Over the past few days both the Canadian Prime Minister and the NYC Police Commissioner have unequivocally identified terrorism. President Obama only uses the word, terror, as a potential contingency liable to consistent caveats: more information, ongoing investigations, waiting for additional facts.
Al Qaeda has consistently, over the years, called for “lone wolf” attacks, nothing much happened. Al Qaeda demonstrated an inability to control territory, a weakness that ISIS has taken advantage of. The rise of ISIS sympathizers and newfound allies is a function of the perception that victories are being had. Taking territory, declaring the Caliphate; bringing, at least, a sense of impending victory. That sense could be transitory but for the moment it is a flag to follow!
Everyone, including Jihadists, wants to be on a winning team; so far ISIS is the only winning team they’ve seen in a while; hence, the motivation for and actualization of “lone wolf” attacks. Being urged on from a cave or a basement in Pakistan is very different from being urged on by the self anointed leader of the long awaited Caliphate replete with what passes for an army.
In addition to the ISIS surge there is also the issue of psychosis and the enablement Islam offers to those on the brink. Like nine year old girls, it’s okay; Mohammed did. Beheadings, same justification, suffer from violent tendencies, kill the unbelievers. Desire your place in a male dominated society with women as chattel and Islam is for you.
There is no “solution”; there is no possibility of identifying all who fit either the meme of unquestioning belief or aspire to the belief as cover for preexisting psychosis. If Facebook postings become a path to identification by authorities you can be assured that the Jihadist infrastructure and communication network will advise ending the practice, the tactics will change.
The “lone wolf, self radicalization” discussion ignores the true nexus of radicalization; Mosques where the path to radicalization is, if not directly motivated, facilitated and encouraged under cover of religious freedoms.
“Lone wolfs” will take heart in the attacks of this past week, the Jihadist public relations machine will elevate them to their place in paradise reinforcing a culture that embraces death over life. The most conservative estimate of radicalized Muslims in America 5%, that equates to somewhere between 200,000 to 250,000 radicalized American Muslims, similar numbers exist in Canada. Those numbers do not even consider Muslims from oversees that have crossed U.S. borders illegally.
The “lone wolfs” are not alone, whether it’s on line radicalization, Mosques, currently underground cells or the purported 35 Muslims of America training camps led by radical Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Gilani of Jamaat ul-Fuqra there is a wide variety of support mechanisms, all of which carry the same essential messages and all of which preach violent Jihad and the requirements that Muslims engage in defensive Jihad. Defensive Jihad is an obligation for all Muslims and “defensive” carries a fluid definition that tends to expand based on circumstance.
So long as ISIS maintains its march through Syria and Iraq, with Jordan on the horizon true believers and the disenfranchised will take that as motivation to get in the game. The numbers are not staggering but they don’t have to be to damage thousands of innocents.