Thursday, February 19, 2015

What ISIS Really Wants

From The Atlantic:
The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership.

Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.)

We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohammad Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut. (Read more.)


julygirl said...

They are a very conflicted group who seem to attract very conflicted individuals. The rest of the world is suffering the consequences of their extreme dysfunction.

Nancy Reyes said...

Cherry picking article that follows the anti American talking points.

ah, but what is not noticed is the death toll BEFORE American intervention: the two million killed in the Iraq Iran war, the Kurds gassed by Saddam, the tens of thousands killed in prison executions in Sadam's Iraq but never got reported on CNN because the reporter admitted being afraid to report the story

....and for that matter, just ignore the 50thousand killed by Baby Assad's dad, or that, thanks to the Israelis, the Nuclear bomb projects in Iraq of the 1970's and in Syria a couple years go were bombed and destroyed.

And don't forget the 100 thousand plus killed in Algeria by Islamicist terrorists.

And please ignore the good news: the 4 million Afghans who returned home after the US threw over their government, that Polio has almost been iradicated, and that childbirth mortality has been lowered.

what is going on now is not Bush or Obama's fault, but a refight of the Sunni Shia wars that date back to the time of Mohammed's child bride who tried a take over of the religion to put her relative in place.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you for the information!!