An explosive device was detonated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. Shortly after the initial explosion, small arms fire followed on a crowd of innocents. At the time of this writing, a lot still must be uncovered as little information is known about the recent terrorist attack. Yes, this indeed was a terrorist attack with a 99.99% likliness conducted by Islamists.
Simply looking at the few photographs in existence, any professional in national security with the minutest background in explosives could tell immediately that this atrocity stemmed from explosive devices initiated by terrorists. Which terrorist organization involved is the main question needing to be answered.
Islamists extremists have every ideological reason as to why they would target Oslo. With a few hundred military professionals joined in the fight in Afghanistan is reason enough. The main oppositions currently fighting against the ISAF coalition lack global reach–excluding Al Qaeda. Yes, some have the capabilities to inflict harm in places like Pakistan and India however; none has demonstrated the logistical means to execute their reign of terror much farther–especially not in Oslo. Intelligence professionals should not completely discount groups like the Taliban, Hezb Islami Gulbidine, LeT, and the likes yet pay closer attention to the more seasoned transnational terrorist networks.
Oslo is also home to the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, better known internationally as the “Oslo Accords.” The Oslo Accords have infused great hatred against the western free world among our current day enemies such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Al Qaeda. They have been deemed an utter failure in resolving the Palestinian-Israel peace process. It is likely one of these three terrorist groups was involved in today’s operation.
Most recently, in 2005, Muslims took the streets all over Norway and Demark in protest for the publication of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a Demark newspaper. Immediately following these protests, Al Qaeda publicly stated that they would avenge such wrong doings. Years later, maybe today’s event, was their revenge.
It is still too early to identify the main culprit of today’s attack. With time, as most terrorists groups love to boast, a group will come out claiming their attack. Infrastructure was damaged, and a small handful of lives were lost yet this incident could have been much more devastating. Psychologically, with the recent “Intercon” hotel being attacked in Kabul, and the LeT attack in Mumbai, today’s incident is surely to open the eyes of many. Hopefully, those eyes don’t see this as a means to implement overly intrusive defensive security measures rather it enlightens policy makers to go on the offensive.
Kerry Patton is the Co-Founder of the National Security Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization pending 501c (3) status. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of “Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies” and the children’s book “American Patriotism.” You can follow him on Facebook.