What Does Canada’s Blocked Terrorist Attack Mean for the Country?
Just as the Boston terrorist saga was coming to an end, a new Canadian terrorist plot was thwarted. Yesterday the The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) revealed in a news conference they arrested two foreign citizens named Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser from the Montreal and Toronto areas respectively. It’s a good piece of press for the Mounties, who’ve had a banner couple of months with a damning missing women’s report and the Canadian-born terrorists who wound up participating in the Al-Qaeda attack on a gas plant in Algeria. Not to mention, the news comes exactly a week when their American counterparts, the FBI, failed to thwart their own home-grown terror attack in Boston.
According to the RCMP, Esseghaier and Jaser planned on derailing a passenger train and killing innocent civilians. Reuters was reporting they specifically targeted the VIA rail route linking Toronto and New York City (something bound to upset Mr. Obama). Apparently there wasn’t an imminent public threat, but the authorities monitoring them (since August 2012) might’ve been spooked in light of the Boston bombings. It’s also worth mentioning the operation to arrest these suspected-terrorists (literally called “Operation Smooth”), was done with the support of the FBI and Homeland Security.
It’s especially unsettling information for most security watchers who’ve been waxing poetic on the danger ofterrorists-in-our-midst for the better part of a decade following 9/11. Yet for even the casual observer, this Canadian flavored terrorist-takedown is not something that should be easily ignored. There are definite signs of concerns coming out of these arrests.
For one, this is the first instance of Al-Qaeda following through with supporting an actual planned attack on Canadian soil. While Bin Laden apparently named Canada as a target in papers recovered from his assassination, we’ve never been considered a prime objective for Islamic terrorists. The reason being—as some intelligence experts have told me in the past—terrorists have historically seen Canada as a home-base, a place to lay low or carry out covert funding efforts for global attacks.