Paris attacks may be a sign of worse to come

The Associated Press reports: Hassan Hassan, an associate fellow at Chatham House in London and co-author of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror,” said the Islamic State has a twin strategy of state-building within its self-declared caliphate and establishing itself as a “global leader of jihad” in place of al-Qaida. “They wanted to show they are the new al-Qaida … that this is going to be the new organization that everyone has to be part of. The old organization is dying.”

Hassan noted that until recently, many observers did not take IS seriously as a global threat. But their own statements make clear that their ambitions extend beyond the current limits of their “caliphate.” The group has urged supporters around the world to carry out attacks in the West.

In September 2014, the Islamic State group’s spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, called for lone-wolf attacks on Westerners and any “disbelievers” among countries fighting IS — a term understood to reference not only non-Muslims but anyone who is not a devout Sunni. That statement’s specific targets included any “disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French.” Other statements have threatened to topple Rome — apparently related to the location of the Vatican.

“They always speak about Iraq and Syria as the beginning of something, but with an eye on the West and conquering Rome,” Hassan said.

Online, almost all commentators referred to the new IS principle of retaliating promptly to what militants say are Western attacks against Muslims that that kill hundreds of people including women and children. That taps into frustration in the region over civilian deaths in the wars of recent years — a sentiment that exceeds the ranks of core supporters of jihadism.

A well-known IS ideologue, Gharib al-Ikhwan, commented IS now follows a new strategy: “Any killing in the Islamic nation will be met with an instant, decisive and horrible reaction.”

He mentioned the downing the Russian plane over Sinai, suicide bombing in southern Beirut and Paris attacks. He also considered the shooting in Jordan’s police training center, which killed five people including two Americans, as punishment for America — though there has been no mention yet of the motive of the killing.

Hussein bin Mahmoud, a leading militant ideologue, mocked those who fight Muslims in the region yet “think that we don’t have the right to kill them in a Paris theater, in train stations in London or Madrid or in a building in New York.”

“Sorry Paris for those evil villains who killed peaceful and civilized Parisians while your beautiful planes and your modern bombs kill the wicked Arab children,” he wrote in a piece carried by IS media arm al-Battar.

Observers assess that high-profile attacks involving mass murder of perceived enemies serves multiple goals for IS that go far beyond muscle-flexing. [Continue reading…]

Charlie Winter tweeted five reasons ISIS launched the Paris attacks:

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