European views on ISIL

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Post by halfwise Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:52 pm

to me the distressing thing is that they gain recruits, even straight-A school girls.  This appears due to 2 things:

1. They do a good job of selling themselves as 'pure and original' Islam.  In a world where the Muslim world is comparatively down and out with past glories to recall, this is a seductive message.
2. They have shown a remarkable amount of success.  Otherwise they would have attracted precious few recruits.

I don't think we can do much about their message: the argument against it mainly has to do with academic tradition, and can't win against a simple straightforward reading of early Islam.  The main way ISIS loses this argument is by shocking people into rejecting it.

Eldo provides historical examples of how frontal assaults on insurgencies ultimately fail.  But that was always by exacerbating an "us versus them" situation.  Given the way ISIS has behaved, I think the local "us versus them" does not work in their favor.  If Muslim militias can go in, behave in a way that the local populations feel they are on their side, and overpower ISIS, I don't think the Hydra's head of grassroots support Eldo talks about will emerge, even if those militias have Western backing.

The recruits seem to be coming from outside the area of control, not nearby.  This is the difference.  People from outside must have a strong organization to receive them, or they won't come.  Grassroots people would already be there so can just pop up, but the grassroots are no longer with ISIS.

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Post by Eldorion Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:33 pm

halfwise wrote:You provided your usual thoughtful, well researched analysis.  It's clearly so well reasoned and close to truth that a real response would require at least equal thought and research to even discover any possible weaknesses in your argument, which few of us are equipped to do.

So if you don't have the time or background to provide a worthy reply, you do a quick one-off.  Shrugging

Don't worry about it man, I was just in a weird mood last night. Sorry for the self-pitying reply. I get what you mean though.
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Post by Eldorion Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:51 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:Eldo I appreciate your thoughtful approach to the matter and maybe you could call me a rightwing neo conservative, but I stick to my opinion on this. these people need exterminating. sorry if its bloodthirsty, but some people are too evil to be allowed to continue. they have to be stopped at all costs because innocents are getting murdered. if they get their hands on libyian oil its curtains, if they infiltrate the boats going over to Italy and fill them with sleeper terrorists its curtains, if they join up with Boko Haram its curtains for the people of north Africa. I am not stupid I know a lot of it is propaganda, but this is just the start of it and everyone is twiddling their thumbs and letting them round up villages and killing them. are you prepared to wash your hands of all that?

Neither ISIS nor Boko Haram are anywhere near North Africa though, and while some of the local jihadi groups in North Africa have started using ISIS' branding, that doesn't mean they're actually part of the same group or that ISIS has any direct control over them. ISIS sometimes talks about its universalist ambitions but they're too busy trying to act like a state in Iraq and Syria right now. The recent high-profile attacks in the West have come form lone wolf actors and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is a much smaller and more underground group. As I said earlier, I'm not saying the proper response to ISIS is to ignore them, but a more indirect approach is often better with groups like this.

As for the humanitarian argument, I don't believe for a second that that is the actual motivation of any of the politicians who call for intervention and make the actual decision to do it. America has tacitly (and sometimes actively supported) equally horrific crimes against humanity for political reasons in the past, and our opposition to ISIS stems not from their crimes but because they are an American enemy. One could argue that America (or the West in general) should intervene militarily whenever crimes against humanity are occurring, but I think this rapidly becomes an untenable position because of how many such crimes occur all over the world and the finite resources of our military. Not to mention that having your country invaded tends to piss people off and increases the chances of a "rally round the flag" response for even the most terrible of governments.

I am glad that we are working with local allies (such as we have any) and trying to contain ISIS. It would be nice if our only NATO ally in the region (Turkey) didn't appear to have a cut a deal with ISIS, and if we were willing to work with Iran on this issue. And if we were willing/able to support the Kurds more fully. But we are trying to do something. Shrugging
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Post by Eldorion Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:04 pm

halfwise wrote:to me the distressing thing is that they gain recruits, even straight-A school girls.  This appears due to 2 things:

1. They do a good job of selling themselves as 'pure and original' Islam.  In a world where the Muslim world is comparatively down and out with past glories to recall, this is a seductive message.
2. They have shown a remarkable amount of success.  Otherwise they would have attracted precious few recruits.

I don't think we can do much about their message: the argument against it mainly has to do with academic tradition, and can't win against a simple straightforward reading of early Islam.  The main way ISIS loses this argument is by shocking people into rejecting it.

I lean more towards your second explanation, but I'm not sure that fully explains the situation. If we're talking about ISIS' overseas recruits, most of them were not especially devout Muslims before becoming ISIS groupies. They certainly weren't Wahhabi-type extremists when living comfortable middle class lives (and most of them were middle class, not poor). I do think that ISIS' successes have played a role here, but it's more a factor of two things. The "Eichmann in Jerusalem" joiner phenomenon (which probably wasn't actually the case with Eichmann but has some explanatory power in other cases) and the opportunity for sadism and power-tripping that in previous generations might have led disillusioned young men in the West to go serve in the colonies where they'd get to lord it over locals that way.

