"Four days later [after March 11 Madrid Bombing], the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, a group claiming affiliation with Al Qaeda, sent a bombastic message to the London newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi, avowing responsibility for the train bombings. "Whose turn will it be next?" the authors taunt. "Is it Japan, America, Italy, Britain, Saudi Arabia, or Australia?" The message also addressed the speculation that the terrorists would try to replicate their political success in Spain by disrupting the November U.S. elections. "We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections," the authors write. Bush's "idiocy and religious fanaticism" are useful, the authors contend, for they stir the Islamic world to action. "
(Transcript source: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040802fa_fact)
I first heard this "extended translation" this morning in a commentary from an Iraqi nuclear scientist Imad Khadduri on http://www.democracynow.org (raising the question: who would want this to be under-publicized?). While the Al-Qai'da tape claiming responsibility for this was widely published, this portion was barely--to my knowledge, and this is my job--reported at all. It points to what I have been saying for a while:
1. Al-Qai'da uses attacks, including those outside their "homeland", to achieve specific results. The 9/11 attacks were intended to elicit a reaction from America that would help polarize the middle-east, and grow their base of support.
2. It doesn't make sense for Al-Qai'da to attack INSIDE the US prior to the election. Bush is too useful to them, as they can predict his reaction to an attack. An attack shortly after the election will be used by the US as a justification to attack/invade another nation (Iran? Yemen? Al-Qai'da has made statements for some time suggesting that they intend to draw the US into a war in Yemen, and we're already planning for Iran).
3. When does make sense for an attack? November 11,12, or 14th are the dates of the "night of power" within Ramadan when "acts are multiplied by 1000", and have historically been chosen for attacks. This timing has the additional benefit that planning for these dates provides insulation against an uncertain election outcome: Bush wins and we're attacked, he takes action (achieving Al-Qai'da's goal of polarization), and if he loses and we're attacked, he's in his lame-duck period, and he still takes action (achieving Al-Qai'da's goal of polarization).