News / USA

Islamist Radicals React Online to Boston Attacks

Radical Islamists React Online To Boston Attacksi
May 09, 2013 11:42 PM
Radical Islamists have been reacting online to the bombings at the Boston Marathon last month. While some extremists have praised the attacks, analysts say other users of online Jihadist forums see them as a setback to their wider cause. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Henry Ridgwell
Radical Islamists have been reacting online to the bomb attacks that struck the Boston Marathon last month. While some have praised the attacks, analysts say other users of online Jihadist forums see them as a setback to their wider cause.

The bombings at the Boston Marathon not only caught U.S. intelligence services by surprise; on Jihadist websites, debate has raged over the motivations and implications, according to Shiraz Maher of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization located in London.

"In the most generic and broadest sense, there was a sense of celebration on the Jihadi forums. These guys are committed Jihadists. They hate the United States and the West,"  Maher said.

But, says Maher, some online users thought the Boston attacks had diminished their cause.

 "They felt that this might compromise more spectacular and larger scale attacks. And there was also a sense that the amateurishness of the attacks would also kind of detract from al-Qaida's modus operandi, which has traditionally focused on large scale, spectacular attacks," Maher said.

However Maher says there is a realization among Jihadists that their ability to stage such attacks causing mass casualties has been reduced by Western intelligence and security.

"Al-Qaida's developed a new tactic which is to essentially say, even if it can't take lives directly, it wants to inflict economic and financial losses on the United States and the West more generally," Maher said.

The chief suspects in the Boston attacks, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, appear to have planned the attacks without outside help.

Terror analyst Raffaello Pantucci of the Royal United Services Institute says al-Qaida cells based in the Middle East and Africa are encouraging radicalized individuals in the West through the internet.

"Open-source jihad as they call it, in which individuals are very much empowered or the emphasis is on them to launch attacks where they can on targets that they specifically identify using materials to hand," Pantucci said.
Pantucci says the challenge for intelligence services is that so-called 'lone wolves' may not be detected by traditional means like monitoring communications.

"They don't necessarily set these trip wires off. And so therefore intelligence agencies aren't able to rely on that," he said. "As a result this is a much harder prospect to try to identify and prevent earlier. How can you tell that an individual like Tamerlan Tsarnaev is headed down the path that he was?"

Analysis by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization suggests up to 600 foreign Jihadists from Europe alone have travelled to fight in Syria. Maher says the focus appears to have moved away from the West.

"Syria is almost certainly the number one priroty today for the online Jihadist community and for Jihadists on the ground. So in a sense there's a slight recalibration of priorities, where the Islamists and Jihadists think they have a real opportunity to shape events on the ground," Maher said.

The danger for the West, say analysts, comes when the Syrian conflict ends and the foreign Jihadists return home.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Hatem Zaki from: Egypt
May 11, 2013 9:29 AM
I think the West made a big mistake when the West hosted Islamist terrorists .I don't know why the west doesn't correct its mistake and put them in jail because they are dangerous on the society .otherwise the West uses them to distort Islam .there is a big question mark about the relation between the West & the Radical Islam

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs