This was not how Gordon Brown hoped to begin his term as Britain’s new prime minister. But shortly after assuming office last Wednesday, Brown found himself facing a full-blown terror spree: 36 tension-filled hours that saw two car bombs discovered in London and found grim punctuation this weekend when a Jeep Cherokee, manned by Islamic terrorists, crashed in a fiery blaze into the main terminal of Scotland’s Glasgow Airport.
No one familiar with the events of recent years will surprised to learn that the suspects are all Muslims. Media accounts of the Glasgow attack described the men as “Asian,” a common shorthand for Britons of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin, and witness accounts left little doubt about the attackers’ faith tradition: Those on-scene in Glasgow recalled that one of the attackers, even as he was engulfed in flames, bellowed “Allah, Allah” while resisting police.
And while reports that one of the attackers had donned a Hamas-style suicide belt await further corroboration, British counter-terror forces have no illusions about whom they’re dealing with. Lord John Stevens, a former police chief who has been tapped as a terrorism adviser to Brown, made that abundantly clear when he noted that “[t]his weekend's bomb attacks signal a major escalation in the war being waged on us by Islamic terrorists.”
That prompts the question: Why now?