Dr. Walid Phares
Don't Disregard Jihadi Threats Against Paris, London & Detroit
October 25, 2010
Adam Gadahn, the American-born propagandist for al Qaeda issued a 48 minutes
long video posted on Jihadi web sites and now circulating in Salafi chat rooms
in which he calls on "Muslims" (per his video) to conduct attacks from suburban
areas against the cities of Paris, London and Detroit. He stated that
individuals can perform what he coined as "the individual obligation of Jihad"
by emerging from "miserable suburbs" and delivering strikes in the French
capital, the British capital and in a US city where the Arab-Muslim community is
demographically prominent in the suburbs, mainly in Dearborn.
What to make out of this declaration? There are those who will downplay Adam
Gadahn's call for Jihad strikes against Paris, London and Detroit, who will
dismiss al Qaeda's capacity of delivering blows and who, stubbornly, will
continue to look at the real threat on the ground as "product of isolated
extremists." And you have those who will take this call seriously, believe that
al Qaeda can eventually provoke such strikes and perceive the threat as coming
from an organized movement that has a plan and a strategy. Obviously, I concur
with the second school.
First the video message by the American spokesman of al Qaeda comes in the wake
of significant Western mobilization against potential strikes in Europe over the
past weeks. French and other European authorities have been issuing warnings
over possible Jihadi violence in several location on the continent. The US State
Department issued its own travel warning to US citizens traveling to Europe.
German officials revealed that as many as one thousand "Islamist militants"
(read Jihadi) are potentially present on German soil.
In the US, we are stopping or uncovering almost one case of Jihadi terror
attempt, a month, versus about one or two cases every year before 2009. Hence,
the laws of numbers forces us to take al Qaeda video seriously. This type of
material is not released lightly, even though it may not be a triggering point
for a series of direct hits. In my many years of analysis of Jihadi propaganda I
came to realize that there are, in most cases, several components behind the
issuing of such declarations, particularly targeting named cities.
Gadahn's call is not practically directed to the entire Muslim population in
these cities. Al Qaeda is calling on its own members, aspiring members and
radicalized element to understand that this is the "will of the leadership." It
named Paris, London and Detroit not because of the political barometer within
the suburban Muslim communities but because the Jihadi networks are growing in
these areas, as they are in most areas where radicalization is happening. But
Gahdan wants symbolism and thus is trying to incite the already radicalized
Jihadists to begin the macabre dance of death and mayhem.
Unfortunately, Western bureaucracies are in a state of ideological blindness
imposed by a ban on referring to crucial terms and words needed to detect this
radicalization. Hence the security of these cities on both sides of the Atlantic
hinges on the brave first line of defense, law enforcement and counter