ISIS Has A Playbook. And It’s Ultra Violent
Good investigative work by the Washington Post’s Terrance McCoy
Last week, as the forces of the Islamic State crept within 40 miles of Irbil, fear settled over the urbane Kurdish capital. People had heard of the militants’ brutality – of the crucifixions, the beheadings, the mass killings. They were understandably frightened, Kurdish journalist Namo Abdulla told The Washington Post. Some began to flee. Others made for the mountains. The killers were coming.
In the last week, images of the Islamic State’s savagery have been inescapable. News exploded yesterday of an image of a young boy, son to an Australian member other of the Islamic State, hoisting a severed head beside his proud father. (snip)
The glorification of extreme violence using social media is one of the defining aspects of the Islamic State. The Sunni militants wield savagery like a tool, analysts say. It’s neither extemporaneous nor undisciplined. It’s concerted. It’s tactical. It’s evil. And that’s the point. “There’s a strategic reason behind the executions,” wrote the Washington Institute’s Aaron Zelin. “And the gruesome pictures posted online for all to see.”
The seeds of today’s brutality were perhaps sown long ago in a 2006 book called “The Management of Savagery,” wrote expert Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker. One version of the book, written by a radical Islamist thinker named Abu Bakr Naji, details patterns of “abominable savagery” witnessed in both the Islamic State and its earlier incarnations. According to this English translation, it calls for an “administration of savagery” and merciless campaign to polarize the population, attract adherents, and establish a pure Sunni caliphate. “We must make this battle very violent, such that death is a heartbeat away, so that the two groups will realize that entering this battle will frequently lead to death,” the book says. (snip)
“In sum, the beheadings and the violence practiced by [the Islamic State] are not whimisical, crazed fanaticism, but a very deliberate, considered strategy,” analyst Crooke wrote. “…The seemingly random violence has a precise purpose: It’s aim is to strike huge fear; to break the psychology of a people – and according to reports this is exactly what [it] has succeeded in doing.”
You should read the whole article as it details how this book is put into use by ISIS (ISIL), and what they are going for is an Islamic caliphate. When they threaten to raise the flag of Allah about the White House, this is not some empty bloviation: this is something they actually want to do, and will work towards. Whether we would stop them is a different story.
Let’s face it, though: there is another playbook being used. The Koran. Some see peace in the book, some see violence. They see spreading Islam at the point of a sword. They see giving infidels a choice: convert or die.
(TROP) The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule.: Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding.: Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.
The context of violent passages is more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God, however this can work both ways.: Most of today’s Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book’s call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about justifiable violence.: Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny.: Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.
And you get passages such as
Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”: No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.
Call it Islamaphobia, call it “hating”, attempt to make a false equivalence with the Bible, at the end of the day, the Koran gives all a jihadi needs to be barbaric.
And, yes, not all Muslims practice the violence. But, there are more than enough that do. Hardcores are streaming from around the world to join ISIS.
We’ll leave the discussion of how many radical Muslims are using peaceful methods to take over for another day.