The Stand Alone Complex and Jihad
Stand Alone Complexes
I have written in the past about the “Stand Alone Complex” and I have to say that recent events still have me fascinated with the premise. I would say that perhaps the Boston bombing in and of itself shows how the “SAC” applies to jihad and lone wolves once you begin to look at it in that light as well. The Tsarnaev’s (Tamerlan mostly in my assessment) latched on to jihad (literally) only after his personal goals were not attained in boxing and other areas. He then molded his ideals and his aegis for the actions he would take in the bombing to the idea of Islamic Jihad though he had been raised primarily without a strong Muslim background (look at their photos while in Russia, mom is not wearing a hijab as she is now for example) and his profiles online all talked of Westernized goals of money and women. Yet, the global idea of “Jihad” became a lure for Tamerlan and Dzokhar that in the end was the justification for their actions on April 15th 2013. Note that I say it was a justification and not their sole goal here in my opinion. I do not believe that either were that devout just as I do not believe that Dzokhar will continue to be in his 6×6 cell from now on.
I believe that the specter of global Islamic jihad has become the core of a larger SAC for all of these lone wolves out there. People with mental disorders or needs to believe in something that gravitate to the jihad to fulfill those needs. Remember that this brand of thought is one created or augmented by those who interpret the Koran just as others interpret the Bible as verbatim or an absolute truth. Some of these people who are interpreting these books and beliefs are doing so in a way to put forth their own goals and that is exactly what is happening on the macro and micro levels within the jihad. It is this echo effect that we are now seeing in the franchising of personal jihad as well as institutionalized jihad within the groups out there today such as the Chechen jihad that may or may not have played a part in the Boston incident.
Each jihad has a different bent and each jihadi has a personal bent for what they are doing. A majority may just cite the treatment of Palestinians or some other rubric around the lands of the ummah but for the most part I personally believe that each and every jihad and jihadi have their own reasons and interpretations of the movement that make them wish to join in. It is this personal jihad (which is talked about in and of jihad itself as a personal struggle in some interpretations) that I am focusing in on where it concerns the new wave of the fight.. The Lone Wolf jihad which has been the pivot for Al Qaeda as it has been marginalized by the war on terror. Jihad it seems has been packaged and sold in slick form by AQAP to appeal to those who have not been a part of the struggle in country and who are now being cajoled into taking up the sword by use of propaganda on the weaker minded of us all.
Lone Wolf Jihad
These “Lone Wolves” as they have been dubbed need not be Muslims to start and may as well not have any experience in the Middle East. The Tsarnaev’s had some experience (Tamerlan really) in the old country where the Jihad really came in the form of fighting against the Russians much like the Afghanistani fight that created the Mujahideen. Neither of the boys though really had enough time in country to see much of this fighting and thus were drawn into this web of thinking by imagery and propaganda online that they seemed to be seeking themselves. To date there is no evidence that the boys were supported by or egged on by any jihadi group (Imarat Kavkaz) actively. All of their content was passively passed vis a vis websites and YouTube pages where they had posted their nasheeds, fatwa’s and teachings online.
The same can be seen for the likes of Emerson Begolly who radicalized online and never got to act out his ambitions other than biting a couple of FBI agents when they arrested him. However both of these cases are good examples of “Lone Wolf Jihad” as well as SAC behavior. This is the basis of the idea of an Stand Alone Complex. These people are all unrelated, unaffiliated, and not likely to be acting out of a defined “same” motivations or goals other than some notion of “jihad” but the jihad becomes the appearance of “concerted effort” We are seeing by proxy of Inspire Magazine and other propaganda tools such as the YouTube videos online the movement of a stand alone complex by person(s) known and unknown to effect a goal. This then also plays into the extension of the SAC within the plot line of the series (Ghost In The Shell SAC) where a plotter (Goda) is seeking to make political change by using the idea of the SAC on all appearances while in reality he (in this case AQ directly) is manipulating the players to effect his political goals. In essence within the analogy here AQ is Goda and their enticement and propaganda campaign is not at all dissimilar. They are attempting to incite jihad using disparate players unknown to them with their propaganda tools to ensnare and motivate those willing or unstable enough to act out in furtherance of the global caliphate (ostensibly) or, more to the point, to wreak havoc and fulfill their own bloody desires.
The Media Cycle and Stand Alone Complex Jihad
The media is also playing a large part in this cycle and it should not be overlooked. The global jihad needs a global audience. They already have the internet but now they too also have the media ravening to report on anything they can concerning it. Look at all the media hype that surrounded the events of the Boston bombings and you can see the dynamic at work. It even reached the height of being something that the bombers themselves reveled in as they carjacked someone’s SUV telling the owner that they were the bombers with pride or seeking recognition. Just as in the SAC on G.I.T.S. the media played a huge roll in the perpetuation of the complex. The laughing man became a zeitgeist or a meme in today’s terminology that perpetuated the SAC and expanded it.
An analogy today for us is the “Free Jahar” movement ongoing online. The coverage also cuts another way where so much has been made to make these two appear to be so well trained and lethal without really attempting to pick apart their ersatz plot for mistakes that it appears to others of a like mind that they were lions instead of inept would be terrorists. They got lucky in reality and the media made them out to be larger than life. Something that is playing right into the hands of the AQAP types who put this notion out there to begin with and what the boys latched on to and used to sow their brand of terror. In short, the media attention and the cycle that is still taking up vast swaths of online news pages copy will only insure that the SAC will only continue on and that those manipulating it (AQ) will re-double their efforts.
We have seen Anonymous as a form of SAC and now I think we can make a substantial case for the (lone wolf) jihad being one too. If this idea becomes more memetic and resonates with those of a like mind then we will see more of these types of attacks as well as those out there (not only AQ) trying to entice others to action as well. Both online and off I fear that as the media cycle churns on and AQAP comes out with their next triumphal issue of Inspire the reverberations will only geometrically increase. Time will tell as always but as we become more tightly connected through instant media while being closed off and alone at the same time we will allow for festering to begin in those psyches willing to act out. The repercussions of knee jerk reactions as well within the government will also create more fodder for those like minded to find reasons to radicalize too.
One re-enforces the other like ripples in a pond…