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Chris Ford: The Boston Bombings - many questions arise

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Chris Ford
Chris Ford

 This morning's terrorist actions against the Boston Marathon were horrific. 

However, there are many questions that need asking in the wake of this tragedy. I ask these questions in the knowledge that very little, if anything, is currently known at the time of writing, about those who perpetrated this atrocity in the first place.

If this were an act of domestic inspired terrorism, then who did it? Speculation exists that if the terrorist(s) were part of a domestic plot, then it may have links to far right extremist groups. After all, remember Oklahoma City back in 1995? This link is being raised as the Boston Marathon commemorated the deaths of the 33 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre last December. Speculation has further mounted that if such a link were to be established, then it could be linked to the current debate over proposed gun control laws in the US Congress. I have little doubt that if this were the case, then it may well be that a very small minority of far-right, anti-gun control law fanatics may have tried to make their bloody point today.

If this were an act of foreign inspired terrorism, then who could it be? No doubt, many fingers will be pointed at Al Qaeda and its affiliates. They have failed numerous times to strike back since 9/11 but today, if this is the case, they may well have succeeded, albeit on a far smaller scale. If this attack is sourced to Al Qaeda then this raises the question of how successful the Americans own war against Al Qaeda has been. Therefore, is it effective to keep targeting Al Qaeda and its affiliates through military means or should they pursue them for what they really are - as criminals, nothing more, nothing less. Also countless American drone strikes under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have killed more innocent civilians than actual Islamist fighters in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq over the last decade. That tactic has simply turned a minority of Muslims against the United States, effectively providing a recruitment pool for Al Qaeda to exploit. If today's attacks came from Al Qaeda, then this will prove that Osama or no Osama, the network he founded is still a potent and deadly force to be reckoned with.

I think that some people will even be speculating that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have ordered the attacks. I realise that North Korea has sponsored terrorist actions against South Korea, most notably the 1983 killing of South Korean Cabinet members in Rangoon, Burma. However, I don't think the North Koreans, despite their latest bout of bellicose rhetoric would risk a direct terrorist strike against the United States at this time. Their rhetoric has been widely observed to be just that - rhetoric. Kim the Even Younger wants to preserve his regime as well and a war with the United States and South Korea would (eventually) destroy it.

At the time of writing (1pm, Tuesday 16 April) reports are coming in that what police describe as 'a person of interest' has been detained. This person may or may not have had anything to do with today's bombing. Nonetheless, we're sooner or later going to find out who did it and why. And if it's a home grown action rather than a domestic one then another question might well be asked by Americans - who is more dangerous? Some foreigner who has escaped numerous immigration checks or the nice neighbour with the American flag on their drive way who spouts extremist views?

Interesting times indeed.

(NB: I have seen it noted by several Facebook friends that there were also bombings in states that American actions have helped destabilise in recent times - Iraq and Afghanistan - overnight. What's happened in Boston today is a daily occurrence in those countries and is indicative of Muslim upon Muslim violence. It leads me to believe too that if this action is domestically-inspired terrorism, then this will similarly be treated as an act of American upon American violence, yet again. )

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