Saturday, November 7, 2009

Walid Phares: Fort Hood: The largest "Terror act" since 9/11

The Fort Hood killings, perpetrated by Major Malik Nadal Hasan, a psychiatric by training, no matter what the judiciary reports will conclude is for now the largest single Terror act in America since 9/11.

This quantitative finding will take into consideration dramatic change in the data released by authorities.

The shooting inside a US military installation that led to the killing of many personnel compels us to ponder. Over the past few years and months authorities have stopped attempts on similar attacks. The Fort Dix Jihadi plot, dismantled in 2006, aimed at performing a killing of military personnel inside the base. Other cells, dismantled in Georgia, New York and North Carolina also had plans for attacking military installations on US soil. But more importantly a number of lone wolves have also expressed intentions to attack military personnel.

This year, a person by the name Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, 23, shot two US military at the Army-Navy Career Center in a shopping center in west Little Rock, killing one.

In cyberspace Jihadi threats against US military in the homeland and against American cities has been ongoing. Information collected by authorities, including from suspects and indicted individuals has shown a pattern by the Jihadists (militants or propagandists) indicating their intentions to strike at military and security installations.

Such incident in Fort Hood, whatever is the personal motive, falls in the category of demonization of the US and its military. Meaning, whatever were the causes of the individual aggression, the latter was legitimized by the perception that America is the "enemy."

Investigation will show quickly if the motives are strictly personal or ideological, or a hybrid set of motives. All depends on the early investigation made available to the public.

According to Retired Colonel Terry Lee, who was interviewed by Fox News and who knew Major Malik Nadal Hasan, the latter has made several statements indicating his ideological attitude such as: “The killing of the soldier in Arkansas and any attack against US military inside the homeland is legitimate because of American military involvement in the Middle East.”

Terry detailed remarks made by the killer “against US policy and in support of potential suicide attacks inside the country.” Obviously, these statements by former Colonel Terry needs to be analyzed and verified.

While waiting for these investigations to be released, analytical projection based on the historical context, on the specific circumstances of engagement between the Jihadist propaganda and the United States for the past eight years and the type of attack involving an individual in the military leaves us –at this point- with the projection that the ideological factor is part of the motives leading to the shooting.

Psychological factors are to be looked at seriously but the ideological component –legitimacy of attacking US military- needs also to be investigated: For the latter element was the alibi fueling the psychological factor, if indeed that was the case.

Although I would place this attack within a wider context involving the evolution of what we call homegrown radicalization, I would recommend waiting for at least the early findings of investigators. This is where the judicial investigation and expert analysis may depart for a little while until more information is made available and correct the analytical projections.

Meanwhile, if indeed it has any link to ideology or its derivatives, it will then be the single largest Terror attack in America (regardless of its homegrown origin or not, of the psychological reason or not) since 9/11.

In that case, what the world has seen and is eager to learn about cannot be described just as “horrific outburst of violence” performed on American military, rather is part of an ideological war, generated by radicalization, and inciting individuals to perform such acts. Lone wolf or not, organized or not, fully self aware perpetrator or not, influenced by overseas or not, this massacre of servicemen has moved America from stage to another.

Dr Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and author of Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America.

Source: Counter Terrorism Blog

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