The World Is Too Comfortable with Terror

Western countries would rather accept a certain level of threat than do what it takes to mitigate it.

National Review, by David French, May 24, 2017:

Make no mistake, there is an emerging bipartisan consensus that a certain amount of terrorism is just the price we have to pay to live the way we want to live. Now, to be clear, very few people will come out and say this explicitly, and national-security establishments do their best — within certain, limited parameters — to stop every single terror attack, but more than 15 years after 9/11 it’s clear that there are prices our societies aren’t willing to pay. And neither our nation nor any of our European allies is willing to pay the price to reduce the terror threat to its pre-9/11 scale.

Consequently, an undetermined number of civilians will die, horribly, at concerts, restaurants, nightclubs, or simply while walking on the sidewalk. It almost certainly won’t be you, of course, but it will be somebody. And they’ll often be kids.

While it’s impossible to predict any given terror attack, there are two laws of terrorism that work together to guarantee that attacks will occur, and they’ll occur with increasing frequency. First, when terrorists are granted safe havens to plan, train, equip, and inspire terror attacks, then they will strike, and they’ll keep striking not just until the safe havens are destroyed but also until the cells and affiliates they’ve established outside their havens are rooted out. Second, when you import immigrants at any real scale from jihadist regions, then you will import the cultural, religious, and political views that incubate jihad. Jihadist ideas flow not from soil but from people, and when you import people you import their ideas.

Let’s look at how these two ideas have worked together in both Europe and America. The map below (from AFP) charts significant terror attacks in Europe (including Turkey). You’ll note a significant increase in activity since 2014, since ISIS stampeded across Syria and into Turkey and established a terrorist caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. There existed a safe haven and a population to inspire back in Europe. The result was entirely predictable:

What about the United States? A similar phenomenon was in play. This Heritage Foundation timeline of terror attacks and plots documents a total of 95 incidents since 9/11. The numbers are revealing. After the implementation of the (now) much-derided Bush strategy, there were a grand total of 27 terror attacks and plots — almost all of them foiled.

After the end of the Bush administration, the numbers skyrocketed, with 68 plots or attacks recorded since. A number of them, including the Fort Hood shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, the San Bernardino mass murder, and the Orlando nightclub massacre, have been terrifying successful. Indeed, there have been more domestic terror plots and attacks since the rise of ISIS in the summer of 2014 than there were in the entirety of the Bush administration after 9/11. And make no mistake, jihadist terrorists are disproportionately immigrants and children of immigrants.

What did Bush do that was so successful? He not only pressed military offensives in the heart of the Middle East, he fundamentally changed the American approach to immigration and implemented a number of temporary measures that, for example, dramatically decreased refugee admissions and implemented country-specific protective measures that have since been discontinued. And don’t forget, aside from their reckless immigration policies, our European allies weren’t just beneficiaries of the Bush doctrine but also participants in Bush’s military offensives. Our NATO allies have been on the ground in Afghanistan since the war launched in earnest. Britain was a principal partner in Iraq.

It seems clear that the great Western democracies would rather face an increased terror risk than make the sacrifices that have been proven to mitigate the danger.

Here is the bottom line — since the end of the Bush and Blair administrations, it seems clear that all of the great Western democracies would rather face an increased terror risk than make the sacrifices that have been proven to mitigate the danger. There is little appetite across the entire American political spectrum for an increased ground-combat presence in the Middle East. So the slow-motion war against ISIS continues, and terrorist safe havens remain. In the United States, even Trump’s short-term and modest so-called travel ban has been blocked in court and lacks public support.

If you listen closely, you’ll note that some politicians are actually starting to level with their people. They’re not willing to do what it takes to reduce the terror threat to substantially lower levels, so they’re trying to adjust their populations to the new reality. After the Nice truck attack, the French prime minister said, “The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism.” German chancellor Angela Merkel also told her people that they have to “live with the danger of terrorism.”

