Berlin Attack Echoes ISIS Propaganda Shift by Tamer El-Ghobashy and Ali A. Nabhan, Wall Street Journal
Embattled Islamic State is still managing to maintain a propaganda machine that inspires violence among its far-flung followers.
An offensive to retake this city has diminished the terror group’s declared caliphate and its capacity to produce sleek videos encouraging people to come join them. Islamic State has instead turned its focus to calling for followers abroad to launch terror attacks in their home countries.
The group’s new spokesman, in his first public message, this month urged followers to kill people from countries allied against Islamic State “in their homes, markets, roads, and clubs from where they do not expect.”
The driver who rammed a truck into a crowded Berlin Christmas market on Monday carried out such an assault.
Islamic State later called the alleged perpetrator, Amin Amri, its soldier who acted in “response to appeals to target citizens of crusader coalition countries.” After Amri was killed by Italian police on Friday, the terror group released a video of a man it said was the attacker echoing that call and declaring he was avenging airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
In recent days Islamic State also claimed responsibility for an attack that killed at least 10 people in Jordan, and authorities in Australia said they disrupted an Islamic State Christmas plot.
U.S. and Iraqi officials say Islamic State’s turn toward terrorism and departure from once hopeful calls for migration to the caliphate is a signal of a weakening organization.
To governments that have supported the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, however, a weakened insurgency poses great danger…