Eldo provides historical examples of how frontal assaults on insurgencies ultimately fail.  But that was always by exacerbating an "us versus them" situation.  Given the way ISIS has behaved, I think the local "us versus them" does not work in their favor.  If Muslim militias can go in, behave in a way that the local populations feel they are on their side, and overpower ISIS, I don't think the Hydra's head of grassroots support Eldo talks about will emerge, even if those militias have Western backing.

The recruits seem to be coming from outside the area of control, not nearby.  This is the difference.  People from outside must have a strong organization to receive them, or they won't come.  Grassroots people would already be there so can just pop up, but the grassroots are no longer with ISIS.

ISIS' dogmatism is a potential weakness since it represents an alien tradition (Wahhabism) to the regions where they operate, and leaves them open to displacement by groups that embrace local traditions more fully. They do have rivals like this, but ISIS has been a lot more successful than them, largely because ISIS has received greater financial and material support from foreign actors (especially in the Gulf and probably Turkey). Obviously the more universalist aspects of ISIS' ideology have played a role in it attracting foreign recruits as well. But ISIS' most effective fighters have not been from the West, but have been locals or exports from other areas with militant Islamist groups that need little convincing to take up the fight, like Chechnya.

ISIS' situation in Syria is probably the least tenable because they only started operating in there as interlopers from Iraq, and local Syria jihadis like the Al-Nusra Front are opposed to ISIS as well (at least parts of Al-Nusra are; a lot of these groups are extremely decentralized). But even in Iraq, where ISIS "grew up", most of their success comes from their alliances with local tribal forces. Alliances that have been broken in the past and that are based more on expediency and anger towards non-Sunnis than on a fully shared ideology. We should be trying to drive ISIS and the Sunni tribes apart. I don't claim to know what the best way to do this is (the Shia factionalism of the post-US Iraqi government was a big step back, even though you can kinda understand where it came from), but I think re-invading is more likely to create a feeling of solidarity between the various Sunni actors than the opposite.
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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:15 pm

Lybia is North Africa. They are seriously discussing the possibility that the mafia will facilitate the illegal entry of jihadis via the thousands of refugees to Sicily. I believe this isn't just knee jerk hysteria. its only 300 miles or so from Lybia to Europe. The mafia wants to destabilize the new Italian government who are waging war against them. This is in newspapers at the moment. because of the threat from ISIS all Italian citizens have been evacuated from Lybia, specially from the oil refineries and embassy.


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Post by Eldorion Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:18 pm

ISIS isn't in Libya, though. Some local groups have started using ISIS' symbols because it gets them more attention. Clearly any attempt at exporting violence merits precautionary measures, whether ISIS itself is behind it or not, but poor refugees are not prime recruiting ground for these groups anyway.

I do hope that the Italian government manages to prevent any fighters from crossing its borders and that has success against the mafia, of course.
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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:24 pm

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/isis-in-libya-direct-threat-to-europe/
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Post by Eldorion Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:34 pm

I already touched on this on the last page. The mainstream media had repeatedly proven itself to be unable to make heads or tails of ISIS. This article is primarily based on the ramblings of some blogger anyway. There is zero indication that the "ISIS cell" in Libya is anything but some local jihadis who realized the PR benefits of associating themselves with a high profile "brand".
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:54 pm

The difference here and the examples you have been giving Eldo is that ISIS, thats the actual thing which is confined to a geographical region of the middle east- everyone outside of that falls into one of the groups you describe- sympathisers, would-be's, media seekers.
But the real thing has a plan, and that plan is not suicide bombings and the like. It is to set up by fear, force and brutality a new state. They are not just recruiting fighters they are recruiting everything from civil servants to plumbers. They are not just killing, they are trying to put down areas in order to bring them into their new state. And if they were to manage to establish a functioning state of some kind, the very nature of their brutal rule means its aim would be to ever push out its borders and add more to its state.
And that strategic need is driven by the religious; to impose their interpretation of the law on as many Muslim countries as they can. And to strike at the non-muslim world wherever possible through gorilla and terrorist tactics via sympathiser groups.

Thats why I say the existing Muslim states in the region have a very big shared interest in wiping out the threat of such a state ever coming into being.
And now is the time to do it. The longer we wait the more stable their infrastructure becomes and the more entrenched and difficult to remove they will be.

