Anomalous chronicles of a terrorist

(To Denise Serangelo)

The attacks should not leave doubts. The attacks are clear, clear in their devastating absurdity. France awakens in a new morning of blood that leaves a victim, two wounded and an endless trail of questions.

The attack on the 26 June 2015 Air Products industrial gas plant has anomalous outlines and echoes a war on terrorism that certainly does not exude brilliant wills. Fortunately less brilliant than the Westerners' willingness to wage a serious war on IS and its followers there are the so-called "lone wolves".

Reflecting on the Lyon attack, some reflections are a must. The Air Porducts industrial plant is a strategically irrelevant goal. It is a small industrial plant, one of the many present in the area south of Lyon. In its immediate vicinity are plants that treat highly explosive materials and chemicals. To maximize the scope of the attack, it was not necessary to be a chemical expert to understand which was the most succulent objective. Surely the affected company was less supervised and more accessible for the ill-intentioned, but we remember that we are talking about - suspected - trained terrorists, they should not have had problems entering a medium-guarded industrial zone.

Striking unimportant objectives does not allow the terrorist to arrive at the fundamental purpose of every attack, that is: the maximum media impact, the more victims and possible economic damage, the increase in the climate of terror. Previously the terrorist attacks from 11 / 09 until January 2015 were all carefully selected, all of them had a very specific purpose. The Twin Towers have opened a gateway to the global climate of terror, the economic and powerful symbol of the American colossus, which in turn has become a symbol of the decadence of the American myth. Attacks on the London and Madrid underground were intended to reap victims and make any move unsafe. Editor of Charlie Hebdo, the undisputed symbol of satire against Islam, has paid firsthand the cost of a laugh too. These are just three examples but extremely significant.

The terrorist - as already claimed in several previous articles - leaves nothing to chance, is methodical, ruthless and extremely rational. After the attack on Friday, security measures in France border on the State of War (always protecting the civil rights of citizens) in the future it will be increasingly complex to access sensitive and strategically more important targets.

So the terrorists of the self-styled Islamic state have thus thrown away possible truly important goals? Or has the Islamic state only put its stamp on a work already done? The hypothesis in my opinion is more plausible that the choice of a secondary facility, very accessible and of scarce national importance is a choice based on the opportunity of Yassine Salhi to access this place.

A network so organized and rooted as the IS would never have asked a single subject, without training or support to make a gesture so simple whose only advantage was to create terror again in the French streets.

The decapitated corpse is another door facing horror, the images of YouTube spread by the caliphate in the past months recur to mind. It is good to remember that when an attack is carried out it is like planning a military operation; Time and resource optimization remain crucial aspects. To decapitate a subject and impale its head is a gesture that in the context is already out of place. It brings us back to the mind instead a blatant gesture of emulation, as if putting it into action was more a sign of spontaneous becere imitation. A ritual certainly very evocative but that does not fall within the context of an attack typical of the caliphate.

The latest press rumors even speak of a selfie taken along with the photo of the severed head, a behavior to say the least immature that denotes a psychological lack of preparation to the extreme sacrifice. For those who believe the theory that a selfie can be a test sent to a self-styled exponent of the Caliphate in Canada would suggest that you tune into any news program. The news would have arrived, beautiful clear, I would say foolish in any corner of the planet even without the sad snap.

The heart of the problem is this: emulation. Emulation is labeled as terrorism but does not have the necessary political characteristics. On Friday, in France, we might have seen a very young person (35 years is the age spread by the media) fascinated by the Islamic State and from the place this could have given him in his new society. Yassine has exploited the characterizing elements of the IS to become a do-it-yourself terrorist, from here to calling him an active member there is an abyss.

The differences between elements of the caliphate militias and solitary terrorists are evident, to better understand I would put the spotlight on attacks by "trained terrorists". The 11 September 2001 is the reference point. The different hijackers took years to train to complete their task: flight school; identity documents, regularly paid tickets and no transgression to the ordinary routine of an average American. This is defined as maintaining a low profile. The age of the subjects was around 40 years, an age where a life experience has matured to be able to solve complex problems with rationality. Educated people, with good knowledge of the subjects useful for the purpose they had set. Praising the preparation of the terrorists that the world remembers with more indignation in the history is certainly not in my intentions, but it is good to underline how a methodical logic exists behind the terrorism of Islamic matrix of the last years.

Yassine, in France, maintained a low profile but frequented mosques already accused of extremism. First mistake. Consequence of this attendance was its shadowing for a limited period of time without discovering discrepancies with the life of a normal Muslim immigrant. Yassine was young - 35 years - medium-low studies and a job as a little messenger below the norm. He had no previous military experience, did not have much knowledge in the use of gas and how to fine-tune his attack.

Training and meticulous planning, the weighting of the advantages and disadvantages of hitting one target over another are at the root of terrorism and emulation. In the case of terrorists we have preparation and competence, in the case of emulators we have only approximate notions. In Lyon we have not seen neither training nor planning, preparation or knowledge. If you decide to do a gas attack, knowing how to use it would be the minimum. Evident elements were left to chance as the proximity to a firehouse (only 3000m away) and the absence of workers with which to maximize the damage. The attacks must by their nature create damage and possibly not be discovered within a few minutes.

The accumulation of gas cylinders and the subsequent crash with the car are very reminiscent of the scenes of American action films in which a small amount of air causes spectacular explosions. The would-be terrorist may not have understood the mechanism by which a gas can be exploded. A terrorist - true - would leave nothing to chance, let alone the heart of the attack.

Excluding the two flags linked to the caliphate, the rest of the elements, however, makes us think of a subject unprepared, not very determined and not so inclined to do to reap victims. The place chosen and the modalities require us to reflect that, rather than careful planning, Yassine Salhi took the opportunity to put into practice what she had seen hiding behind an alleged extremism.

Yassine does not have the contours of the radical Islamic terrorists, she went to the mosque but she had never traveled to suspicious areas, she had not received military training - not even basic - and she had no knowledge on how to carry out effective attacks. Either he had a bad teacher or was just an aspiring terrorist. Ultimately we should consider that in France the immigration-integration problem is very much felt especially by the second generation of immigrants.

As widely supported by Khaled Foudad Allam in his latest work "The jihadist next door" in France there is an entire generation that does not find its place in French or Muslim society. Immigrants wanted not just citizenship but needed integration. The French society has integrated the children of immigrants but at the same time marginalizes them, the less strong are marginalized and therefore seek refuge in a replacement society. The replacement society is a place where the children of the emigrants feel at home, in which they do not have to divide between the private Islam of their family and the public one of the new terrorism. Radical Islam becomes an escape route, a sort of safe refuge against which one can let off one's own deviance and anger. The France that has not given him - according to their way of seeing - the social integration they deserve becomes the object of the outburst.

I do not consider it completely impossible to form an Islamic terrorist front of Europe whose bulwarks will be the countries with the greatest immigration rates: France, Germany, Italy. The themes of this type of terrorism will be less internationalist and closer to normal immigrants, will have as an outlet for Islam but will have deep roots in the society of the host countries. This will be a terrorism that will not stop, which will not have a strict logic but will be driven only by the desire to have a place in this world. For better or for worse.

The losers of this summary integration will be the terrorists of the future who are already tending the bill for us. Nobody's fault, the complex solution. For now we just have to raise the level of security and avoid starting a hunt for the Muslim without borders.

Bar talk and stomach analysis have already reaped their victims, now it's time to leave room for less popular but more realistic reflections.