All too many Americans, sadly, still seem to labor under the fiction that they can have it all — tolerant immigration policies, no land wars in Asia, and Muslim allies who finally pick up the slack with the right level of prodding and with appropriately minimal air support. When necessary, we can send in our SEAL Team superheroes to take care of the truly tough tasks.

Well, that’s a strategy, but it’s one that means that every few months we’ll put memorial ribbons up on Facebook and Twitter, express pride in our valiant first responders, and wrap our arms around grieving parents who have to close the casket on their eight-year-old girl. It’s a strategy that expresses pride that we foil most attacks, and it’s one that leads us to hope and pray that the losses remain acceptable.

The Western world knows the price it has to pay to decisively reduce the terror threat. It’s no longer willing to pay that price. It’s no longer willing even to let their militaries truly do the jobs they volunteered to do. So there will be more Manchesters, more Parises, more Nices, and more Orlandos. But that’s what happens when we’re not willing to do what it takes. I hope at least our hashtags can make us feel better about our choice.

Dershowitz: Terrorism Persists Because It Works

Gatestone Institute, by Alan M. Dershowitz, May 23, 2017:

Every time a horrendous terrorist attack victimizes innocent victims we wring our hands and promise to increase security and take other necessary preventive measures. But we fail to recognize how friends and allies play such an important role in encouraging, incentivizing, and inciting terrorism.

If we are to have any chance of reducing terrorism, we must get to its root cause. It is not poverty, disenfranchisement, despair or any of the other abuse excuses offered to explain, if not to justify, terrorism as an act of desperation. It is anything but. Many terrorists, such as those who participated in the 9/11 attacks, were educated, well-off, mobile and even successful. They made a rational cost-benefit decision to murder innocent civilians for one simple reason: they believe that terrorism works.

And tragically they are right. The international community has rewarded terrorism while punishing those who try to fight it by reasonable means. It all began with a decision by Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian terrorist groups to employ the tactic of terrorism as a primary means of bringing the Palestinian issue to the forefront of world concern. Based on the merits and demerits of the Palestinian case, it does not deserve this stature. The treatment of the Tibetans by China, the Kurds by most of the Arab world, and the people of Chechen by Russia has been or at least as bad. But their response to grievances has been largely ignored by the international community and the media because they mostly sought remedies within the law rather than through terrorism.

The Palestinian situation has been different. The hijacking of airplanes, the murders of Olympic athletes at Munich, the killing of Israeli children at Ma’alot, and the many other terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists has elevated their cause above all other causes in the human rights community. Although the Palestinians have not yet gotten a state – because they twice rejected generous offers of statehood – their cause still dominates the United Nations and numerous human rights groups.

Other groups with grievances have learned from the success of Palestinian terrorism and have emulated the use of that barbaric tactic. Even today, when the Palestinian authority claims to reject terrorism, they reward the families of suicide bombers and other terrorists by large compensation packages that increase with the number of innocent victims. If the perpetrator of the Manchester massacre had been Palestinian and if the massacre had taken place in an Israeli auditorium, the Palestinian authority would have paid his family a small fortune for murdering so many children. There is a name for people and organizations that pay other people for killing innocent civilians: it’s called accessory to murder. If the Mafia offered bounties to kill its opponents, no one would sympathize with those who made the offer. Yet the Palestinian leadership that does the same thing is welcomed and honored throughout the world.

The Palestinian authority also glorifies terrorists by naming parks, stadiums, streets and other public places after the mass murderers of children. Our “ally” Qatar finances Hamas which the United States has correctly declared to be a terrorist organization. Our enemy Iran, also finances, facilitates and encourages terrorism against the United States, Israel and other western democracies, without suffering any real consequences. The United Nations glorifies terrorism by placing countries that support terrorism in high positions of authority and honor and by welcoming with open arms the promoters of terrorism.

