July 8, 2005, Oakland, CAYesterday’s coordinated bombing attacks on London’s transit system are almost certainly the work of al Qaeda, says national security expert Ivan Eland, Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute. “Multiple, coordinated bombings are al Qaeda’s specialty,” said Eland. “So there is reason to suspect their hand behind the attacks. Al Qaeda’s main focus is against the United States, but lately the group has been targeting close U.S. allies in the Iraq War. The bombing on the train in Madrid caused Spain to withdraw its forces from Iraq. Now al Qaeda is trying to peel off a more significant ally in IraqGreat Britain.”
“The London bombings have very little to do with the G-8 summit in Scotland and much more to do with Britain’s close support of U.S. foreign policy, specifically the invasion of Iraq,” notes Eland. If the attacks had been connected to the summit per se, they would have occurred in Scotland, not London, he points out.
Evidence such as The Downing Street "Memo" along with other recently leaked British documents that show the manipulation of facts about the Iraqi threat prior to the invasion have made the war in Iraq very unpopular in Britain, according to Eland. “Al Qaeda may very well think the time is ripe to peel away Britain from the U.S. war effort by increasing the cost of participation to the British people,” he said. “Al Qaeda may be after the same effect it achieved in Spain. Ultimately, the London attacks undermine George Bush and Tony Blair’s argument that terrorists are attacking freedom and that the back of al Qaeda has been broken. Obviously, countries are being attacked for their policies, the invasion of Iraq being a prominent one.”
These attacks unfortunately point out the vulnerability of subways systems in American cities, says Eland. “The subways of New York City and Washington, D.C. are better protected after 9/11 but are still vulnerable. Other American city public transit systems have less protection.”