Terror in France: The Rise of Jihad in The West

TIME:  12:00 – 13:00, 25th May 2017

VENUE: The Henry Jackson Society, 26th Floor, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

SPEAKER : Gilles Keppel

EVENT CHAIR: Timothy Stafford

Giles Keppel: Thank you so much, sorry for being late which has something to do with London traffic more than French laziness. Could I ask as a courtesy if it were possible to turn the air conditioning down because otherwise I’m afraid I’m not going to have any voice left. If something could be done I’d be extremely thankful. Well, as you just say, there’s a sort of Macabre topicality that this book appears in English at the moment when we have a terrible carnage in Manchester and for some reason the book appeared in French…It was December 2015 which was right after the attacks on the Bataclan on November 13th 2015 which led to one hundred and thirty people died(sic), one hundred and thirty casualties-some at the stadium of France, the majority at the Bataclan music hall and some also inside several cafes were gunned down…and there’s definitely something parallel between the two. In both cases young people who were attending a musical event were targeted and it was all the more so horrendous in Britain because the singer- the American singer- was a darling, a young teenager, young teenage girls and this is why the youngest of the victims was an eight year old…But behind this parallel we have some difference. This difference will sort of help us get in to the analysis of the fact. On the Bataclan day, the 13th of November 2015, we had a whole commando on that attack who were so called ‘foreign fighters’ who were from France and Belgium, plus an Iraqi and Syrian, who had come back to France via Mollenbeek after they had been trained and brainwashed in so called Islamic state territory and the attack used very diverse weapons. They were machine guns mainly, there were three attackers who also tried to blow themselves up at the Stad du France, the stadium, on the day when there was a friendly soccer game between the French and German national teams in the presence of then President Francois Hollande and of then minister of foreign affairs of Germany  Frank-Walter Steinmeier who is today the President of the Bundesrepublik and… had the explosive device detonated we would have had victims by the thousands. The reason they did not detonate is because the attackers forgot to buy tickets to the stadium and something that would never have happened in the good old days of Bin Laden when jihadism was planned, was top down, was centralised, where people had been trained and I would like to develop this point in focussing in what we could call the third generation jihadism which is I believe what we are now facing. A method of jihadism which is network based, which is bottom up not top down and which has selected Europe as its main target and…In order to understand this sort of (inadubile ? 4:43) we have to look back in retrospect and decipher what I call in the book the three phases of modern jihadism an see how the three were sort of different and what was a continuity.

Jihad, as you know, in Arabic means effort- the effort to be a better Muslim, the effort to abide by the social and individual rules of Islam and it has a twofold significance. It can be something which deals with the relationship between the creature and the creator- god- and it’s also a means to organise life and society.  On the military protocol level jihad was the driver behind the expansion of Islam and for instance the expansion of Islam into Europe was jihad. The first wave of jihad which was Arab ended up in-school children in France will know- 732 when Jean Marie Le Pen- sorry, Charlemagne- first stopped the Arabs at Poitiers. The second Jihad which was Europe(sic) was Ottoman is a date which is less familiar with our school kids which is 1683 but you do know well because this is a date to which you pay tribute with your morning breakfast provided it’s not completely English-with the sausages and the like- but if you have croissant and cappuccino it traces back to 1683 because the Ottoman army who were defeated and then repelled, the Viennese sort of looted the camps of the Janissaries and found what they found what they thought was a camel feed which was Coffee. They started roasting it but they thought it was too bitter so they added sugar and milk and it became a cappuccino after the brother of Cappuchin, Marco D’Aviano who had…proclaimed the jihad- so cappuccino traces back and when you dip the croissant into cappuccino- the croissant of course was a symbol of the Ottoman Empire that the Viennese bakers baked in a sort of anthropologic tradition so you eat the defeated enemy…so you have to be aware, particularly in this country which is very attend to islamophobia, you dip the croissant into cappuccino you can see it as a sort of reprehensive islamophobia. Though I don’t suggest you pay a lot of attention to that.

