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 worked as a journalist for more than thirty years and was formerly Assistant Editor of MoneyWeek, which she helped launch in 2000. Prior to this, she was Deputy Features Editor of The Times and a Commissioning Editor for The Independent on Sunday and The Daily Telegraph. She has written for most of the national newspapers including The Times, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, The Evening Standard and The Daily Mail, She interviewed celebrities weekly for The Sunday Telegraph and wrote a regular column for The Evening Standard. As Political Editor of MoneyWeek, Emily has covered subjects from Brexit to the Gaza war.

Aside from her writing, Emily trained as Nutritional Therapist following her son's diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2011 and now works as a practitioner for Nature Doc, offering one-to-one consultations and running workshops in Oxfordshire.