ISIS Decoded


Out of all radical religious groups, the ISIS is one of the most feared adversaries the world has ever seen. From regular news broadcasts to front pages of newspapers the world over, the ISIS are on the road to a takeover. However, do you know all that you need to know about them? Kshitij Dodani tells you all about them

We live in a world riddled with conflict. Whether you are based in Asia, Europe or anywhere else; less than covert wars are being waged all across the globe. One that has gained a lot of attraction is the current ongoing conflict with ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or known as ‘Daesh’.

ISIS has a very clear agenda: Islamic rule over the world, particularly Sharia Law. The organization has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks on foreign land. Whether it is on a smaller scale or an extremely large one like the Paris attacks witnessed recently. ISIS claims to have democratic rule but with extensive human rights violations, the world knows this claim does not hold any weight.
With current demographics, the international community is befuddled as to how this organization can sustain itself financially. Many economists argue a majority of their finance is directly funded by Turkish oil companies purchasing cheap oil by establishing shell corporations to avoid taxes and revealing ownership rights. However, with Turkey being a part of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and having border skirmishes with ISIS, this seems less than likely.

Strength In Numbers

With major world powers like the United States and France increasing the number of air strikes carried out by their respective air forces, the terrorist organizations’ armed forces are at an all time low and dwindling at an alarming rate. This comes at a cost. With no solid recon on the ground, air strike locations are strictly decided by satellite imaging. With this lack of certainty of differentiating between hostiles and civilians, families being torn apart is a given. And this may just be what will go down as ISIS’s salvation in the history books. “With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Some statistics:

* ISIS has approximately twice as much as land after the US led coalition begun this includes oil deposits, air bases, army camps, radio towers etc.
* ISIS gained over a million more Syrian and Iraqi supporters since the coalition

Many might wonder why, out of all the possible outcomes, we have to deal with this one. Simple. The number of civilian casualties is directly proportional to the number of airstrikes carried out. To put it in a layman’s terms, if you keep bombing ISIS fighters along with civilians the number of civilians die increase along with it. And an Expelliarmus Charm isn’t going to help. How this does not help? With an increase in civilian death rates, families are being torn apart. After that, some propaganda and thirst for revenge does the trick. Victims then want to fight against western aggression and this increases the number of ISIS fighters. This has, today, become an infinite loop and a counter loop, safe to say, is desperately needed.
Nevertheless, with all that has been said, things aren’t looking so bad for the coalition. ISIS has been driven out of many areas that had provided major tactical advantages for them. This has forced ISIS’s hand into action. All this makes things very clear. For example, imagine a territory shaped like a square; naturally the square has four sides, top, bottom, left and right. If it is losing a battle on right hand side and retreating, it has only three sides to gain any additional land from. Similarly, driving out ISIS from a side forces it to acquire territory from elsewhere. As more countries join in on the coalition, boxing in the enemy to stop it from spreading becomes fairly easy. This is why ISIS has concentrated terrorist attacks and recruitment from a smaller basket of nations. Thus, reducing the chance for further conflict. So one might say air strikes are not a completely flawed idea.

Why the Media Attention?

One might ask why ISIS is gaining so much more media attention instead of other militant jihadist groups. Well, because they are winning. ISIS is the most successful jihadist group the world has seen till date. They collect taxes from businesses, set up infrastructure, have many democratic qualities and also release quarterly reports. They are also the fastest growing terrorist organization, presently.
ISIS is infamous for beheading civilians and soldiers alike, often uploading these videos online. Moreover, damaging historical sites and artifacts have angered many communities. Not only that, but infiltrating and setting up recruitment accounts on social media networks is something that governments in most countries are getting accustomed to. Groups like Anonymous often intervene and remotely shut down these accounts. This has been widely criticized by many nations, and for good reason too. Accessing any website is like a two way street. Data is sent from both sides. This makes it very simple to track down locations of where these accounts are being operated from. Anonymous thinks otherwise.

The Achilles’’ Heel

Like every organization, ISIS has its problems and some are beyond repair. ISIS has a uniquely fractured command and control. It has a caliphate, which is considered the leader. Every time a caliphate passes, the few handfuls working directly under him are, technically, the only ones who can succeed him and take control of the organization. The next caliphate is elected by popular vote. Needless to say, people usually end up disagreeing. It can take anywhere between 2 weeks to a month until the next caliphate is officially announced. During this a period of unrest often settles. Laws passed by the deceased caliphate are enforced poorly and corruption is always at a high. Records have shown that the citizens living in the region have experienced a drop in satisfaction and happiness.
But this is only a drop in the ocean. Since ISIS fighters are untrained, they usually die in combat and the weapons and ammunition they had is almost never recovered. With deficit of weapons and ammunition, trying to keep order in the region itself is hanging on a thread. Riots are breaking out more than ever and often end in a bloodbath. Also with high political pressure and a UN peacekeepers’ backing, those oppressed are gaining more motivation than ever. However, there is little hope for this to actually bring around significant change.

Future Prospects

Whoever said “Sometimes peace is about having a bigger stick than the other guy” is clearly mistaken. An important lesson is to be learnt here. Fear and oppression against developing countries by developed countries will surely not ensure peace or keep anything or anyone in check. However, the current situation is, needless to say, very fragile with tensions at an all-time high, with the Islamic State launching a new reign of terror on a global scale. It may not be long before France officially declares war on ISIS, therefore compelling all other NATO members to join in on the ongoing coalition. The last glimmer of hope for diplomacy seems lost for now. Perhaps the next most powerful person in the world could bring about revolution.


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