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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Why Has ISIS/ISIL Been So Successful? (Part I)

Links A. Stratfor Assessment Of The Islamic State
          B. IS Tweets Itself To Success
          C. Obama Haunted By Yemen Comments

Please take the time to visit the links I have chosen.  Today in particular, they are very useful in support of our discussion. Is this really a discussion?  Well,.....I hope the post will stimulate conversation between you and your colleagues/family/friends, during which you present my perspective, which inserts me into your discussion.  Ideally, that's the way it works.  To be honest, I wouldn't want to be present during everyone's conversations, because people might yell at me and call me a fascist, which would hurt my feelings.

Next to the debate about Bruce/Belinda Jenner, I think the most pondered question has been, how did the Islamic State become so powerful?  Its a truly fascinating issue, one that involves many factors.  I will approach the subject with the confidence of a blogger with six months of my own attitude and opinion to back me up.  Our society has seen Terrorist Groups come and go.  Some have died away, others have ended up in jail.  A few have re-made themselves into peaceful political participants (the Sandinistas, Hamas, Hezbollah), but the peaceful part seems to be a flexible description, especially in the case of Hamas and Hezbollah.  Our friends with Hezbollah have managed to involve themselves in the conflict against the Islamic State (IS).  You see, Hezbollah has been snuggling with de facto Syrian President Bashir al-Assad for some time, and his father before him (gross!).  When Lebanon became a proxy state for Syria, Hezbollah flourished at the discretion of Assad in Damascus.  To their credit, Hezbollah has been on the front lines in Syria, bleeding by the bucketful for Assad.  The IS has given heartburn to just about everyone at one time or another, including the Peshmerga, Syrian Kurds, SAF, IAF, Shi'ite militias, and even the Iranians.  As we've pointed out previously (and was repeated word for word by numerous sites with no attribution......assholes), the Islamic State used to be Al-Qaeda in Iraq, when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was still breathing.  So even the United States military has had its run-ins with the IS.  Another point that I continue to make repeatedly but has yet to catch on, is that all of these Sunni-based Islamic Terrorist Groups are connected.  Assigning different names and creating the impression that one group is actually ten or fifteen, increases fear and knee-jerk reactions from the west, which usually leads to mistakes of one kind or another.  The leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian physician and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is the top dog as far as I'm concerned.  Since these groups operate with such apparent independence, I don't expect Zawahiri to act as the CEO or CIC of Islamic Extremism.  But they do work together.  Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) is aware what is happening is Syria, and Boko Haram is in regular communication with bad guys in Libya.  Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya follows the company line, and has been doing yeoman's work as of late recruiting in the townships of Nairobi.  I see the military wing of Islamic Extremism to be one entity fighting on many fronts, and the sooner our leaders accept this reality, the better off we will be.

When International Terrorism fist made itself known to the west, it was through the hijacking of airplanes, the kidnapping of bankers and industrialists, and attacks in airports.  Even though I was still in short pants, I remember the 1972 Munich Terrorist Attacks.  But even the horror of Munich did not truly bring the reality home (unless, of course, you were Israeli).  September 11, 2001 made everyone feel vulnerable; this was a group of twenty determined young men, who must have been supported by a much wider network.  Terrorism could no longer be thought of as four men with Uzis and one woman with a floppy hat, sun glasses, and a pistol.  Terrorism has arrived into the twenty-first century with a resounding thud.  They network, the plan, they recon, and they practice.  Advances made in telecommunications have made everything easier.  If an operation planned for Lagos is short one explosives expert, relief is a phone call (or text, or email, or Skype) away.  The bad guys have turned Twitter into a huge propaganda loudspeaker, and the ability of just about every cell phone to take and share videotapes has been invaluable as well. The IS can announce that a hostage was just beheaded, and to expect a video within twenty minutes.  The press gets prepared, and the video shows up, right on schedule.  Islamic Extremists use social media to incite fear; they are thrilled with the idea that their disgusted videos are causing people to no longer feel safe in their homes.  Social Media has also been a boon with regards to recruitment.  Today I learned that supporters of the IS (or bored, sick people) have been tweeting the wives of soldiers, and you can imagine what is being said.  Social Media has made planning, organizing, supply, communication, recruitment, and the spread of propaganda so much easier than before.  This is a big part of their success.

Click here to continue on to Part II of this post 

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