There are no absolutely “lone wolfs”, X-man always exists.
The terrorist attack occurred in the heart of London. As horrible as that probably sounds, this fact did not surprise anyone. This is another terrorist attack in Europe. Five people died, dozens were injured. The world, especially the Europeans, unfortunately, have become accustomed to the terrorist attacks. However, the United Kingdom was not attacked by international terrorism for a long time. But this does not mean that fanatics have never been «interested» in the United Kingdom. Foggy Albion has always been, remains and will remain in the focus of radicals. British intelligence has been able to neutralize the terrorist attacks, both in large and small cities of the country, for a long time.
In short, the United Kingdom is convenient goal from the ideological point of view because of three reasons. Historically, the British are still perceived by the inhabitants of the Third World as the colonizers. Muslim world also has a special attitude towards them. Secondly, London is an active participant in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nowadays, British soldiers are represented in both countries.
Also, the United Kingdom is a member of the international coalition against ISIS led by the United States. London takes an active military and political involvement in the ongoing events in Syria and Iraq. Thirdly, the United Kingdom is the closest ally of the United States, which is “the goal number one «. Political support to Israel also causes hatred among Islamists.
At the time of this writing, no one has taken responsibility for the terrorist attacks on Westminster Bridge. I spent about five hours reading Salafite accounts and websites. A lot of them are close to ISIS, some of them are close to Al-Qaeda. That is why I have no doubt that sooner or later, ISIS or a close to it structure, will take responsibility for the terrorist attack.
Why not Al Qaeda? Firstly, it wins (in the confrontation of terrorist groups) in Syria. Gradually, this networked Salafist-Jihadist group becomes the main player in the Syrian resistance, replacing the remnants of the opposition. Secondly, al-Qaeda, unlike the ISIS, has a solid ideological base that is several decades old. Among other things, the basis of this base was the thesis of need to attack the «distant enemy», which is, the West. After certain setbacks and particularly after the appearance and strengthening of ISIS, Ayman al-Zawahiri who is the leader of Al-Qaeda, has moved somewhat away from this line.
In his own option, the grouping should strengthen position «at home», that is, in the region of the Middle East and North Africa in the current circumstances. Az-Zawahiri compiled a special list of the most suitable on the basic conditions countries and even provinces, where supporters of al-Qaeda can find a «quiet haven» and gain a foothold. But we are not talking about this now. In short, this grouping will not spend resources to find a «lone wolf» with the purpose of suicide bombing or a ram in the West. Radicals of this group are occupied by Idlib and by confrontation with the militarized wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria.
ISIS is quite another thing. It is on its decline, suffers from one defeat after another, and permanently loses its territory and infrastructure. All this affects the budget of the grouping. ISIS finally leaves to the Syrian and Iraqi villages. Media attention is decreasing, opportunities are falling, enemies, including Sunni tribes, are becoming larger. And what should be done in this case? The ideologists of ISIS answered simply, and sometimes even illustratively.
The Frenchman of Moroccan descent, Abu Suleiman al-Faransi replaced Abu Abdulrahman at the «chief of European operations» position. The origin of the second person gave him the opportunity to take leading positions in ISIS: a Sunni, a native of a large tribe in the Iraqi province of Anbar. Abdurlrahman was killed near Mosul, and his place was occupied by the ambitious al-Faransi in the summer of 2014. Some consider him as a «merit» of the terrorist attacks in Paris. And after ISIS began to lose positions and base of support, as a result, al-Faransi made a kind of «road map» for ISIS.
At the end of 2016 he recorded a video, where he had urged supporters of the organization in Europe no longer to go to Syria and Iraq. By that time, the number of people entering ISIS dropped significantly, according to some data, by 70-90%. By the way, «true believers» had to focus on organizing attacks in their host countries. This call was accompanied by detailed instructions. In the video, al-Faransi explained in two languages how to use the knife in order to inflict more damage on the enemy. At about the same time, another issue of the journal of terrorists «Rome» was published, where there was another instruction: how to use a car as a ram.
IGIL as well as «Al-Qaeda» in the past, loves anniversaries. This is a kind of signal or reminder. Unfortunately, the terrorists succeeded in making small-scale, but extremely resonant action on the anniversary of the Belgian attacks. There is no doubt that the British special services will strengthen the counter-terrorism direction of their activities, as it was in 2005. Then, Al-Qaeda, in particular its Iraqi wing, managed to commit major terrorist acts in London. After that, the British increased their military contingents in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, now as then, this will not help. It should be understood that such actions are a new form of terrorist activity that will be used by radicals in the coming years. It is noteworthy that the tools of the leaders of terrorist underground often come from the diaspora of second or third generation. And they, in their turn, are beyond the suspicion of the special services.
The second thing is that nowadays everyone repeats the mantra of «lone wolves», attacks of individual terrorists. Briefly, no one large-scale terrorist act in modern history was committed by one person. If we talk about terrorism, and not about solitary actions of psychopaths, then this phenomenon is collective. Sometimes people cannot go alone to the supermarket, so what can we say about the organization of an attack in the West. The suicide bomber almost always is in communication with a recruiter or an ideologue, who, in turn, through a certain chain of intermediaries with the organizer. The fact that this does not get into the media is natural and normal.
The terrorist attacks of the suicide bombers have absolutely another meaning. Terrorists find a potential supporter of the Salafist ideology and use it as bait. Since the security measures after a series of large-scale terrorist attacks in the early 2000s significantly improved, making a major attack became extremely difficult. In this sense, we should not unduly focus on the thesis of the «lone wolf». Before going to a terrorist attack, a person must mature and become a suicide bomber. This is preceded by contacts with the X-man. Counterintelligence was supposed to work here.
Georgi Asatryan, Ph.D., orientalist
This article was published in Life https://life.ru/t/%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%BA%D1%82%D1%8B/989188/kto_stoit_za_tieraktami_v_londonie