Black Flags and Red Flags in Sydney Siege

TIME

Australia’s first successful modern domestic terrorist attack has raised alarms internationally—and not because of how formidable the attacker was. This was a man, after all, who had to demand police supply him with his own ISIS banner. What he demonstrated, however, is just how easy it is to attract global coverage. That the siege was the work of a troubled lone wolf and not the product of a transnational plot was both a relief and a worry. It was a relief because there no major terrorist operation had been pulled off undetected, and there was no immediate recourse to a beheading video. It was a worry because today’s era of crowd-sourced terror has reached the point at which the old models no longer apply. Any attention-seeking individual simply needs to appropriate an established jihadi brand name to force the world to pay attention to his 15 minutes of “selfie-sacrifice.”

Early…

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