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"Lone Wolves"…Cost of Cyber Fundamentalism - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The world has recently been shocked with the painful attack that took place in Orlando, Florida, in the United States of America, when a man known as Omar Mateen, who belongs to what’s ideologically known as “lone wolves”, shot a number of Americans in a gays’ nightclub.

The attack points to a new perspective of terrorism. Mateen is not an ISIS or Qaeda member. He didn’t receive military training in Tora Bora in Afghanistan and was born in New York, known with its huge capacity on integrating expats from different races, religions, and ethnicity.

Accordingly, questions are raised on whether we are facing a phenomenon of fundamentalism that goes far beyond the geographical and humanitarian boundaries…a fundamentalism that relies on new technologies and on social media means to expose the world to terrorist threats of extremist groups that work on recruiting people without the need of traditional group work, logistic plans or practical help to implement an operation such as Orlando’s attack.

Following Omar Mateen’s shooting incident in Orlando, the FBI Director James Comey said that the culprit has adopted extremism via internet, and that he showed significant extremism indicators with possible leanings to ISIS, which described Mateen as one of the Khilafa’s soldiers. Omar may not be an actual soldier in ISIS’s troops, yet, he is a member, as he confessed during his call with the U.S. 911 services.

Omar Mateen’s operation was not the first attack implemented by a “Lone Wolves” member. Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik also attacked people in San Bernardino, California.

France in Europe witnessed a horrible crime, when Larossi Abdullah killed a French policeman and his friend in Mantes-la-Jolie near Paris. Surprisingly, the criminal has diffused his crime live on Facebook, aiming at frightening people who will watch the awful act. Commenting on Abdulla’s live diffusion on social media, experts in extremists’ affairs expressed concerns from the adoption of a new technique to convoy the terrorists’ attacks. Other attacks, which were implemented by members of wolves also took place in the airport and the metro station in Brussels.

The aforementioned information indicates that we are facing two new related phenomena: first, those wolves are controlled by extremist thoughts despite geographical distances, and secondly, those members are skilled in dedicating the newest technologies to prepare their plans and to implement them.

The last attack in Orlando came to put the United States and the whole word in front of new challenges imposed by people who live far from ISIS, but have the same intellect and work as extremist volunteers.
Obviously, the auto-recruitment that happens via internet facilitates the acts of killing, and the difficulty of controlling the “Lone Wolves” comes from the lack of legal articles that convict those members for their hidden intentions.

The world is currently witnessing a battle between ISIS and the security systems. The terrorist organization is using the virtual world and the cyber space to promote its intellect and to recruit new members, and has relatively succeeded in fulfilling its goal.

ISIS knows well how to deal with media outlets and delivers messages it wants by using words, pictures, records, and even live broadcasts. The organization even possesses its own outlets, like Dabiq magazine, which reflects the organization’s speech with the West.

The terrorist group has benefited from Al-Qaeda’s experience, which maintained its activity on the internet over the past 20 years. Jiff Bardeen, expert in digital terrorism cases said that ISIS recruits more than 3400 new member monthly through cyber campaigns. While the western intelligence bodies put all their efforts in interpreting the data of radical groups and operations, the “lone wolves’ succeed in exploiting innovated tools and thoughts, which are hard to be anticipated.

No one would have imagined that ISIS will use PlayStation games in planning Paris’ attacks, without being caught by the French authorities. According to Forbes, a PlayStation 4 device allowed terrorists to communicate discretely.

As a conclusion, the world is facing a new kind of fundamental wars called cyber fundamentalism, and the two parties are showing excellence in it, while the world is losing its security and paying the cost of globalization, technologies, and many others factors.