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2005: Looking back at the year in terror

MSNBC Analyst Steve Emerson discusses the state of terrorism in the world
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Terror attacks touched many parts of the world in 2005, but not the United States. For the fourth year in a row, the U.S. was spared a major terror attack.

According to MSNBC Terrorism Analyst, it's difficult to pinpoint the reasons why.

"I couldn't come up with that one factor.  I think there are several," he told MSNBC's Amy Robach on Friday. "One is that (Osama) bin Laden still doesn't have the people in place.  Two, there's been effective law enforcement.  Three, (bin Laden) prefers to focus on activities closer to him, whether that be in Iraq or Afghanistan where there is sort of reestablishing al-Qaida and of course in Europe where they have carried out devastating attacks with horrific consequences."

Emerson noted that with major attacks in 2004 on Madrid and this past year on London, Europe is seeing a transition when it comes to its status as a terror target.

"Europe is more then just a breeding ground.  It has been a breeding ground for years now.  Now we're seeing it ferment and actually in its post fermentation stage, where it actually blossoms into attacks, I think what we saw in July in London is merely the harborage of what we're going to see over the next five years," he said.

"I think we're going to see more urban riots in the likes of what we saw in Australia as well as in Paris," Emerson said. " ... We saw bombings of trains in Spain and in London.  This all happened within the span of two years  -- something that surprised European intelligence more that the United States was surprised in 9/11."

As for the impact of the U.S. military's continued status in Iraq, Emerson said it has had several impacts.

"People ask, 'Should we be there or not?  Is it sort of standing out as a catalyst for terrorism?  Is it creating more bin Ladens?'  The reality is, they would be carrying out attacks whether we were in Iraq or not," Emerson said.

"They don't need excuses, they go back 500 years to come up with excuses as to why they hate the West.  On the other hand, there is no doubt that it provides proximity for jihadists to carry out their new training and actually try to kill an American close to where they live.  So it has both intended affects."
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