Saleh Ali: Terrorism Doesn’t Need Organization

Saleh Ali: Terrorism Doesn’t Need Organization

Saleh Ali: Terrorism Doesn’t Need Organization

A few days ago, police in Brea, CA charged a knuckle-dragging apparent extremist neanderthal with four felonies related to the explosive devices they found in his car during a routine traffic stop because of an expired vehicle registration. The suspect, Saleh Ali, was arrested, and police claimed there was “no evidence at the time that the defendant has any ties to a terrorist organization.” A few of my friends made some sarcastic comments about this, because with a name like Saleh Ali, he was quite obviously Amish or at the very least a Catholic, right?

Photo courtesy of the Brea Police Department

But many are also curious why police seem to always claim that they see no ties to terrorist organizations when they arrest these quite obviously terrorist assholes. The answer is probably a bit complicated, because although ISIS and al-Qa’ida are still active and more than willing to launch attacks on western interests, more than ever they rely on inspired malcontents to carry out attacks – cretins who access their content online, who are perpetually aggrieved and dissatisfied with their lives, and who blame the United States on their lousy lot because it has to be RACISM! WARONISLAM! VICTIMHOOD!

ISIS has lost a lot of ground since last year, and according to Foreign Policy magazine, the Islamic State’s revenues have been slashed by 80 percent after it lost roughly two-thirds of its territory.

“Territorial losses are the main factor contributing to the Islamic State’s loss of revenue,” said Ludovico Carlino, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit. “Losing control of the heavily populated Iraqi city of Mosul, and oil rich areas in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Homs, has had a particularly significant impact on the group’s ability to generate revenue.”

It costs money to send operatives outside its region, and given ISIS’s territorial and financial losses, it’s much more cost effective to radicalize individuals who are already present here in the US and in the West writ large. No passport costs, no transportation costs, no paying off sketchy guys who make fraudulent passports, no bribes to corrupt border and immigration officials to create false identities or supply documentation that will enable them to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, and no paying for their room and board once they get here.

According to a Department of Homeland Security assessment, most foreign-born violent extremists are radicalized right here in the United States.

It’s pretty easy for anyone with an Internet connection to find extremist propaganda online, and both ISIS and AQ have a pretty extensive online presence, and ISIS in particular has stepped up those efforts – especially after last year’s losses in Iraq and Syria.

The content has changed significantly since the loss of Raqqa, formerly home to the group’s official media division and production facilities. Gone are the glossy Isis magazines and slick videos extolling the virtues of life under militant Islamist rule. In their place is a steady stream of incitements, nearly all of them aimed at offering encouragement and detailed instructions for carrying out terrorist attacks.

So when the extremists here take it upon themselves to demonstrate their displeasure with their lot in life by staging attacks, they don’t need a terrorist affiliation. They don’t need formal ties to terrorist organizations. They need a computer and an internet connection. And that’s why law enforcement will many times confirm that there is not link to terrorist organizations, because ISIS and AQ probably won’t even know these troglodytes exist until they launch an attack, at which point the terrorist group can claim responsibility and laud the malcontent for striking at the enemy.

I doubt this means the police are somehow trying to downplay the terrorism angle.

It simply means they have found no connection to any formal terrorist organization, even though they may be guided or inspired by ISIS or others.

Omar Mateen – the perpetrator of the Pulse nightclub shooting was inspired by ISIS.

The murderer who killed US military personnel in Tennessee was inspired by al-Qa’ida.

Tnuza Hassan, who set several fires to her former university campus in Minnesota, was angry because of the US military’s intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, inspired by al-Qa’ida.

And on and on and on. Terrorists no longer have to be formal operatives or have direct operational support from a foreign terrorist organization, but they are still terrorists and should be treated as such.

In Ali’s case, this this is not his first brush with the law. He was arrested in 2003 for aggravated assault with serious bodily injury and terrorist threats in New Jersey, and given his past record and the type of explosives found in the car, the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center was notified.

Featured photo courtesy of: IHS Jane’s Conflict Monitor

Written by

Marta Hernandez is an immigrant, writer, editor, science fiction fan (especially military sci-fi), and a lover of freedom, her children, her husband and her pets. She loves to shoot, and range time is sacred, as is her hiking obsession, especially if we’re talking the European Alps. She is an avid caffeine and TWD addict, and wants to own otters, sloths, wallabies, koalas, and wombats when she grows up.

  • GWB says:

    But many are also curious why police seem to always claim that they see no ties to terrorist organizations
    Well, because they aren’t. And, of course, that is an outdated mentality (really based in pre-Islamic terrorism).

    they don’t need a terrorist affiliation
    Well, they *have* a terrorist affiliation. They are almost always fundamentalist muslims. That’s an affiliation right there. (And we really should be looking into more mosques and seeing if they preach that fundamentalism or not – the one that says they must kill the infidel and conquer his nation. And, yes, I’d say the same if it were predominantly Amish running around committing terror.)

    I doubt this means the police are somehow trying to downplay the terrorism angle.
    Sometimes. Sometimes not. Take a look at the people giving the information (and their boss) to see if they’re using it to play the “mustn’t be islamophobic” angle or just reporting a fact.

    Yes, we need to get out of the mentality that you have to be a card-carrying member of a recognized terrorist organization – wear their jacket and ring, have secret handshakes – to be an actual terrorist. You just have to have an ideology that tells you killing and harming people is the right and good way to advance that ideology.

    • Marta Hernandez says:

      What makes you think law enforcement authorities ARE NOT looking at mosques? Very few active investigations are public knowledge. 😉

  • SFC D says:

    Most people don’t grasp the concept that “terrorism” is a tactic, not a cause that you join, not an ideology. ISIS spreads it’s message across the world, hoping to inspire “lone wolf” type attacks. No trackable connection back to the ISIS honchos, yet they still have an act of terrorism to take credit for.

    • GWB says:

      Disagree somewhat. Terrorism is, by definition, a tactic for advancing an ideology. Just killing people en masse is not terrorism, but simple mass murder (i.e., Parkland shooting). You have to have something (besides the terror itself) as a reason for the terror. Hence, islam, environmentalism and communism are motivators for terrorism.

      How you tell “inspired by and in support of” from “just a good excuse”, I don’t know. (And maybe don’t need to.)

      • Nicki says:

        If this helps, here’s the official definition of terrorism:

        Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).

        The FBI further describes terrorism as either domestic or international, depending on the origin, base, and objectives of the terrorist organization.

    • GWB says:

      But, yes, “War On Terror” has always been a stupid thing to call it. It is part of what’s wrong with our current, very long ‘war’ (along with partial war, ill-defined victory conditions, and ‘nation-building’ because “you broke it, you bought it”).

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