Americans must remain vigilant as terrorists seek to attack "soft" targets

In the past week, military excursions into the tribal regions of Pakistan targeted Islamist militants believed to have connections to a number of plots designed to strike at the European mainland. As more evidence comes to light, it becomes clearer that Islamist militants have been preparing to hit “soft” targets in and around Europe, in a manner and fashion similar to the coordinated attacks in Mumbai in 2008. While the United States appears to have avoided the target lists associated with this latest round of threats, it would be foolish to assume that the American homeland can avoid such threats ad infinitum.

As the threat from al-Qaeda becomes more diffuse, similar organizations inspired by its twisted interpretation of Islam have risen to occupy the forefront of emerging threats facing the United States. Al-Qaeda on the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and al-Shabaab of Somalia have each emerged as largely autonomous organizations whose respective pursuits threaten American interests.

While many terrorist organizations operate largely devoid of contact with Western society, many adherents to Jihadism, perhaps only tangentially associated to such organizations, use the openness found in Western culture to exploit geographic limitations and spread their anti-modern, anti-pluralistic rhetoric across large divides. In so doing, these individuals act as conduits of radicalism, fomenting antipathy and anger among a homegrown population of disaffected individuals. Within this phenomenon we see the emergence of an ever increasing threat: the homegrown terrorist.

Full article at The Foundry