Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Violence, Randomness…New Marks of Extremists’ Terrorism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Scenes from the terror attack in Nice/ Valery Hache | AFP | Getty Images

Riyadh- Randomness and destruction have become the language adopted by terrorist groups which target innocent people with random violence that lack planning. Their main goal is to raise fear and exterminate people who oppose the organization’s intellect.

Brutality has extended to target children in schools, people in mosques, and civilians in sports stadiums. This reflects a deep strategy of ignorance and carelessness towards the repercussions of these acts on the public as they will lead people to reject these organization’s approaches.

The terrorist attacks we had witnessed recently were similar to riots and individual revenge attempts that differ from the traditional concept of terrorism that targets civilians in huge numbers to impress the public and fulfill religious and political goals.

The old terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda were keen to demonize the enemy and to justify the reasons behind targeting it. Al- Qaeda was selective in choosing its targets, which reflects a strategy that aims at acquiring the biggest number of supporters by attacking non-believers mainly in the United States; the attacks of 9/11 received a remarkable sympathy and applaud of many people.

Al-Qaeda was keen to show itself as the savor of oppressed people through the promotion campaigns focusing on the organization’s services provided for Iraqis, and currently on its role in Yemen. Yet, the new extremist groups made a major transformation in their media strategies by appearing like psychos who kill innocent people. These new organizations have moved easily toward their targets and neglected the results, which emphasizes a drastic shift in the concept of extremism and terrorism.

The massive attacks that used to kill big numbers of people have shrunk and the direction turned to easier targets that don’t require major effort in planning or trained people to implement them. Recently, the terrorist organizations have worked on encouraging the role of “lone wolves” strategy that consists of one individual to carry on a terrorist attack. ISIS has targeted the lone wolves through multi-lingual messages and provided them with the instructions needed for random attacks.

This shift of strategies has featured many attacks as riots or crimes that completely differ from terrorist attacks.

The latest attacks have also focused on security members; many cells discovered in Saudi Arabia were planning to target policemen after a number of attacks executed against Saudi Arabian policemen patrols.

Finally, the most incomprehensible matter is how these organizations can easily target women and children without empathy. Boko Haram was considered the fiercest in this field by focusing on children and educational institutions; on 14 April 2014, this organization kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian girls (aged 12-17 years) who faced abuse and forced marriage. It has also burned many Nigerian schools, which led the government to close a big number of educational institutions and prevented more than one million Nigerian children from education, according to the UNICEF’s report. Extremists didn’t hesitate to attack mosques in many regions including Saudi Arabia.

However, observers see that these random attacks emphasize the weakness of these organization’s strategies and capacities of planning.