The NYPD report on Islamic radicals defines the process that produces home grown jihadists. I find no surprises or real insight in this report. In fact, every revelation has been expressed or written about here at the EB or over at Belmont many times. My question is simple. Now what are we going to do about it? How about something simple? Begin by stopping the black Muslim nonsense in US prisons. Quit dignifying the outrageous.
OUTSIDE EXPERT’S VIEW: Brian Michael Jenkins,
Senior Advisor to the President of the Rand Corporation
The United States and its allies have achieved undeniable success in degrading the operational capabilities of the jihadist terrorist enterprise responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks, and numerous subsequent terrorist operations since then. However, we have not dented their determination, prevented their communications, orblunted their message. We have not diminished their capacity to incite, halted the process of radicalization, or impeded the recruitment that supports the jihadist enterprise. Indeed, recent intelligence estimates concede that “activists identifying themselves as jihadists are increasing in both number andgeographicdispersion.” As a consequence, “the operational threat fromself-radicalized cellswill grow in importance to U.S. counterterrorism efforts, particularly abroad, but also in the Homeland. As the Department of Homeland Security’s Chief IntelligenceOfficer testified in March 2007, “radicalization will continue to expand within the United States over the long term.”
This study examines the trajectories of radicalization that produced operational terrorist cells in Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Sydney and Toronto to construct an analytical framework that tracks jihadist recruits from pre-radicalization to self-identification to indoctrination to jihadization-- a cycle that ends with capture or death. It then compares this model with the trajectories of radicalization observed in conspiracies within the United States including the jihadist clusters in Lackawanna, Northern Virginia, Portland, Oregon, New York City, and lastly with the Hamburg cell responsible for the attack on 9/11.
Although there have been informative analyses of the paths to violent jihad in individual countries, this is the most comprehensive review across national boundaries, including the terrorist conspiracies uncovered in the United States. The resulting model will undoubtedly become the basis for comparison with additional cases as they are revealed in future attacks or arrests.
The utility of the NYPD model, however, goes beyond analysis. It will inform the training of intelligence analysts and law enforcement personnel engaged in counterterrorist missions. It will allow us to identify similarities and differences, and changes in patterns over time. It will assist prosecutors and courts in the very difficult task of deciding when the boundary between a bunch of guys sharing violent fantasies and a terrorist cell determined to go operational has been crossed.
Above all, by identifying key junctions in the journey to terrorist jihad, it should help in the formulation of effective and appropriate strategies aimed at peeling potential recruits away from a dangerous and destructive course.
As the NYPD point outs, becoming a jihadist is a gradual, multi-step process that can take months, even years, although since 9/11 the pace has accelerated. The journey may begin in a mosque where a radical Imam preaches, in informal congregations and prayer groups—some of which are clandestine—in schools, in prisons, on the Internet.
Self-radicalization may begin the day that an individual seeks out jihadist websites. In the physical world when would-be jihadists seek support among local jihadist mentors and like- minded fanatics. This is the group that currently poses the biggest danger to the West. It is the focus of the present monograph.
As the NYPD shows, self-radicalization was often the norm, even before the worldwide crackdown on al Qaeda and its jihadist allies forced them to decentralize and disperse. Those who arrived at jihadist training camps, like members of the Hamburg cell, were already radicalized. At the camps, they bonded through shared beliefs and hardships, underwent advanced training, and gained combat experience; some were selected by al Qaeda’s planners for specific terrorist operations.