Al-Qaeda Targeting Ireland?

Irish authorities arrested three Afghan nationals at a hostel for asylum seekers last night on suspicion of terrorist activity. It calls into question the common wisdom that terrorists exist because of Western oppression or cultural arrogance:

Three Afghan men remain in Garda custody in Co Kerry on suspicion of terrorist activity.

It follows a raid on a hostel in Tralee last night, during which suspected bomb parts were found.

A team of twenty Gardai swooped on the Atlas House apartments in Tralee at around half-six last night, acting on intelligence from the Special Branch.

The premises houses all-male asylum seekers.

Inside they discovered what’s being described as possible bomb-making equipment including electrical devices and remote controls.

Why target the Irish? They don’t participate in our operations in Iraq or in Afghanistan. They have argued against the Iraq mission vociferously, and haven’t been especially supportive of the NATO mission against the Taliban in Afghanistan. In short, they have been one of the most pacifist nations in Europe during the war on radical Islamist terrorists.

A jihadi mission against Ireland would destroy the self-blaming explanations that many in Europe and the US offer regarding the nature of Islamist terrorism. It would show that the terrorists don’t target the West because of American foreign policy, or because of Western support for Israel. They target the West because of its secular governments and Christian cultures. In that context, Ireland makes a perfect target, especially since they might have been caught napping if they actually bought the we-brought-it-on-ourselves meme.

However, the Irish know a few things about terrorism. They have dealt with it for decades and know the warning signs. If the jihadis thought they could sneak something past the Garda, they apparently have not studied much about the Troubles and the success the Republic had in protecting themselves from the conflict. The jihad came up against a nation that has always had to be vigilant against violent nutcases, and in this case these nutcases tended to stick out a lot more than those the Irish have had to find in the past.