On the other hand Israel, which has led the world in efforts to combat terrorism by reasonable and lawful means, gets attacked by the international community more than any other country in the world. Promoters of terrorism are treated better at the United Nations than opponents of terrorism. The boycott divestment tactic (BDS) is directed only against Israel and not against the many nations that support terrorism.

Terrorism will continue as long as it continues to bear fruits. The fruits may be different for different causes. Sometimes it is simply publicity. Sometimes it is a recruitment tool. Sometimes it brings about concessions as it did in many European countries. Some European countries that have now been plagued by terrorism even released captured Palestinian terrorists. England, France, Italy and Germany were among the countries that released Palestinian terrorists in the hope of preventing terrorist attacks on their soil. Their selfish and immoral tactic backfired: it only caused them to become even more inviting targets for the murderous terrorists.

But no matter how terrorism works, the reality that it does, will make it difficult if not impossible to stem its malignant spread around the world. To make it not work, the entire world must unite in never rewarding terrorism and always punishing those who facilitate it.

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Dershowitz: ‘Total Nonsense’ to Blame Terrorism on Poverty, Disenfranchisement

 

The West has Failed to Defend its Most Innocent and Precious

 

Terror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher W. Holton, May 23, 2017:

Yesterday, 22 May, Jihadists struck again in Great Britain, this time in Manchester at the famed Manchester arena.

In this latest attack, Western civilization has been exposed. We Westerners have failed to protect the most innocent and precious among us, our little girls.

Make no mistake, in Jihadi circles our inability to protect this segment of our population is being viewed with ridicule and disdain today, further emboldening a barbaric, pitiless enemy.

It can be no accident or coincidence that the Jihadis picked as a target a music concert where young teen age girls would be most prevalent.

The concert embodied much of what Sharia-compliant Islam finds abhorrent about Western culture: music, fun, frivolity, and females enjoying themselves independently in public. Wherever Sharia rules–Saudi Arabia, Taliban Afghanistan, Deobandi Pakistan, northern Nigeria, Somalia, the Islamic State, Iran and parts of regions around the globe–music is largely forbidden, women are covered and rendered to be essentially chattel.

The Jihadists chose to lash out at this event in this location on purpose. They pre-selected their victims for this act of war: teenage girls.

What does it say about our society in the West today that we seem to only be able to respond to barbaric, bloody acts of war with sadness?

It is no accident that the Jihadis targeted one of the West’s pop culture celebrations, of which our youth are so consumed. The Jihadis chose a symbol and an idol of our pop culture to target, kill and terrorize the most innocent among us.

The reaction of the Western entertainment industry tells all one needs to know about where we are as a culture and why we are so impotent in fighting back against this scourge in our midst–particularly in the all-important war of ideas.

There was singer Katy Perry lamenting on Twitter that she was “broken hearted for the state of the world.”

This isn’t about the “state of the world.” It’s about the war that is being waged upon us–not just in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but in our own cities, our own concerts, night clubs, churches, and celebrations. It’s about Islamic jihad. We have been on the receiving end repeatedly of these barbaric attacks rooted in a savage religious doctrine.

It’s not about “hate.” It’s not about “extremism” or “radicalism.” It’s about Islamic jihad, a doctrine that goes back many centuries to the origins of sharia.

When the Nazis bombed Britain during the Blitz in 1940, was the reaction, “What is going on with the ‘state of the world’?”

For that matter, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, raped Nanking and seized Singapore, was the world’s reaction sadness over the “state of the world?”

Or was the reaction to these acts of war resolve? Was it healthy, understandable anger and a firm intention to respond to the attacks and defeat the enemy? Of course it was. Our grandparents and great grandparents didn’t respond with teddy bears, flowers and candlelight vigils. They knew that they had a mission and a purpose to make things right and save the free world.

Don’t think for a second that what happened in Manchester could not happen in the United States. Of course it could. It has already happened in Orlando, San Bernardino, Boston, New York, Chattanooga, Little Rock, Garland, Washington, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere.

