There is a playbook, a manifesto: The Management of Savagery/Chaos, a tract written more than a decade ago under the name Abu Bakr Naji, for the Mesopotamian wing of al-Qaida that would become Isis. Think of the horror of Paris and then consider these, its principal axioms. Hit soft targets. “Diversify and widen the vexation strikes against the crusader-Zionist enemy in every place in the Islamic world, and even outside of it if possible, so as to disperse the efforts of the alliance of the enemy and thus drain it to the greatest extent possible.”
Strike when potential victims have their guard down. Sow fear in general populations, damage economies. “If a tourist resort that the crusaders patronise … is hit, all of the tourist resorts in all of the states of the world will have to be secured by the work of additional forces, which are double the ordinary amount, and a huge increase in spending.”
Consider reports suggesting a 15-year-old was involved in Friday’s atrocity. “Capture the rebelliousness of youth, their energy and idealism, and their readiness for self-sacrifice, while fools preach ‘moderation’ (wasatiyyah), security and avoidance of risk.”
Think of the group’s appreciation of focus on cause and effect: “Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralised power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly.”
Radical Arab Sunni revivalism, which Isis now spearheads, is a dynamic, revolutionary countercultural movement of world historic proportions, with the largest and most diverse volunteer fighting force since the second world war. ..
Simply treating Isis as a form of “terrorism” or “violent extremism” masks the menace. Merely dismissing it as “nihilistic” reflects a wilful and dangerous avoidance of trying to comprehend, and deal with, its profoundly alluring moral mission to change and save the world.
Former ISIS Hostage Nicolas Henin writes:
They present themselves to the public as superheroes, but away from the camera are a bit pathetic in many ways: street kids drunk on ideology and power. ..
A newlywed architect was also among those slain. Amine Ibnolmobarak was an architect and teacher at the ENSA Paris-Malaquais architecture school, the Union Nationale des Etudiants en Architecture et Paysage said on its Facebook page.
Ibnolmobarak "was the quintessential young Muslim intellectual" who was "concerned with spreading the peaceful values of his religion," according to Jean Attali, a former professor.
Akram Benmbarek, Ibnolmobarak's cousin, posted to Facebook that the architect's wife also was shot three times and is in critical condition.
A 29-year-old Moroccan architect native of Rabat and newlywed –last summer in the said city–was among the victims of last Friday’s barbarous attacks in Paris, claimed by the terrorist organization ISIS.
The late, who goes by the name Amine Ibnolmobarak, was an architect and a teacher at the ENSA Paris-Malaquais Architecture School.
The late graduated in 2012 after conducting a study on ”the Pilgrimage to Mecca.”
Amine and his wife were dining at the Carillon terrace before the start of the assault. His young wife is currently hospitalized. She was shot three times and is currently in a very critical condition.
The young man received hails from his former professors, especially professor M. Jean Attali, who said the following:
“Thank you all for your heartfelt thoughts after the tragedy that saw the killing of Amine Ibnolmobarak, a young Muslim intellectual, who blew us away with the amazing graduate study he conducted on the pilgrimage to Mecca: a testimony of his faith, his sense in working on great popular gatherings, and a testimony of his intelligence and accomplishment."
Dominic Tierney writes in the Atlantic:
ISIS is murdering and enslaving across Syria and Iraq. Russia is deploying dozens of aircraft to support the regime in Damascus. Huddled masses have been tempest-tossed into Europe. At the eye of the storm, Bashar al-Assad is pursuing a cynical, brutal, and risky strategy to cling to power.
Letter from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Osama bin Laden, January 2004 intercepted:
These in our opinion are the key to change. I mean that targeting and hitting them in [their] religious, political, and military depth will provoke them to show the Sunnis their rabies ' and bare the teeth of the hidden rancor working in their breasts. If we succeed in dragging them into the arena of sectarian war, it will become possible to awaken the inattentive Sunnis as they feel imminent danger and annihilating death at the hands of these Sabeans. Despite their weakness and fragmentation, the Sunnis are the sharpest blades, the most determined, and the most loyal when they meet those Batinis (Shi`a), who are a people of treachery and cowardice. They are arrogant only with the weak and can attack only the broken-winged. Most of the Sunnis are aware of the danger of these people, watch their sides, and fear the consequences of empowering them. Were it not for the enfeebled Sufi shaykhs and [Muslim] Brothers, people would have told a different tale.
