Terrorists have killed over 40 people today in attacks conducted in France, Tunisia and Kuwait. It is still not clear whether all three attacks from today were related/co-ordinated and if they were all conducted by ISIS, their sympathizers or some other Islamic terrorist groups. But ISIS did play a role and the aftermath of these attacks is being felt around the world.
In France, two men drove a car into the premises of a factory near Lyon and triggered multiple explosions and injured two people. A decapitated head covered in Arabic writing was also pinned to the factory’s gate. One of the Muslim (Salafist) terrorists has reportedly been arrested as French authorities are on the hunt for accomplices.
The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Shia mosque in Kuwait City which has already claimed 13 victims with another 25 wounded. A suicide bomber (claimed by an ISIS related group to be Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid) entered the Al-Imam al-Sadeq mosque and created the devastation during Friday prayers.
The third mass terrorist attack of the day came at a sea side tourist resort in Tunisia. Two Islamic terrorists attacked the mostly German and British tourists at two hotels in Sousse and killed 27 as panic struck the resort’s beach and hotels. One of the gunmen is reported to have been killed while the other was still being sought by Tunisian security services.
ISIS has publicly called for its followers to turn Ramadan and into a time of “calamity for the infidels” (Muslims around the world have just recently started celebrating their holy month of Ramadan). While world leaders will give lip service to the horrors from today, many of the countries, their rulers, religious leaders and power brokers that are deeply involved in sustaining this radical Salafist ideology will likely continue to have their complicity swept under the rug.
Deadly terrorist attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia
The attacks come just days after the Reuters news agency reported that Islamic State leaders had urged its followers to escalate attacks against Christians, Shi’ites and Sunni Muslims fighting for the U.S.-led coalition against them. (Irish Examiner)
Figuring out the cause(s) of something as complex as terrorism is no easy feat and is therefore still a work in progress. But that does not stop individuals and organizations from making a case for religion, culture, geopolitics, etc. as the underlying causes for (the increase in) terrorism. The Islamic State is the terrorism scrounge du jour, but terrorism in this world has a longer history – going further back than the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center towers or other instances of radical Islamic terrorist acts from the decade before. It is much harder to nail down all the reasons for “What causes terrorism?” than many seem to think.
Oil and Gas industry veteran Luis Durani writes about his views on the cause of terrorism in Foreign Policy Journal
But the question remains, why do these terrorist organizations continue to be created even after they are destroyed or eliminated? How are they able to thrive and recruit?
In today’s media, many claim it is Islam and the religious doctrine while others claim it is Arabs or the political culture of the region that makes them more amicable with terrorism. The answer is not black or white. There are many motivations, circumstances and factors that take place to make someone take this road. But one of the main reasons were outlined by Congressman Ron Paul in a campaign stop once, “Intervention in the Middle East is the main motivation behind terrorist hostilities … Islam is not a threat to the nation.”1
But for those of us that lack any knowledge of history and continue to question why terrorism emanates from this region, we need to look at the region’s history for the past century. (Foreign Policy Journal)
A lot has been made of the hate and vitriol that the terrorist group ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State have for everyone (but themselves). They’ve been on a murderous rampage in parts of Syria and Iraq with ongoing dreams of spreading their brand of violent Islamic terrorism across the world either by export or by radicalizing natives in those countries. So what happens when you combine the scrounge of ISIS with the other big danger being covered in the news (Ebola)? Of course there is a convergence and we end up with reports that the Islamic State is looking to somehow use Ebola as a bio-terrorism weapon in the United States. They are not likely to get access to a weaponized version of Ebola which, if it ever existed, would have been limited to the Soviet Union and maybe other military powers during the cold war.
Could they take a large amount of infected (body) fluid and somehow get it on people? Sure but that would be very cumbersome and any such hypothetical attack would have a small footprint. Terrorists could figure out a way to either smuggle or through international travel, get Ebola infected comrades into the United States or Europe. Once there these infected jihadis could try to spread the disease from person to person by physical contact. This is hard as once in the stage where Ebola is alive in the carrier and spreadable, the disease will be ravaging the human carrier and assuming it is not aerosolized, would be hard to spread. The most likely victims would have been medical personnel but one can assume that they are now on guard for Ebola cases in general. But none of these details prevent terrorists from talking about it in Internet chat rooms (sic).
Could ISIS/ISIL terrorists spread Ebola to the United States?
According to Spain’s RTVE public broadcasting corporation, the interior ministry number two said there had been “many examples” of threats to use the Ebola virus and other toxins in a new form of terrorism offensive against the West, referring specifically to three recent cases.
Most recently there was the “jihadist chat room” conversation discovered in mid-September in which “the use of Ebola as a poisonous weapon against the United States” was discussed in a forum Martínez described as “linked to Isis”.
The security chief also mentioned a series of tweets from July in which, he said, the terrorist organization Ansar al-Islam was shown to be considering the use of “deadly chemical products from laboratories”. (The Local)
The burgeoning threat from the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) has resulted in new and proposed laws along with procedures and heightened security measures being enacted in Great Britain and Australia. It is being reported that Canada’s security complex may soon be getting some additional capabilities after raising concerns, that they were denied the ability to spy on Canadians suspected to have joined terrorist and extremist causes abroad. Proposed legal amendments will allow the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to expand its surveillance powers and share information with allies, which we assume refers to the “Five Eyes” (Canada, United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand).
Canadian spy agency is expected to get more powers
Observers say amendments will have to be carefully crafted given that Parliament’s authority goes only as far as the borders. Most countries pass laws to cover their domestic spy agencies, but few related to foreign-focused espionage.
Yet the explosion of Internet and spying technologies now allows intelligence operatives in Ottawa to monitor international communications, a practice that blurs the lines between foreign and domestic surveillance.
Just as police need warrants to conduct searches, CSIS must get permission from judges to spy on people in Canada. In 2009, Federal Judge Richard Mosley granted the first warrant for the agency to track Canadian terrorism suspects abroad.
It will be interesting to see how this issue is debated within the Canadian parliament.