The terrorists, though, have succeeded in turning the police agents sent to spy on them and forcing them to commit suicide attacks to expiate their sins. This has become depressingly familiar; as Ryan Gallagher reported recently, perpetrators already known to the authorities committed ten of the highest-profile attacks between 2013 and 2015.Share
The terrorists, in other words, are adding insult to injury. By deploying police snitches as suicide attackers, terrorists assert their moral superiority and power over western governments. The message may be lost on the western public, whose security agencies and media do their best to obscure it, but it is well understood among the core constituencies of the terrorist groups: the superiority of Islam turns around the depraved criminals whom the western police send to spy on us, and persuades them to become martyrs for the cause of Islam.
These attacks, in other words, are designed to impress the Muslim public as much as they are intended to horrify the western public. In so many words, the terrorists tell Muslims that western police agencies cannot protect them. If they cooperate with the police they will be found out and punished. The West fears the power of Islam: it evinces such fear by praising Islam as a religion of peace, by squelching dissent in the name of fighting supposed Islamophobia, and by offering concessions and apologies to Muslims. Ordinary Muslims live in fear of the terror networks, which have infiltrated their communities and proven their ability to turn the efforts of western security services against them. They are less likely to inform on prospective terrorists and more likely to aid them by inaction.
The terrorists, in short, are winning the intelligence war, because they have shaped the environment in which intelligence is gathered and traded. But that is how intelligence wars always proceed: spies switch sides and tell their stories because they want to be with the winner. ISIS and al-Qaeda look like winners in the eyes of western Muslim populations after humiliating the security services of the West.
As a result, western European Muslims fear the terrorists more than they fear the police. The West will remain vulnerable to mass terror attacks until the balance of fear shifts in the other direction. (Read more.)