Friday’s string of terrorist attacks came just three days after DAESH (IS) urged followers to escalate attacks during the holy month of Ramadan.
That does not mean the attacks were co-ordinated, but the thing linking them is Ramadan. Islamist terror attacks spike during the month every year.
On Tuesday the DAESH spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani issued an audio message calling for the holy month to be turned into a time of “calamity for the infidels…Shi’ite and apostate Muslims…. Be keen to conquer in this holy month and to become exposed to martyrdom.”
The three attacks may be linked to that call, it is too early to say one way or the other. They were all the same in their murderous intent, but very different in their technique.
In the Kuwait attack a suicide bomber, walked into a Shia mosque during Friday prayers without being searched and exploded his device. He has been named as 26-year-old Khaled al-Shamari. DAESH has said it was behind the attack.
There are both Shia and Sunni Kuwaitis, about 2/3rd of the population are Sunni. Sectarian attacks are very rare and it is likely the attacks was designed to provoke tensions between the two communities as seen in neighbouring Iraq. To date Shia clerics have urged calm and this can be expected to continue.
In France the attack bore the hall marks of the ‘lone wolf’ type of incident which Al Qaeda and DAESH have encouraged in their propaganda videos and online magazines. The suspect in custody was known to the DGSI (French intelligence) but they are at full stretch and were unable to monitor him. Surveillance on him stopped 7 years ago.
The Tunisian attack was clearly well planned but again simple in its modus operandi. A Tunisian jihadist group has pledged allegiance to DAESH but it is a group of the ‘franchise’ variety insofar as it operates on its own but takes inspiration from the main gang. This morning a statement from DAESH claimed responsibility for the killings saying “Our brother, the soldier of the Caliphate, Abu Yihya al-Kairouni, reached his target the Imperial hotel despite the security measures.” It said he had attacked a “bordel” and killed 40 “infidels.” The Tunisian Prime Minister says most of the dead were from the UK.
About 15% of the Tunisian economy is based on tourism and the attack appears designed not only to murder foreigners and gain global headlines, but damage the economy as part of a bid to collapse the fragile state and then profit from the chaos.
There is little to suggest these bloody events were orchestrated from DAESH HQ, but they all fall into the pattern of heeding the call to make Ramadan a bloody time. The jihadist propagandists believe that the heightened spiritually of the month gives even greater meaning and power to the murders they carry out.
However, in reality for hundreds of millions of people Ramadan, the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is when Muslims celebrate the Koran. They fast – refraining from eating and drinking during daylight hours in order to have empathy with people less fortunate than themselves.
Attempts to distort these teachings may well continue during the rest of the month.