Targeting Japan in IraqóAn Easy Prediction
Reference: "Anguish in Japan After 3 Civilians Become Pawns in Rebels' Strike at an American Ally," by James Brooke, New York Times, 9 Apr, p. A10.
In my blog posted 19 March entitled, "Handicapping the Gap: Spain's 3/11," I made the following unremarkable prediction:
"With Old Europe seemingly wobbling, al Qaeda might well look to target the last of the trio of Old Core pillars, Japan. Thereís no need to conduct terrorism on their soil, now that Japan has gone through with the very difficult decision to send troops into harmís way in Iraq. So just about any reasonably successful strike against Japanese soldiers is guaranteed to register asóand you should get used to hearing this phraseóìthat nationís biggest single case of combat casualties since World War II.î That was the case for Italy when they lost roughly a dozen and a half personnel a while back in Iraq. It may sound like a stunning threshold, but it isnít. It just says that, except for the U.S., the Old Core pillars of Western Europe and Japan are so far removed from their warfighting past that any loss of life is a historical novelty sure to shock the populace."Well, the previously unknown Mujahedeen Brigades took an even simpler route: it just grabbed three Japanese civilians to use them to blackmail Tokyo into withdrawing its peacekeeping troops, "the first dispatch of Japanese troops to a war zone since World War II" (watch for that phrase in the Washington Post article on Sunday). For now, Japan says it isn't budging, but the opposition party is already calling for a pullout, and parliamentary elections are looming in July.
If ten backpack bombs buys one election in Spain, can three hostages alter one in Japan? If you don't think hostages make an incumbent look weak in national elections, talk to Jimmy Carter, unelected in 1980.