debkafile: Will al Qaeda use violence to prevent Sarcozy becoming French president? The Madrid rail bombing worked in Spain

The right-centre contender Nicolas Sarcozy has a better than good chance of winning France’s presidential runoff on May 6, after his 31% vote in the first round topped the 26% gained by his leading rival, the Socialist Segolene Royal.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources report: The countdown has begun at the contenders’ campaign headquarters, but also at the secret lair of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the latest manifestation of the vicious Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat -GSPC. Its heads are plotting to run interference on the poll’s outcome by a major terrorist attack in Paris, possibly coordinated with strikes in several French cities. French and Spanish security and anti-terror agencies concur on the probability of this scenario and are therefore taking precautions.
The mass-circulation Spanish El Pais reported Monday, April 23, that al Qaeda is deep in preparations for mega-attacks in Spain and France.
Aware of the threat, Sarcozy told Radio Europe 1 last Thursday, April 19: “The principal menace to France comes from Algeria, from the GSPC network that has transformed into al Qaeda. They have members in several European countries, including France.”
Our counter-terror sources confirm the intelligence that the Algerian GSPC is working hard to repeat the “success” of al Qaeda’s 2004 Madrid rail bombings, which left 200 dead and hundreds more maimed – and turned Spain’s elections around. The ruling conservative Popular Party, one of the Bush administration’s foremost allies in Iraq, was consigned to defeat, and the Socialist Workers’ Party, opposite number of Segolene Royal’s Socialists, was elevated to power.
The analogies are an open temptation to al Qaeda.
1. In 2007, as in 2003, al Qaeda’s North African and European networks are in high gear, focusing on Algeria and Morocco, Spain and France. The group mounted two attacks in Algiers on April 11, coming dangerously close to government center to kill 24 people and injure 200. In Morocco, a hot chase by security forces starting on April 10 exposed the fact that a band of 12 terrorists was at large in Casablanca.
Our sources report the two operations were not coordinated, but they were orchestrated by the same headquarters and point to the impressive operational capabilities of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
2. The al Qaeda jihadists view Sarkozy as a dangerous enemy of radical Islamic organizations in France, who must be prevented from attaining presidential office, exactly like Spain’s Jose Maria Aznar. His foreign policy is likely to friendlier to the United States than that of Royal.
3. Sarkozy is viewed as foe by millions of Muslims living in France from his tough record as interior minister. Royal in contrast wooed the Muslim vote with promises of advantages. A terrorist attack that brings the Socialist contender to power will give al Qaeda a huge prestige boost with French Muslims.
4. debkafile reports that the sources warning of the danger to Sarkozy’s candidacy add that it is shared by British premier Tony Blair, who steps down next month. Al Qaeda seeks vengeance on Blair and his Labor government for sending the British army to fight its legions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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