ISIS attacks in Paris, Beirut, Iraq, in the past weeks, and about two weeks ago against a Russian airliner in the Sinai are all spectacular attacks against regional countries and international powers under the guise of ISIS’s “Storm” operation.
The attacks of late carry the hallmark and lessons learned of violent extremists who have launched successful attacks not only in Mumbai (2008) but also Chechen terrorist attacks against a hospital in Budennovsk (1995), a theater Nord-Ost (2002), and a school in Beslan (2004). The Westgate Mall Attack (2013) by Al-Shabaab in Kenya is also notable for its viciousness. The summation of this violence is now seen.
ISIS’s Storm is about sending waves of fighters and target commercial aviation to exacerbate tensions in key countries and arenas. In Paris, the attacks focused on gathering places including a stadium, restaurants, and bars. In Beirut, the suicide bombings targeted a Palestinian refugee camp in a Shiite zone of Lebanon’s capital. The targets in Iraq also focused on Shiite pilgrims. Of course, Metrojet flight 9268, brought down by what appears to be an ISIS bomb, killed Russian citizens.
Let’s also note that Boko Haram, who pledged allegiance to ISIS is on a roll in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger in the past few weeks including the deploying female suicide bombers. This wave from Western Africa is meant to destabilize North Africa. Combined with ISIS’ province in Libya, a multi-prong push is obvious.
Thus, ISIS’s Storm is found in the group’s recent statements that, I believe, were not taken seriously by intelligence officials or analysts of ISIS. This lack of reading and analysis is tragic and cannot be repeated again. Electronic monitoring may not have picked up any traffic regarding potential attacks. It may be that ISIS is using better encrypted messaging platforms or had possibly gone back to the old way of face to face communications. Drone attacks to target ISIS leaders is not going to deter ISIS one iota.
Let’s be clear: the recent release of two ISIS messages to the world show the group’s intent. ISIS’s Russian language “Soon Very Soon” video clearly showed threats to Russia and to Europe:
These are our words
In your major cities
We will corner you.
You won’t be able to escape.
Nor spread your corruption.
You will live a life of humiliation
Only from now on.
In the hereafter,
Hellfire awaits you.
Hellfire is an important word: In connotes the end times, part of ISIS’s horrific apocalyptic outlook. The ISIS claim on the Paris attacks specifically target the UK and other countries in the same violent language including Rome.
Drone attacks to target ISIS leaders is not going to deter ISIS one iota.Dr. Theodore Karasik