Now, the third phase, the third wave of jihad, was defined by Shaykh Qaradawi who’s one of the main anchors of Al Jazeera television and an Egyptian scholar of al-Azhar and one of the chief leaders of the Muslim brotherhood worldwide, as happening now. He explains to whoever listens to him on Al Jazeera channel that this time jihad in Europe has another function. It’s not gonna(sic) be military, he says though after Manchester and Bataclan and the like we could question that also, but it’s going to be through persuasion. Now Muslims have come to Western Europe the whole continent is going to become Islamic after the first two failures. Muslim brothers of course believe that, so do many jihadists and Salafists alike but we may not take them entirely for their word, because actually when Qaradawi contends that jihad is going to be the future of Europe and that this is going to follow a peaceful path he just forgets to put that in the context of what has become the reality of modern jihadism. This word in the international relations parlance was obsolete or unknown until 1979, the only people who were aware of what jihad was were the Muslims themselves and the orientalists. You know, no-one thought this could be something that would be meaningful in today’s world, though it was around but it was in the background. For instance during world war one the Ottoman sultan caliph proclaimed jihad against the brits, the French and the Russians because the three empires had Muslim subjects and so they asked the Muslim soldiers of France, Britain and the Russian empire to turn their weapons against their masters and to fight in (sic) the side of the Ottoman caliph and also the Prussians and the Austrians which did not work… but nevertheless, policies were taken into consideration to get rid of the strongmen and France for instance, the Paris mosque was opened on the 15th of July -after Bastille day- 1926, inaugurated by the Sultan of Morocco and the French republic not only as a tribute to Muslim soldiers who died wearing French uniform during world war one but because it was perceived as a sort of antidote against those who were using Islam in order to fight against French colonialism and said that Muslim territory should by no means be ruled by an infidel. In 1924 there was the Rif revolt in Northern Morocco against the Spanish and French protectorates and this building of the mosque was a means to show – a sort of window dressing if you will- that there was room for a Francophile Islam and those issues traced back to colonial days are not unlike the debates that we’re having today and since I’ve arrived in Britain yesterday I was in a number of tv shows and podcasts and people asked me ‘who are our Muslim interlocutors? In order to fight against jihadists should we have the Muslim brothers as our allies as long as they do not advocate all out violence? should we think that good peaceful Salafists should be on our side against the mad jihadists?’ and if we take that out of the sort of daily ideology and parlance this is not unlike what happened in the beginning of the 20th century a hundred years ago.

Within this context modern jihadism was born in 1979, 1979 was a year where two things happened that put the Muslim world at the centre of international relations in a world which until then was mainly divided between the so called free world and so called socialist world. In February 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini came back from Paris, from Neauphle-le-Château on the outskirts of Paris, and became the head of the Islamic republic and considered that Iran under his leadership was to be the herald and the champion of the Muslim masses worldwide. In that he started a very aggressive policy against the great Satan, the United States, against someone whom they called in Iranian ‘Mangret Teacher’ who was Margaret Thatcher, and also against the little Satan who was France which was not very rewarding as Khomeini has paid himself with excellent pastries from Neauphle-le-Château chateau but he forgot about that after he left…and he had a suite too like most dictators and despots, they also love children. This was one thing, this Iranian revolution was of course a problem for the west because it targeted the west using bland former Marxist language and Islamic parlance but it also sent a shockwave down the spine of the  petro-monarchies, our good friends Saudi Arabia- part of Trump land as you know- of Qatar, Kuwait, the Emirates and so on because he did not mince his words and said that all those people are just lackeys of the west, apostate rulers-they would be toppled by the tidal wave of the Islamic Iranian revolution. He said this purpose was Islamic and he did not underline the Iranian neither the Shia objectives because it was a sort of all-encompassing thing. So, the Sunnis, petro-Sunnis, were very worried and they needed something to counter fire against the Iranian expansion and that was provided of course by Allah but also by the soviets when they invaded Afghanistan. Because after the Islamic republic one bad news always come together with a second bad news and on Christmas that year as a Christmas present to uncle Sam the red army invaded Kabul. You may remember at the time there were problems between different shades of reds in Kabul and that the brand of communists who had seized power were so adamant in their desire to eradicate Islam completely that the counter reaction had been fierce- the CIA had of course helped the counter reaction-that when the soviets came into the country it was something different. It was a sort of Prague coup of central Asia if you like. Prague and Czechoslovakia were – I’m not the only one that’s going to catch a cold if you can’t do anything with this air conditioning I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish the lecture because my voice is already being chilled. So, Prague was part and parcel of the Yalta package but Afghanistan was not definitely and then the West…introduced something, ’79 was four years after Saigon and Vietnam and no-one in America was keen to send the boys from Wyoming, Wisconsin, Oklahoma to fight in the unknown area of the world which American’s knew as the ‘Stans’-‘Afghanistan, Krygstan, whateverstan’. So they decided to have a joint venture with our petro-monarchs and friends and so on the sort of both financial, military and ideological arrangement this would be remembered as the dollar for dollar match. There was one US dollar for one petro-dollar, the Americans would train and equip-particularly the CIA-the Saudis wold pay and would also exert intellectual influence and ideological influence. So jihad was the ideology, the language which was used  to define this kind of guerrilla warfare and to recruit people and you have on the one hand the mujahedeen-the locals- and on the other what some al the jihadists.

