I am always baffled by people’s willingness to believe in ‘Al Qaeda’. This alleged organisation is supposedly everywhere, popping up in the Philippines one week, Spain the next, Bali the following month, Indonesia, Turkey and Iraq after that. These places are all deeply different and the connections between Islamists in them are tenuous and have never been proven. But it is also supposedly a tightly organised plot controlled by that bearded chap in the mountains.
I specially love the phrase ‘all the hallmarks of al Qaeda’ and wait for TV reporters to intone it at some point in any account of a terrorist outrage anywhere. The ‘hallmarks of al Qaeda’ are, apparently, that it is an outrage, and that it has been done by Muslim Jihadists. These are not actually hallmarks. It is like saying that having four wheels, an engine and a windscreen are ‘all the hallmarks of a car’. ~Peter Hitchens