Militarization of police forces not the answer to complex threats

Ronald Crelinsten

While much of the focus for the past year has been on the threat from the Islamic State group (ISIL), the claiming of the Charlie Hebdo attack by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) suggests that the threat is much more complex.

Al-Qaida and ISIL have been in competition for some time, vying for recruits and disagreeing over strategy. Last September, I suggested that al-Qaida was the greater threat, after the U.S. revealed they had bombed a mysterious “Khorasan Group” in western Syria linked to an AQAP plot to bomb transatlantic airplanes.

Now the two threats seem to have merged, with Ahmedi Coulibaly claiming his attacks against police and Jews in the name of ISIL. A secret attempt last fall by a radical U.S. lawyer to secure the release of Peter Kassig, a Muslim convert and humanitarian aid worker held hostage by ISIL, was based on trying to mend the theological dispute between ISIL’s top ideologue and his al-Qaida teacher in Jordan. It almost worked, until Jordanian intelligence pulled the plug. Kassig was beheaded.

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