Terrorist Ritual

Friday, June 24th, 2016

ISIS has found a reliable way to span the gap between online support and physical action that isn’t easy to detect, John Robb suggests:

They accomplished this by building a formalized ritual that combines initiation (a self-planned attack) and a public pledge (a formal lifelong, irrevocable pledge of fealty to the Caliph), and acknowledgement (redemption, acceptance, and honor). It appears to work. For example, here’s what Omar Mateen said on one of his telephone conversations. Note how important the pledge is to Omar in this public record of the call.

Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD): Emergency 911, this is being recorded.

Shooter (OM): In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]

OD: What?

OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.

OD: What’s your name?

OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.

OD: Ok, What’s your name?

OM: I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.

OD: Alright, where are you at?

OM: In Orlando.

OD: Where in Orlando?

[End of call]

The same process was seen a day later outside Paris by an attacker who killed two senior members of the police.

With this methodology in place, ISIS has the ability to bypass the security procedures that were effective against attacks from the remnants al Qaeda, and strike US and EU targets.

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