Bin Laden is an über brand name in terrorism. Osama Bin Laden’s son, Hamza, has recently narrated a video encouraging Lone Wolf terrorists to act, one of several videos he has made over the last few years. Hamza was often featured in his father’s videos, holding a weapon or reciting. Clearly it is hoped that he will take up where his dad left off as a promoter and marketer for would be terrorists around the world.
In his message, he seeks revenge for his father’s death and promotes a fight against all things Western. And he gives advice to would be lone wolves, to “martyrdom seekers in the West.”
“Exercise patience and deliberation, for it is among the qualities loved by Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him,” Hamza says. “Accomplish your goals with secrecy. Attain the highest level of perfection in your actions, exercise utmost care and caution, and prepare diligently to inflict crippling losses on those who have disbelieved.”
“Be perfect in your choice of targets, so that you may damage your enemies more,” Hamza advises. “Be professional in your choice of weapons. It is not necessary that it should be a military tool. If you are able to pick a firearm, well and good; if not, the options are many.”
“Know that inflicting punishment on Jews and Crusaders where you are present is more vexing and severe for the enemy,” Hamza continues. “It is sharper than a hundred warheads directed against their agents.”
Some politicos believe that the tactical purpose of the most recent Hamza Bin Laden message is to catch up with ISIL whose success in recruitment has overshadowed that of Al Qaeda. Regardless, there is no question that lone wolf terrorism is on the rise and this type of attacker poses huge problems. Although they may be influenced and motivated to act by ideology and politics that run the gamut from jihadist to anti-abortion, the common characteristic is that lone wolves work alone, detached from direct communication with a commander or cell. In this respect, there is far less of a trail to help identify them before they act.
Despite the challenges, there are ways to mitigate the threat, beyond governmental intelligence and counter-terrorist efforts. These terrorists are not robots, they are humans whose vulnerabilities, psychology and personality in context with environment, play a role in how they operate. Studies for example have found that 60% of lone wolves have a personality disorder. Clearly, healthy and well-adjusted individuals also fall prey to self- radicalization and lone wolf terrorism. But developing a better understanding of the kinds of people who become lone wolves and the influences and triggers that motivate them is a worthy course of action.