An ISIS militant believed to have been involved in planning the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7 2015 was killed in a US drone strike in Raqqa, Syria.
Boubaker el Hakim was killed last month, defense officials said in a statement on November 9. The attack on Charlie Hebdo saw gunmen murder 12 of Charlie Hebdo’s staff and wound 11 others. Although the Charlie Hebdo attackers Said and Cherif Kouachi claimed they were members of the terrorist group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), ISIS also claimed responsibility for the attack.
Amedy Coulibaly, who had long-term ties to the Kouachi brothers, carried out a separate terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket two days later. Although he claimed the attack in the name of ISIS, he also demanded the release of the Kouachi brothers.
This showed that, at least on the ground in the West, jihadis are much more fluid about which group they prefer, with the jihadist ideology overall being more important.
The drone strike hammers home this essential point. The attack was supposedly carried out by members of AQAP against French citizens. Yet America killed an ISIS jihadi for it.
The war is not between one terrorist group and one sovereign state. It is a clash between the ideology of totalitarian theocracy and the ideology of open societies, freedom and human rights.
In this struggle, the United States and France are one and the same, just as ISIS and AQAP are one and the same.
And the United States just sent a message that it will track down and bring to justice anyone who takes up arms to wage jihad against America or her allies.