In the Detroit attempt it was probably a faction of Al Qaeda that succeeded in boosting its terror status. In Cabinda a small separatist outfit, the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, (FLEC) succeeded brilliantly in putting itself and its cause on the map. The score? Two nil to the terrorists.
Against a global backdrop of war, famine and grinding poverty that struggles to make the headlines, the incident over Detroit was a farce and Cabinda a minor event. But if you buy the definition of terrorism as an intelligently scripted 'theatre of violence', both operations were highly successful.For an entire week the BBC kept the failed Detroit attempt on its number one news spot. There was political fallout too. It was extraordinary to see the most powerful man in the world having to keep explaining what he was going to do about men who put bombs in their underpants, even dud ones! Not a bad day's work for a small bunch of focussed fanatics.