September 11, January 7, al Qaeda, IS(IS) and the coming days ...

14.01.2015 Habertürk
Translated by: Turgay BAYINDIR /
Orjinal Metin (tr-1/10/2015)

On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda organized suicide attacks against targets that had high symbolic value in the US and killed or seriously injured many civilians. When looked at from this point of view, we can call the October 12, 2002 bombings of touristic places in Bali as “Indonesia’s September 11”, the suicide attacks targeting two synagogues, a British bank and the British Consulate in Istanbul as “Turkey’s September 11”, the train bombings in Madrid on March 11, 2004 as “Spain’s September 11”, and finally, the suicide bombings in the London Underground trains on July 7, 2005 as “England’s September 11”. Whether these attacks were directly linked to al Qaeda or not has not been uncovered for sure but it is certain that the people who planned these attacks were inspired by al Qaeda and September 11.


In the course of these events, further attacks were expected, particularly in France and Germany, but it did not happen. Therefore, even though it happened years later, it is not surprising that the attack on Charlie Hebdo is described as “France’s September 11”.
In terms of the symbolic value of the target (freedom of thought, expression and the press which is at the foundation of Western thought, and taking place in Paris which is considered as the center of Western culture), and in terms of the terror it has created, likening it to September 11 can be accurate. However, in terms of the method employed, we see that January 7 is quite different from September 11.
First of all, this is not a case of suicide attack. The attackers escaped after killing 12 people. This is not too uncommon in the context of “global terrorism” mainly led by al Qaeda. The defiance this case exemplifies is different and more powerful. The fact that the target was Charlie Hebdo, which was already threatened because of its cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, and that the attack took place in broad daylight, in the center of Paris and when the magazine staff was at its most crowded increase the strength of this defiance.


The killing of the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo naturally reminds us of the way IS(IS) executes the journalists it captures (mainly by beheading them). Here too, there are differences as well as similarities. It is clear that IS(IS) hates freedom of thought, expression and the press just as much as the perpetrators of the January 7 attack. However, we cannot say that the way IS(IS) executes powerless victims whose hands are tied constitutes as big of a defiance against the West as the January 7 attack.
IS(IS) mainly evokes feelings of hatred and disgust in the West. However, the suicide attacks listed at the beginning of this article and finally the attack on Charlie Hebdo create an atmosphere of terror, which leads to palpable fear and panic in the West. The main reason for this is probably the fact that IS(IS) operates within the Islamic world, not in the Western world. When we compare both the magnitude and the quality of the reactions to the capture of Mosul (one of the biggest cities of Iraq) by IS(IS), and the reactions to the Paris attack, what I am trying to explain can be understood better.
It is possible to say that IS(IS), which has not been quite as successful in terrorizing the West as al Qaeda, has systematically raised its level of barbarity. However, for some time, the world has been desensitized to the barbarity of IS(IS). For this reason, it is probably for IS(IS) to carry its jihad and barbarity into the Western world. Perhaps January 7 is the first example of this.
Despite this, I predict that the Charlie Hebdo attackers are closer to al Qaeda than to IS(IS). Lastly, we might witness similar attacks in other European centers and possibly even in Turkey in the coming days, and end up calling them as the “January 7” of these countries (and of Turkey of course).

Destek olmak ister misiniz?
Doğru haber, özgün ve özgür yorum ihtiyacı
Bugün dünyada gazeteciler birer aktivist olmaya zorlanıyor. Bu durum, kutuplaşmanın alabildiğine keskin olduğu Türkiye'de daha fazla karşımıza çıkıyor. Halbuki gazeteci, elinden geldiğince, doğru haber ile özgün ve özgür yorumla toplumun tüm kesimlerine ulaşmaya çalışmalı ve bu yolla, kutuplaşmayı artırma değil azaltmayı kendine hedef edinmeli. Devamı için

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