The jihad playbook: Why terrorists attack children

The jihad playbook: Why terrorists attack children

Posted May 23, 2017 02:26 PM by Nate Madden
Police and other emergency services are seen near the Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion. Rex Features | AP Images
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The attack in Manchester, England, that has so far killed at least 19 and wounded at least 50 is ghastly. That it targeted children is as unforgivable as it is consistent with the jihadist playbook.

Conservative Review’s Jordan Schachtel has the full story from Monday night, and details are still coming out at the time of this writing.

Among of the bigger observations that has been made about this attack, however, is that it was waged against young adults, teenagers, and children attending a pop concert.

“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people,” Prime Minister Teresa May said in a statement, “but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”

One such victim – eight-year-old Saffie-Rose Roussos – was confirmed dead by the Telegraph Tuesday afternoon.

During a Facebook live broadcast this morning, a viewer asked why terrorists would do such a thing. This is a more detailed response to that question.

Targeting the innocent is common; sadly, perhaps even commonplace by now. Targeting innocent youth brings the horror of the attack to a whole new level. But horror is the whole point, and it goes back decades. One only has to understand the playbook.

ISIS, its followers, and its sympathizers are ideological adherents to the jihadist tactical theories of Abu Bakr Naji. If you want to understand most of the political Left in America, you should start by reading Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” If you want to understand how Islamist terrorist operate, you should start with Naji’s “The Mastery of Savagery.”

In his book, the 20th-century Islamist theorist says that societies and nations of infidels should be brought to submission to Allah by a three-phase plan of savagery

These phases, as explained by Trump advisor Dr. Sebastian Gorka in 2015, are:

  1. Vexation.
  2. Spread savagery.
  3. Administer savagery.

A talk Gorka gave at the Heritage Foundation in 2015 further illuminates how this strategy works. Here's a synopsis of the lecture from the Institute of World Politics:

Phase 1, "vexation," is comprised of operations to distract and exhaust the infidel enemy and his allies. It puts emphasis on smaller dramatic operations (as opposed to dramatic transnational attacks) and is used to prepare fighting units for phase 2. Phase 2, as Dr. Gorka explained, is the "spread savagery" stage, which ISIS has already begun. In this phase, leaders of the insurgency coordinate unconventional warfare to "dislodge" nations from local control. Phase 3, "administer savagery/consolidate/expand," is designed to out-govern the government. In this phase, the leaders stabilize held areas, unite the population as a fighting community, and implement sharia law and government as a means to establish a base-state. This base-state is a new type of hybrid caliphate used to attack and expand into neighboring countries.

This is the big picture that it is so important to keep in mind when it comes to these sorts of terror attacks. It’s vexing enough for people in the West to worry whether a small explosion will make their trip to the market a fatal one. It’s more vexing when those same kinds of attacks become a monthly occurrence. And it’s even more vexing when those attacks are focused on a society’s children.

The bloodier and more horrific, the better. If ISIS is indeed responsible for this attack, as it has claimed, this is completely consistent with its tactics.

In short, that the Manchester bombing was aimed at killing children is shocking and barbaric indeed, but barbaric – for jihadists – is just part of the playbook.

Terror in Manchester, the aftermath ... #CRLive with Nate Madden and Rob Eno

Posted by Conservative Review on Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Editor's note: This piece has been amended to correct a typographical error. 

Nate Madden is a staff writer for Conservative Review, focusing on religious freedom, immigration, and the judiciary. Follow him @NateMaddenCR and on Facebook.