Western civilization must wake up to the fact that we are under assault. We are on the receiving end of a modern-day Blitz, like Britain was in 1940. Today’s Blitz is a very different kind of Blitz, but it is war nonetheless. It is high time that Western leaders quit regarding these attacks as “tragedies” or even “crimes.” They are acts of war. Until we acknowledge that they are acts of war, treat them as acts of war, and respond to them as acts of war, not only will they continue to escalate, but our ability to fight back will continue to be crippled by our own impotence.

Another entertainer who tweeted in response to the Manchester Jihadi attack was Miley Cyrus, who counts among her fan base many of the same young girls who are fans of Ariana Grande. Cyrus called for “No more war.”

Exactly how is that supposed to come about? The young girls massacred last night didn’t know they were at war because they have been lied to by Western leaders and entertainment icons.

The West could lay down its arms today and the Jihadis would only move in and seize control. If the Jihadis laid down their arms, their nail bombs, suicide vests and AK-47s, there would be no war.

Do you think there were any signs in London in 1940 calling for “no more war?” Who in Hawaii was shouting out “no more war” in December 1941? “No more war” in those days would have meant a plunge into darkness and death on an unimaginable scale.

We shouldn’t be calling for no more war today. We should take a clue from our ancestors, who were clearly better than we are, and call for victory.

Our collective mindset must change and it cannot change as long as massacres of civilians in attacks carried out by enemies in our streets are labeled as “tragedies” and regarded as mere “crimes.” We need a war mindset. The survival of our way of life depends upon it.

The only heroes in the current scenario are the first responders, the men and women who arrive on-scene after the carnage is through.

We also need other kinds of heroes–rough men who stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.

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Also see:

Manchester Arena bombed at conclusion of Ariana Grande concert

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, May 23, 2017:

An explosion rocked the Manchester Arena in England at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert last night. At least 22 people were killed and 59 others wounded by the blast.

The Islamic State has issued a statement claiming responsibility for the bombing. The message doesn’t provide any details about the bomber.

“With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah’s religion, in an endeavor to terrorize the mushrikin [polytheists], and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims,” the statement reads.

The Islamic State’s claim continues: “The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 Crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded. And what comes next will be more severe on the worshipers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the creation.”

The statement doesn’t indicate that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and implies that multiple improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were used. Also, the Islamic State claims that 30 people were killed, which is more than independent reports say.

It is suspected that a suicide bomber was responsible and it appears that only one bomb was detonated. It is possible that the terrorist responsible accidentally killed himself in the explosion. But the precise details still need to be confirmed.

Manchester police think that a lone individual detonated the IED, but they are investigating the possibility that other people were involved.

“We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man,” Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said in a statement released online. “The priority is to establish whether he was acting along or as part of a network.”

“The attacker, I can confirm, died at the arena,” Hopkins added. “We believe the attacker was carrying an improvise explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”

During a press conference this morning, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that authorities have identified the perpetrator, but his name cannot be publicly confirmed at this time. British officials are attempting to identify any possible accomplices.

Initial reports indicate that the bomb may have been packed with shrapnel, such as nails, nuts or bolts. The first issue of AQAP’s English-language Inspire magazine, which was released in 2010, provided step-by-step instructions on how to build such a device. The article, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom,” instructed followers to “use iron pipes, pressure cookers, fire extinguishers, or empty propane canisters.”

“You need to also include shrapnel,” AQAP explained. “The best shrapnel are the spherical shaped ones.” But AQAP advised that jihadists “may use nails” if “steel pellets are not available.”

Similar explosive devices were used by two brothers in the Apr. 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which were celebrated in another edition of AQAP’s Inspire.

Improvised explosive devices were also used during the Sept. 2016 attacks in New York and New Jersey. The man accused of committing those bombings, Ahmad Khan Rahami, left behind a notebook in which he cited both Al Qaeda and Islamic State figures.

