Arlington VA March 21, 2015
Is anything truly 'Home-Grown" these days?
Almond says, "The attack by home-grown terrorists struck fear and disgust into the rest of the population - and by murdering tourists, they took deadly aim at Tunisia’s key money-earner. However, their brazen assault on the Parliament and museum complex in the heart of the capital also revealed their basic weakness. Tunisia’s reservoir of murderous extremists is too small to risk an uprising - though sadly it’s big enough for atrocities - which means the country’s fledgling democracy might be strengthened if it can face down the enemy within."
His observations are particularly interesting at this juncture of our American folly that we are fighting ISIS and winning, thus saving the world for the future. Of course, as events have seen that is not really true, but then, it might happen in the future anyway.
What is happening though is the rise of small groups of radical extremists who, without the resources or networks to force governmental change directly, can often do so by indirect means, such as those employed in Tunisia. Radicals do not like the confining space of a prosperous, organized, and moderate government. In that type of environment, people are comfortable, they enjoy life, and see themselves in a brighter future--however long that may take.
Terrorists, conversely, have no future in peaceful society. They exist in turmoil, and they find ways to perpetuate and increase that turmoil for their own ends. In Tunisia, the new, moderate government has made great strides in raising the standard of living for their people, and providing peace. People do not rise up to ideology when they are being fed, cared for, and can work.
Governments exist to provide those services and support the environment and culture, one which maintains that comfort zone for its people. Terrorists strike at the Government to disrupt and destroy the faith of the people in the Government. In this case, as Almond reported, the group in Tunisia is so small, it cannot launch a violent overthrow of the Government. it is simply too small at present. Instead, it acts indirectly to create upheaval and fear in the people while depriving the Government of one of its most needed assets--tourist dollars. In that regard, they did an outstanding job.
Cruise ships were leaving the harbor of Tunis immediately after the attack; two of them leaving people and their families who had been injured in the attack itself on the Bardo Museum. Virtually every news outlet in the world duly reported on the happenings, and people cancelled future trips in droves--or at least until the unrest subsides.
The real question is "Who are these radicals?"
According to Almond, "They were pioneers of the wave of jihadis who have recently gone to fight in Syria and Iraq. But they seemed like any group of twenty-somethings, their mobile phones always at hand. As much as Islamic fundamentalism, a search for adventure had lured them across the Mediterranean to a foreign war."
"These born-again Muslims, who are turning against their Western idols," Almond Continues, "are exactly the type to go over the edge into violence against the place they had once dreamed of joining. Jobless young men in dusty towns are preyed on by preachers offering a gateway to paradise and a way to assert themselves against the West and its local allies. The fundamentalists consider poverty to be their best recruiting-sergeant; the recession, which hit post revolution when the Europeans left, is radicalizing young Tunisians."
What we have then, is a group of young idealists, well-traveled, and experienced in Jihad, who have returned from the wars, but still want to be involved. They already have the training, experience, and zeal, but they need the impetus, the coaxing to do the same in their own country. They look for opportunity, and the locals who oppose the government as too-western, provide them the fertile ground., These young people are used for the purposes of others who stay in the background like a snake, waiting to strike later.
Every country has small groups of those who wish to disrupt and replace government or society with something more to their personal liking. The trouble is they are like the snakes who lie in wait--all too often, the first inking is when they strike and that is often, as in Tunisia, too late.