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The Different Patterns of Terrorist Operations | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The explosion shattered windows at Zaventem airport [Francois

Dubai – Some observers and media outlets consider the strategies of terrorist groups as one even-perspective across different countries and among different contexts, whether they are linked to ISIS or not.

However, terrorism is a phenomenon that adapt with its entourage and it’s important not to drift behind its propaganda that focuses on intimidation and on an image of unification under the allegiance to one Emir.

One of the most common mistakes in tackling the phenomenon of violence, across both Arab and western world, is the lack of awareness of differences among intellects, organizations, and practices, in addition to the unconscious drift behind the lexicon of terrorism that generalize the term “operation” or “invasion” on each modest and significant action.

This generalization serves the resistance of this organization and help it on reassuring its supporters and intimidating its enemies. Yet the the most dangerous mistake committed by some journalists has been the link between the terrorist groups and religious heritage, from Ibn Taymiyyah to al-Bukhari who existed hundreds of year ago.

The Arab world suffers from a major problem in the discussion of many deep phenomenons amid conflicts, battles, organized and unorganized chaos, and remarkable ideological and political bias.

A U.S. center reported on June that the terrorist operation in the Peninsula of Sinai have duplicated during 2016 and that the performance of the Egyptian security forces lacks for efficiency; this report has clearly opposed the official and non-official statistics in Egypt and the region, and the statements of terrorist groups adopting attacks in Sinai have witnessed a remarkable regression.

Strategies of Extremism in Different Contexts

Extremism is a concept that embraces many organizations which adopt all, a part of its targets; all these organizations have agreed on rejecting the other, but each one of them has its own representatives and concepts based on its available capacities.

Not only ISIS, but also Hundreds of extremist organizations that have been exploiting Islam to justify their terrorism are wide spread in the world; each one has its own practices that differs based on the region of conflict and on the kind of the target country.

Generally, in spite that extremism is a complete intellect and ideology, it should be confronted by focusing on details and continuous observations of the phenomenon and organizations; it’s important to realize their developments and regressions; their speeches, their activity or absence; the appearances and absences of these organizations’ leaders should also be taken into consideration.

Countries and governments that support war against ISIS may be a clear target through the strategy of “Lone wolves” used in many European countries till date.

Three Patterns of Terrorism

Three main aspects of terrorist groups behavior can be detected:

Exhaustion Pattern

Terrorist groups rely on attrition warfare that targets stable and strong countries through “lone wolves” and suicide bombings in countries where they have lost their chances of expansion.

Propaganda Pattern

Groups announce and adopt operations under their names; they also exploit the sectarian and religious discord in some countries, like what has happened in many European countries, Turkey, and the United Sates.

State and Empowerment Pattern

Organizations focus on the weakness of rule in the country, like in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Somalia and take advantage of conflicts in these countries to expand.

To succeed in confronting these phenomena, this difference in patterns adopted by the terrorist groups based on many factors should be emphasized to differentiate between levels of threats.