Thursday, April 29, 2004

T&T: Terrorist bases? NIMBY (not in my back yard)!!

The presence of “hostile sectors” in Trinidad and Tobago makes this country a prime location for international terrorist bases, but there is no hard evidence that such bases exist here, according to Rand Corporation senior policy analyst, Dr Angel Rabasa. Dr Rabasa, who spoke at the monthly meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce of TT at the Hilton Trinidad yesterday, said terrorists operate successfully worldwide because of “the presence of communities that could provide the support for extremist and terrorist networks.” He said such communities exist in TT.

“The fact that these communities exist, creates opportunities for foreign terrorist and extremist groups to come in and recruit local operatives, who may be familiar with the local situation and therefore more effective in enabling them to conduct support for other types of operations. TT is at some risk at becoming host to terrorist organisations,” he warned. Rabasa said TT is the only Caribbean and Western Hemispheric nation to have experienced Islamic violence (the attempted coup of July 1990) and there have been unconfirmed reports since then of Jamaat-al-Muslimeen involvement in local crime.

“In the case of Islamic terrorist groups, you have to look for what are the possible modes of influence for these groups. They would come into mosques or Islamic schools. They would send operatives into mosques that are considered sympathetic to their particular ideology,” he explained. He also observed that there were TT nationals who travelled to countries like Pakistan to conduct Islamic studies and Pakistan was one place where pockets of radical Islamists thrived.

TT’s reputation as a major LNG supplier, its telecommunications infrastructure, direct flights to the United States and decades-old regional criminal networks and the host of international corporations located here, also increase TT’s attractiveness to international terrorists.
I wish these RCs in TT would behave themselves. I mean, they have to be the ones considered as "hostile sectors," right? After all, who else could it be? Spiritual Baptists, maybe?

Imagine that! TT nationals heading out to Pakistan to conduct "Islamic studies"; we know, from the last crush in Mecca, that at least one TTian is in Saudi Arabia studying Islamic law. What is a good Shi'a boy doing studying Islamic law in Saudi Arabia? What kind of ideology is he and the others who went to Pakistan learning? What are their plans for TT's free, easygoing, and bacchanalian society? How can these young men drilled into Wahhabism and the jihadist ideology promulgated by Saudi schools and Pakistani madrassas fit into a society in which near nakedness, jam, and wine is par for the course for Carnival? How long before these young men attempt to remold TT into the image and likeness of a pure Islamic state?

That there is no "hard evidence" of terrorist bases in TT does not mean that they do not exist. Instead, one may construe that authorities have been unable to prove that they are there. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Word to TTians: if you want to preserve an open society and a liberal lifestyle, time to start buying guns.


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