30 March 2017
Last Wednesday, Adrian Elms alias Khalid Masood, a 52-year- old British convert to Islam, drove his rented Hyundai 4×4 at high speed onto the pavement of Westminster Bridge in London, mowing down terrified pedestrians, killing three of them in the process. A fourth victim later died in hospital.
On July 14, last year, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhel, a Tunisian who was resident in France, drove a 19-tonne cargo truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, killing 86 people and maiming 484 others, before being shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with police.
As in the latest London incident, IS claimed responsibility for the Nice attack, saying that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had answered its “calls to target citizens of coalition nations that fight the Islamic State”.
Some observers argue that the latest apparent shift in IS tactics is born out of necessity. As the United States and the Russian-led coalition continue to put the squeeze militarily on IS positions in Iraq and Syria, the IS leadership may be expected to take the strategic decision to begin preparations for a shift from a territorially-based entity to a global insurgency.
That is, instead of being physically concentrated around Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, the IS meme will be kept alive in the form of what Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey has called a “terrorist diaspora” — where thousands of foreign fighters will ultimately fan outwards from the Middle East, heading back towards Europe, Africa, as well as East Asia and even South-east Asia.
… Kumar Ramakrishna is Associate Professor, Head of Policy Studies and Coordinator of the National Security Studies Programme in the Office of the Executive Deputy Chairman, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
NSSP / Online / Print
Last updated on 18/05/2017