[Edition 74] Nayouf, remarkable for his unerring valour in the face of the the daunting US military machine, has begun to develop a pathological fear of reverse parking.
[Edition 74] DAMASCUS, Friday: For many terrorists, a mission is simply a matter of choosing a target and flicking a switch on your vest. But not for Nizar Nayouf. The young Syrian car bomber is daily faced with an ordeal his contemporaries have long left behind them: driving lessons.
“The Al Qaeda recruiters never mentioned this,” Nayouf complains. “Right now I should be living it up in heaven with seventy-seven nubile virgins, not slugging it out in a council car park trying to get my ‘P’ plates for the eighth time.”
Nayouf, remarkable for his unerring valour in the face of the the daunting US military machine, has begun to develop a pathological fear of reverse parking.
“My instructor is always going on about watching my blind spot. What do I need to know about road safety? I tried to explain to him that I’m a car bomber but he never listens. Sometimes I think he has it in for me.”
Things first went awry for Nayouf when he initially failed the driving knowledge test. “They’re always getting us to read the Koran, not the driver’s manual, OK?” he complains. “Cut me some slack.”
Now Nayouf’s superiors are increasingly losing patience with their once promising charge, wondering whether his issues behind the wheel are simply a front for cowardice. But Nayouf hotly denies their claims. “I would gladly pay tribute to Allah’s abundant glory by raining down righteous vengeance with the force of a thousand suns if only I could fucking get this hill-start happening.”
Nayouf has contemplated a car bombing without a driver’s licence, but has backed down in the face of a recent police blitz on unlicensed driving. “We’re talking 3,000 Syrian Pounds here. I don’t have that kind of money – not after all these bloody driving lessons,” he says. “And I really don’t want to get pulled over because when the police officer discovers the 750 kg bomb in the back seat, I imagine he won’t let me off with a warning.”
Instead he has been approaching fully licensed drivers to accompany him on his missions. But Nayouf acknowledges “it’s a pretty big ask.”
In desperation, Nayouf has even considered detonating a bomb during one of his lessons, a prospect that appears increasingly attractive with every 3-point turn he is forced to undertake. Yet despite this continual source of embarrassment, Nayouf is yet to waver from his dreams.
“This whole experience has only strengthened my resolve to commit suicide,” he says. “And I can’t think of a better target for my first bomb than the Syrian Car Licensing Bureau.”