About the only people reveling amid the Great Economic Crisis of 2008 are the ones living in the caves of South Waziristan.
Al-Qaeda had been trumpeting for years that the US economy was poised to collapse. They thought it would be “the force of the jihadists that’s going to push us over the edge,” Georgetown Professor Bruce Hoffman told the Washington Post.
Turns out it was a bunch of bad bets on real estate in Stockton, California but never mind because several US officials and private analysts believe the Crisis has increased the risk of a terrorist attack on US soil.
These people believe US intelligence and defense budgets are going to be cut to free up cash for domestic spending, and al-Qaeda will attempt to exploit border protection and other national defense systems that may be adversely impacted as a result.
Pakistan had been struggling with poverty and a growing insurgency before the Crisis. Now, it is a mess. Its currency reserves have been obliterated, its currency has been devalued, and inflation is squeezing just about everyone. China recently declined Pakistan’s pleas for a bail-out and there is a chance the country could default on its debt obligations.
This unhealthy mix has already produced a marked uptick in anti-Western demonstrations and violence, no doubt incited by al-Qaeda. Right now Pakistan’s teeming cities are easy pickings for the recruiting arms of terrorist organizations. It remains distinctly possible in fact that the thugs who held Mumbai hostage for 72 hours were from Pakistan.
CIA director Michael Hayden said just before the Mumbai attacks that his agency had not detected increased communications or other signs of an impending terrorist attack on US soil, which is good but let’s not forget that al-Qaeda’s only two attacks on the US homeland occurred during the first months of new presidential administrations.