Monday, June 8, 2015

ISIS: Ugly Face of Evil the World Must Recognize, Engage, and Defeat

The face of evil the world faces

Introduction: What follows is every thing you ever wanted to know about ISIS, their goals and methods, which are obviously horrible, but that you couldn't quite figure it all out in one place or one reading. This might be the best around (at least in my view after my read):

A great piece from that lays it out – a must read:

Key Extract:
 While it's true that jihadists eventually want Islam to dominate the world, they believe the first step to doing so is unifying Islam under one single caliphate governed by Sharia law. 

After Qutb, the nascent jihadi movement focused principally on toppling Middle Eastern regimes that weren't sufficiently radical for their liking, e.g., jihadi assassins  killed  Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981 — two years after he signed a peace treaty with Israel.

But the real problem was the United States.  Enter al-Qaeda and bin-Laden who changed all that.  
Osama bin Laden and his second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, argued that any strategy that focused on the Arab world alone missed the point.  The real problem was the United States: The global superpower committed to backing Arab dictators in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  

With such a powerful patron, they argued, the Arab regimes — which they called “the near enemy” — were essentially invincible.  Al-Qaeda needed to push the United States — “the far enemy” — out of the Middle East, first in order to have any chance of creating a caliphate.

It's this strategic logic, more than anything else that pushed al-Qaeda to attack the United States (namely on 9/11).  Bin Laden hated America for any number of reasons, from its support for Israel to its loose sexual morals, but strategy was the primary reasoning behind devoting resources to attacking us. Al-Qaeda believed, and 
still does, that it can do so much physical and economic damage to the U.S. that they will eventually be forced out of the Middle East.  The ISIS view is quite different.  

Unlike al-Qaeda, ISIS and their leadership doesn't believe it's necessary to push America out before establishing a caliphate.  Rather, given that ISIS controls territory in Iraq and Syria that's the about size of the UK, its leaders think they already have a caliphate. They're happy to kill Americans, even capturing and murdering innocent Americans (that the world has seen on YouTube and elsewhere) – because that helps them attract recruits, even as the United States and allies bomb them. But ISIS strategic priority is defending the caliphate from invasion and attack rather than planning attacks on the American homeland.

That point is a key ideological difference between al-Qaeda and ISIS: (1) al-Qaeda believes the time is not yet right for establishing a caliphate, and (2) ISIS thinks that's hyper-timid incrementalist nonsense.  

Continues this excellent story at the Vox link above. As I said, it’s a great read and a keeper. Hearty kudos to Vox for putting it out. Well done.

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