Gordon Brown began his tenure as Britain's prime minister under siege from terrorists he suggested were connected to al-Qaida. Reacting to one attack and two attempts in two days, he struck the right note by warning that a long terrorist campaign was likely but vowing that Britain would not be intimidated or have its way of life undermined.
So far he has been right. As police arrested two suspects and hunted for more, residents of the United Kingdom Sunday attended without incident a much-publicized concert for the late Princess Diana and the tennis matches at Wimbledon.
Two terrorists Saturday crashed a Jeep Cherokee into the terminal of the Glasgow Airport and set it ablaze before being arrested. Police Friday foiled two car bombings in London that, had they been detonated, would have caused great injury and loss of life.
The attacks on Britain refute the argument that the war in Iraq will keep terrorists from striking the West. Britain, with a large population of immigrants and their often resentful native-born children, is especially vulnerable to al-Qaida recruits living in the U.K. but trained abroad.
Rather than being a distant bulwark against terrorism, Iraq, as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said, has become "a laboratory for techniques where people experiment with sophisticated forms of explosive devices, and we do get concerned that that will ultimately lead to importing these kinds of techniques to the West."
Lord Stevens, terrorist adviser to the prime minister, said, "Al-Qaida has imported the tactics of Baghdad and Bali to the streets of the U.K."
While Britain's security agencies appeared to be doing their usual thorough job of collecting evidence and identifying terrorist suspects, U.S. officials searched for any connection between the terrorists in Britain and the United States.
If a connection is found, the threat to the United States would be difficult to calculate but certainly great.
— Houston Chronicle