As U.S. and coalition forces begin to draw down in Afghanistan many are being led to believe that the war against radical Islamic groups such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda is drawing to a close. However several incidents in recent months have shown us that wars are often fought on many battlefields.
The Boston Marathon Bombing demonstrated not only the jihadists’ ability to strike at a popular public event but their willingness to kill and maim innocent civilians including children. We are told that the Tsarnaev brothers’ motivation was retaliation for the prolonged wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq and what they called “America’s attack on Muslims.” Right or wrong this was the opinion voiced
Officials sought to down play the significance of foreign influences on this attack by saying either the brothers were “lone wolves” or “self radicalized”. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) sees it differently. They believe it was a result of their call for jihadists to act within their own countries and that it was not necessary to travel overseas to a training camp to become a bona fide mujahid. They also took credit for providing instructions on how to construct the IEDs that were used in the terrorist attack through their organizations Inspire Magazine article “How to make a Bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom”.
Again whether this was an embellishment of the truth or not, Al Qaeda got their message out. Why? Because Wars are fought in many places other than the battlefield. Wars are also fought in the arena of public opinion. They are seeking to influence a whole new generation with their brand of Islamic fanaticism. Truth matters not to them.
A little over a month later in the Woolwich neighborhood of London a British soldier Lee Rigby, who had served in Afghanistan was brutally attacked by two men as he returned to his barracks. Immediately following the killing the two individuals, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale responsible stood in front of a video camera with Drummer Rigby’s blood on their hands and declared the murder as an act of retribution for the U.K.’s participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.