...BUT YEA- " SUPER COP " CELE ARE MORE THAN ANC CONFIDANT THAT HIS "POWERFUL" UN-EDUCATED AND UN-DISCIPLINED FORCE WILL BE MORE THAN A MATCH FOR THE SONS OF CAMEL DRIVERS! ARE WE GOING TO HEAR SONGS LIKE: " PETER MOKABA STADIUM IS FALLING DOWN, FALLING DOWN,- FALLING DOWN.....?"
‘Terror threat to World Cup’
JOHANNESBURG - Terror in the stadiums. It’s any country’s worst nightmare and an expert on Islamic extremism, Professor Hussein Solomon, this week told The Citizen he believes al-Qaeda has every intention of targeting the Fifa World Cup.
Solomon said that, contrary to some opinions, he was convinced al-Qaeda intended attacking the country where crooked officials have, for years, allowed access to false passports and identity documents with which to carry out terror schemes.
But Mark Schroeder, sub-Saharan Africa expert for private intelligence company Strategic Forecasting, believes otherwise.
Schroeder said: “Any attack will hurt them more than it could benefit them.”
But Solomon, the head of the International Institute for Islamic Studies at the University of Pretoria, said he did not agree with assessments that al-Qaeda would ignore the tournament because South Africa was too valuable as a logistics hub.
“We have a terrible rot in our department of home affairs which, in many ways, is the root of all evil.
“South African passports and documents routinely turn up in the hands of criminals as well as Islamic terror cells.
“After the London bombings several years ago, vast numbers of South African passports were recovered by British police. The department of home affairs has been very heavily infiltrated,” he said.
In early 2008, a series of raids by the British police saw dozens of men arrested as part of an organised human trafficking scheme.
The suspects were jailed after the British courts found they had obtained false South African passports for Indian and Pakistani citizens who wanted to enter the UK illegally.
After the July 7 2005 London bus bombings, dozens of South African passports were found by police investigating the attacks.
Solomon said it was no secret that unscrupulous characters had been obtaining South African documents for years.
“Haroon Aswat, the mastermind of the London bus bombings and a former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, lived in South Africa for years and travelled to the UK two weeks before those bombings.
“It is fair to presume he may have been the source of the fake South African passports.
“It is also fair to presume he planned the attacks from Gauteng. He was by far the most senior al-Qaeda operative linked to the London bombings.
“Our government has shown it is either too incompetent or too sympathetic to these people to do anything about them by cleaning up home affairs.”
Solomon said South African passports also landed up in the hands of international criminals.
“They are so easy to obtain that even (actor) Wesley Snipes apparently bought himself a South African passport off a crooked home affairs official.”
Snipes explained to British media that he had obtained the fake passport so he could “keep a low profile” while filming in South Africa.
Solomon said the widespread use of South African passports had led many experts to believe that al-Qaeda would not risk losing such a fantastic resource. However, he believed that this was not the case.
“This argument presumes that al-Qaeda is a homogenous entity with a central command – which it is not.
“Al-Qaeda has already made its intentions clear. A few weeks ago, a Jamaican- born cleric was deported from Botswana after that country caught him red- handed attempting to recruit suicide bombers to target the World Cup.
“Al-Qaeda has had much of its top leadership killed or jailed. For many years, they have not been able to pull off any sort of terror ‘spectacular’ and this World Cup presents the perfect opportunity for them.”
Solomon continued: “Al- Qaeda have had years to plan an operation and plant their people here...
“They will have millions of people watching televisions and they will have no limit of targets.”
He warned: “Al-Qaeda needs to launch a terror spectacular soon if they are to remain relevant as a terror organisation and the World Cup will give them their best opportunity in years.”
But Schroeder also pointed out that South African intelligence services had only recently been “waking up” to the real threats posed by the offshoots of al-Qaeda.
Schroeder claimed that, prior to threats being made against the US embassy in South Africa last year, the South African Secret Service and National Intelligence Agency had very little or no idea of what al-Qaeda and its affiliate al-Shabaab was up to in Somalia.
Schroeder said that al- Shabaab – who have threatened to “blow up the World Cup” – was active and well established in the Cape Flats.
It was also using the Somali diaspora across Africa to raise funds for terror activities.
All the same, Schroeder said he was adamant that crime, and not al-Qaeda terrorism, should be the major concern for tourists and the South African security services.
National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele told Parliament last week that the police had investigated the al-Shabaab threat and decided it was not credible.
Cele insisted that South Africa was more than prepared for any terror threat.
ARTICLE SENT BY OUR EASTERN-CAPE CORRESPONDENT.