I woke up this morning to another terrorist attack here in France. While smaller in scale than the attacks at Charlie Hebdo or at the Bataclan last year, it was no less shocking.
A couple – both law enforcement officers – in a town near Paris were stabbed to death by a jihadist who, so the news reports, was either inspired by or trained by the Islamic State. The two fallen French citizens are added to the body count of the Islamic State this week that includes 100 casualties in Orlando and scores more in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere.
Reporting on the French killings local website The Local describes the threat to France thus:
The website goes on to quote French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the specialist counter-terror prosecutor François Molins who both claim the terrorist threat to France is “complex”.
Except it is not complex.
It is hard to predict where the terrorists will strike next. Frankly, as I wrote the other day on this blog, I fully expect that the Euro 2016 football championship will be targeted by terrorists. I can’t be sure if it will be in Paris, Lyon, or Lille, if it will be a stadium or a Fan Zone, or if it will just be tourists in an unrelated area targeted while on their way to a match.
But something that is unpredictable is not necessarily complex.
The style of the next attack on France, too, is hard to define. Though explosives and semi-automatic weapons are hard to come by for the average citizen they don’t seem to be present much of a challenge for terrorists. And, if they can’t find these sorts of weapons, the attack overnight proves that terrorists can get by with completely legal and easily available knives.
But not being able to determine the exact type of attack does not make the threat complex either.
It’s true that there are multiple ways in which the terrorists can be radicalized and that there is a major problem tracking trained IS members returning from the Mid East, tracking former prisoners radicalized in French jails, and somehow tracking the so-called self-radicalized who need nothing more than access to the internet to teach themselves how to kill in the name of the Islamic State.
But while this makes things more difficult for the authorities it does not make the situation complex.
Fundamentally it is a very simple situation: there is an ideology that is committed to destroying France, it’s citizens, and the citizens of other countries like France. It is the same ideology that attacked a nightclub in Orlando, that killed scores at the Bataclan, that blew up buses in London, a metro in Madrid, and that flew airplanes into the World Trade Center.
That ideology has a name, it has adherents, and those who proclaim allegiance to that ideology should be ended, and with all possible speed and violence.