“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese warrior-philosopher penned numerous quotes regarding strategy and warfare that have held true throughout the centuries. This quote describes the tactic that the jihadist terrorists successfully employ in their war with the west by attacking the most vulnerable and weakest areas of society.
Jihadists don’t take up the fight with formidable armies; they “strike at what is weak” – innocent civilians and soft targets. The war we find ourselves in today, the War on Terrorism, is not fought on the battlefield against uniformed combatants of sovereign nations. The battlefield is where everyday life occurs-airports, airplanes, train stations, cafes, concert halls, shopping centers, night spots, churches and public streets…and the war often uses everyday objects- vehicles, knives, hammers, box blades and pressure cookers. We don’t always notice them once they are among us, but we notice them before they are among us. We notice them in the form of watch lists, associations, connections, networks, countries of travel and direct threats.
Sun Tzu also said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”. Western societies know exactly who the enemy is after they strike. They react with force and round up those connected to the terrorists cells who carried out the attack, but how many more wake-up calls does the West need before they begin to acknowledge the threat before it attacks and understand that their societies are under siege?
The number of terrorist incidents in the United States are not at the level that they are in Europe but they are every bit as lethal and devastating (9-11). Intelligence sources estimate that there are now 23,000 identified Jihadists living among the Muslim populations of Great Britain and an estimated 66,000 in all of Europe. The most targeted countries are England, France, Belgium and Germany. If they have the resources to identify these individuals as Jihadists, then they should have the will to vigorously monitor and expel them by denying them entry or re-entry after they have left their homeland to become radicalized and/or fought for ISIS.
The following timeline shows terrorist incidents against western targets since 2015. All of these attacks have one thing is common; they all are soft targets- attacking us where we are weak. This timeline is from Fox News and Express and corroborated by multiple sources.
June 6, 2017- Attack outside of Notre Dame Cathedral
A man attacked a police officer with a hammer outside of Notre Dame Cathedral with a Hammer. He was also in possession of knives.
June 3, 2017- London Bridge and Borough Market
Three attackers drove a van across London Bridge mowing down innocent bystanders, then exited the van and went on a stabbing spree through Borough Market, a popular gathering spot.
May 22, 2017: Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England
22 people were killed and 59 injured by a suicide bomber. ISIS claimed responsibility.
April 20, 2017: Champs Elysees attack in Paris
An attacker got out of a car and fired an automatic weapon at a parked police van, killing the officer inside, before shooting at others standing on the nearby sidewalk, injuring two before he was shot and killed by police. The French president said the attack was “terrorist in nature” and promised “utmost vigilance.” The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
April 7, 2017: Stockholm truck attack
Five people were killed when a truck driven by a man drove into a pedestrian shopping street and department store in Sweden’s capital city, wounding over a dozen others.
The 39-year-old man allegedly admitted to being a member of ISIS and told police that he had “achieved what he set out to do.”
April 3, 2017: Saint Petersburg bombing
A suicide bombing on the subway in Russia’s second largest city killed more than a dozen passengers and injured dozens more.
March 22, 2017: Westminster Bridge attack
Five people, including a London police officer who was stabbed and the perpetrator, were killed in a terror attack. More than 40 people were injured outside the Parliament building.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the act was “sick and depraved.” ISIS later claimed responsibility.
Feb. 3, 2017: Louvre knife attack
A machete-wielding man yelling “Allahu Akbar” attacked soldiers in a shopping mall near the Louvre in Paris. He was shot and wounded by soldiers.
Dec. 19, 2016: Germany Christmas market
A large truck plowed through a Christmas market in central Berlin, which killed 12 and injured 48 others.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and said the attacker was “a soldier of the Islamic State” through Amaq news agency.
Nov. 28, 2016: Ohio State
Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an Ohio State University student, ran his car into a group of students and slashed people with a butcher knife.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
Oct. 16, 2016: Hamburg, Germany
There was a “lone wolf” knife attack in Hamburg, Germany, which claimed the life of one teenager.
July 26, 2016: Normandy Church attack- men stormed the church, took hostages and slit the throats of the Priest with a knife.
July 24, 2016: In two separate attacks on Sunday July 24, a man blew himself up in Ansbach and a man killed a pregnant woman during a machete attack in Reutlingen.
July 18, 2016: The string of violent attacks started when an axeman hacked passengers on a train in Wurzburg.
July 14, 2016: Nice, France
Seventy-seven people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck drove through a crowd on Bastille Day.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
June 12, 2016: Orlando nightclub shooting
Omar Mateen attacked an Orlando gay nightclub, killing 50 people. Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS on a 911 call, after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.
March 22, 2016: Belgium attack
There were two suicide bombings on March 22, 2016—one at Brussels Airport and the other in the city’s subway system. Combined, the attacks killed 32 people.
The ISIS cell that claimed responsibility for the Brussels attack was also linked to those involved in the Nov. 13, 2015 terror attacks in Paris.
Jan. 11, 2016: Marseille, France
A teenager attacked a Jewish teacher in Marseille with a machete. He told police that he carried out the attack in the name of the Islamic State.
Jan. 7, 2016: Philadelphia, Penn.
A man shot and wounded a Philadelphia police officer. The man claimed the attack was in the name of Islam and the Islamic State.
Dec. 2, 2015: San Bernardino shooting
A married couple shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. The FBI is investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism inspired by ISIS.
Nov. 13, 2015: Paris attacks
A series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people and injured hundreds more. The attacks consisted of mass shootings and suicide bombings. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Aug. 21, 2015: Paris
Three Americans were at the center of an attempted mass shooting. They helped to overpower a gunman who was armed with a Kalashnikov, and opened fire on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.
The gunman was on the radar of European counterterrorism agencies and appeared to be sympathetic to ISIS.
Feb. 15, 2015: Denmark
A Denmark national who was inspired by ISIS went on a rampage through the nation’s capital, killing two and wounding five police officers.
Jan. 7-9, 2015: Charlie Hebdo
There was an attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and four attacks around Paris followed, killing 17 people.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.
A recent article in Gatestone Institute discusses the European Islamists from where the Jihadists arise. The article says, “These Islamists have built a powerful infrastructure of terror inside Europe’s cities. These terror bases are self-segregated, multicultural enclaves in which extremist Muslims promote Islamic fundamentalism and implement Islamic law, Sharia.” The article goes on to state, “A jihadist takeover of Europe is no longer unthinkable. Islamic extremists are already reaping what they sowed: they successfully defeated Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, the only two European candidates who really wanted to fight radical Islam.”
The question remains, does Europe and the rest of the west possess the will to acknowledge and confront the threat before we reach a point of no return? The answer remains unknown.
photo credit: dw/counterthreatgrp.com33