Although AQAP first sought to inspire would-be jihadists to carry out “lone mujahid” attacks in the West, the Islamic State has had more success in inspiring and guiding such plots since 2014. Islamic State members, such as Reyaad Khan, have used online applications to guide their followers in the UK and elsewhere.

Khan provided his would-be accomplices with “construction plans” for IEDs and also helped them identify “targets,” according to an investigation by the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee. Khan was killed in Britain’s first targeted drone strike ever in Raqqa, Syria on Aug. 21, 2015. British officials justified the bombing by citing intelligence indicating that Khan and his co-conspirators generated threats on an “unprecedented scale.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Why the UK launched its first targeted drone strike ever.]

Most of the attacks connected to Islamic State in Europe have used vehicles, knives or other means, as opposed to IEDs. For example, a jihadist who struck near the UK Parliament in March drove his vehicle into a crowd, then jumped out and used a blade to assault other people.

A jihadist did use backpack bomb in a July 2016 attack in Ansbach, Germany. That bombing was also claimed by the Islamic State.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD’s Long War Journal.

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Also see:

7 Moments from Trump’s Speech in Saudi Arabia

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in Saudi Arabia (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, May 22, 2017:

President Trump’s brazen speech in Saudi Arabia is being praised from (almost) all quarters. Its powerful moments will be remembered for years and will reverberate throughout the Middle East. But no speech is perfect.

Here are seven moments from the speech, starting with what may be the closest President Trump may come to having his “Tear Down This Wall” moment:

  1. It is a choice between two futures – and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.
    A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.
     DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.
    DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.
    DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and
    DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.
    This is strongest statement towards the Muslim world uttered by an American president since 9/11 and perhaps in history. These words—and the Trumpian delivery of them—will be remembered for years to come. While eloquent words favored by speechwriters and high-brow elites are usually forgotten, these won’t be.There are also two clear sub-messages: One, that the Muslim world is not adequately “driving them out,” meaning, the Islamists still thrive in mosques, holy lands (which would include Saudi Arabia) and Muslim communities. The enemy are not fringe, undetectable loners. Secondly, don’t outsource your responsibility for this to America.

    We won’t let you scapegoat us and have us respond by apologizing for the grievances you use to excuse yourself from responsibility. This is your problem: Own it.

  2. Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED. This is another strike in the ideological war where the Trumpian way of speaking is powerful, especially when you consider how accustomed the Middle East is to the softer diplomatic tone of the West in contrast to the fiery hyperbole that is common place in that part of the world.Trump recognized something crucial: The enemy believes it is pious and is impacted by religious teaching from authoritative figures. It’s not about anger over foreign policy or joblessness or lack of education. It’s about piety and a belief that dying in jihad is a guaranteed ticket to Paradise.
  3. That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians.

    Most of the speech used vague, relative terms like “terrorism” and “extremism.” The focus was almost entirely on ISIS and Iran. But then came this paragraph. President Trump identified the enemy not just as Islamist terrorist groups, but the Islamist extremism foundation necessary for those groups to manifest.Of special note is the line about “persecution of Jews.” This was not stated with some moral equivalence about how Israel shares blame for stifling the nationalist aspirations of Palestinians. No, Trump identified anti-Semitism as a central problem outside of the context of Israel. That omission is powerful.The identification of the enemy as Islamist extremism is refreshing, but as Dr. Daniel Pipes points out, “one statement does not a policy make.” Even Obama uttered the word “jihadist” on a few rare occasions.

    The framing of the enemy as Islamism should have been the focal point of the speech, rather than waiting until the middle and the end to use the term. What should have followed was a strategy, with the sticks and carrots, to uproot the sustainers of the ideology so it dissipates into history. A question is left hanging, “Now what? What changes?”

  4. The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and so many others must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.

