Networked terrorism for the internet age

Behind these seemingly random attacks, such as in Tunisia, lies a unifying ideology of terrorism.

Last Friday's near-simultaneous terrorist attacks across three continents should serve as a "wake-up call", says James Rubin in The Sunday Times. At least 27 British citizens were among 38 gunned down in Tunisia; more than 100 Shi-ite citizens of Kuwait were killed or wounded at a mosque; and a French businessman was decapitated. Isis is "getting stronger".

It could "become the most powerful terrorist organisation in history". It controls around half of Syria and a third of Iraq. The threat it poses to the West is that much more potent because "so many of its recruits" have Western passports. What should be done? Firstly, more military pressure must be put on the leadership so they focus on staying alive, not "plotting attacks". Secondly, we should prepare for more terrorist attacks at home.

Hyping such "random, individualised crimes" just makes them more appealing to any "misfit and incipient psychopath", says Simon Jenkins in The Guardian. Using the language of national security makes it worse. Hysteria-generating publicity followed by repression provides the terrorists with oxygen for their cause.

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But it's wrong to dismiss these as lone wolf attacks,says Matthew D'Ancona in The Observer. This "murderous fundamentalism is a franchise". Isis even offers the prospect of a "jihadi homeland". We shall get "nowhere" until we accept that these killers are members of a "resilient global pack".

This is "networked terrorism for the internet age", says Rachel Sylvester in The Times. There may be "no single evil genius" behind these attacks, but there is "a unifying ideology". David Cameron's response marked a "deliberate change in tone" to reflect that. As Justice Secretary Michael Gove puts it, he doesn't want to just "beat back the crocodiles that come close to the boat", but to "drain the swamp". Hence extremists could be banned from appearing on the airwaves or speaking at universities.

Public bodies won't engage with groups condoning "the extremist narrative". And radicalisation is now a "safeguarding issue" in schools. It's not enough, says Roger Boyes in The Times. All this talk masks a "simple, embarrassing truth: that the British government is still not ready to step up the military campaign against the caliph's black-shirted thugs" by bombing the group's headquarters in Raqqa.

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 


On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.