Lone Wolves and Soft Targets: Or how our Press, Politicians are being Played by ISIL

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

I saw a lot of headlines on Friday trying to link violent attacks by radical Muslims in France, Tunisia and Kuwait, but I just don’t think there is a connection. Even the concerted attempt to find a pattern here is probably misguided. Worse, it plays into the hands of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), which wants us to think it more powerful and widespread than it is. In fact, its capital is under siege by leftist Kurds and it hasn’t done well in the past week.

The murder in Lyons was committed by an employee against his boss, though the murderer used Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) symbols. It was probably just a murder committed by a disturbed individual, and likely had to do with workplace resentments. French police at the moment don’t see it as the act of an organization. If it was a murder, well, something like 45 of those take place every day in the US. Our looney murderers prefer Batman suits or Ninja outfits to the black Salafi flag, but then they are haunted by different paranoid fears.

Just as with Lyons, the attack in Sousse in Tunisia was carried out by a lone individual. He was a deadly lone individual, killing over two dozen with his Kalashnikov semi-automatic. His attack was aimed at keeping the tourists from coming this year. Tourism is 7 percent of the Tunisian GDP, and the government gets a cut of that through taxes. The radical vigilantes used to do those things in Egypt in the 1990s, too. The secularists of Tunisia Call won parliament last October, and the fringe of far right have gone crazy because of this outcome. They are a fringe. Remember, the majority of Tunisians voted secular last fall.

The bomber in Kuwait who detonated his payload in the midst of a Shiite mosque pretty obviously knew what he was doing. Kuwait is a small country of 3.3 million, of which only 1.2 million are citizens. Some 30 percent of the population is Shiite. The bomber was baiting them. As with Iraq and Syria, Daesh wants a civil war in Kuwait, in the midst of which it could hope to make a coup and come to power.

Salafi Sunnis in Kuwait have sent millions to the rebels in Syria, and likely haven’t been too careful about who got the money and arms. Shiite Iran and Iraq are backing President Bashar al-Assad, and while we don’t know that the Shiite mosque congregation are political, they were clearly targeted by Daesh. This is the first time the Syrian violence has come around to bite a GCC country on the behind. It may not be the last, and may provoke a rethinking of Syrian policy on the part of the Kuwaitis.

We live in a world where three guys, each with powerful weapons, can shake the world if they act on a single day. There’s something wrong with that world- it is way too vulnerable.

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Related video:

RT: “Shiite mosque attacked in Kuwait, ISIS claims responsibility”

But the point is, this was just one guy.

15 Responses

  1. You are correct and the media (Geller and her freaks) play right into the hands of ISIS (Is she on their payroll?). The appearance of organization is all a “terrorist” group needs.

    • Pam Geller and Daesh/ISIS are two sides of the same coin: both are trying to instigate violence as a path to implement their otherwise unpopular agenda by creating an “Us vs Them” mindset in the population. It’s a very old strategy, probably first used when someone observed that the lack of mammoths in the area was undoubtedly caused by the immorality of the tribe in the cave across the river.

  2. It doesn’t seem certain that the Tunisian attack was a lone wolf. See link to craigmurray.org.uk and the comments. There were enough people involved that the truth will come out but at the moment it seems a bit early to draw conclusions.

  3. The mosque bombed in Kuwait was an Ihqaqi or Sheikhi mosque. They are deeply quietist in their politics. The people were killed for their beliefs and nothing more.

  4. Aphorist

    Press are not being played they are essential to manufacturing consent it’s the people who are being played.

  5. The Gulf states are suffering blow-back; just as Saudi Arabia experienced during the 1990s. One source of the current blow-back is that “By undermining the [Muslim] Brothers as a vehicle for expanding Sunni political engagement, Saudi Arabia and its allies leave jihadi groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State as the only options for Sunni Arabs dissatisfied with the status quo. They make things worse by building up violent jihadis as alternatives to the Brothers—in Libya, Syria, and, Yemen—with Washington’s collaboration, and with disastrous humanitarian and political consequences.” link to detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com

    • You could also include Hamas in Gaza as yet another example in which a Muslim Brotherhood-oriented group has been under outside attack and which violent jihadist extremists are the likely alternative if Hamas is toppled as the governing organization there.

      The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency chief has opined that an ISIS-like entity would probably emerge as the pre-eminent ruling power in Gaza should Hamas be removed from its rule via Israeli military action.

      The Israeli government is beginning to realize that rapprochement with the Hamas regime – even indirectly – serves its own interests. The recent doubling of sales badly-needed potable water from Israel’s national water utility to Gaza and indirect contacts with Hamas via Qatari diplomatic channels are several ways in which the Netanyahu government is beginning to cooperate with Hamas to advance its own best interests.

  6. The French suspect has been questioned before for alleged links to Islamist extremists apparently.

    While independent, I wouldn’t dismiss the global religo-political pattern, be it Western jihadists to Boko Haram to the Taliban, etc. At least these 3 countries are shook, with 2 of them, France and Tunisia, battling militancy or religious-political radicalism.

    It shouldn’t matter if the Shia mosque was political or not, its another sectarian attack by Sunni extremists, this one aligned with ISIL, who are looking to cleanse rather than anything else. This supposed blowback isn’t hurting the GCC as bad as their Shiite citizens.

  7. The only connection seems to be that these perps want to soil Ramadan with their crimes, imagining themselves extra pious for it.

  8. Patrick Durek

    Another fine piece. If only the mainstream media brought the same sober, accurate reporting to their coverage. If only!

  9. They are punks. All of them. The world is a big video game for them. Fantasy and reality are totally blurred. These punks are no more pious than Charlie Manson. Wanton killings, rapes, setting up their own government, scaring the hell out of people—all in the name of a very demanding “Allah.” They will melt down, implode or become totally annihilated. They are pure punks, and their life expectancy is very short. Wait and see.

    • It depends on the significance of their money trail to the oil sheikhs. In the same way that Dylann Storm Roof depends on the money trail that finances a broad spectrum of hate media from CCC to Fox News. The sheikhs and the families who bankrolled the American Right have end games that differ from their patsies, but the patsies must be creating the conditions that they consider favorable.

  10. What does it matter what the reality is when the media continues exaggerating and labeling everything as “Islamist,” changing people’s perceptions in the process? Who are people more likely to believe, mainstream media or Juan Cole’s blog? We already know the answer to that.

  11. There is currently no Treasury draining multi-decade war(s).

    An unacceptable condition for MIC and those who carry water for them in media and government.

    We are all being played.

    Corporate-Controlled media will selectively turn down the volume for oil-rich regions when they are directed to do so.

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