Skip to comments.Al-Qa'eda 'behind attack on oil tanker' (WELCOME TO THE PARTY, JACQUES ALERT)
Posted on 10/07/2002 4:05:20 AM PDT by MadIvan
President Jacques Chirac sent a team of investigators to Yemen last night to determine the cause of an explosion that ripped through the French supertanker Limberg.
M Chirac faced the strong possibility that the vessel, which was still in flames last night, was the target of a daring attack by al-Qa'eda.
Got with the programme now, Jacques? Appeasement doesn't work. It never will. - Ivan
Osama bin Laden's network has a strong presence in Yemen and the United States Navy had given warning only weeks ago of such an attack.
Ali Abdallah Saleh, the Yemeni president, assured M Chirac that local investigations "would be carried out with all the required diligence". His prime minister, Abdul Qader Bagrammal, asked a Canadian oil firm to help put out the blaze and clear up what is expected to be an ecological catastrophe.
The French owners, Euronav, said 24 of the 25 crew were safe. Among those on board were eight Frenchmen and 17 Bulgarians. Euronav said the missing man was Bulgarian.
The Limberg is one of 10 tankers owned by Euronav. It said the ship left Bahrain on Sept 22 with 56,000 tons of crude oil on board and was planning to load a further 140,000 in Yemen. From Yemen it was due to sail to Malaysia.
Alain Ferre, a Euronav director, suggested the attack might have been motivated by commercial rather than political considerations. "At first glance it seems like they just want to dissuade tankers from fuelling up in the Persian Gulf," he said.
The timing of the explosion immediately suggested a terror attack. Last month, the United States Navy warned tankers to beware of attacks in the Gulf.
It comes one week before the second anniversary of the ramming of a bomb-packed dinghy into the American destroyer Cole and a day before the first anniversary of the start of the US campaign to oust the Taliban from Afghanistan. The trial of 15 Yemenis implicated in the attack on the Cole is due to begin within days.
Yemen is the birthplace of the father of Osama bin Laden, a construction millionaire who made his fortune in Saudi Arabia and settled there. Al-Qa'eda never issues claims of responsibility for its attacks.
At first sight France appears an unlikely target for attack. Traditionally, it is considered to be one of the Western governments most sympathetic to Arab causes. President Chirac is welcomed as a hero by Palestinian youths on his visits to the Middle East.
Fat lot of good it did you, eh, Jacques? Try siding with the cause of justice next time - Ivan
But to bin Laden and his associates France is part of the Western assault on the Arabian peninsula. A wall map in one of bin Laden's training centres in Kabul depicts the French navy and French military bases on the Red Sea coast of Africa as part of the "Crusader assault on Islamic Holy Places".
In May, a suicide bomber detonated a van packed with explosives outside a hotel in Karachi, Pakistan, where French naval engineers were getting on a bus taking them to work.
Fourteen people, including 11 Frenchmen - who were helping in the construction of a Pakistani attack submarine - were killed in the blast, which was quickly attributed to al-Qa'eda.
France is now under greater pressure than ever from the Arab world as it assumes a pivotal role in the delicate negotiations preparing the way for a possible war in Iraq.
Of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, it holds the central ground between the hawks in the US and Britain and the doves in Russia and China.
While France has resisted coercion from Washington in recent years, the newly elected conservative government in Paris has been rebuilding the bridges with the White House that its Socialist predecessor seemed intent on burning.
Under the orders of M Chirac, France's new foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, has smoothed over many of the fissures in the Franco-US relationship which opened up during the tenure of the previous foreign minister, Hubert Védrine.
But to the French it remains to be said:
"Welcome to the Party, Pal"
They're in these animals' gunsights as much as any Westerner............and they refuse to see it.
A little clue for our French friends:
"The perps are mostly Middle Eastern judging by their turbans and their...goats. They're well financed, but not all that slick. They attacked America after all."
Having been in these parts perhaps a bit too long, I speculate that this incident is reminiscent of Tonkin Gulf and the C Turner Joy.....a staged incident to give the French cover to be more helpful to US/British efforts against Iraq.
Occam's Razor says it was Al Qaeda or sympathizers, who may not have realized it was a French tanker.
The picture of Hitler in front of the Eiffel Tower sort of captured the French spirit of self-protection, I thought.
Gotta have a place to sign the surrender documents, you know.
Be Seeing You,
I don't think Al Qaeda likes any Westerners, period. They may not be that discerning.
Let's not forget that the worst spur to Islamic terrorism found refuge in France in one point.
And Air France took him back to Teheran.
LOL! I can't top that...
Last month, the United States Navy warned tankers to beware of attacks in the Gulf.
Shoulda listened Jacques.
Has France surrendered yet, or are they just gathering up Westerners to hand over?
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