Terrorism applies to aggression that is premeditated and reaches usual standards. The aggression targets the targets of citizens or non-combatants. The steps are carried out by criminals while they seek strategic ends. They think that by intentionally causing terror, the use of violence will affect the public (Aymenn 2014). While after the September 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, terrorist groups struggled to carry out a large-scale operation, they succeeded in recruiting new members. Furthermore, throughout the country, they have carried out several small-scale assaults. ISIL is a strong militant organisation that has formed to fill the vacuum created by Al-dwindling
Often recognised as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is (ISIS). In Arabic, the community is referred to as Daesh. A self-proclaimed Islamic state uses the phrase. In Iraq and Syria, the party occupies territories. Moreover, it works in the Middle East as well. The group is a particular class of terrorist organisation since the elements of the army and an intricate state system have been created. The group is also engaged in terrorist warfare and territorial growth (Ajbaili 2014). The organization’s declared aim is to restore an Islamic state in the region extending from Southern Turkey to Egypt via Syria. The following countries are part of the area; Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Even Israel is located in the area.
Many factors inform the focus on the anatomy of religious groups. Firstly, terrorist activities are often perpetrated by terrorist organizations as opposed to individuals (Ajbaili 2014). As a result, understanding how the terror groups are structured is important in establishing their impact on the society. In addition, it provides insight into the best way of battling terrorist organizations. For instance, anti-terror units can target the leaders of the terror organizations. The strikes can be conducted through drones. The move will undermine the operations of the terrorist groups. Secondly, focusing on the anatomy of terrorist groups addresses the limitations of individual and environmental approaches.
Understanding the anatomy of terrorism involves an evaluation of the elements that make terrorism. As a result, six key areas should be considered. Firstly, it is necessary to determine the reasons why individuals engage in terrorism. Secondly, it is prudent to establish how terrorists plan and execute their attacks. Thirdly, governments should establish how to use the information provided to combat terrorism. Fourthly, the actors who are involved in terrorism either directly or indirectly should be identified. Subsequently, the financial, political and emotional supporters of terrorism and the victims of their heinous acts should be identified. Lastly, the significant role that the media play in the overall strategy of the terrorist groups aimed at maximizing public awareness of their political objectives is fundamental (Ajbaili 2014). An appraisal of terrorism worldwide indicates that the international community would pose a major challenge in combating the exponential growth of terrorism worldwide without consistent and reasoned intergovernmental cooperation.
The Anatomy of ISIS
ISIS has an elaborate command structure headed by the Caliph, who serves as the Commander in Chief. The current Caliph is Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (Filger 2014). A council of elders advises the commander. The next level of authority involves two similar positions. Two deputies were given the authority over Syria and Iraq. The two positions demonstrate the significant interest of the organization in both areas. The Executive Branch of the organization is referred to as the Al Amara (Thompson &Shubert 2014). The Shura council focuses on the religious and military affairs of the organization. The deputies supervise the twelve governors in the two countries. Eight councils perform the tasks that are required in order to enable the organization to operate. The elaborate structure indicates that terrorist organizations have a lot of respect for hierarchical structures. In addition, it is clear that they many goals that they hope to achieve through the implementation of effective management practices.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi serves as the mysterious leader of an organization that has caused a lot of concern among international leaders. He has managed to avoid drone attacks and survived many civil wars. The observation demonstrates his survival skills. In addition, he has managed to unify military groups under him. The move has been accompanied by a deliberate attempt to raise an army of jihadists from across the globe. As a result, he has succeeded in capturing large pieces of land between northern Syria and central Iraq. In a deliberate action that demonstrates his commitment to his agenda, he has declared an Islamic state in the region that is the size of Pennsylvania (Thompson & Shubert 2014). The elaborate command structure can be attributed to the effort to create a bureaucratic structure that not only maintains the rule of law but also ensures that the group can build on its gains on the battlefield. In addition, it ensures that the nature of the organization is not limited to its military nature alone. Instead, it shows that the group that has the ability of governing.
An evaluation of the structure of the group shows that it has adopted the governance structures of western countries. The move highlights the hypocrisy of terrorist organizations that attack western values but try to implement them. In addition, it shows that strong governance structures are important for the success of any mission.
Baghdadi, his cabinet and his two main deputies make up the government’s Executive Branch. The division of the operations into Iraq and Al-Amaria can be attributed to the desire to make the conquered regions easy to run. It is the obligation of the governors to make the local councils to perform their responsibilities in a way that they advance rather than undermining the overall mission of the organization. The Shura council ensures that all the officials comply with the ISIS version of the Islamic law (Thompson & Shubert 2014).
ISIS has a lot of interest in ensuring that it receives as much media attention as possible. The Shura Councils is in charge of sanctioning such activities (Thompson & Shubert 2014). The Shura is a powerful unit. For instance, it can identify when the leaders are violating their interpretation of Sharia law.
Furthermore, the command structure serves as a reminder that ISIS is keen on evolving into a government whose political decision-making is as strong as its military capabilities. In addition, it symbolizes the ultimate goal of the organization. The group clearly wants to govern.
ISIL was formed towards the end of 2006 (Aymenn 2014). The group is strongest in Anbar. The terrorist group has many training camps in the desert. In addition, it retains a partial presence in Ramadi and Nineveh. The organization functions as the mafia in Mosul. The observation can be attributed to the fact that it extorts money from local businesses. An evaluation of the environment that supports the group shows that it has developed out of the unstable political climate created by the Sunni insurgency in the area.
