Crazy Pants, the Embassy Closings, and Star Wars Reboots
The McClatchy Washington Bureau is reporting that the closing of U. S. embassies in the Middle East and North Africa has counterterrorism experts as baffled as the rest of us:
“It’s crazy pants – you can quote me,” said Will McCants, a former State Department adviser on counterterrorism who this month joins the Brookings Saban Center as the director of its project on U.S. relations with the Islamic world.
“We just showed our hand, so now they’re obviously going to change their position on when and where” to attack, said Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst who was part of the team that hunted Osama bin Laden for years.
“It’s not completely random, but most people are, like, ‘Whaaat?’ ” said Aaron Zelin, who researches militants for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and blogs about them at Jihadology.net
“I’m not going to argue that it’s not willy-nilly, but it’s hard for me to come down too critical because I simply don’t know their reasoning,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counterterrorism specialist at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington research institute.
Gartenstein-Ross is further quoted as saying that speculating about the reasons behind the closings is no more fruitful than about a future Star Wars reboot. We just don’t know enough.