Jihadist means nothing different to mujahedeen, it means Jihad fighter, but we use the sort of European suffix to the word to underline the foreign origin- a sort of green brigades of jihad if you will- and they were recruited everywhere; in this country, in America-where they set up a bureau for the recruitment of mujahedeen which would then double up into the 9/11 people of Mohammed Rahman and so forth…and so the aim was twofold to kill two birds with one stone, a saying in Arabic Darba Selin Bahajar Wahid’. One the one hand one of the targets was the Soviet bear, the other one was the Iranian nightingale ie; Khomeini. The victory of the Jihadists was to both provide a respite for the petro monarchists against the tidal wave of the Iranian revolution, it would also do service to the US because it would end the cold war, the Muslims-the jihadists- would be the proxy fighters of the west and destroy the Soviets and this is what happened. 10 years after on the 15th of February 1989 the red army pulled out from Kabul, they had become a tiger paper ripe with vodka and that would lead directly not to 9/11 but 11/9 which was fall of the Berlin Wall. Simultaneously it was something that showed that Sunni jihadists were able to be the heralds and champions of the Muslim world that had been invaded by the soviets and of the Ayatollah Khomeini but what did Ayatollah Khomeini do? And this is a very important issue to remember because this has had a number of consequences today so when I ask my students, who are usually younger than you are in Paris, what happened in Paris on the 15th of February 1989 they just don’t have a clue. They look at their shoes in angst because they think if I have a bad grade and then I said well no wonder you don’t know because you all remember what happened the day before the 14th of February so this is panic in the class and eventually one of the female students blushes and laughs and says ‘sir it was valentine’s day’, ‘I say yes you’re right but this is not the right answer, the right answer was something that had to do with Britain which was the fatwa by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie’. On that day after the good things that happened in Bradford on the 14th of January, the famous auto-da-fe of the satanic verses Khomeini pulled the carpet under the feet of the Sunni activists and with this infamous fatwa captured the world’s attention so no-one paid attention to what happened the day after. It so happened that I was with Salman Rushdie in Princeton a couple of weeks ago and we discussed that and he had no idea why the fatwa had taken place on the 14th of February because he doesn’t read the social sciences and orientalism probably, and that it was something that Khomeini had used so that he would (inaudible 22:42)– or conceal if you want from public perception- the fact that the real important issue was the victory of the mujahedeen, the Sunni mujahedeen and that would lead to the downfall of the Soviet Union. But then remember this issue of the 14th of February because winning the media war, hi-jacking public opinion is something really important in jihadist warfare and this will of course would be of particular significance on 9/11- a sort of mirror image of 11/9- and for jihadists very apt at neurology and everything that is striking like the white truck-white lorry in this country- that hit the crowd on Bastille day 2016 in Nice and the black lorry that hit the crowd in Breitscheidplatz in Berlin on the 19th of December. White, Black the two colours of the Islamic state and of the book…book cover which was done on purpose so that people would be impressed and understand this is the signature-if I may say so- attack. After 1989 jihadists came back home; Algeria-many went back to Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and so on. Many tried to duplicate this jihad experience. In Jihadists Weltanschauung (world view) what they do is a sort of re-enactment of the pristine Islamic story and they see history as the promise of the Prophet, the reason why the world is not entirely Muslim is because Muslims in history were too tepid-were too lukewarm- and they were distracted by things that were other than the implementation of the injunctions comprised of the holy scriptures and by the same token as the successes of the prophet destroyed the first huge superpower of the time which was the Sassanid empire before turning against the second- the Byzantine empire. “The knights that came under the prophets banner of today” to quote from Zawahiri’s essay, which was the manifesto of the next phase of Jihadism, defeated the Soviet empire, the Sassanid empire of today, before turning against America which Is the Byzantine of today. Now, it did not work in neither Algeria nor in Egypt and Islamists…jihadists would also be defeated by the security forces and the Military and so Bin Laden and Zawahiri tried to find out why and there was a sort of lessons learned session and they decided that the reason why the masses did not rise- the Muslim masses- and turn against the jihadists was that they were afraid, they were afraid of the West fighting. So, if you could blow significantly and harshly at the west and expose it as a colossus with feet of clay the Muslim masses would not be frightened and would mobilise under the banner of Islam. In 1998 I believe was the sort of watershed year because between phase 1 and phase 2 of jihadism and ’98 was the year of the attacks against the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and then 2000’s attack on USS Cole in Aden and final 9/11.

Now, 9/11 was a top down operation- centralised, controlled by Bin Laden- the nineteen, the magnificent nineteen as they were called in Islamic propaganda, had been trained very precisely and they were sent in the air against New York and Washington in planes and this is a good metaphor for a top down phenomenon because they had not relation to grass roots America. They were aimed for TV, this was part and parcel of a narrative that was aimed in those pre-digital years for the TV news show era narrative. So it captured universal attention of course but that was also unable to translate into mass mobilisation in the Muslim world, Bin Laden and Zawahiri’s idea was that the West would send its militaries and boots on the ground in Muslim countries and then they would be ultimately defeated. Another and final Vietnam for America or sort of what Afghanistan had been for the Soviets. It did not really work because in Iraq, which is where this thing happened, and we’re quite sure it’s called Iraq because it rhymes with Chirac  and not I-raq as they say in America…because in Iraq the majority of the population is Shi’ite and not Sunni and as you know Prince Hasan of Jordan has it that people in the west usually they make a difference between ‘shy’ Muslims and ‘Sunny’ Muslims-so this was a country of shy Muslims not sunny Muslims…and therefore, Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia which was headed by the famous Mr Zarqawi was not able to mobilise the because the masses were Shi’ite and they were adverse to him. So, he sort of retracted on Sunni territory in Iraq which would lead to ISIS the third phase of jihadism and then they were-they got work and this is when we reach the present situation ie; the third phase of jihadism.

