Even the New York Review of Books acknowledges the danger of ISIS

by 1389 on July 13, 2015

in 1389 (blog admin), books, Islamic State (of Iraq and ash-Sham/Levant/ISIS/ISIL/Daesh), NYC

Inside the Islamic State

Malise Ruthven
JULY 9, 2015 ISSUE
Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate
by Abdel Bari Atwan
London: Saqi, 256 pp., £16.99 (to be published by University of California Press in September)
[…]
Naji, who was killed in a US drone strike in Waziristan in 2008, considers the violence inherent in conflict a necessary stage in the establishment of the Caliphate. He refers in particular to the campaigns of Muhammad and the “Wars of Apostasy” fought by the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who reigned 632–634 and fought the tribes that had abandoned Islam after the death of Muhammad when they no longer considered themselves bound by their bayat (oath of allegiance). Naji sees the coming period of savagery as a time of “vexation and exhaustion” when, as Atwan summarizes, “the superpowers will be worn down militarily by constant threat…from the jihadists.” The Americans, he writes, “have reached a stage of effeminacy which makes them unable to sustain battles for a long period of time.” Naji’s aim here—as Atwan explains—is “to provoke the US to ‘abandon its war against Islam by proxy…and the media psychological war…and to force it to fight directly.’”

While the inspiration for the “savagery” detailed by Naji relies on transplanting the early battles of Islam and projecting them forward in an apocalyptic showdown in northwest Syria, ISIS maximizes the impact of its terror strategy by encouraging scenes of violence and death to be shown on screens and phones.* Brutality, however, is only one element in the stream of images uploaded by its sophisticated media outlets. The Islamic State, according to Atwan, is also presented as

an emotionally attractive place where people “belong,” where everyone is a “brother” or “sister.” A kind of slang, melding adaptations or shortenings of Islamic terms with street language, is evolving among the English-language fraternity on social media platforms in an attempt to create a “jihadi cool.” A jolly home life is portrayed via Instagram images where fighters play with fluffy kittens and jihadist “poster-girls” proudly display the dishes they have created.

The idea of the “restored Caliphate” has been the dream of Islamic revivalists since the formal abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate by Kemal Atatürk in 1924. The appeal, carefully fostered by Baghdadi and his cohorts by means of the Internet and social media, is for a transnational body that stands above the various tribes or communities making up the Muslim world. They are achieving impressive results, with pledges of allegiance (bayat) from militants in places as far removed from one another as Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen, and in Libya ISIS now has an airbase in Sirte, the hometown of former leader Muammar Qaddafi.
[…]
Story here.

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