Nice and ongoing terror attacks in W Europe

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
After the appalling tragedy yesterday, surely something different needs to happen if anyone is serious about preventing further such attacks and further such loss of civilian life. Not the same old stupid, belligerent responses. I thought this was pretty good in that direction:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/15/nice-terror-attack-truck

In particular this:
"A Nice truck driver does not remotely threaten the security of the French state, any more than such acts do the security of America or Britain. The identification of the nation state with random killings of innocent people has become a political aberration."
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Things have moved into an arguably more dangerous place now with San Bernardino, Orlando and now this. Its possible to defend against organised terror cells via intelligence & police work - difficult, but possible.

Seemingly random attacks by individuals 'inspired' or in solidarity or justified by an ideology or group are far more difficult to detect, prevent or contain.
 

vimothy

yurp
As with the killing of 49 people in a nightclub in Florida last month, investigators will want to establish the degree to which Isis or any other group might have been involved as soon as possible. This is not a mere detail but crucial to understanding the continuing threat.

There is a vast range of possibilities: from direct commission, organisation and execution through to the most tenuous connection via ideological inspiration over the internet. There are reports that the attacker in Nice was a 31-year-old French citizen of Tunisian origin who was known to police, but not to intelligence services.

French authorities – like counterparts around the world – have learned that the most lethal attacks in their country have been perpetrated by individuals or networks with connections to outside organisations.

Mohamed Merah, who killed seven in a shooting spree in 2012, was initially described as a lone wolf but found to be connected to a breakaway al-Qaida faction. Those who attacked Charlie Hebdo magazine last year had a tenuous link to al-Qaida in Yemen. The more recent strikes, including those in November last year and in Belgium in March, involved a well-established network linked to Isis.
Jason Burke, "France attack: use of truck in Nice demonstrates evolving nature of threat": https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...-truck-demonstrates-evolving-nature-of-threat
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Police and intelligence agencies must be thinking wistfully back to the days of 'proper' franchised jihadi cells, each reporting to a regional leader, in turn directed from Pakistan/Iran/Libya...
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
They certainly threaten its legitimacy.
I think this is fair, in that one of the major purposes of the nation state is to safeguard its citizens, so if it can't do that then it's not much good, is it?
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Its particularly sad seeing as France opposed Iraq and they are now dealing with some of the consequences of that awful decision.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Its particularly sad seeing as France opposed Iraq and they are now dealing with some of the consequences of that awful decision.
I tried - with no great success, if hardly need be said - to use this argument with zhao on Facebook when he invariably said "But Iraq!" in response to any argument about the causes of Islamist terror attacks on any Westerners.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Obv you have to consider that possibility of further attacks post 911 regardless, but Iraq (other than providing a crucible for ISIS) has taken us from (primarily) one relatively localised organisation to hundreds of distributed organisations with (probably) many thousands more individuals willing and seemingly able to act with little or no contact with traditional terror structures.

Like kicking an unwanted mushroom and spreading the spores all over your garden. A complete fucking disaster.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
They certainly threaten its legitimacy.
It definitely threatens the legitimacy of the current government.

The government that is talking about these attacks as though they're an existential threat to France. “We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil", as though this is WWII or something and French territorial integrity is at stake. That kind of policy probably won't affect Hollande's personal security, and it certainly won't affect the security of the French state as an entity, but it practically ensures that more French civilians will be killed.
 
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vimothy

yurp
This paper provides the first systematic analysis of the link between economic, political, and social conditions and the global phenomenon of ISIS foreign fighters. We find that poor economic conditions do not drive participation in ISIS. In contrast, the number of ISIS foreign fighters is positively correlated with a country's GDP per capita and Human Development Index (HDI). In fact, many foreign fighters originate from countries with high levels of economic development, low income inequality, and highly developed political institutions. Other factors that explain the number of ISIS foreign fighters are the size of a country's Muslim population and its ethnic homogeneity. Although we cannot directly determine why people join ISIS, our results suggest that the flow of foreign fighters to ISIS is driven not by economic or political conditions but rather by ideology and the difficulty of assimilation into homogeneous Western countries.
Efraim Benmelech & Esteban F. Klor, "What Explains the Flow of Foreign Fighters to ISIS?": http://www.nber.org/papers/w22190
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Why have multiple attacks succeeded in France and yet in England we've managed to escape a major attack since 7/7? Better intelligence, or more of an issue of border security?

Also, are attacks like this motivated specifically by e.g. bombing in Syria, or do ISIS have a broader goal of turning the West against Islam and inciting a sort of religious war?

The push to the right will continue apace with attacks like these. Pretty miserable time to be alive, eh?
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
@ Vimothy

I obviously haven't read the whole paper, but I don't understand those conclusions really.

Even in countries with (relatively) low income inequality overall, areas of extreme poverty and extreme relative poverty exist. No generalised analysis on a country basis, be it GDP or HDI or FXP, can tell you very much. If you feel excluded from 'mainstream' society, you feel excluded. "But surely you can't feel excluded. Look at these GDP figures!" makes its own cartoon.

Also, difficulty of assimilation into Western countries is directly related to 'political conditions', however you take that phrase. France's long-term attitude towards its Muslim citizens is an obvious example.

And what does 'ideology' actually mean in this context, if it can be divorced from economic and political considerations?
 

vimothy

yurp
They're just looking for trends. One thing that you might expect is that countries with relatively more income inequality have relatively more alienated Muslims who go off to join ISIS, but that doesn't seem to be the case (at least according to this study).
 

droid

Beast of Burden
There's a study from about a decade ago wrt terror in the middle east which found a large cohort of well educated upper/middle class participants... motivated primarily by ideology and political grievances.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Why have multiple attacks succeeded in France and yet in England we've managed to escape a major attack since 7/7? Better intelligence, or more of an issue of border security?
my guess, neither. i think the specific history of french colonialism is a better place to start looking personally. That plus the sort of French secularism that led the the Hebdo cartoons and which is so incompatible with Islamic extremism.

Here we have no principles, we just think, vaguely, that people should be nice to each other to the extent thats possible, and ignore each other when niceness is too difficult.
 

vimothy

yurp
There's a study from about a decade ago wrt terror in the middle east which found a large cohort of well educated upper/middle class participants... motivated primarily by ideology and political grievances.
Marc Sageman?
 
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