Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ultimately pointless terrorism

The "meta" tragedy of Paris is that it is part of a fight with a bunch of violent dimwits who are too stupid to realise their apocalyptic dreams of global Caliphate don't have a chance in hell of working in the long run.

As the New York Times wrote:
Al Qaeda, the Islamic State’s principal forebear, built its identity around spectacular terrorist attacks because its leaders saw themselves as insurgents seeking to overturn Arab governments that they deemed apostates. Al Qaeda wanted to bait the West into military actions that would destabilize Arab states. The Islamic State, in contrast, has increasingly styled itself a state and, in many ways, behaved like one.

The ideology and motivation behind the change may be opaque for years. Analysts suggest that the messianic and apocalyptic side of its jihadist ideology may have gotten the better of the pragmatic impulse that had previously appeared to guide the group’s expansion. Or, experts say, the Islamic State may be seeking to use large terrorist attacks the way a more conventional power might use an air force as a tool of its defense policy, to retaliate against enemy attacks and seek to deter them.

But, if so, its tactics may be shortsighted, causing redoubled Western attempts to crush the militant organization — even as the spreading Islamic State structure makes those efforts more challenging.
As for the question "why France?" right now, The Guardian noted that country's leading role recently in air attacks on IS that are of the type that may well make a long term difference:
The Isis claim of responsibility for Friday’s Paris attacks referred directly to French aircraft “striking Muslims in the lands of the caliphate”.
Earlier this week, French warplanes attacked oil and gas installations in the Deir ez-Zor area, describing this as part of an effort to destroy Isis infrastructure and undermine its financial resources. President Fran├žois Hollande also announced the deployment to the Gulf of France’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, to support operations against Isis in Syria and Iraq. French warplanes struck their first targets in Syria in late September.
On 8 October, France attacked an Isis training camp in Raqqa, capital of the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate in north-eastern Syria. It was believed to house foreign fighters, including French nationals, but Hollande denied they were targeting a specific individual.
Le Monde reported that the target was Benghalem Salim, 35, responsible for the reception of French and francophones into Isis. Hollande repeated that about 600 French nationals were currently fighting in Syria and Iraq.

In all, France has carried out about 1,300 sorties in Iraq, with 271 airstrikes destroying more than 450 terrorist targets. Only a few strikes have been carried out in Syria. It is using six Rafale multi-role fighter jets stationed in the United Arab Emirates and six Mirage 2000 fighters deployed in Jordan.
Well, the immediate motivation for the attack is not as unclear as I initially thought.

But get real, IS.   Your arcane and violent medievalist world view has no hope of sustained success against the West, and your apocalyptic fantasies will come to nought, as have hundreds of previous examples of the religious who thought they were acting out the End Times.

If you didn't force millions of the more sensible to flee into Europe,  kill the innocent on the streets of Paris, or insist that the your centuries old feud with another branch of Islam still had to resolved with violence, you might have had a chance of running a desperately poor bit of desert in whatever stupidly repressive way you wanted.  But you've blown that chance.

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