Al Qaeda ("The Secret Organization of Al Qaeda in Europe" -- via their Web site that has been shut down) has purportedly claimed an attack on London's transportation system. 4 coordinated attacks -- 3 on the Underground subway's Circle line and 1 on a double decker bus -- has incapacitated the metropolis during the morning rush hour. The selection of the Circle line was likely due to its centrality to the Underground network (a postmortem network analysis will demonstrate the validity of this).
The entire London transport system has been shut down and citizens have been urged to stay inside their homes (additionally the cell phone system was jammed with calls). There are reports that a significant number of people have been trapped inside subway cars due to the explosions and the shutdown. They are awaiting rescue. As one reporter noted: "It (London) feels like a ghost town."
This is a direct replay of the successful Madrid bombings and follows the pattern of system disruption we see emerging globally (a move to economic sabotage that was anticipated by this analyst). As we know, a single series of attacks on this scale will not harm a city's economics (see Urban Takedowns for more) in a lasting way. A "terrorism tax" that deflates the economic equilibrium of a major urban environment requires a series of attacks over a period of months that changes basic behavior.Additional thoughts:
- The conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to spillover. These conflicts are not firewalls to the spread of terrorism, rather, they are training grounds for a new type of Blitzkrieg.
- Decentralized open source warfare and terrorism entrepreneurship can routinely defeat bureaucratic nation-state intelligence systems.
- Attacks of this type aren't aimed at the moral defeat of the UK's population. They are an "insult" meant to prompt more global fragmentation (an increase in military activity, isolation, and instability). Think in terms of "effects based" operations, particularly effects that damage the economies of target countries.