Terror on wheels

Islamic extremism has become the nightmare of 21st-century security and intelligence corporations

A police officer stands by a cordoned off street after a van crashed into pedestrians near Las Ramblas in central Barcelona – Stringer/REUTERS
English 28/08/2017 14:46 Luis Herrera-Lasso M. Actualizada 14:46
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Islamic extremism has become the nightmare of 21st-century security and intelligence corporations. Even though, its destruction capacity is limited, minimal compared to the ravages of organized crime in Mexico and in other countries. However, its clandestine nature, its contempt for life and the effect of its actions put Islamic extremism on the front page.

Using commercial aircraft or vehicles as weapons, nothing further from conventional weapons, makes them even more dangerous, because there is no trace of weapon purchases or large amounts of money in circulation.

Driving into pedestrians, as the recent attacks in Barcelona or in London, does not require great planning. Any "lone wolf" can perpetrate such terrifying act as smashing people in the streets or stabbing people on the road all of the sudden. For the authorities, it is the perfect nightmare, since preventing such attacks is virtually impossible. And few security measures can prevent them. Any place, any moment, becomes a potential target. The impact grows and the fear grows exponentially.

Ideologically, the fight against the infidels is a reference. The fight arises in the nineteenth century in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood as a religious-nationalist movement against the colonizing powers. With a series of changes in its name and form, this political-religious ideology breeds Al Qaeda and the later self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). Its formation was possible due to several factors that generated a power vacuum allowing the occupation of Iraq and Syria. Thus, IS overcame the stateless nature of Al Qaeda by becoming a territory.

Death and destruction are essential parts of its ideology. There is no life and construction and, when the absurd is being built, the seed of self-destruction is planted.

The call of the Islamic State to the Muslim community was unsuccessful. In Europe, only five thousand responded to the invitation to move to the Islamic State. They represent 0.00025% of the 20 million Muslims living in the European Union. On the other hand, 95% of the victims of the Islamic State have been Muslims, which does not fit the maxim that this is a war against the infidels.

The Islamic State is not a member of the international community because even though it has support from some groups and sects, especially in the Middle East, no country has recognized it.

Therefore, due to its illegal nature and its isolation, it is destined to disappear.

Luis Herrera-Lasso M.([email protected]) is a security and foreign policy consultant.


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