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Post by Eldorion Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:47 pm

It's comparatively much easier to defeat conventional forces when they are as disorganized and irregularly equipped as ISIS, compared to when they're using guerrilla tactics. If ISIS launches a war of conquest against a non-failed state they're going to be crushed. It is very difficult for insurgent armies to make the jump to being conventional armies, and for every one that has succeeded, there are many more that have lost in large part because they didn't capitalize on the one advantage (connection to the people) that insurgents sometimes have. ISIS likes playing as a state, but they're making it harder for themselves to remain popular with the people because of their dogmatism. ISIS hasn't given the impression that they're building a stable or popular government in the territory of their "state" so far. That territory is far less vast and well-defined than a lot of reporting makes it out to be too.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:04 pm

You don't nee to be popular to maintain rule. There are other ways. Like random rounding up a dozen men and beheading them, or publicly burning them to death. Its amazing how few people suddenly want to protest after that.
Brutal states like that have lasted decades in the past before their inevitable collapse, and we dont want decades of an ISIS state, not when we have the chance to stop it before it gets that far.

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:15 pm

I agree with Petty on this. Every day that passes is another day they dig themselves into the fabric. they are parasites feeding on fear and resentment.


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Post by Sinister71 Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:16 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:those 3 girls going off to be ISIS sex slaves really makes me angry, and I don't know who makes me angrier most. the stupid dumbass kids, their ignorant parents (as in not knowing what their kids were doing) the government for letting them travel, or the bastards who radicalised them. its probably the bastards who radicalised them with lies, its hard to imagine the horrors they face, they were probably told that some smiling handsome young man will marry them and they will be queens in the desert envied by their friends. its not going to be like that, and its beyond belief the things they are going to suffer. they will most likely never be found.

weren't they freed?

European views on ISIL - Page 8 <a href=European views on ISIL - Page 8 Sheep10" />

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:17 pm

dunno Sin I haven't watched the news today its too depressing, but I hope they were found.

edit. they are in Syria.


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Post by Sinister71 Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:18 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:dunno Sin I haven't watched the news today its too depressing, but I hope they were found.

you did see the picture Figgs? Shocked

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Post by Mrs Figg Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:22 pm

unfortunately those girls are more like lambs to the slaughter.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:05 pm

Iraq with some help from Iran are currently retaking the city Tikrit, which is crucial if they want to eventually retake northern Iraq and Mosul from IS.

Why are we not providing at least air support for this?

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Post by halfwise Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:04 pm

Air support against a force scattered throughout a city will probably do more to kill civilians than ISIS fighters.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:12 pm

The Iraq airforce is currently doing the job on their own, at some point if the attack is successful IS will try to break and run.

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Post by Eldorion Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:54 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Why are we not providing at least air support for this?

Without knowing anything about this specific operation, I'd assume it's because we don't want to be seen as "soft" on Iran while trying to pressure them over their nuclear program, which a lot of people see as a bigger threat than ISIS. Not that I think either is a very big threat to the US, but ISIS is probably the bigger regional danger right now.
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Post by Mrs Figg Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:58 pm

I think if the West does help the Arab nations clean up this mess its going to be under cover stuff with a low profile. That means no airstrikes or anything spectacular, it has to be seen by all concerned that its not us Westerners at it again. They cant be allowed to use it against us and gain more victim mentality propaganda, it has to be done under the radar.

On a side note Kay Burley from Sky News is now my hero.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:31 pm

'I'd assume it's because we don't want to be seen as "soft" on Iran while trying to pressure them over their nuclear program'

We have been working with them in Iraq for a while now- the General in charge of Baghdad is on loan from the Iranian forces helping out in training and stuff and now actual war. They have an interest in backing fellow Shia Muslims. A Shia leaning Iraq is a likely natural friend and ally to Iran providing some much needed stability in that region for them. Although an encouraging sign is that Iraq forces currently engaged include both Shia and Sunni troops working together.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:36 pm

Cant say I was impressed about Kay- the guy was quite right to be offended at the implication that because he is muslim he would not feel bad or be shocked by the beheadings- she also wasnt interested in addressing his point, that there are many factors feeding into radicalisation, and if we are to take the causes seriously we also have to look at how our security services sometimes encourage these people by feeding them information and propaganda.
All she wanted to do was trap him into saying the security services were responsible for the beheadings- which is not what he was saying at all.

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Post by Mrs Figg Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:51 pm

I know she was baiting him, and was smug about it, but you really need to see the whole interview they had just done before that piece with Kay, where they are apologists for Jihadi John saying it was all the security services fault. They were sitting there giving out this guff about being oppressed, sitting in a tv studio with polite journalists letting them vent this poisonous evil tripe. Saying John was a lovely misunderstood young innocent being hounded by the Security Services. they oiled and side stepped and were thoroughly creepy. Then Kay asks him really where do you stand on this, and he couldn't give a straight answer. CAGE is funded by liberal lefties and their multicultural clap trap. and they are laughing all the way to the bank.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Mar 02, 2015 11:58 pm

I dont know anything about CAGE, but the guy she was interviewing was unequivocal in condemning the be-headings, nor was he blaming the security services for it happening- he says it was the responsibility of the person doing the beheading and he was as shocked and horrified by it as anyone else.
It seems like from what you say about what went before that she was asking those questions of the wrong person.

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