“Marxism still flourished well after Marx’s death. And whether bin Laden is killed, or simply dies of natural causes, al-Qaedaism will survive him.”
Jordanian intelligence officer quoted in the Atlantic 2006
Wall Street Journal opinion piece:
...the larger danger is ISIS’s growing ability to win the allegiance of geographically distant groups or individuals beyond Syria or Iraq. It is doing so partly through its sophisticated propaganda channels, but mainly by the power of its example. As long as ISIS is in the fight and undefeated by the U.S. or other “apostate regimes,” it becomes a natural pole of radical attraction—the proverbial “strong horse” in the race for ideological sympathy among young Muslims around the world.
Putinism – The belief that dictatorship and authoritarian rule is the best way to order states and ensure security
In the aftermath of the failure of the neocon dream of a free and democratic Iraq along with the following unpredictable winds of the Arab Spring, the ideology of Putinism is taking hold in the minds of some politicians and media bloviators, including in the West on the right and the left side of politics.
In America the growing narrative is that Iraq alone caused all the chaos in the Middle East which is a narrow narrative to say the least. It is good politics because it is bite sized but lacks the complex reality and does not encompass all the factors.
This is not to argue for Americanism via invasion, this is to point out that those who think Putinism is the only alternative are falling into another ditch that is only going to add to the problems of the Middle East and the continuation of sectarianism and extremism in the region.
Those who claim Iraq as the sole cause of the chaos also ignore and deny the agency of the people in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and others who stood up to authoritarian regimes asking for a better future and a better life. The terrorist groups feed not on the aspirations of the people but on the violence and brutal reaction of the authoritarian regimes. When the regimes respond to movements of freedom with violence and brutality the terror groups grow. They become the only sanctuary left to those against a regime that has either killed, imprisoned, or exiled all opponents. It also ignores the crimes of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Assad that brutalized the people and used sectarian rule and divide to do it.
You can hear the rise of Putinism in the media and political voices who long for the days of Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, and now Bashar Al Assad.
Similary Putin longs for the old days of a Soviet Empire that adds to the stability of the world, with Putinism the argument is that Stalin is necessary to fight the Nazis. Fight Terrorism with Tyranny?
Democracy has failed so goes the narrative. The Takfiri terrorists agree that democracy has failed and they also give an either or choice of Tyranny or Theocracy.
They have decided that democracy and liberty are too risky let the tyrants crush all dreams good and bad. Like chemotherapy kill the good and bad cells just the same. But the irony is this chemotherapy of authoritarian rule really causes cancer to spread even though it promises to kill it. There is a symbiotic relationship to Tyrants and Terrorism. This is like adding poison and then to demand power as the only antidote. Starting a fire and then demanding obedience and power to stop the fire. Is it really an either or choice of Tyranny or Terrorism? Is there not a better way and another path to organize society and states?
Globally States including the United States are asking for more power over the peoples lives and privacy to keep their citizens safe. This is an ideological argument that must be responded to by citizens who are concerned with the growing power of States and the receding belief in liberty.
The following commentary is from Fareed Zakaria on GPS:
Did you hear about the Saudi airstrike last month when a wedding party was struck, killing 131 people? A few days later another wedding was hit killing more than 20 others according to local officials.
Assad's brutal response to the Syrian people was important in the rise of ISIS as well as the Shia revival in Iraq.
Ba'athism, Americanism, Islamism, Sectarianism and Authoritarianism all have played a part in baking this cake.
A hypothetical causation pie. Some may give more weight to other ingredients depending on their perspective but all have a role in the rise of ISIS.