The Washington Post reports: The terrorist attacks seem to come one right after the other, by truck, handgun, ax, assault rifle, machete, bomb and knife. Each day, a string of news alerts on your phone. Or worse, the sound of shots fired, or sirens blaring in your city.
In a show of the Islamic State’s increasing influence, we now await, and even expect, revelations that the attackers are affiliated with the group. Terrorism in most of the world has become synonymous with its name.
But in many recent cases, it seems that the Islamic State’s media apparatus is also waiting for those revelations. Since the highly coordinated attacks in Paris last November, most of the attacks that the group eventually claimed were carried out by individuals who may never have come into direct contact with operatives in their supposed “caliphate” in northern Iraq and Syria. These attackers did not give the Islamic State notice that they would be acting in its name. Instead, some of them self-radicalized and left behind recordings offering oaths of allegiance.
By reading the language in the Islamic State’s claims on attacks, one can see which of them were heavily directed, as in Paris and Brussels, and which were simply inspired by the group’s ideology. There is a clear difference between claims made after attacks that Islamic State leaders knew about beforehand, and attacks they didn’t know about. [Continue reading…]