    The inclusion of Hamas and Hezbollah in this section is very significant. It wasn’t a call for Hamas and Hezbollah to drop terrorism to achieve their goals, as if they are freedom fighters gone astray.The argument wasn’t that their actions are counterproductive: It was that their very existence has sabotaged a potentially promising future from the people of the Middle East—not just Palestinians and Lebanese, but everyone. Again he framed the issue not as a consequence of Israel, thus negating claims of Hamas and Hezbollah of being “liberation” movements.

  5. The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance. Just imagine what tomorrow could bring.This is a call for a reformation into modernity (as opposed to the “reformation” offered by the Islamist movements). President Obama acknowledged this necessity—but he did it in an interview, not in a historical speech to the Muslim world from Saudi Arabia.Ideally, Trump would have given a little more time to describe what is holding back this renaissance beyond a generic attribution to “extremism.” He should have taken a queue from Egyptian President El-Sisi and consulted with progressive Muslim reformers.

    Trump called for “gradual change,” but failed to mention freedom, even gradually-granted freedom. His team likely worried that the mention of freedom would be interpreted as a synonym for democracy promotion, but caveats could have addressed that. This renaissance and rolling back of Islamism will require greater political and religious freedom, and acknowledging so does not make one an advocate of hasty destabilizations.

  6. Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.President Obama’s attitude towards Iran unnerved our Sunni Arab partners in the region. The heavy focus on Iran should help address that, but the fixation on the Iranian regime seemed to echo the Saudi line that Iran is responsible for practically all of the terrorism and extremism in the region. This let the Sunni side of radical Islam get off easy.The statement about hoping for a better government for the Iranian people is positive, as it at least welcomes regime change.However, it does not signal an American commitment to regime change in Iran or even regime destabilization. President Trump’s opposition to regime change is clear. To the ears of skeptical Iranians seeking freedom, this will sound like another investment in the hope that the Iranian  “moderates” in the regime can slowly gain support in the theocratic system.
  7. The Sunni governments got off easy.If you listened to the Saudi king’s speech before Trump’s—where he said sharia protects innocent life and promotes peace and tolerance [basically engaging in dawa (proselytizing) to the world] — you’d see that he was one small step from declaring an American-Sunni jihad on Iran. It gave the impression that the Saudis saw the words of the speech as relating to ISIS and Iran alone, not holding them accountable.Based on the way Trump talked about the Saudis, you would have thought they were modern day Minutemen in need of a motivational speech. I shared Dr. Daniel Pipes’ reaction of “gagging” at the praise he gave to King Salman, who is known to have directly financed jihadists.The massive sale of arms to the Saudis was described as “blessed,” as if God’s hand had arranged and approved of the transfer. The Saudis’ opening of a Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology was praised as “groundbreaking,” even though we’ve heard this story over and over and have no details with which to judge it as “groundbreaking” or not. At this point, it’s more like the wolf guarding the hen house.Qatar and Kuwait, two major financiers of Islamist terrorism and extremism, were praised shortly before Trump praised the Gulf Cooperation Council for blocking terror-financing.

Overall, the speech had tremendous moments, with important subtleties that are important to notice. But the speech was not a launch of an ideological war against Islamism. While it was a great call to action, it was not a plan of action. If this speech is to produce concrete results, the declaration of a bold plan of action must soon follow.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. To invite Ryan to speak, please contact us.

Remedial ISIS Tutorial Steers Jihadists Toward Heavier, Deadlier Truck Attacks

A stolen beer truck crashed into an Ahlens department store in Stockholm in a possible terror attack April 7, 2017. (Rex Features via AP Images)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, May 5, 2017:

The Islamic State just published a remedial step-by-step pictorial for lone jihadists on how to use a heavy vehicle to kill, walking would-be terrorists through how to acquire a vehicle and which targets to strike.

