Eleven years ago I wrote a piece called “Post-Modern Warfare,” a far-out-there look at what might happen in Europe, should the unassimilated Muslim population attempt to wage real war against their overindulgent hosts. We can forget the theories now, because the reality is that post-modern war has come to Europe.
And that’s not me talking — it’s two of the sharpest foreign policy minds writing today.
First up, PJM’s own Richard Fernandez:
That Abdeslam was found just a short distance from where police had been looking for him for weeks should have clued Obama in to the possibility that he had a base of sympathizers. Abdeslam’s ability to go to ground right under the noses of the Belgian authorities should have suggested that European counterterrorism was mutating into something more deadly: counterinsurgency.
Counter-terrorism is the police vs a “handful of killers”. Counterinsurgency is the state vs a rival state. The attack on Brussels may mean Trofimov was right: Obama’s handful of killers now had a social base of potential sympathizers legally indistinguishable from the original European inhabitants and from which they could launch attacks at the “very heart of Europe”, as Christopher Dickey described Brussels in the Daily Beast.
Dickey cites Syrian Jihadi Musab al Suri’s strategy for fanning the flames of insurgency along the classic playbook. Kill the infidel and so provoke a response which can be used to recruit even more adherents. Create a European intifada, in a united front with the old continent’s well-established Leftist radicals, and rip the continent apart.
John Schindler argues along the exact same line, writing that “this isn’t mere terrorism any longer, this is guerrilla war.”
Europe is now at war again. The threat today is less terrorism than a low-grade insurgency, a guerrilla war of sorts, that hangs over much of the continent as thousands of jihadists, made proficient killers by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, return home with visions of killing “infidels,” their former neighbors. There will be no parley or negotiation with such mass murderers. Parsing the death-cult ideology that drives ISIS fighters, with the hope of making it less noxious, makes as much sense as trying to divine the finer political points of the Manson family.
We should expect more guerrilla-like attacks like Brussels yesterday: moderate in scale, relatively easy to plan and execute against soft targets, and utterly terrifying to the public. At some point, angry Europeans, fed up with their supine political class, will begin to strike back, and that’s when the really terrifying scenarios come into play.
The worst case — and least likely — is Continent-wide guerrilla war, “with all the devastation, mass graves, and ethnic cleansing that implies,” as I wrote ten years ago. But today the worst case in more likely than it was just a week ago, before Brussels.
And Europe’s best case is a generation or longer of low-grade intifada.