It is particularly interesting to study the attack which took place on the night of July 14 last in Nice, one of the most heinous attacks perpetrated by the jihad in Europe.
A place of fun and entertainment was chosen, as in the case of the Paris Bataclan, but outdoor and without a specific indication of the religious identity of the people present there.
As you may recall, the owners of the Bataclan in Paris were of Jewish religion and the terrorist attack occurred after a series of Islamist massacres in places where there were many French and Jewish citizens.
In the case of the Nice attack, there is no difference of target between the Jews, Christians or even Muslims present in the huge crowd gathered on the Promenade des Anglais to celebrate the Bastille Bay marking the start of Republican France.
The nation, the symbol, the ordinary people – indeed everybody – are hit.
Hence, in this case, the data and aspects to be studied are different and probably more dangerous than we can imagine today: the truck was driven by a French citizen of Tunisian origin, living in Nice.
Whoever bought or stole the truck has a wide cover network probably verging on the underworld, even the non-jihadist one.
In fact, the truck driver was a jihadist with a criminal record of common offences.
Therefore the beginning of a link between the traditional “underworld” and the jihad cannot be ruled out.
Supplying arms to the jihad (although those found on the truck could not be used) and the connections with the smuggling networks – of weapons or other items – could be the new business of the traditional crime networks.
At theoretical level – namely the jihad doctrine – the attack on Europe was widely anticipated and stimulated by the ISIS and Al Qaeda proclamations.
When the Iraqi-Syrian “State” falls apart, the two rival organizations of the jihad find themselves on the same line, namely terrorist attacks among the “Crusaders and the Jews”.
The indiscriminate attack which – according to some analysts , was considered “outdated” by Al Qaeda or ISIS – is now necessary for the jihad survival.
It is needed to display power, and hence win the sympathy and support of many Islamists being radicalized, as well as to show off strength to “protect” the Islamic minorities present on the “infidels’ territory”. It is also needed to scare the Western public and governments and finally to block the police and intelligence activities.
And, according to the jihadists, this happens and must happen at the very moment in which the Syrian-Iraqi “State” is collapsing.
Furthermore it seems that the quality of the law enforcement agencies and the intelligence services is a selection criterion for the jihad terrorists.
The less efficient they are, the more their countries become a target.
Belgium, at first, in which the Walloon police forces do not communicate with the Flemish ones, and the intelligence service are weak. Then France, which implemented a dysfunctional and irrational reform of the intelligence services, both those responsible for internal affairs and those in charge of external affairs.
Not to mention – for sense of patriotism – the reform implemented by Italy in 2007.
Incidentally, it seems that today European democracies do not understand anything about intelligence.
Hence the European democracies must take a decision: either they sacrifice part of the “rights” and privacy of their citizens to protect them from the jihad, or – by following the myth of mass democracy – they shall accept ever more brutal attacks.
Furthermore there is the problem of the data to work with: currently all intelligence services and police forces operate too much with an ex post approach.
It is wrongly believed that the jihad generates crimes which must be punished individually, while the preaching of the “holy war” falls within the freedoms guaranteed as early as the days of the French Revolution, though with some historical exceptions.
This is false. The jihad is the specific strategy of a war which is totally different from Carl von Clausewitz’s war.
The police forces must shift from the (scarce) repression of certain crimes related to, or resulting from, the jihad to the very clear and structural fight against them with the “holy war”.
Somehow as the judges Falcone and Borsellino did with Mafia.
Hence a strategy against the warring Islamism need to be defined, combining very harsh pressures on the sponsoring and funding States, psychological warfare actions in Europe and in the rest of the world, as well as preventive repression of the jihad hotbeds.
We must imitate the practices of the jihad to combat it: these are the OPFOR techniques of “hybrid warfare” which are currently used by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, for example.
Hence taking actions ex post is hard, but currently inevitable for the European police forces.
We must do the opposite and on a stable and permanent basis.
And this happens for various reasons. The first is that the jihadists are quick and efficient in using the social media and the encryption needed in them.
Kik, SureSpot, Telegram, Wikr, Detect and Tor are all perfectly legal applications used to encrypt the jihadist messages or to reach the deep Internet, which does not result from the search engines.
ISIS has long been developing websites to train to encryption.
They also tend to lack operating signals, but they indicate the place and time of the attack – at the right time, and only to those who must perpetrate it.
A multiplication of sources which makes it difficult for any intelligence service to follow the jihad, which is made of hidden networks, mostly unexplored, who live according to the rule “from mouth to ear” or to the rule of immediate verbal communication which, however, overlap and control the on-line communication.
Moreover – albeit it is hard to say – the European intelligence services operate on the basis of two criteria which are difficult to be checked operationally.
Either the “grand old man” who decides everything, possibly from some cave in the Pakistani tribal territories, as was the case with Osama Bin Laden, or the free rider, namely the marginalized and radicalized young man who does everything on his own.
The jihad young men can do much by themselves, because the instructions and orders from the top leaders are always generic and it is up to those working on the field to observe, check and plan.
However, this never happens without the green light given by one of the multiple command centers, which must then justify and expand the terrorist action effects.
I believe that Europe will be the next field of action for the jihad.
For many reasons: the first is that the mass of immigrants is such that they can serve as a safety net, as well as a recruiting and funding network for many jihadists.
The old leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie, said so a few years ago: “We will not invade Europe with the jihad, demography will be enough”.
This is exactly what is unawarely maintained by many misguided and shallow supporters of multiculturalism.
The second reason is that – as the jihad has proclaimed recently – Europe will be rapidly Islamized and the ISIS black flag will fly at the Vatican, as shown by the cover of the theoretical review of the Syrian-Iraqi group.
They do what they say, but we never know how.
Hence time has come to rethink the intelligence strategies throughout Europe, without creating an unnecessary “single agency”, but rethinking the jihadist threat in a new and creative way.
Giancarlo Elia Valori * (@GEliaValori)
* Presidente della merchant bank “La centrale Finanziaria Generale S.p.A.”
– Presidente della “Cattedra sugli studi della pace, la sicurezza e lo sviluppo internazionale presso la Facoltà di relazioni internazionali della Peking University, nonché “professore straordinario” di economia e politica internazionale nello stesso Ateneo
– Honorable dell’Académie des Sciences dell’Institut de France