Again, lessons learned, why did we fail to modernise the masses. Amongst Al Qaeda leaders who were on the run from Afghanistan in 2004 was their PR person- a Syrian engineer by the nom de guerre of Abu Musab al-Suri, trained in France – who says the French do not train foreign leaders anymore? This is a calumny –, married to a Spaniard but who did most of his evil deed in London of course what we called Londonistan in the late 1990s as all the world’s Islamists were gathered in London as the oldies in the room Remember and his job was mainly to legitimise, to kosherise, or to analyse rather, the GIA operations in Algeria at the time saying it was ok by global jihad standards and he published this weekly called al-Ansar- the supporters of shar’ia if you want- which came out of Finsbury mosque nearby until he was dubious whether or not GIA actions were manipulated by Algerian intelligence. He left the magazine and he was succeeded by- in this function- an Egyptian guy who-with whom I did field work with in Finsbury mosque and we spoke Egyptian dialect together, this is how he explained to me what had happened in Afghanistan jihad…by the name of Abu Hamza al-Masri, nicknamed captain hook, and opened a parcel in Afghanistan from a friend which was not chocolates but it was something that exploded…I cannot interview anymore because he is in a SuperMax somewhere in Colorado and so this Suri went back to Afghanistan he was Bin Laden’s PR person and he was on the run and he posted on the internet in January 2005 a 1600 page book called the  Global Islamic resistance call- Da’wat al-muqawamah al-islamiyyah al-‘alamiyyah- it was in Arabic originally. This sort of, if we consider jihadism as a sort of Hegelian dialectical process was the Aufhebung, the  third phase, the dépassement, I don’t know how to say that in English,  and he said that you know; first phase-nearby enemy- when Muslims attack Muslims no-one gives a damn – see Yemen for example today. Certainly not Donald T. When America- far away enemy but too far- so he changed the focus on Europe- Europe as the soft underbelly of the West and the place that had to be targeted. It also changed the modus operandi because this top down thing of 9/11 did not work…and why not choose the opposite method- bottom up? Consider that millions of disenfranchised Muslims in Europe, France-which has the worst economic situation until present whether our new ‘wunderkid’ president is going to change all that but now that you’re stuck in Brexit we have no problem. Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium would all become soldiers of the Caliphate, there was a pond there in which he thought he would fish and so this network based jihadism was an issue of coordination between networks more than orders. The intelligence agencies were unable to understand this Islamic-sorry- this Cultural Revolution. I remember once I was in the foreign office in London, I think it was 2007, discussing those issues with diplomats and other people who were not true blue diplomats in this building and one of the guys told me- with a strong Scottish accent I’m totally unable to imitate- ‘it will not work’. He had a beard, a red beard- he was Scottish- I said ‘why’ and he said ‘terrorists things function just how we function- top down’ and they were obsessed with Al Qaeda at the time.

So, there’s going to be infighting and this will peter out just like you did, you the French in Algeria with the ‘Bleuite’  and they just missed another very important valentine’s day event which was valentine’s day 2005- so most of you were born by that time so you surely remember what happened on the 14th of February 2005, three weeks after Suri posted his book online. For the Henry Jackson society was focussed on America, well it happened in America, in California. Not a clue?…Youtube got its license for operating out of California and the merging of the two created the cultural revolution and the entrance of jihadism into the digital age- it made it possible to have this network based or ‘reticular’ as we say in French, that went under the radar of intelligence agencies and that is what would lead to the kind of terrorism that we are now facing. It took some time and the frontier between (phone interruption)…and so this allowed for this jihadism that would go under the radar definitely. It took some time to reap and in as much as I said the difference between phase 1 and phase 2 is quite clear, 1997 is Algeria and Egypt the massacres in Bentalha and in the Hatshepsut  temple in Luxor are the sort of end game of J-1 jihadism. Then, between second and third generation July 2005 in London for instance was already something performed by locals, the four attackers were fed on fish and chips and they played cricket but this was claimed by Ayman al-Zawahiri if you remember well, there was this video where he appeared and said these are- we have this guy from not Manchester somewhere in the midlands who said ‘this is war I am a fighter’.

