In this post I will attempt to explain some of the things I have learned of late about ISIS - not that I understand all of ISIS or a majority of it. But what I have learned is so frightening, I must share what I know.. Understanding ISIS maybe one of the most important things Americans can do- for no other reason than to understand what must be done to defeat them and understand what Presidential candidates plan to do about ISIS and what will or will not work.
President Obama's approach of ignoring ISIS as "just terrorists" or calling them weak or "the JV team" will do nothing to defeat them. In fact it might serve only to encourage them to increase their actions- it is difficult to tell.
ISIS is an Apocalyptic sect. They believe it is their purpose to bring about the end of days. A good analogy would be ISIS is to Islam as David Koresh is to Christianity.
The caliphate is based on the possession of territory. As long as they have territory they have legitimacy in their way of thinking. They believe in the purest and most stringent Sharia. Apostates are subject to two possible punishments. - Christians who do not submit are to be crucified. All other apostates- including Christians (depending on interpretation) are to be beheaded (Crucifixion is still possible) . They don't care about the President's words as they are convinced the Koran directs them to hold territory until the final battle against the armies of Rome (some interpret literally as the armies of the Pope others the armies of the "modern Rome" - meaning the US). The end will come with 5000 soldiers of Islam being left near Jerusalem and Jesus (yes Jesus - in Islam he is the 2nd highest prophet) coming from heaven to Jerusalem to lead the 5000 to a victorious battle - the battle of Dabiq in Syria.
|ISIS Territory |
(From "What ISIS Really Wants" by Graeme Wood; The Atlantic)
ISIS believes to participate in politics or to vote in any election- even for another Muslim or Muslim candidate is Apostasy- as God is the "only" authority and to vote is to select a leader other than God. And again Apostates must be beheaded. Christian or Jewish apostates must be Crucified.
They TRULY believe in 7th Century rules of warfare and TRULY desire a return to a 7th Century way of life - until they can reach that way of life, they will use modern communications.
They do not believe in borders (God's Kingdom is the entire Earth) and they will not accept the UN as Hamas has- again this is accepting an "authority" other than God alone.
Although they hold Bin Laden in high regard (referring to him as Sheik Bin Laden) they generally do not respect Al Qaeda- as it tended to function politically as does the Taliban. This may be a difficult distinction for westerners to accept or understand - but to them it is huge.
Additionally they WILL NOT accept President Obama- in fact they consider him to be an apostate- if for no other reason than he is the son of a Muslim who has rejected or does not publicly practice Islam.
ISIS is also Sunni. They believe the Shi'ite have "altered" or "added" to Islam - which again is a sin in their way of belief. This is perhaps the most unusual aspect of ISIS as they appear- at least in the press - as having the support of Tehran - which is Shi'ite - apparently they disagree with Tehran.
Perhaps the most interesting thing is they will allow Jews and Christians to live in their territory as long as they submit to the authorities of ISIS and pay a tax. They do not, in particular, hate the US over the establishment of Israel- unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc. Although "the Levant" is an old name for the lands of Syria, Lebanon and Israel - so every time Obama refers to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) he is including Israel in their claimed territory- which is a backhanded insult to the Israelis
Because ISIS wants to bring about the Apocalypse- it is important to realize that actions such as "searching of Mosques" would be considered a sign of the coming of the end of the world - with the forces of "Rome" persecuting Muslims. Water-boarding etc is also not necessarily an effective tactic as they believe in a return to 7th Century warfare and rules of engagement.
It is also important to realize that ISIS will NOT observe the Geneva Conventions. The return to 7th Century rules of engagement for them will mean the torture and death of any person captured in the field. US or NATO forces captured by ISIS should not expect to be treated respectfully. Women captured should expect to be raped and sold into slavery. Men should expect to be beheaded. Christian troops captured should expect crucifixion. Torture for the sake of torture (as opposed to torture for information) should also be expected.
Should ISIS obtain access to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons it should be expected that they WILL be used- as this would expedite the apocalypse
As ISIS will only accept the authority of God, negotiations or treaties will not be accepted or recognized.
The only way to discredit and destroy the Islamic State - is to destroy the "state" and take all territory under their control. Only then will the purpose of ISIS be stopped, recruitment end and attacks cease.
Unfortunately the only way this will be accomplished will be by boots on the ground. At this point perhaps the best option would be for Belgium or France to request action under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which has only happened once- after September 11, 2001. A massive, rapid and sudden invasion of hundreds of thousands of NATO troops engaging in unrestricted air and ground war - so there is no chance for the Islamic State to regroup and reorganize- with nothing but complete and unconditional surrender without a single square inch of territory remaining in their control. Short of this ISIS will continue- until the apocalypse- which they may end up bringing about unless we stop them.