Small Wars Journal

Why ISIL Fights in Europe

Tue, 12/27/2016 - 4:24pm

Why ISIL Fights in Europe by Jean-Pierre Fili, Politico EU

The so-called Islamic State rushed to claim responsibility for last week’s Christmas market attack in Berlin, even with the alleged terrorist Anis Amri then on the run. (The 24-year-old Tunisian was killed a few days later in Milan.)

The jihadist group’s eagerness to cash in the propaganda chips is only one indication of how important it was and remains for ISIL to score a hit against Germany — especially after a string of aborted or limited attacks. Germany stands at the very core of ISIL’s strategy for Europe. It’s important to understand why in order to think more clearly about possible remedies…

For ISIL, Europe is both a coveted pool of potential recruits and a dangerous counter-model of enduring coexistence. Terror attacks in Europe are intended to generate internal strife and societal tension in the hope of encouraging more young Muslim men (and more than a few women) to join the jihadist cause in Syria and Iraq. And, as importantly, to demonstrate and precipitate the failure of the democratic, European alternative to the jihadist caliphate.

The two main targets for ISIL are France and Germany. France because it is home to the Continent’s largest Jewish and Muslim populations that, while imperfect, shows how communities can live side by side. And Germany because of its generous open door to refugees from Syria and Iraq: ISIL propaganda is rabidly anti-refugee, accusing migrants of betraying the “true path” of the caliphate…

Read on.