THE MAGAZINE

Al Qaeda

Is Houston, Texas, high on al Qaeda's list of desired targets? A risk analysis report by Stratfor, a company that provides business and security intelligence, notes that Houston is a potential al Qaeda target, in part because it is home to Halliburton Co., a company that was specifically mentioned by Saudi Arabian militants in its May 27 attacks on western residential and business compounds in Khobar. In addition, notes the analysis, an audiotape broadcast by Al Arabiya on April 15 and attributed to Osama bin Laden singled out Halliburton when issuing threats against Western corporations. Though many multinational companies are at risk, Stratfor analysts write, "Halliburton--which is closely tied to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney--is unique in its connotation of American 'imperialism.'" Attacks against Halliburton need not occur in Houston, of course. In attempting to predict attacks against Halliburton, Stratfor analyzes recent incidents and historical trends and suggests the possibility of: abductions of employees, perhaps even in the United States; small-scale attacks against facilities; and a massive suicide bombing at the company's headquarters. The analysis can be reached via SM Online. Readers can sign up for periodic Stratfor intelligence analyses at www.stratfor.com.

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