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“The very dynamics of international jihadism already existed long before September 11”, analyzes the terrorism expert

“The very dynamics of international jihadism already existed long before September 11”, analyzes the terrorism expert

The very dynamics of international jihadism existed long before 9/11” analyzes Hugo Micheron, an expert on terrorism, researcher at the Department of Middle East Studies at Princeton University, in franceinfo Friday, September 10, the eve of the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

franceinfo: What has changed since 9/11?

Hugo Micheron: It is certainly a world that has taken shape. That of a return of American power to business in the Middle East, in particular. With interventions that had dramatic consequences for Iraqi society and for the global order in general. At the same time, that hasn’t changed, as the very dynamic of international jihadism existed long before 9/11. There is consciousness, but the world was not invented. When you look at the European situation, for example, there was jihadism in Europe. So, on a very small scale, but despite everything, the 9/11 attacks were partly organized in Europe, via cell in Hamburg and logistical support networks in Madrid and Copenhagen (…) There was already this embryo of a European jihadist dynamics.

Is there a link between November 13th and September 11th?

In a way, yes, because in fact there have been relatively few attacks on an international scale like the one on 9/11. We also remember March 11, 2004 in Madrid, July 7, 2005 in London and November 13, 2015 in Paris, which is the only attack with guerrilla methods, with the one in Bombay. From that point of view, there may be a link. It must also be remembered that a number of the sponsors of the Paris attacks are French who opened up to jihad shortly after the events of 2001. Therefore, it was also an explosion in European Salafo-jihadist microcosms. For example, the course of the Clain brothers, who took responsibility for the November 13 attacks, took a jihadist turn shortly after those attacks.

What does al-Qaeda stand for today, 20 years later?

It is an organization that still exists, that is diminished, but that has not been destroyed. Osama Bin Laden, its leader and founder, was killed 10 years ago. Now she has a rival, Daesh, who oppresses her in extremism. And al-Qaeda is also competing with the Taliban regime. Part of the Taliban has changed in the sense that there is a new generation that has come of age. They have changed in their communication. They have a form of pragmatism, which is a synthesis between al-Qaeda’s ideological plasticity and Daesh’s doctrinal rigidity.

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