ISIS’ monthly Rumiyah magazine, which publishes online in 10 languages including English, last covered vehicle attacks in their November issue “Just Terror Tactics” segment, using Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who plowed a cargo truck through a crowd of Bastille Day revelers in Nice, France, last summer, as their key example.

In that article, ISIS encouraged shying away from budget sedans and “off-roaders, SUVs, and four-wheel drive vehicles” that “lack the necessary attributes required for causing a blood bath” as “smaller vehicles lack the weight and wheel span required for crushing many victims.” They recommended trucks with double wheels for “giving victims less of a chance to escape being crushed by the vehicle’s tires.” Long semi trucks were discouraged because of the possibility of jack-knifing.

The terror group encouraged jihadists to find a vehicle with a “metal outer frame which are usually found in older cars, as the stronger outer frame allows for more damage to be caused when the vehicle is slammed into crowds, contrary to newer cars that are usually made of plastics and other weaker materials.” A picture of a U-Haul truck was shown with the caption “an affordable weapon.” A picture of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was shown with the words “an excellent target.”

Shortly after the article was published, a ram-and-stab attack by Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan on a sidewalk full of students and faculty caused several injuries, but no fatalities. He used a silver sedan in the attack.

In December, Anis Amri hijacked a Polish semi truck and killed the driver, then plowed the big rig into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 11.

This March, Khalid Masood rented the Hyundai Tuscon he used to run over five pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing into the palace fence and stabbing a police officer. Last month, Rakhmot Akilov stole a beer truck and drove it down a busy Stockholm shopping street, killing four.

Eager to build on those attacks no matter the IQ of the jihadist, ISIS this week published the how-to with pictures — trying to steer terrorists toward vehicles more like Berlin and Stockholm.

“The ideal vehicle,” says the page, has a “slightly raised chassis and bumper,” is a “double-wheeled, load-bearing truck” that “large in size, heavy in weight” and is “fast in speed or rate of acceleration.”

Then comes the very remedial lesson on where to get the attack vehicle (“kafir” means disbeliever, while “murtadd” means apostate Muslim):

(From ISIS’ Rumiyah magazine)

The suggestions for ideal targets also illustrates examples. Corresponding to “large outdoor festivals, conventions, celebrations, and parades” is a photo of an LGBT event.

A busy London street next to an Underground stop is shown as the “pedestrian-congested streets” example. After “outdoor markets,” ISIS suggests “outdoor rallies,” and uses a photo of a 2012 May Day rally in Paris.

(From ISIS’ Rumiyah magazine)

After the Ohio State attack in which no one suffered life-threatening wounds, ISIS published a similar remedial pictorial telling lone jihadists how to go on stabbing sprees.

In the December issue of Rumiyah, ISIS told knife jihadists to aim for the neck, chest or stomach and to pick a suitable blade while not choosing targets above their skill level.

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TSA Warns Trucking Companies of ‘Truck-Ramming’ Terrorism Threat

Reuters: Trump counterterrorism strategy urges allies to do more

U.S. President Donald Trump (C) gathers with Congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden of the White House after the House of Representatives approved the American Healthcare Act, to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, in… REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Reuters, by Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, May 5, 2017:

A draft of President Donald Trump’s new counterterrorism strategy demands that U.S. allies shoulder more of the burden in combating Islamist militants, while acknowledging that the scourge will never be totally eliminated.

The 11-page draft, seen on Friday by Reuters, said the United States should avoid costly, “open-ended” military commitments.

“We need to intensify operations against global jihadist groups while also reducing the costs of American ‘blood and treasure’ in pursuit of our counterterrorism goals,” states the document, which is expected to be released in coming months.

“We will seek to avoid costly, large-scale U.S. military interventions to achieve counterterrorism objectives and will increasingly look to partners to share the responsibility for countering terrorist groups,” it says.

However, it acknowledges that terrorism “cannot be defeated with any sort of finality.”

