Monday, December 29, 2003

I'm Not Sure I'm Following

Is this some kind of game?
Israeli intelligence officials say militant groups are planning a major "non-conventional" attack on New Year's Eve

Possible targets are holy sites, nursery schools, apartment buildings and hospitals.

Police have been told to prepare for three possible scenarios: an air or sea-based attack or a ground assault involving several simultaneous suicide bombings, the officials said.

Senior [Israeli] intelligence officials know which of the three scenarios is most likely, but are reluctant to share the information with police officers to prevent leaks, the officials said.

Let me get this straight. They are either so certain about the planning behind the attacks, and in their confidence in being able to stop them, that they don't care to prevent the attacks from being attempted in the first place (since they fear leaks more than having precise preparation), or they're really not as sure as they claim, and covering all bases.

Another intriguing possibility is a spontaneous, unannounced test of terror threat mobilization, which would explain not leaking the actual details to the police, since it would be a readiness simulation.

If this is for real though, and I'll assume it is, what I don't get is that by leaking this announcing the Israelis are tipping their hand to the terrorists, so they can't be that certain. "We know you're coming, but we're not going to tell you where." Either way, the terrorists could decide to wait for another less obvious day, and just let the Israelis waste a bunch of money on a phantom threat.

Speaking of the "obvious day" aspect of New Years Eve, what's not obvious are the choice of targets on New Years Eve. The only reason I can think of for them to strike on New Years Eve would be because masses of people are partying together, which would be parades and New Years parties, i.e. big public gatherings, and not hospitals, holy sites, nursery schools, and apartment buildings.

They can hit those sites anytime, so why on New Years Eve? Because of the overall chaos of the New Years revelling scene?