Two After-Paris Lessons


By Kumar David –

Permit me to follow my ‘West Blind to Root Causes of Terrorism’ on 6 December with two comments. Many have contacted me to say the analysis was spot-on but some sharp minds said that while most of it came across ok, two points need to be highlighted. Viz: (a) Much ‘jihadisation’ (bourgeois media and leaders call it “radicalisation”) takes place without contact or conversion by recruiters. (b) The San Bernadino attack was probably a misfiring which has security implications.

What (a) means is that the jihadist message can spread on its own; some people come to the ‘cause’ without being personally canvassed and recruited. As I said on 6 December the big recruiter to jihadism is despair, frustration and downtrodden state of people across the Middle East, especially Palestine. Minus this, those ideologically radicalised by faith alone will shrink. Jihadisation of socially marginalised Western youth is a nexus between their own exclusion (no jobs, living in the dregs) with despair in the Middle East. Even if Daesh is militarily defeated, territory taken back and the Caliphate destroyed, conflict will not go away till socio-political causes are addressed. Alienated people become more, not less radical. Surveillance, control and military offensives, sans solution of root causes will get nowhere. In other words, the current strategy will fail.

pakistan-child-jihadiWhat (b) means is that sleeper cells may fire without instructions from ‘headquarters’. My guess is that Western security agencies think a cell which was told to be dormant, fired-off without instructions. Maybe something happened at that Christmas party enraging one of the jihadists. The couple took offence and poured out their rage. The significance is that if (since) there must be more sleeper cells elsewhere – West, India and Pakistan – and since they may include type-(a) self-energised persons, more ‘misfiring’ can be expected from time to time.

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