Michael Anton, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said, “As part of its overall approach, the administration is taking a fresh look at the entire U.S. national security strategy, to include the counterterrorism mission – which is especially important since no such strategy has been produced publicly since 2011.”

The process is aimed at ensuring “the new strategy is directed against the pre-eminent terrorist threats to our nation, our citizens, our interests overseas and allies,” Anton said. “Moreover, this new strategy will highlight achievable and realistic goals, and guiding principles.”

Combating Islamic extremism was a major issue for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. The draft strategy paper, which officials said was still being fine-tuned at the White House, describes the threat from Islamic militant groups in stark tones.

It remains to be seen how Trump can square his goal of avoiding military interventions with ongoing conflicts involving U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere.

Rather than scale back U.S. commitments, he has so far largely adhered to former Obama administration plans to intensify military operations against militant groups and granted the Pentagon greater authority to strike them in places like Yemen and Somalia.

Trump may soon reverse years of Obama-ordered drawdowns in Afghanistan. His administration is now considering boosting by 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers the 8,400-strong U.S. contingent helping Afghan forces fight a resurgent Taliban, current and former U.S. officials say.

A senior administration official noted that only a small number of troops have been added to U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria under Trump, at the discretion of his military commanders.

“If you do see additions elsewhere, they will be in keeping with this (draft) strategy,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The increased pace of U.S. military operations has seen a recent spate of American casualties. The latest came in Somalia, where a Navy SEAL died and two others were wounded in an attack by al Shabaab militants, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Since President Barack Obama released the last U.S. counterterrorism strategy in 2011 before the emergence of Islamic State, the threat has “diversified in size, scope and complexity from what we faced just a few years ago,” the draft strategy said.

In addition to Islamic State, the United States and its allies are endangered by a reconstituted al Qaeda, groups such as the Haqqani network and Hezbollah, as well as from homegrown extremists radicalized online, it said.

Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies and who reviewed the document at Reuters’ request, said the draft strategy “paints – and I think accurately – a more dire picture” of the threat than the Obama document, which sounded a “triumphalist” tone following al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s death in a 2011 U.S. raid in Pakistan.

MISSING PHRASE

The senior administration official said the document describing an overarching counterterrorism approach is separate from a detailed strategy to defeat Islamic State that Trump also has ordered.

The draft strategy seen by Reuters appears to flow from Trump’s “America First” foreign policy calling for foreign aid cuts and more burden-sharing by allies and alliances such as NATO.

It does not include a signature phrase from Trump’s 2016 campaign, “radical Islamic terrorism.” Instead, it says that jihadist groups “have merged under a global jihadist ideology that seeks to establish a transnational Islamic caliphate that fosters conflict on a global scale.”

The draft’s first guiding principle is that the United States “will always act to disrupt, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks against our nation, our citizens, our interests overseas and our allies. This includes taking direct and unilateral action, if necessary.”

The administration would boost U.S. homeland security by working with allies and partners to eliminate terrorist leaders, “ideologues, technical experts, financiers, external operators and battlefield commanders.”

The draft also calls for denying militants physical and online sanctuaries in which to plan and launch attacks and “degrade their efforts to develop and deploy” chemical and biological weapons.

Yet it provides few details on how the United States, which has led global counterterrorism efforts since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, can achieve those goals by passing more of the burden to other countries, many of which lack the requisite military and intelligence capabilities.

The draft makes little mention of promoting human rights, development, good governance and other “soft power” tools that Washington has embraced in the past to help foreign governments reduce grievances that feed extremism.

In contrast, the Obama counterterrorism strategy made “respecting human rights, fostering good governance, respecting privacy and civil liberties, committing to security and transparency and upholding the rule of law” the foremost of its guiding principles.

“Soft power has a role to play, but not to the exclusion of kinetics,” or military action, said Hoffman. He called the draft “a very sober depiction of the threat and what is needed now and in the immediate future to counter it.”