Parisiennes defiantly return to the cafes after the Paris massacre. (Photo: © Reuters)
The Islamic State and Al Qaedaare now steering towards so called “soft countries” as their newest targets. As has been proven by the recent attacks in Brussels and Paris, places that were once deemed safe such as restaurants, hotels, and bars, are now open for attack.
Just this past March, Al Qaeda members gunned down 18 people on the Ivory Coast of Senegal. Senegal, a stable country with a population estimated at about 92 percent Muslim, was, for the most part, untouched by the chain of Al-Qaeda attacks that took place in West Africa since November. Now, Senegal looks like the next likely target of a new wave of violence.
Similar attacks have taken place in other previously peaceful countries. These include on a gas plant in Algeria, a hotel in Libya, and a café in Sydney.
Why attack soft-targets?
One might think because there is much less security in these places, and it is easy to blend in with a crowd. But sources seem to indicate there is a deeper, more sinister reason.
“The main goal of striking so-called soft targets is to intimidate and deter by projecting that economic interests, companies and eventually the public will pressure the (Obama) administration into forgoing its air campaigns in Iraq and Syria,” terrorism scholar Walid Phares, author of "The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad," said.
However, others may claim that these attacks are more specifically attempts to intimidate and bully Al-Qaeda and ISIS dissidents into surrendering their opposition, and possibly join them. This explains the group’s consistent and exact nature when it comes to spreading images and videos of their terror campaigns across social media platforms.
In short, they want to inspire fear.
What does this mean for the rest of the world? An increase in security might help ease the current rising fear in civilians. However, one fact is certain. Anywhere is now target for terror.