Nevertheless, even though this was claimed by al Qaeda or latter day al Qaeda, nevertheless it followed this Suri way of thinking. It took some time to reap it because, to come to fruition, because in order to brainwash or to train those people the main incubator was the prison system. In France for instance, the big guy in Al Qaeda was arrested soon after 9/11 because he was on his way to blowing the American embassy. He was jailed in our biggest prison facility Fleury-Mérogis, the biggest in Europe and was put in a floor cell with solitary confinement-which I know well because I went to lecture prisoners there-and when I came to the prison people told me ‘oh you’re already very famous in the jail’, I said  ‘why?’ because it’s not necessarily something you want to brag about and he said ‘because the guys from the 4th floor already told that you were coming, they’re so excited’ and I said ‘I thought they were in solitary confinement but they can’t talk through the window’ and so this guy told me that his cell was in the place in the prison library where I had addressed those jihadists and hardened criminals and below him were petty convicts by the name of Ahmedy Coulibaly who had just robbed banks at the time and another guy who had been stopped on his way to jihad in Iraq in the same January 2005 by the name of Sherif Kouachi. Those two were proselytised by the guy on the floor above through the window, through the yo-yo system and one would be the hyper-kosher killer on January 9th 2015 and the other one with his brother would be the Charlie Hebdo killer two days prior. So, this came a bit under the radar and the prisons and the corrections people had no idea what was happening and this prison incubators(sic) a very important phenomenon because it links together the different dimensions of this third generation jihad.

You know there is a debate raging in frogland, our little kulturkamp of sorts from someone who’s known over the channel as ‘Ollie Roy’ whose real name is Olivier Roy and yours truly. On this issue of how we should assuage this jihad thing, Ollie Roy contends that move on there’s nothing to see- twenty years ago we have the red brigades and the red army faction-it was red- today we have the green brigades-its green- and tomorrow we’ll have the blue or the yellow brigades depending on the toolbox you use, now the phenomenon’s the same its disenfranchisement, identity crisis and so on and so forth. Now, and ideology of now importance as he contends proudly-it’s totally useless to know any Arabic if you want to study jihadism in general and in France in particular because they all speak French-speak back slang not necessarily French. The problem is that if you do not understand the all-encompassing system that produces third wave jihadism you better take early retirement. The problem of course is manifold. Definitely, you have disenfranchisement and when you get out of school with a degree which does not provide a job at all, then the know how that you have acquired in school is thrown out together with the values that were correlated with this knowhow… Liberté égalité fraternité, Laïcité and whatever creates the French model of course is perceived as totally irrelevant and people instead of looking forward would rather cling on an ascribed identity and say what is important is to cling to their islamness as first defined in the 1990s by the Muslim brothers and now increasingly by the Salafists. This sort of rigid identity believes in a sort of closure of the Muslim mind- if I may say so- which is summed up in this motto that Salafists and jihadists have in common and share which is Al-wala’ wa-l-bara’. Wala means allegiance, obedience, total obedience to the scholars of Salafism at the exclusion of anything else and l-bara’ means disavowing or being innocent from, saying that there is a clear break between you and bad Muslims- all Muslims who don’t follow the guidelines are apostates, kuffar or infidels… and this is what created the worldview the weltanschauung that would lead not only to Salafism, to the building of enclaves from some places the Banlieus to the Small Heath paradigm controlled by the shar’ia councils to jihadism. The difference between Salafism and jihadism is that jihadists take action and take violent action but the worldview is exactly similar. The divides are exactly similar and they are not all the same as the one that the red brigades or the red army faction envisioned. It’s not an issue of workers and capitalists, it’s totally different. It’s a sort of essentialist vision of the world between the ones who know the truth and the others, between the ones who have access to the revelation through their scriptures in a Salafi understanding and the others. It’s also if you don’t understand the ideology why people would be willing to commit what we would call from the outside suicide but that they don’t call suicide, that they call martyrdom operations because they believe when they die they will go to paradise, their families will have seventy tickets to get to paradise, they will get seventy two virgins for their perusal until forever – what a catastrophe – this is the atheist French who speaks. This is in a way even if comparison is always interesting, nevertheless comparison is not reason as we say in France and you have to know the different fieldworks if you want to compare anything and if you shun ideology you do not understand why this works. Now, this led to 239 deadly attacks in France between January 2015 and July 2016.

Moderator: Sorry-just repeat those numbers

Giles Keppel: 2-3-9. It’s all in the book. 239 between 7th of January with Charlie Hebdo and 26th of July is the stabbing to death of Jacques Hamel, the catholic priest in his church in Normandy by two kids who had coordinated, had been coordinated by someone from the Islamic caliphate who was a French Algerian guy by the name of Rasheed Kassim. So the issue was an issue mainly as I said of co-ordination, it was a network based thing and the difference between someone this morning podcast taping between Manchester and Bataclan both were aimed at a music hall except the kids here were far younger but it was a one person thing even though he may have been part or a support group or network and this is what is being investigated now and we now know that his father was a member of the Libyan Islamic fighting group which was very famous in the 1990s because it was the sort of parallel group to the Algerian GIA, they were enemies of Gadaffi and some of them got of course shelter and  refugee status in Britain and other countries in the good old days of Londonistan or…Manchesteristan.

He was known and there was no such thing as this network where at Bataclan he had I don’t know 10 or 12 people?

