By Ali Malik
The strategy of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram seem to be consistent disruptive attacks for to gain massive attention and propagation of propaganda. Their intention in its entirety is to make sure that the countries they target, their allies and any other state that finds their actions to be concerning should know and, by proxy, fear their existence and react towards them.
The key word here seems to be “react” as it gives little time for anyone to really think about the long-term effects of actions they might take to seemingly counter ISIS. Reactionary acts would increase the likelihood of mistakes made by individual authority figures and institutions. The rise of a call to curtail “Muslim” movement throughout the western world, as well as within the Middle East is in itself a reaction towards ISIS and its ilk.
The Grand Plan
Just like Al Qaeda’s grand master plan to have the USA use their military might to expend resources coming after an elusive enemy with no actual corporeal form, ISIS’s grand plan seems to be hinged on the creation of an environment and atmosphere that is not only abrasive but also borders on feeling the effects of psychological genocide for anyone recognizing themselves as “Muslim”. While there are various western politicians and individuals who believe in stopping Muslim refugees, keeping them contained to specific areas as well as being tougher on Muslim populations within their own countries, there also exist organizations and institutions that represent the “unheard” populations of the West.
As described in “The Clash of civilizations” by Samuel Huntington, a universal ideological issue uniting various countries as one against it would create a conflict of global proportions. It seems that it is this very conflict that has been slowly brewing since the past few decades, and while small scale acts of terrorism by Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations did shape the world in the post-cold war era, this era seems to be shaped by reactions and their lash backs. The organizations in question such as the English defense league, the political parties across Europe and North America while choosing to “defend”, with more force than their governments ever met out, against an enemy they believe are encroaching on their land; their fiery rhetoric is being fueled by reports of refugee relocation issues as well as actions by ISIS and similar organizations throughout the world. Acts such as the burning of mosques, attacks in or near public areas and public transport already signify that there are individuals or organizations willing to take over the mantle for the protection of their homeland, something they believe their government has failed in doing.
Reaction vs Response
This seems to be the reactionary force ISIS and similar organizations want to target, creating an unlivable and intolerable environment for Muslims, which would in turn create a feeling of dread, helplessness and impotency in a religion consisting of a “younger” population. As can be understood by
countless anti-terrorism and COIN stratagems over the years, this sort of environment becomes a primary recruiting ground for terrorist organizations and in this case, would ensure the creation of a “quagmire” similar to that of the experience of the coalition in Iraq but on a much more grander scale. While the geopolitical implications are definitely mind boggling, a crucial part of the Islamic religion comes into effect in such a oppressive atmosphere, the Quran as well the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) have instructed Muslims on the “End of Times” as when the world shall turn against the Muslim population and there will be huge battles fought between Muslims and non-Muslims. Religious Muslim children, teenagers, adults and even the elderly look forward to this encounter as it would mean the end of the “Test” that they believe they are a part of on this planet, therefore their desire to fight and die in the name of this cause would be unrivalled by anything experienced before on any field of battle. This is because, right now, it is a very small part of the population that recognizes itself as “Muslim” that is actually part of terrorist attacks carried out throughout the world, but if the creation of this alternative reality, in the eyes of the oppressed, succeeds by the hands of ISIS and similar organizations, it would add a huge chunk of the 1 Billion plus population that currently makes up the global Muslim population.
While questions of religious “end of times” coming or not aren’t within the scope of this article, the possibility exists that ISIS or maybe its successors may create the psychological possibility within individuals affected directly or indirectly by the war on terror or the current war against ISIS, that whatever actions they take would definitely be in the name of God and would lead to their eternal salvation. This reality must be questioned, checked and vacated from the common peoples’ eyes who currently reside within areas controlled by ISIS, as the power of ISIS doesn’t rest within their weapons but within the psychological realm and how they are attempting to kill their targets with a “thousand tiny cuts”.
Similar strategy must be applied against them:
- Massive bombing campaigns should rather be converted into massive misinformation campaigns as well as secret “ghost” squads or individuals within geographical distance of vital leaders and commanders for Daesh that leave their targets dead in ways unimaginable and therefore the origin of their death untraceable, it would be of added benefit that their deaths be public and irrefutably by accident. Common means of creating fear must be subverted, such as taking over of air ways by Electronic warfare components within the air force, as well as tainting their internal ammunition and weapon supplies with lethal fakes (which explode upon use or simple touch), maybe even tainting the food and water supplies to reduce “combat effectiveness” through drugs or diseases that are not capable of producing an epidemic or lethal effects.
- Training other groups and handing them weapons is how ISIS has gotten its currently effective weapons and therefore should be stopped at all costs, similarly, boots on the ground is what Al Qaeda wanted all along and it resulted in the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions, creating a black hole into which everything is sucked in that comes near it, ISIS seems to want the exact same thing on a larger scale and . Attacks against Muslim refugees must be stopped and issues of local populations be heard, for it is the unknowable that causes fear, acts such as the Muslim man in France giving out free hugs as well as the Muslim society taking out full page ads to condemn attacks of civilians should be promoted.
- Open questioning of the religion and concessions in regards to dressing and appropriate behavior must be heeded by Muslims as well as the non-Muslim populations of the countries the Muslims live in. False flag attacks by individuals or organizations from both sides will always be a danger and possibility and must be guarded against as creating a simple “us vs. them” solution seems preferable to the common man as well as more “practical” individuals, it’s not meant to last, one side is meant to win in such a scenario, while winning or losing, both sides will face terrible effects and losses, something that innocent people from both sides will pay heavily for, while the real perpetrators would never be caught neither their involvement or existence ever realized.
While calls of ending Muslim refugee relocations and increasing the bombing campaigns against ISIS are on the rise, there is little hope of finding a solution that doesn’t have a hint of oppressiveness built into it. While there isn’t a “cleaner” solution available to the current state of affairs, it is understandable that as with Al Qaeda, even if the state of Daesh collapses and is beaten back, it may inevitably rise again with a new face and with new tactics, which is where lessons learnt in the current state of affairs would be much beneficial. The inevitably follow the strategy of “Starfish and a Spider” and don’t view their own life, their current values or societies as important, they do however find it important to target them in their “enemy” and its society to make it react and then ensure that the reaction happens in a way that is beneficial to their end-goals. It should be completely understood that the instability of any region or country that is under the control or threat of ISIS is being done so deliberately, organization, communication and structured civil institutions are something that ISIS despises, something that gives the common man a method to question them and their “rule through force”.
While the world currently reels in the aftermath of the Paris attacks and Mali hotel attack, as well as others, it would be tragic to see countries Western and Non-Western not be blinded beyond the capacity to see reason in the face of adversity and chaos.