A beginner’s guide to terrorism

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With the world still reeling from the impact of the two sets of bombings in London, al Qaeda has once again grabbed headlines across the globe.

The great reporter delves deep into the psyche of the notorious organisation by means of the al Qaeda manual that acts as the bible for acts of terror.

Based on the instructions of its supreme leader the fugitive Osama bin Laden, the book lays down guidelines for members of the organisation in any part of the world to stage successful attacks against the enemy. The enemy in this case, is naturally the Western powers against whom al Qaeda issued a Jehad.

The manual begins with a pledge to all readers to take up the cause of eliminating all those who have dared to commit atrocities on Muslim women. This pledge is considered sacred for every member of the organisation.

The book then goes into every fine detail of how a terrorist should conduct himself, prior to an attack as well as following the attack. Firstly the base for any act of terror to be committed needs to be chosen with great care. Secrecy is of vital importance to one’s identity and a great deal of effort is required to maintain it.

Ideally the hideout should be a rented apartment which is neither very new nor very old. New apartments are regarded as unsuitable due to the newness of the roofs and ceilings carrying conversations in high pitch that can easily be overheard. In the case of the apartment being old, there is a greater likelihood of familiarity among the residents of the area. Therefore any newcomer to the neighbourhood would not go unnoticed endangering one’s identity.

A terrorist must have minimal belongings in his possession to reduce the danger of revealing his identity. All objects within the apartment should be kept in fixed places as much as possible so that the slightest disturbance in their positions can be instantly noticed. All phone conversations conducted on landlines needs to be kept as short as possible with code words at the beginning and end of every conversation to be exchanged.

Other desirable characteristics of the accommodation include having multiple escape routes for which the ground floor is most preferable. It is important that the going-ons inside the apartment are not visible in any way from the outside.

For any terror act to be committed two different hideouts are required, with one in urban surroundings and the other, in a remote setting. The purpose for each is for the days leading up to the attack and as a place of refuge once the attack has been carried out. However at times social and geographical circumstances may need to be taken into consideration. Stringent requirements are specified for the eligibility criteria for terrorist candidates and it is anything but easy to be assigned a mission. The primary requirement is that one should be a Muslim in belief. However this should not be obvious in their appearance whether in facial features or attire. The recommendation is to exude a calm and mild mannered demeanour. Secrecy is vital with not even the closest family members being granted knowledge of the plans.

Meticulous planning and attention to the most minute of details such as those mentioned, have been painstakingly compiled in the al Qaeda Manual. Despite the misguided objective of carrying out acts of terrorism that affect innocent lives across the globe, one can’t help but admire the time, effort and focus that have made this manual an eye-opener for the unfortunate authorities who find themselves at war with a terror outfit that has dwarfed all its predecessors in the history of mankind.