Moderator: 10

Giles Keppel: So why did we have 10 people because you know they were so called foreign fighters coming from France, Belgium,  one from Iraq and from Syria who could be gathered, who could come back, they had been trained, brainwashed. Nowadays this is not possible anymore, the frontiers are sealed between Turkey and the Islamic State and this is one of Erdogan’s many bargaining chips with Europe and the caliphate, so called caliphate territory, is under duress because they are being bombed, they are being droned, even the guy who coordinated most of the attacks in France in 2016 and who sentenced me to death three times already was droned by an American drone in February 2016 so this is why I’m probably the only pro-Trump Frenchmen because he settled my personal accounts…So it’s more complicated to coordinate things with a certain latitude but nevertheless a lone little wolf will do in the sort of third wave jihadism. Is this because he’s a lonely wolf that he’s a lone wolf? No, by all means no. The lone wolf model, which was designed by people who have no idea of the ideology and organisations of those movements was derived from the American model from which political science finds its unique source of learning nowadays and this is a common line taken. You know a teenager looks at videos or whatever, reads books and then decides to kill all his roommates or classmates. They also sort of immerse themselves in the video literature, podcasts, twitter feeds, Facebook walls and what have you of ISIS but they’re not lonely at all. They have friends, Facebook friends, they live in a shared culture, they have peer support whether it be digital or actual peer support but they may act alone, they make their decisions on themselves, they may be helped to find a target, they may be put in contact with others and whatever. From what I understand as far as the enquiry on the Manchester attacks is concerned, the issue is to find out whether the bomb was sophisticated and imported whether he could do it alone or whether he could not do it alone. As I said to you this is my third talk this morning so I don’t know what I said it to who but the question of why the suicide vest did not explode at the Stad du France because they forgot to get the tickets but also because the TAPT, the explosive which was in it, was designed by this Najim Laacraoui  who was killed later on in Belgium and who is not a great engineer, who is not a Bin Laden quality explosive engineer. So, it was very unstable, and as they could not get in, the three guys started to sweat like crazy and when you sweat the body temperature gets up a little and this is enough for the explosive vest to detonate on their own and so this is the liability of this third wave-third generation- jihadism. That is to say, people are not very well prepared and you know it’s a matter of chance whether or not they succeed. They may be lucky; Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan, Nice, Breitscheidplatz, Manchester and whatever…from their own sake, but they have two liabilities-or so. The first one is that  the fact that it is not well prepared may mean that a number of them die for nothing the other is that because they have to act in haste, the targets may not be the right targets-they choose people who are easy to kill…and as I was walking here I walked on the Westminster sidewalk of two months ago and this is…everyone speaks French in the streets because it’s a holiday and they all took the Eurostar to London on a sunny day and there was masses of people there and it was scary, it was so easy if you would take a suicide or a car or whatever or a lorry, you would take it there because the place where they are all concentrated except they have those anti-truck things there now. But then, how does the target mobilise the masses? They killed a young girl of eight years old- how can she be perceived, even by the most hard core jihadist, as a legitimate target. There is something in Islamist literature that sort of justifies what they call- what we call- collateral damage and which in Arabic reads ‘hoom in hoom’ which is to say they are a part of them and that’s enough but you know this is not great to reach out to the grey zone of sympathisers. The aim of third generation jihadism is to incite the rest of society to retaliation and when you read Suri- and it’s all in the book detailed and translated- he says ‘ok you kill your neighbours-your kuffar-your infidel neighbours so they will retaliate, so they will put a bomb in a mosque, they will kill Muslims like they did in Quebec a few weeks ago. And then Muslims in general, are going to consider that there is no future for them in the society, that the extreme right votes are rising and therefore the only way for them is to cling under the jihadists- to join them under the prophet’s banner as they say…and what is very important and I will end there, is to take the electoral process hostage and to sort of dynamite or torpedo the electoral, democratic and institutionalized political process and have the jihad agenda supersede this agenda which is what happened in Britain because Britain, which is not in great shape if I may say so, in a threatening fog today because of Brexit and everything now was compelled to interrupt the campaign for the parliamentary elections because of the jihad-of the jihadist attack in Manchester which by that token is a big success. What can derail the process which is as central as the parliamentary process…and Westminster was already attacked two months ago so this, I think, quite focussed. In France, as surprising as it may seem, from Britain or Germany where there was a sort of ‘serves them well’ attitude with the French- you know ‘why have the French so many dead? because they are too secular and they obsessed with the way Muslim women wear their hijab, whether or not they wear hijab…this was retaliation to some extent…it was to some extent justified’.

