Canadian train plot: RCMP asserts an al-Qaeda connection

Posted by: Phineas on April 23, 2013 at 4:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

I mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but there’s a bit more information on the terrorists and their connection with al-Qaeda:

Canadian police officials have linked the plotting of two Muslim men to destroy a Toronto passenger train to al Qaeda’s network inside Iran. The two suspects, neither of whom are Canadian citizens, were taken into custody yesterday and are facing terrorism charges. One of the suspects had placed an image of al Qaeda’s banner in a social media site. The image has since been removed.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said yesterday that the two suspects, identified as Chiheb Esseghaier, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, of Toronto, received “support from al Qaeda elements located in Iran,” in the form of “direction and guidance.” The two men’s plot called for the destruction of a train bound from the US to Canada in an effort to sow terror and harm the economies of both countries.

Esseghaier, a doctoral student at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, has a bachelors degree in Industrial Biology and a masters degree in Industrial Biotechnology, according to his Linkedin page. He lists Nanotechnology as one of his “Skills & Expertise.” He attended college in Tunis and is thought to be a Tunisian.

Before the image was taken down sometime last night, Esseghaier’s Linkedin page displayed in image of al Qaeda’s black flag. This flag was first used by al Qaeda in Iraq but has been adopted by other al Qaeda affiliates.

The remainder of the article is a good backgrounder on the Iran-al Qaeda relationship, including at least a couple of “secret agreements” that allow al-Qaeda transit through Iran.

While the above quote doesn’t claim a direct Iranian role in the plot, unlike the statement quoted in the Washington Examiner piece yesterday, I think it’s reasonable to assume the Iranians at some level knew and approved of what the two were planning and the encouragement al-Qaeda gave them.  Al-Qaeda is in the country on their sufferance, and there is no way Tehran is not going to keep tabs on what they’re doing, lest they unexpectedly find themselves the targets of retaliation after, say, another 9/11-style attack. So, while there’s no direct evidence of Iranian foreknowledge, it’s a safe bet they did.

Which should make the next meeting Canada and Iran’s diplomats quite… interesting.

Also, while there’s a coincidence in time, there’s no evidence I’ve seen of a connection between the train plot and the Boston Marathon attacks. What I do think it hints at, however, is just how many jihad plots there are “out there,” waiting to be put into action. Again, if Esseghaier and Jaser were a pair of “lone wolves” encouraged by al-Qaeda, similar to what may be the truth about the Tsarnaevs, how many others are out there?

Comforting thought, no?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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4 Responses to “Canadian train plot: RCMP asserts an al-Qaeda connection”


  1. Drew the Infidel says:

    In order for citizens in the Western hemisphere to be safe there will have to be a cultural shift. The saying of “see something, say something” has more value than many realize. It is a defensive form of profiling but so what? When someone walks into a roomful of people they are automatically being judged; “cute sweater, too old, nice …” You get the picture.

    Where some societies are marked by a high infant mortality rate, the US suffers from an inordinate incidence of infant mentality rate. The last thing you want in your arsenal of immediate response actions is the fetal position.

  2. Good analysis and I second your conclusion that “the Iranians at some level knew and approved of what the two were planning and the encouragement al-Qaeda gave them.”

    It’s also important to remember that there’s a lot of intel that never makes the light of day because we (and/or our allies) don’t want to give away sources and methods: Just Google for “Judith Coplon” for a great historical example. The Canadians are implying they know a lot more than they’re revealing.

  3. Kate says:

    Keeping certain information under wraps is an important tool in the intelligence world. They have to follow the leads while they are still warm…not alerting the offenders that they are under observation/investigation.

    But, it does make sense that this is a perfect way for Iran to exert destruction and mayhem under the radar. They have made known their position and animosity towards Western Civilization and the USA in general. They may sabre rattle with the nukes, but they can strategically strike US targets using this method much easier and economically. This is what Israel deals with every day…it has finally made its appearance on the streets of Boston.

    Be aware, be alert and don’t be silent….it may cost you your life.

  4. Tex says:

    Iran is definitely involved and I’m not surprised since they know we have a spineless President. As long as Obama in in charge, they can continue facilitate terrorist acts against the U.S. with little to no fear of retaliation.