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Why Jihadi Single Actors in the West are Sticking to the Same Standard and Limited Methods of Operation

This article deals with the question of why Jihadi single actors attacks in North America and West Europe are not using simple, creative, and effective methods of operation, which the terrorist organizations are promoting and advertising.

The research demonstrates that despite many actual examples of such publications and tactical instructions, the number of attacks carried out with such creative and simple methods is negligible. 

In the theaters of Jihad, there are many examples of creating and implementing new creative methods of operation, but almost always by organizations and not by single actors. The academic literature on the subject is not rich and does not provide adequate answers to the research question.

However, Israeli studies, which examined Palestinian single actors in direct methods of psychological examinations and interviews, have managed to build a coherent and distinctive psychological profile of a single Jihadi actor, which suggests thorough and well-based answers to the research question. In essence, the psychological profile of a lone actor is characterized by impulsiveness and lack of sophistication. These characteristics are not fitted for methods of operation which require planning and preparations.

In addition, in many of the attacks, the main motivations for carrying out an attack are some suicidal tendencies and a desire for recognition and publication. These motivations do not match methods of operation which allow the perpetrator to remain safe and keep his anonymity. 

Another meaning of the findings is that global jihad organizations have the influence to inspire individuals to carry out attacks but not the power to influence the choice of the method of operation. This study demonstrates that in many cases, the real motivation of jihadi single actors are not purely ideological but heavily blended with their psychological pains and impulses.