unnoticed. Amman isn't foreign territory for the terror network. Al Qaeda and similar groups have carried out bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations there in the past decade. An embassy attack sends a clear message to Washington that Al Qaeda is still in the fight.

United Nations

It is an alphabet soup of vulnerabilities, partly because the world body refuses to acknowledge that Al Qaeda -considers it a target, not a neutral. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was Al Qaeda's No. 2 until bin Laden died, has written explicitly that the U.N. is a target because it does not follow Sharia. …

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