The sparsely populated and largely peaceful country was not used to being at the receiving end of either international or domestic terror threats.
But there has been much water under the bridge in the seven years since that threat, and Thursday's announcement of the arrest of three people on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack - one of them a Norwegian citizen - has so far been met with less incredulity.
There are some, to put it politely, tangential reasons why Al Qaeda might target Norway for terror attacks. And I do mean "tangential." For example, Norway has provided a small number of troops under its obligation to NATO, to the conflict in Afghanistan. The cartoons that depicted and mocked Muhammed, created in Denmark, were also syndicated in some Norwegian newspapers.
Mostly, cuz, there are a fair number of Danes living in Norway, you see. I should note that Norwegian embassies in the Middle East were attacked in the wake of those cartoons, but so were French, German, Austrian as well as Danish embassies.
The biggest stretch of them all, tho, has to be that Oslo hosted a 1993 peace conference between Israel and Palestine. The so-called "Oslo Accords" provided for the creation of the split Palestinian state (the West Bank and Gaza strip), and recognized the Palestinian Authority. Attending the conference were, of course, Israel and the Palestinians, but also American and Russian officials.
Yet, Norway is somehow to blame for this advance in Muslim-Western relations? OK, I suppose the case could be made that Al Qaeda wants diametrically the opposite: a total state of war between the West and Islamic worlds. Too, the Oslo talks grew out of earlier talks in Madrid, which has also been targeted by terror, albeit nominally by Basque separatists...but who knows who supports them? It's possible Al Qaeda outsourced the train attack there.
It strains credulity, as the article infers, to blame Norway for anything to do with the Islamic struggles. However, there appears to be a growing Muslim community in Norway (in urban areas, particularly) and even radical and moderate Muslims have battled in the recent past.
I get the sense of Al Qaeda that its kind of like the drunk in the bar who wants to fight. He tries to pick a fight with the biggest guy in the bar, who smacks him down and then resumes his own drinking. The drunk staggers to his feet, sees all the eyes on him, and decides he'll take on anyone and everyone, if he has to go pick a fight with random strangers.
Starting with the quiet couple in the corner, of course.