11 February 2015
Australia was shocked by the Sydney hostage crisis in December, in which a single shotgun-wielding attacker, Man Haron Monis, took 18 people hostage for 18 hours in the Lindt Chocolate Cafe at Sydney’s Martin Place, shutting down the central business district and, ultimately, resulting in the deaths of two hostages and the attacker. During the stand-off, Monis displayed a flag with the shahada — the Muslim article of faith — and demanded an Islamic State flag.
As is inevitable in such attacks, the news media immediately looked for connections to known terrorist groups and, when nothing substantive was found, claimed that Monis was an example of a “lone wolf” attacker, arguably a troubled individual rather than a terrorist.
But this is a flawed way of thinking about the Sydney attack and others similar to it. In fact, such attacks may represent a new trend in terrorism, one for which the term “lone wolf” is a misnomer.
…Justin Hastings is a senior lecturer in international relations and comparative politics at the University of Sydney. He is a past visiting scholar at the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. This commentary first appeared in RSIS Commentaries.
CENS / Online / Print
Last updated on 01/12/2015