The truncated analysis offered below is based on documents and images released by the Islamic State. The thoughts are my own. My work is in the category of unfunded independent research. Welcome to the intellectual battle space.
The Islamic State will continue to aggressively seek expansion of physical boundaries and acquisition of quality military hardware. The doctrine which is driving the foot soldiers is one of conquest and not of governance. Human beings are the pawns on the geopolitical chessboard, and as such, merely represent a “service industry” to meet the needs of the military men of the Islamic State. Professional standing armies provide needed goods and services of their military branches via the funds allocated from a national treasury. The Islamic State acquires fundamental goods and services through a doctrine of disciplined pillage and looting of the general population.
The expansionist vision of the leadership of the Islamic State seeks an endgame which completely changes the geopolitical chessboard of the Middle East and beyond. This vision requires state of the art military hardware. Recent acquisitions have come from existing stockpiles within Iraq.
There is a deliberate Doctrine of Chaos (DoC) propagated by the Islamic State. The strategists of the Islamic State adeptly deploy chaos to transform human energy into pile drivers against national borders. National leadership grids are primarily targeted by engineered humanitarian crises to overwhelm national resources. Once this degradation is accomplished a secondary goal of physically targeting national leadership will proceed virtually unimpeded. Prediction? More than a few of the leaders of today will be reduced to historical footnotes.
The Islamic State will increase the use of social media platforms to mount psychological operations against designated demographic targets. I am a veteran “guest” on jihad portals. I am noting a flair for brutality that surpasses anything I have seen in the last decade. The use of Twitter, archive and file-sharing platforms drives a purposeful strategy which markets dread and fear. Exploitation of vulnerable population groups facilitates their flight in advance of a military operation. Calculated release of brutal images creates a change in conduct. Fight or flight is no longer the logical choice. Only flight makes any real sense. This operational model decreases the need for a robust military configuration. Birds of prey merely swoop in to pick off the weak who lag behind.
The Islamic State will take a statistical leap forward with public crucifixions and beheadings. The vivid images drill deeply into the human psyche. This is very much a stratagem of war.
The Islamic State will continue to use rape (of all ages and both sexes) to desensitize troops and posture them for greater levels of violence. Steroids are a gateway drug for future heroin addiction. Rape is a “gateway” prep for greater acts of brutality. A man who will rape women is capable of indiscriminate murder. It is a small leap from one to the other. Rape will also be used as inducement and reward. The underground economy in human flesh has always existed. But in times of unjust war this invisible commerce is manipulated. Lust and passion of unscrupulous men are maintained at a high level. Rape provides a catecholamine cascade and also serves as an eraser of conscience.
The Islamic State will increase exploitation of the youth bulge with T-shirts, flags, and future trinkets. I have not seen key chains yet. I am sure they will soon be marketed to Western youth. Images of Caliphate T-shirts in Turkish stores, and worn by Indian youth are readily available. The proliferation of cheap marketing tools ensnares youthful sentiment and is a development tool for ideological cohesion. The Islamic State wil expand youth training camps. The primary focus will be on basic weapon proficiency and bomb-making skills.
The Islamic State will move forward with a strong “death of the patriarch” paradigm to emasculate the generations and degrade generational traditions which sustain communal life. It is not anomalous that the mercenaries are lining up hundreds of men and assassinating them in front of their families.
The Islamic States will exact an incalculable humanitarian price for their rapidly expanding operations. The loss of even one naturally-occurring agricultural cycle leads to a debilitated and weakened population. Loss of one cycle equals malnutrition. Loss of two cycles? Starvation. Human beings living within zones of stability create self-sustaining enviornments. Humans on the run create regional disaster zones.
What must be done?
Extreme aggression must be met head on with a greater level of aggression. This is the art of winning a war. A prudent coalition eradicates threat and obliterates the enemy. To a man, members of the Islamic State must be cut down. They must be killed where they stand, killed as they sit and confirmed dead when they fall. This must be done without mercy and without hesitation.
Social media platforms which support the Islamic State must become darkened spaces. This means a loss of access to digital freedom. If the individual touches an electronic device, they then move to the next tier. They lose their physical freedom. Tech arrest is an artificial/virtual boundary set by the state which is non-punitive regarding the individual’s ability to conduct normal activities of daily living. It only converts to loss of physical freedom when the rules of engagement are willfully violated. Posting videos of beheadings to generate fear, incite hatred, or recruit the brute, violates responsible freedom of expression. Video postings of women tied to the bumpers of cars and torn asunder is documentation of a crime, not freedom of expression. I strongly support vigorously decreasing the visibility of the Islamic State on all social media platforms.
All print propaganda must destroyed. Those who market propaganda must be fined by the state.
We must get ahead of the inglorious bastards of the Islamic State. “The Untouchables” has a scene that drives what I write today. In the words of Sean Connery, “What are you prepared to do?”
The writer is a freelance journalist and author of the novel Arsenal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org