London-Boston: Neo-Jihadists: a broad and long lasting threat


A homemade bomb in Boston, a murder of unprecedented savagery in the streets of London: the "neo-jihadist" threat is rising, certainly for long, in the Western world. This is precisely the topic of my new book - "Neo-Jihadists", published by Jourdan Editions[1]: an analysis of that new and growing threat that will persist in the years to come.


Islamist terrorists who sowed death in Paris in the eighties by committing several attacks from December 7, 1985 to September 17, 1986 that injured more than 200 people and killed a dozen were Tunisian nationals, manipulated by Hezbollah on behalf of the Iranian secret services. Those who attacked France ten years later, during the bomb attacks campaign perpetrated by the Armed Islamic Group in the summer and fall of 1995 (10 dead and 200 wounded) were mostly Algerian nationals, manipulated by an Algerian organization and taking orders in Algeria. The al-Qaeda terrorist who planned an attack, potentially lethal but never launched, against the U.S. embassy in Paris in September 2011, was a Tunisian who lived in Germany and was illegally residing in Belgium. He had been trained in Afghanistan. The 9/11 terrorists came from Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.


On the contrary neo-jihadists were born or arrived very early in the Western world; they were educated and lived there almost continuously. They have few or no contacts with international jihadist organizations. They have not received any specific training or sometimes a limited one. They act alone or in small groups hard to detect and even harder to infiltrate. They choose their own targets, they do not take orders from abroad and take action when and where they decide.


These neo-jihadists are sometimes ex-offenders, often converted to Islam (40% of the 300 cases I studied), loners or even women. They all grew up in the same culture, values and way of life than ours. These individuals are made of hatred, lunatics or rebels, embittered by their failures or their marginalization, yet they are often the first (if not the only) responsible of it. They have in common to have been "turned over" and radicalized by shady imams, self-appointed preachers or by attending the Salafi nebula on the web.


This is a new enemy, an enemy from within.


As an intelligence professional, I am observing radical Islam and its violent version of jihad, for thirty-two years.


I started to do so as a journalist and then as an intelligence officer (for twenty years)  and finally, since 2002, as the CEO of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center (ESISC), a private intelligence company, based in Brussels and providing  risk analysis and consultancy for multinational corporations and governments worldwide.


I watched from a privileged point of view the rise of jihad in the eighties and nineties and the global earthquake caused by 9/11 attacks and the wars that resulted.


I saw it growing, diversifying, and constantly evolving, like a mutant virus resistant to treatment and constantly adapting despite the huge losses undergone by the organization of Osama Bin Laden, its "affiliates" and accomplices over the past decade


The latest of these mutations is precisely the emergence of neo-jihadists who, in my opinion, a very specific and very serious threat.


First, of course, their passport and sometimes, their physical appearance, give them opportunities (travel, infiltration, action) that their oriental "brothers" do not have. But most importantly, their criminal actions, because they are an inner enemy, are a thousand times more harmful than "traditional" jihadists. For the reason that by being fundamentally "one of us" they break the ties that bind us and threaten the social contract which is the basis of democracy. Because they become factors (and vectors) of mistrust, division, even hatred, their proliferation will lead to the implosion of our societies.


It is less a "spontaneous generation" than the result of a deliberate strategy symbolized, among other things, by the monthly al-Qaeda English written review "Inspire": facing the difficulty to plan and carry out massive attacks in the West, it must multiply the vocations to commit "micro-attacks" by local elements even more keen on doing so as they feel excluded with the intention of taking revenge on society.


Salafism is a cancer; neo-jihadists are its latest metastases. They are deadly.



Copyright© ESISC 2013

[1] Claude Moniquet, « Néo Djihadistes », Editions Jourdan. In bookstores and on Amazon :

Only in French at the moment.

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