Anyway, it so happens that since July 2016 no successful attack has taken place in France, they have all been foiled, why is that? For two reasons, one of them of course is the pressure on the Islamic state though that does not explain why attacks have moved to Germany and Britain now to a large extent. We may have more attacks in France – no doubt- but as of now they have not and they were unable to take hostage of the French presidential election process. Pundits had prophesised that Marine Le Pen would make a landslide because it would be perceived as retaliation against Jihadist violence but it did not work and Macron trounced her and a phenomenon which in a way is counter climatic to the polls for the Trump vote or the Brexit vote. It was the pro-European and the representative of the ‘haves’ who won instead of having the majority of the English countryside voting against London or the rust belt in America voting for trump and this is an interesting phenomena we can deal with in the Q&A session. So, this is also something which…Hugo here does his PhD under my supervision on jihadists in France and particularly has done an enormous amount of field work in prisons and our other students who monitor the chatrooms of the francophone jihad now see that we are far from the days of optimism when they wrote in Dabiq or Dar-al Islam the glossy online magazine that you know in a few months we’re gonna(sic) sell your women and children on the markets of the Islamic state in Paris and London and whatever. Now it’s more doom and gloom and on the chatrooms they would say ‘oh you know this is not great because we’re under duress and clearly there is something that does not matter. Maybe god is tempting us with this trial and we should strengthen our reading of the scriptures to understand what went wrong’…they’re on their theme or they’re fighting and they  have not much time to plot, to soak the kuffars territory in blood. Even my tormentor Rashid Kassem when he was hit by an American drone that sent him right to paradise…you know after they died they air a will –pre-recorded of course it hasn’t come straight from paradise we have no proof of that- where you know the usual thing ‘it’s great I’m a martyr’ but as I said the Islamic state is not great, it doesn’t work they’re in the rear and so there is this feeling that even though some attacks like the one at Manchester took place we’re in a sort of era or time when Jihadists are at odds with the core message because if mobilisation does not take place-and this is the case with phases one and two- the violence perpetrated turns against the perpetrators. Now we have to have politicians who are able to understand this thing and implement a strategy and this I’m not sure we’re going to see soon except of course in France where (inaudible 1:02:20). So I will stop here and thank you for listening to me in religious silence and thank you also for keeping the air conditioning as low as possible to recreate the heat of Syrian desert and I’m now at your disposal.

Tom Wilson: Thank you, thank you very much for those extensive remarks, does you schedule allow for Q&A?…So shall we take 10 or 15 minutes? If that works for you?

Giles Keppel: Sure

Tom Wilson: Great, a show of hands please and we’ll take a few question at a time.

Q1: My name is Archibald, I’m an independent researcher in counter-terrorism, I was doing a PhD in CTFI – counter-terrorist finance…basically your presentation is much focussed on the Middle East and North Africa but there is another threat.

Giles Keppel: Which presentation? Mine?

Q1 :Yep

Giles Keppel: It was focussed on Europe

Q1: No, on Europe…I mean like the Jihadists from these areas…there was another major issue that is from central Asia because some of the issues…some of the trends we are seeing with some of these Chechen rebels and Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan because in terms of killing children the very inspiration was in Russia when Putin took over

Giles Keppel: Yeah

Q1: So that inspiration is driving some of these jihadists south east Turkestan

Q2: My name is David Conway and I’m affiliated with the social policy think tank CIVITAS, could you please clarify your final remarks about if the third wave jihadists do not provoke the retaliation that they seek are you suggesting they will be turned on against by their own communities.

Giles Keppel: Exactly.

Q2: So we should do nothing?

Giles Keppel: Uh not at all, then I have to address your question

Q3: Thomas Dupen, one of the many French citizens in London, thank you Mr Keppel for being one of the sane voices on the topic. It’s neither France being too secular or the UK giving too much freedom to its diverse communities that is the source of the problem. It seems to be the ideology, do you think that this message is now getting across to politicians in Europe?

Giles Keppel: Thank you, you could have expanded the scope to not only central Asia but also south Asia, particularly in this country and also to Africa probably because we have a rising group of people from sub-Saharan Africa who are into this movement. Koulibaly was from Mali and a few others. I don’t know to what extent they have a sort of encyclopaedia of jihadism…they can choose you know children etc… My belief is rather that the…the people who are brain washed are fed with twitter feeds to a large extent like for example my bête noir Olivier Roy says that no one ever read Abu Musab al-Suri except you. It does not matter as someone…the economist or podcast this morning said not all guards at Auschwitz had read Mein Kampf but they did not stop them from sharing the ideology or the global ideology. So, we academics read the books or attempt to read the books or part of it-I even translated part of the book into French- then because it’s important to trace the source even if the source is distorted right? So this is I guess how they…how they act mainly. They have a cloud, a sort of iCloud, it’s a j-cloud of jihad if you want which is more important, you know big things written in big letters, like when you have a cloud. And so I don’t know whether the school thing was important in their mind or… I don’t know?

