Several single-actor or lone-wolf attacks over the last 12 months seemingly bear the hallmarks of ISIS. The attacks in Manila (June 2017), Ohio State University (November 2016), Hamburg (October 2016), and Orlando Nightclub (June 2016) were initially thought to be ISIS-inspired. However, while ISIS did claim responsibility for them, investigations revealed that the perpetrators had no apparent or formal affiliation with the group.
Of late, ISIS’ strategy has been to claim responsibility for any terrorist-like attack (whether single-actor or group) regardless of whether they were actually involved. The group’s eagerness to do so can be attributed to its weakened position in Iraq/Syria where military efforts to wrest territory from its control are ongoing. In order to project resilience and strength, ISIS claims credit for attacks to remind supporters and adversaries that it is still a force to be reckoned with. The group also hopes to encourage further global attacks as well as feed propaganda efforts.
… Damien D. Cheong is a Research Fellow at the National Security Studies Programme (NSSP), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Last updated on 13/09/2017