Revealed: ISIS’s Lethal War Inside the West
Recent Reclaim Australia and anti-racism rallies in Melbourne and Sydney may not appear to have any direct association with ISIS, but a closer look reveals the imprints of the group’s overall strategic objectives.
There is often a tendency at the security and defense policy level to view militant groups through the lens of sophisticated state-on-state warfare bound by resource and time limitations, and following traditional rules and strategies. However, ISIS has no resource or time limitations, and its greatest strength is its deceptive strategy.
Having done extensive research work on understanding the psychology of militant groups, it’s highly unlikely that the upper echelon of ISIS truly imagines itself (rhetoric aside) as toppling governments in the Muslim world and beyond. Rather, looking closely at ISIS’s practices, media strategy, and most importantly the patterns of radicalization in the Western world, it is clear that the agenda of ISIS involves deceiving and leading Western policy-makers in a desired direction.
ISIS has made its investment in social media a priority. The aim is to inspire a radical mindset among Muslims, specifically those living in the West. It has succeeded, bringing the militant group international headlines for radicalizing Muslims living in the comfort of the West. Recruitment has multiplied and the group has become the center of Western policymakers’ attention and a matter of curiosity to Muslims around the world.
Why so much focus on Muslims living in the West? Many in the policy world see this simply as a ‘call’ to Western Muslims to join the war in Syria and Iraq. But it’s not armed support ISIS needs from these foreigners; it’s the nuisance value and media buzz that ISIS desires.
It’s not the end goal of ISIS to simply invite foreign fighters to join the war in Syria and Iraq to create an Islamic Caliphate. The grand goal is much more calculated and inspired by Syed Qutb’s ideology of the ‘near’ and ‘far’ enemy – the notion that it’s not only the West (far) that is an enemy but also the Muslims (near) who have adopted Western lifestyles and ideology. These should be the first to be guided in the right direction.
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