Thursday, January 8, 2015

France's 911 Charlie Hebdo Shooting Gets ISIS Want it Wants--More Muslim Isolation

As one of the few who was a terrorism expert during America's 9/11, I am penning my own thoughts on the brutal murder of the Charlie Hebdo journalists.  This is EXACTLY what ISIS/ISIL has wanted! 

It was a horrible act that was intended for more than revenge for offensive cartoons; ISIS hoped it would turn public opinion against Muslims even more!  We know that the shooters had ISIS connections and experience.

How can I say that? Because the goal of this group of radicals that rose from the Iraqi Pandora's Box (ISIS)  has been to form its own "Caliphate" - defined as its own land. This land would be ruled under their name with Sharia law and strict interpretation of the Koran.  To build this 'paradise' of radical Islam they need people to fight

If Muslims are being treated well, hold jobs and live in comfortable housing in places like Paris or Minneapolis, then why would they go to live in a tent in the desert to be shot at or bombed?  But if young Germans are beating the hell out of you for being Muslim, or you live in Paris and see your religious icon mocked, it is an incentive to sign up for a one way ticket to have a glorious life and a shot at 72 virgins.

These evil butchers know the more isolated Muslims become because of political backlash to their killings, the more new recruits they can attract to their twisted cause. 

The Paris attack on cartoonists has given new life to the far right in Europe that, until now, has struggled to get 10% of the vote. The right wing reaction in Europe is exactly what ISIS/ISIL had hoped for! In Germany over 18,000 far right supporters have been turning out for protests against Muslim immigrants. In England and France the ring wing haters are poised to get more candidates elected on their anti-Muslim platform. 

It is estimated that about 1,200 young Muslim French citizens (born in France with perfect French accents) have traveled to Syria to fight (30% of them WOMEN) --it is estimated 175 Muslims from the U.S. has done the same. One of the Paris shooters had just returned to France from Yemen last summer. He already had been arrested and served time for jihadist acitivity but had been released. There are tens of thousands of young, alienated, jobless Muslim men just like him in Paris alone.

The cellphone video of the Charlie Hebdo attack confirmed that both shooters were comfortably skilled in using assault weapons and efficient killing. That should also give you a sense of what is happening to innocents in Syria who are being murdered as well.

Luckily, the shooters were not as good at planning their exit strategy since one of them foolishly had an ID on him (stupid) and left it behind in one of the getaway cars (even dumber.). They also had to steal gas and food from a station, and hijacked another care, leaving an alive witness each time. That makes me wonder. If they killed all those journalists, why did they not kill these witnesses?  If they wanted to kill a lot of French people, why stop with just the journalists and police that intercepted them? Why not kill anyone that they encountered?
France has the largest Muslim community in Europe, estimated in 2010 to be about 6 million (it's estimated because the French government does not have the right to ask about religion.) Islam is the second most practiced religion in France, behind No. 1 Catholic. 

Ironically, French Muslims have been better integrated into society than those in England, Germany, etc. According to Wikipedia, French Muslims actually have the highest positive feelings for people of other religions. So if this can happen in France, it means big trouble in less hospitable countries like Germany.

This shooting provides a huge boost to the growing right wing groups in Europe as ISIS/ISIL gets more hate directed towards Muslims on the streets of Europe and America. That will drive more of the unemployed, disaffected Muslim youth to pack their bags and head to Syria as volunteers in the ISIS war machine.  The strategy is working.  Already in Paris, Muslim women report people looking at them like they had done the attack. "You are Arab" is what they hear.

The strategy is changing from sending jihadis to Syria to conducting attacks where they are. So far we have seen the "lone wolf" attacks pick up: the Australian shooting at the candy store, the Canadian attack in the Parliament building, the New York hatchet attack on police by a Muslim, and perhaps even the Boston Marathon bombing is connected to their social media propaganda campaign.  The Islamic web magazine "Inspire" is sleek; they know how to use social media. It is designed to make young Muslims feel they are under attack and need to "defend" their faith by carrying out acts of killings. The rise of the European right will make ISIS' job even easier. The less Muslims feel a part of their adopted country the bigger the threat. 

Yet the fact is there are more Muslim women who wear bikinis than those who wear burkas over their face!

Stay tuned because the manhunt for the shooters are not yet over - and the political fallout is just beginning. Unforunately, the situation is not getting better. We can fix this.

FREEDOM of speech is an international principle, not just an American one.  Europe has been slow to realize it needs to harmonize their criminal systems and share airline and passenger data.  America and Europe will have to coordinate more in tracking the highest risk individuals who have returned from fighting in Syria --its not like they were there on vacation or a job).  

France and European countries will have to address the far right threat that will give rise to the intolerance countries like Germany have seen before (Naziism). Replacing Naziism with Fascism is not a solution.

French police will need to be allowed to carry guns so they have a chance in a future confrontation with a criminal with an AK 47. There was a second shooting in Parisk today by a masked gunman with an AK 47 that killed a police woman. Connected? We don't yet know.

Finally, the U.S. will have to deal with the issue of the NRA making it so easy for even terrorists to acquire weapons of mass destruction. 

What if the next attack is on a FOX TV station that has aired an image the extremists don't like?  How would we feel if the New York Times building (or Congress) was overrun by one or two shooters with AK 47's, body armor and 30 round clips?  What if those shooters were white extremists (think Oklahoma City) instead of Muslim?  

Anything is possible.

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