France has repeatedly become the target of terror. Earlier on 13 November 2015, some very well planned terrorist attacks were taken place in Paris with the model of an armed attack and three suicides. The death toll recorded was 129 people while hundreds were injured. On the following day, November 14, 2015, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. France was attacked for being involved in the civil war between Syria and Iraq.
Regarding the latest attack on Thursday, 14 July 2016, the perpetrators and the motive are remaining unclear. But by looking at how it happened, the perpetrators might have prepared it carefully. This brutal action deserves further scrutiny related to the networks of perpetrators and the motive, given the acts of terror will usually be imitated in other areas.
France Terror as a Model
Thamrin bomb attack on January 14, 2016 seemed to adopt the Paris attack on 13 November 2015. The style of attack in Indonesia which typically using suicide bombings turned into armed attack. Although it was only a small scale terror using handmade guns and low explosive bombs, it showed a transformation in terms of method.
Terror in Paris was claimed by ISIS. So was the Thamrin attack organized by Bahrun Naim in Syria who originally comes from Indonesia. Subsequent attack that occurred in Mapolresta (Local Police Headquarter) Surakarta conducted by Nur Rohman on July 5, 2016 was also indicated as part of ISIS sympathizerâ€™s action considering both Nur Ruhman and Bahrun Naim are indicated to have links in Syria.
However, a terror act by using armed attack mode might be more difficult to execute in Indonesia due to tight monitoring for firearms use. Direct armed attack model like in Paris might be adopted but with different magnitude and equipment. Due to the tight monitoring for firearm use in Indonesia, the terrorist groups were instead using handmade guns and bombs.
Terror without Firearm and Bomb
The most recent attack in France using a vehicle that crashed into a crowd was quite successful to create terror. With death toll reaching more than 70 people and dozens being in critical condition, this terror created significant casualties. Such action is also less expensive and tends to be more secure because it would be difficult to detect. It is cheaper because the equipment is widely available and quite safe because the equipment used is not a prohibited one. The target of terror, a crowd of people, is also quite easy to find.
Can an attack using vehicle occur in Indonesia? It is very possible. Terror can happen if there are willingness, urge, ability, and resources. In addition, terror will occur if there is an attractive targets with weak security system. The perpetrator of terror must want their actions to have big impact but minimum risk and cost. For the sake of their group and their ideology, even suicide is a bearable risk.
The desire and urge of radical groups to commit terror in Indonesia is still quite high. The recessiveness of ISIS in Syria and its sympathizers in Poso, Indonesia makes this radical organizations unraveled. ISIS still wants to show its existence. This is realized by performing acts of terror in the regions other than Syria, and in Indonesia case, except in Poso where they use for training and hiding. This unraveling of the radical groups makes the sympathizers could move in small groups and even as individuals.
The persuasion of the ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed Al Adnani to its sympathizers to take action becomes a driving force for them to conduct terror. The interests to be considered meritorious and to demonstrate their respective role and influence encourage the radical groups' sympathizers to take action that could be heard by ISIS officials in Syria.
The radical groups existing in Indonesia are capable to conduct attacks. This capability is supported by sufficient fund from a donor that was expected to be ISIS in Syria. The capability of the radical groups to conduct terror is acquired not only from the internal training but also by self-learning from the tutorials available free on internet.
With this new model of terror act in France, which is cheaper and safer, and by looking at the willingness, urge, ability and the resources of the radical groups, an attack like in France on the 14th of July 2016 is very possible to be copied by the radical groups in Indonesia.
Preventing France-Model of Terror to Happen in Indonesia
A cheap and safe attack like happening in France last 14th of July is very possible to be copied by the radical groups in Indonesia. The factors to conduct an attack such as the willingness, urge, ability and the resources are already attached with the radical groups in Indonesia. The targets are also easily found. The targets are those attractive for the radical groups such as police headquarter, crowd (including foreigner), and shopping or business center that carry western symbol. All of those targets are very accessible by the radical groups. Yet, it is not easy to detect early the movement of the terrorist like what happened in France.
A vehicle is a quite practical instrument for an attack. Without the use of explosives and firearms, a vehicle apparently can be a tool that can injure and kill many people. Also, vehicle is not a prohibited items, especially if the vehicle is one commonly used in daily life and in which there is no suspicious objects in it.
To prevent this model of terror, some following measures can be taken:
1. Impose stringent monitoring and recording regarding vehicle purchase and rental: who is the buyer, where the vehicle will be operated, who will be the driver.
2. Be aware of suspicious vehicles, for instance, vehicles that go back and forth in certain area driven by an unknown person. Terrorists usually do observation and depiction even perform simulation before real action is executed.
3. Be aware of the environment and the surrounding areas. Should there be some strangers with suspicious movements, report it immediately to the nearest authorities.
4. The police needs to improve its capacity in responding emergency situation, especially for prevention.
Terror acts will keep reoccurring as long as the radical groups keep imposing their desire. In this sense, Indonesia has a big potential to be the target. Therefore, the whole state's stakeholders together with the people must join hands to prevent and overcome the terror. The mutual concern and efforts from the state and its people will be able to deter the radical groups to transform into terror groups.
*) Stanislaus Riyanta, Researcher and Editor in jurnalintelijen.net, the alumni of Strategic Intelligence Studies Master Program at the University of Indonesia.