Jakarta, Paris, San Bernardino: The age of ‘marauding terrorist firearms attacks’

Christopher Dickey writes: While America slept, terrorists struck in Jakarta on Thursday, and their multi-pronged attack hit, most dramatically, a symbol of the United States: a Starbucks coffee shop.

Despite bombs going off, a hostage-taking, and an extended gunfight with Indonesian police around Thamrin Street (near several embassies, luxury hotels, and the offices of the United Nations), casualties were fairly low by the standards of modern terrorism. Initial reports say seven people died, including five attackers, which would seem both a credit to the response of the Indonesian authorities and a reflection of the killers’ ineptitude.

A website linked to the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility in the name of the putative caliphate for the attack, “targeting foreign nationals and the security forces charged with protecting them in the Indonesian capital.”

Back in November, police reportedly picked up ISIS chatter about a “concert” planned for Indonesia, and perhaps 100 Indonesian citizens are believed to have joined ISIS’s ranks in Syria.

But the particular affiliations of the madmen are less important than their method in this case. The siege by squads of terrorists using assault rifles and low-grade explosives to slaughter innocent people at cafés, stadiums, hotels, shopping malls, and such has become standard operating procedure for violent extremists all over the map. [Continue reading…]

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