|"Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a drone! Hawk-shaped UAV crashed in Somalia believed to be a spy craft"--Daily Mail|
- More: "'We have taken control': Turkish military launch coup to depose Islamist government of Recep Erdogan as troops round up police, attack the capital, seize all airports and put tanks on the streets"--Daily Mail.
- Update (7/16/2016): The coup attempt was unsuccessful, but will probably provide an excuse for Turkish President Erdogan to further seize and centralize his power.
- TGIF: The Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. A bevy of good articles cited, as always. A couple that particularly caught my attention were (1) "To Flap Or Not?" by Massad Ayoob, and (2) "Start Practicing More Head Shots Because Terrorists Love Bombs" at Prepared Gun Owners. Mas's article is about research conducted on the time difference between using a magazine pouch with a flap versus one without a flap. He found that using an open pouch saved over a second in reload time versus one with a flap. The second article on head shots ties neatly into the articles I cited to yesterday about avoiding the pelvic shot: if they have armor or a bomb vest, shoot for the head.
- Updated information on the Nice, France, terrorist attack: "Was killer depressed about the break-up of his marriage? Police arrest Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel's ex-WIFE over massacre that left 84 dead as dramatic footage reveals moment he was killed in shoot-out"--Daily Mail. According to the article, 84 have died so far as a result of the attack, including 10 children; while 52 are in critical condition, including 25 on life support. Unsurprisingly, the killer has been identified as a Muslim: Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a French Tunisian. Deep down in the article, it again reports:
The truck driver, who was known to police, was said to have shouted 'Allahu Akbar' – God is great [sic] in Arabic – before being killed in a clear suicide mission. Pro-ISIS groups have been celebrating the attack, orchestrated to coincide with France's most important national holiday.
A huge cache of guns, grenades and 'larger weapons' and the terrorist's identity papers were later found inside the lorry, which mounted the pavement at approximately 40mph and steered directly towards hundreds of people watching a fireworks display.
Yet, as you can see from the headline, the media and the authorities are already trying to spin this as something other than a terrorist attack (probably in a futile attempt to avoid civil unrest). Taking an even more extreme position, the Guardian has published an op-ed claiming that "Sympathy should be our only response to the Nice terror attack." While the author makes some valid points about the uselessness of most of the responses that will be undertaken in response by France and other western governments, I cannot agree that beyond sympathy "there is nothing we can usefully do – other than make matters worse."
It is important to understand that this is not just a series of terrorist attacks intended to draw attention to a particular terror group as terrorism has historically been practiced in Europe. Instead, these attacks are part of an insurgency. Mao Tse-tung wrote that insurgents are fish swimming in the waters of the population. They are highly dependent on a friendly population. Thus, all successful counter-insurgencies have relied on removal or elimination of the "water", whether it be relocating that population (e.g. the American Indian wars and the Second Boer War), eliminating the population (e.g., the American Indian wars) or by alienating the population from the insurgents. Alienation is impossible under current conditions because large numbers of Muslims sympathize with the terrorists and their aims, or are at least too afraid to cooperate with law enforcement. Thus, Europe's survival will depend on deporting or eliminating large portions of the Muslim populations and restricting travel from Muslim countries into Europe. Right now, deportation is an option, but the longer this drags on, the more likely that the solution will shift toward elimination. Deportation is not a palatable, fair or equitable solution, but the further you dig yourself into a hole, the more drastic action is required to get out.
Second, there is another measure that could easily be enacted by European governments, which allowing their citizens the right (and means) of protecting themselves--i.e., private ownership and carrying of firearms. This may not stop the terrorism, but it at least gives citizens a fighting chance.
- Related: "France ‘Suppressed Reports of Gruesome Torture’ at Bataclan Massacre"--Heat Street. The article reports: "According to this testimony, Wahhabist killers reportedly gouged out eyes, castrated victims, and shoved their testicles in their mouths. They may also have disemboweled some poor souls. Women were reportedly stabbed in the genitals – and the torture was, victims told police, filmed for Daesh or Islamic State propaganda. For that reason, medics did not release the bodies of torture victims to the families, investigators said." Although the descriptions are sickening, I would suggest reading the whole thing because it is necessary we understand the type of opponent with whom we are dealing.
- Related: "Nice attack: Why the terrorists are winning the intelligence war — Spengler"--David Goldman in the Asia Times. He writes:
Yet another criminal known to security services has perpetrated a mass killing, the Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel. Why did the French police allow a foreign national with a criminal record of violence to reside in France? Apart from utter incompetence, the explanation is that he was a snitch for the French authorities. Blackmailing Muslim criminals to inform on prospective terrorists is the principal activity of European counter-terrorism agencies, as I noted in 2015. Every Muslim in Europe knows this.
The terrorists, though, have succeeded in turning the police agents sent to spy on them and forcing them to commit suicide attacks to expiate their sins. This has become depressingly familiar; as Ryan Gallagher reported recently, perpetrators already known to the authorities committed ten of the highest-profile attacks between 2013 and 2015.
The terrorists, in other words, are adding insult to injury. By deploying police snitches as suicide attackers, terrorists assert their moral superiority and power over western governments. The message may be lost on the western public, whose security agencies and media do their best to obscure it, but it is well understood among the core constituencies of the terrorist groups: the superiority of Islam turns around the depraved criminals whom the western police send to spy on us, and persuades them to become martyrs for the cause of Islam.
These attacks, in other words, are designed to impress the Muslim public as much as they are intended to horrify the western public. In so many words, the terrorists tell Muslims that western police agencies cannot protect them. If they cooperate with the police they will be found out and punished. The West fears the power of Islam: it evinces such fear by praising Islam as a religion of peace, by squelching dissent in the name of fighting supposed Islamophobia, and by offering concessions and apologies to Muslims. Ordinary Muslims live in fear of the terror networks, which have infiltrated their communities and proven their ability to turn the efforts of western security services against them. They are less likely to inform on prospective terrorists and more likely to aid them by inaction.
Goldman has arrived as the same place I do in my discussion above. After discussing Sherman's march through the South during the Civil War, he concludes:
The way to win the war is to frighten the larger community of Muslims who passively support terror by action or inaction–frighten them so badly that they will inform on family members. Frightening the larger Muslim population in the West does not require a great deal of effort: a few thousand deportations would do. ...... We prefer to think about winning hearts and minds. Winning the hearts and minds of a people, though, isn’t difficult once they fear you.