The worst reading for terrorism is that what we hear now, calling it a bad thing, and calling terrorists worse things. This is but media propaganda that we really do not need.
What we really need to know is the new faces of terrorism so that we can defeat it.
Would the stipulating of harsh punishments and emergency laws really defeat terrorism? Definitely not, because terrorism is no longer the stereotyped large organization whose leaders and members are known to the security services.
With the exception of Sinai, where there are about 3,000 members of known extremist groups, there are no more coherent terrorist organizations similar to the Jihad and Islamic organizations of the seventies, or the Muslim Brotherhood organization before the January revolution.
Terrorism today takes the form of cells. Even the Muslim Brotherhood uses unknown cells to carry out its terrorist operations. There is no single regulatory terrorist body now that can give orders for tens of thousands of members to carry out like before. There are only overall directives for violence that each cell carries out in its own way, ranging from the bombing of electricity towers to the assassination of public figures.
The new terrorists are not like the old ones. They are now part of social networks as opposed to ideological organizations. They know little about religion because they did not educate themselves, unlike the jihadist organizations before September 11 whose members were indoctrinated with certain ideologies. They come in cells of a dozen members rather than organizations of thousands. And all they want is to take revenge.
The difference between the terrorism of today and that of the Mubarak and Sadat eras is in that the terrorism of the past was based on the concept that the ruler is an infidel that must be killed, hence the assassination of Sadat.
Today, the Muslim Brotherhood’s claim of injustice drives some to violence for purposes of revenge, not out of any certain ideology.
The dismantling of the environment that incubates or is complicit with the terrorist elements is the only way to win the battle against the terrorism of today, especially in Sinai.
Targeting the terrorist cells in the same manner as the ideological terrorist organizations were targeted before would not do. It may have been successful with the organizations because their strength was derived from within and not from an environment that incubated them.
The incubating environment is more dangerous than terrorism itself because it produces a multifaceted yet invisible terrorism that is difficult to fight proactively.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm