The example that comes from above has a huge following. And it helps to cement the hate front, charging it with new energy. Isis and Al Qaeda put divisions and clashes aside to address the common enemy. Yesterday all the communication centers of the two movements praised the Nice massacre, inviting their followers to multiply their actions. The analysis of the Site Group shows how there has been a mobilization on the network from Indonesia to Algeria. Qaraysh, an online publication close to the Islamic State, threatens France and shows the image of a bomber with a backpack in a bus. Another site linked to the Caliphate organized a mail bombing to block a French social media. As many as 24 groups that support Al Qaeda have signed an appeal to attack French targets in all Arab countries. A chorus of applause, which often re-launched the phrase by Osama Bin Laden: “If your freedom of expression respects no limits, get ready to face our freedom of action.”
An instinctive and global reaction, which several Western intelligence agencies suspect is the result of an operation studied by the last strategists of the jihad. Faced with the defeats on the ground in Syria and Iraq, the disillusionment of the radical movements after the destruction of the Mosul Caliphate, the condemnation of large sections of the moderate population in all Arab countries, they sought a trigger to rekindle the fire of violence. Lacking the ability to organize large-scale attacks, they turned a lone wolf on the goal that could create consensus across the entire Islamic world: Charlie Hebdo and his cartoons against Mohammed.
A plan that resulted in the attack on 25 September against the old seat of the satirical weekly, with the wounding of two people by a Chechen refugee: a young man with strong relations between the veterans of the Islamic State. From that moment the attention has returned to focus on Charlie Hebdo and France, fueling street protests from Bangladesh to Syria, from Turkey to Indonesia.
A comparison with the previous proclamations launched by Isis and Al Qaeda is enough to realize the effectiveness of the operation. In January, the spokesman for Isis Abu Hamza al-Qurashi – as a study by Pasar Sherko pointed out – has incited to attack Israel; in May to strike Qatar; Saudi Arabia in October: all appeals were without consequences. As soon as “the blasphemy newspaper” was targeted, the first stabbing triggered a chain reaction that is plunging France into terror and cementing an unprecedented consensus around jihadist groups. In this way, they are able to find legitimacy to recruit recruits, collect funding and reinforce the ranks reduced to their limitations.
However, this risks being only the first phase of the operation. The refined minds who conceived this design point to another effect: to provoke the retaliation of the European right against Muslims. It is what they have always been looking for, from the London attacks in 2005 to the Berlin massacre of Christmas 2016. So far they have never managed to unleash retaliation. But now the climate in Europe is very different; in Germany in February there have already been shootings against clubs frequented by Turks and the fear of Covid is wearing down our social structure. The danger is very high. Yesterday, the Site Group also highlighted the online tam tam of some French supremacist acronyms, which they invited to “hunt down the Islamists” and “activate armed patrols in the streets”, quoting a phrase attributed to Hitler: “Terror can be broken only from terror ”. If these words were transformed into facts, if extremism ended up responding with extremism, we would be faced with the greatest jihadist victory.