As I write, I am just now learning about the terrorist attack -- immediately attributed to ISIS -- in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, a town near Lyon, in the southeastern part of France. (See here
. The Wikipedia page
sprang up so rapidly, it seemed almost to precede the event itself.) ) There was an attack on a factory involving bombs. There was also a severed head found at the scene, plus a message in Arabic.
The reports available at this time differ as to how many attackers were responsible. There seems to have been at least two jihadis invovled, one of whom is under arrest.
At the same time, in Tunisia, there was an attack
on two resort hotels catering to the tourist trade. There was gunfire on the beach
and the sound of explosions
. There is also a report that a hot air balloon (!) was brought down.
To top it off, an offshoot of ISIS called Najd Province has claimed responsibility for the destruction of a Shiite mosque in Kuwait
By the time you read these words, you will probably know many more details than I do right at this time. Reports that are sketchy now will, I presume, solidify as the day progresses.
Yet I doubt that we will have an answer to the first question that popped into my head: Why?
No, I'm not posing that question in any philosophical sense. The practical
value of these attacks escapes me.
Until now, ISIS has been engaged in the business of conquering territory and establishing a state. They want to establish an Islamic state in Syria and Iraq, and then move on to Iran. They have never before shown any willingness to engage western interests outside of the region they claim as their own.
Al Qaeda, not ISIS, was the group that wanted to bring the fight to the west. That difference in strategy -- in worldview -- is the reason why the two groups were at loggerheads for a while last year.
Anyone with any sense can see that, by attacking a target in France, ISIS has simply increased support for western intervention in that part of the world.
As of last night, most Americans did not want to see any proverbial "boots on the ground" in Iraq. How will they feel tonight? I feel certain that the notion of intervention will suddenly become more popular. The neocons are probably smirking right now.
It's as if ISIS wants
to face the Marines. Why? How could such a confrontation possibly help them?
Why would they commit actions designed to validate those who claim that ISIS poses more than a regional threat?
Maybe we'll have answers to these questions as the day wears on. But right now, the only explanation that makes any sense to me is that these events were not directed or encouraged by ISIS proper (meaning, the group headed by Al-Baghdadi). Perhaps they were independent actions by local "wannabes."
But...is this possible? Three independent
attacks in three separate nations, nearly simultaneously? It all seems quite coordinated.