That an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) aspirant killed over 53 people and injured another 50 at the Pulse Club in Orlando, Florida, is confirmed. Questions are now being asked about Omar Mateen’s recruitment and his social networks. Also under scrutiny are the mistakes that may have been made in background checks allowing him access to a weapon.
There’s more. Terms such as “lone wolf” are being bantered about digital media. Mateen’s Uzbek-born wife said that her ex-husband had become radicalized and violent, thus divorcing him recently. More information is beginning to appear and investigations are ongoing at the US federal and state level officials.
The Orlando killings during a gay pride event are the worst terrorist attack to have taken place in the United States since 9/11. However, there is much more significance to this horrific event that may be a harbinger for the near-term.
First, it’s all about timing. For two years in a row ISIS is making sure that high value attacks occur during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Last year, ISIS used the 6th and 9th days of Ramadan to execute prisoners in new, shocking ways, in France through decapitation and mutilation, automatic weapons fired upon European beach tourists in Tunisia, and a targeted suicide bombing on a Shiite mosque in Kuwait. Looks like ISIS adherents want the tradition continued with Orlando.
Of course, a majority of analysts would say that ISIS had a command and control element over this operation. Whether true or not such a connection doesn’t matter to the key fact: ISIS is in America, Period. No further proof for the naysayers is necessary.
With the abundance of online recruiting material and other illicit support, there is no doubt that ISIS continues to be a major attraction to US based followers where over one hundred ISIS suspects are under arrest and thousands more under surveillance. In the Orlando case, it appears that Mateen was able to succeed due to the continued stovepipes between various US Federal and State agencies. Other ISIS followers will act out too on days that inspire these foot soldiers.
A second point is that Mateen tapped into ISIS’s homophobia to choose this American community as a unique target. As we know, ISIS carries out executions of gay men on a regular basis. ISIS media is also replete with anti-gay hatred ever since the group’s foundation and the creation of the so-called Caliphate. It’s only logical that ISIS’s homophobic messaging got through to Mateen which begs the question of how many other potential recruits harbor this ill and violent intent.
Social media has erupted into a pro and anti-gay stance, some arguing ISIS just handed Republic party nominee Donald Trump a victory in November.Dr. Theodore Karasik