Q1: What I’m trying to figure out or to establish here is initially the Palestinians they used to show videos of children suffering with a Syrian there was they showed the gas the children with the Russians… When you read the Russian incident the reason why they went about is because they were attacking the children so there was a phenomena in terms of the message in terms of what has been used in war-torn countries in showing children. So the more the media show children suffering…

Giles Keppel: I think you have a good point here. Definitely. Also the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian divide which was sort of the magnet of irritance-the mother of all irritance if I may say in the region- that has been side lined largely by the Shia Sunni divide. I remember when I was doing fieldwork in Tunisia in Sidi Bou Said, the city where the Arab-the spark of the Arab upheavals took place in December 2010. When I was there the city centre had been taken over by the Salafists and they had the big mosque, the Tawhid mosque and you know with Salafists sometimes it’s risky but you can get access to them. It’s not like the Muslim brotherhood where it’s always top down, if you befriend a Salafist he will take you to the mosque and so we went with some team I had there to the Friday sermon, the preacher, who was into Salafi-jihadism already…he was into the Ansari shar’ia group which would be responsible for the killing of the American ambassador in Libya…and we went to interview him and before we went to interview him he was shouting for donations under a big banner where there were children soaked in blood and everything. So when I looked at it from far because I couldn’t’ see it all I thought it was you know the usual image of the Gaza strip bombed by the Israeli air force-not at all. They said the Shias had done it, by Shia they probably meant Bashar al-Assad…and then the guy on the loudspeaker said ‘Brothers Shias are killing Muslims everywhere and you have to donate so that Muslims can survive atrocious attacks by the Shia and they’ve never seen a Shia in southern Tunisia except in the Fatimid era which-no-one was born at the time…This is interesting because it shifts the focus away from the Palestinian Israeli conflict which is not now-the daily casualties of Jihad, the big numbers are not there. Now, the fact that they’re aiming at retaliation…depending on the kind of retaliation you have what they would like is that you have an all-out retaliation against all Muslims and this is why they love the extreme right but if you have a precise retaliation against jihadists per se it’s not all the same thing so there is room for action. Do politicians take into account this issue of ideology? It’s difficult for them because you know they’re not at ease with the analysis of the ideology because this needs some skills-you have to know the language, you have to know the social context and it’s complicated to sell particularly except on the extreme right. Look in America…Obama never uttered the word jihadist.

Audience: Trump didn’t in Saudi Arabia

Giles Keppel: In Saudi Arabia he spoke of Islamic terrorism which was…I think he doesn’t know anything… I saw those cartoons-those shows on American tv where he goes to the western wall and he touched the wall so the caption was ‘oh do we have a wall here so there are no Mexicans, oh can I have some halal tacos…or kosher tacos’… For purposes it’s a complicated issue because precisely as the gentlemen said they don’t want to antagonise people who might be a voting constituency and this is where the Muslim brothers take over from the jihadists because they say ‘ok we know this is violence, this is not good, so we are gonna(sic) be a bulwark, we’re gonna(sic) police the community but let us control the community and we’re even going to incite our coreligionists to vote for you or for you adversary-it does not matter it’s a communal vote’- that was a price to be paid and this is of course a question of political bargaining and I think when people say ‘oh well the criterion is violence or no violence, pluralism or no pluralism’ this is a very idealist way of dealing with politics-in politics you never do that, there is a price for retribution. This is exactly where we can think of the brothers. Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s a Muslim brother, I quoted him at the beginning of the talk and what he said is not really reassuring he said that ‘you know after 1732 and 1683 this was the time now for jihad is gonna(sic) come to Europe and conquer it peacefully’. If this is the price you have to pay when you deal with the brothers then you have to know then you make your choice.

Moderator: Shall we take one more round of questions before we move to the book signing? Wonderful, there’s a gentlemen over here.

Q4: My names Simon Hayslock I’m with an organisation called organ associates which does government work in this space and I’m interested to know-there’s been a lot of discussion about prevent in the UK and there are two sides of the argument; those that see it on the one hand as islamophobic and making the problem worse and then the others that think that we mustn’t engage with some of the organisations which proselytise Salafism or whatever. So I just want to know where you stand on that because I’ve heard both sides of the argument expressed very virulently about the only way to deal-like you reference with dealing with the Muslim brotherhood- if you want a peaceful political process…

Giles Keppel: Of course there’s a price

Q4: You have a price yes…so essentially…

Giles Keppel: Of course, this is where I stand… I was in America pushing the American edition of the book the last two weeks and even more maybe than in Britain-because the stakes aren’t exactly the same- there is this big antagonism between they call CVE and CT. The CVE people tend to not pay any attention to ideology and they were Obama era products and the CT people on the contrary are very interested in this ideological issue. I spent a lot of time with NYPD intel group, all of them PhDs and sort of 50 people-young- and in a city like New York which is a big prize for jihadists of course they try to blend together this issue of both ideology, social disenfranchisement and psychological conditions. This is the catch 22 thing we have to be able to deal with that-and this is what Macron I think wants to do with that Terrorism task force at the Elysee palace. Not to treat terrorism as a marginal, bizarre outcome of our societies but on the contrary as a prism through which you can question the ailments of our societies and I believe this is the right way to do it but let’s wait and see.

Moderator: I’ve just been indicated to by the event manager that we need to wrap up this part of the event so my apologies for all of those who didn’t get their questions in.

Giles Keppel: All of the answers are in the book

Moderator: and Professor Keppel will be here for the book signing in any case but thank you very much for your words.


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