The organization’s vast financial effect indicates that it is accountable for the repeated and organised bomb attacks targeting civilians in Baghdad and other regions in the country. In addition, ISIL is active and has the ability of carrying out attacks in Kut, Wasit and Nasiviriyah governorates. In addition, it is also expected to be behind the attacks in the Kurdish region.
ISIL has used social media in a variety of provinces in the world to market its activities. Moreover, the party is attempting to show the proto-state constructing institutions in Fallujah. The step is meant to function as a declaration of the importance of creating an Islamic virtue. It is also evident that it is a powerful terrorist group (Thompson & Shubert 2014).
There are several parallels between the party and Jamaat Ansar al-Islam (JAI). The latter is an offshoot of Ansar Al Islam’s deceased Iraqi Kurdistan Al-Qaeda branch in 2007. (Aymenn 2014). In the provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk and Salah ad-Din, JAI works. Occasionally, however, it performs operations near Baghdad. As opposed to those carried out by a more coordinated and better-financed ISIL, the frequency of its operations is limited. For eg, in a single month, ISIL can conduct more than 100 operations in Nineveh, while JAI can only handle a few dozen operations (Aynmenn 2014).
The formation of a caliphate, however, is sponsored by all parties. They partake in Takfir, a concept that applies to the act of alleging the apostasy of fellow Muslims. In addition, they often target Shia Muslims. In this respect, JAI has a deep rivalry with ISIL. Consequently, it is correct to assert that terror groups have different ideological beliefs. However, an evaluation of the available data on terrorism reveals that a disproportionate number of terrorists are Muslims. The observation has led to a lot of negative perception of the Muslim community in most western societies. In addition, it has increased the level of suspicion with which the Muslims are regarded as potential risks to public safety. The Muslim leadership is partly to blame for this unfortunate state of events. Instead of condemning the actions of terrorists who use Islam as an excuse, they often remain silent. In order for the Muslim community to gain the respect and trust of the public, it has to condemn the barbaric actions that are often committed under the name of Islam.
Other terrorist groups, such as JAI, say that, like the others, ISIL does not view itself as a single party or division. In fact, it has resorted to using Daesh, a derogatory term referring to ISIL (Aymenn 2014). Consequently, ISIL has labeled the group as a criminal organization. The move was influenced by the inability of the latter to support the project of the Caliphate.
The most generic word that can be used for the rebellion, excluding the two parties, applies to the rebels of the tribes. The scenario included a range of tribal military councils proclaiming independence, which started in Anbar and extended to the rest of the country. The most famous is the General Anbar Tribal Military Council. The party contains a range of nationalist militants from parties that have suspended activities in the country. As a result, it is correct to assert that the withdrawal of American forces in the area has played an important role in the region’s increasing destabilisation.
It is clear outside Anbar that many tribal military councils act as fronts for the Naqshabandi Baathist Army. The group differs from other groups in the involvement of occasional cross-sectarian messaging (Ajbaili 2014). In its social media presence, through the Intifida Ahrar Al Iraq, the group’s influence is visible. A vocal supporter of the Shia tribal military council is the activist wing.
The relations between the different terrorist groups in the region are often complicated. For example, the group has a deep mistrust for the Naqshabandi. The move was influenced by the belief that the latter supports un-Islamic agendas.
An evaluation of the current situation in the region demonstrates that the Iraqi government will fail to revive the widespread Sahwa movement. Instead, the violence in the region is expected to increase as groups battle for control. Although none of the terrorist groups has the ability of dislodging the central government, it is clear that ISIL has many resources. Consequently, it poses the greatest military and terrorist threat. As it tries to gain power in the Sunni Arab regions, the other groups constitute a concern for the country.
While ISIS has proved that it operates in a strategic and reasonable way, it is not isolated from other militant groups because of the horrific beheadings of international journalists. The community is made up of several individuals who are inspired to commit in the most horrific way imaginable by the sadistic compulsion to commit. A urge to revive the Islamic Caliphate in the region does not inspire the members. The latest conflict witnessed in Syria has subjected young people to a great deal of violence. They are also vulnerable to aggressive actions.
ISIL is pressuring citizens to declare the Islamic creed in the regions under their power. In addition, according to the understanding of Sunni Islam and Sharia rule, they live. The group uses death threats, torture and mutilation to force individuals to convert to Islam. The ruthlessness of the group is demonstrated in the killing of clerics that refuse to pledge their alliance to the Islamic State. In addition, the group directs violence at the Shia Muslims and indigenous communities in the area. Moreover, the group is responsible for actions aimed at ethnic cleansing of ethnic and minority groups in Northern Iraq.
Social Media Use
Although a significant part of the struggle between ISIL and the government of Iraqi involves a battle along geopolitical lines, social media has emerged as a new field for the battle for the future of Iraq. ISIL has successfully used social media platforms such as Twitter to spread propaganda and gain new followers (Shane & Hubbard 2014). Consequently, it has succeeded in increasing its popularity in the region.
Before ISIL forces began making advances into the heart of Iraq as it edged closer to Baghdad, it released many social media posts across multiple social media platforms. The move was aimed at encouraging its supporters and driving fear into the hearts of its opponents. The Iraq government has failed to respond to the strategy. The dysfunctional Baghdad government makes it difficult to imagine that it will be able to develop a social media society to respond to the serious threat posed by the online presence of ISIL. The most significant victory that the terrorist group can win is in winning the hearts of the people while driving fear into its opponents (Shane & Hubbard, 2014). The move will make the public embrace it. As a result, it will develop a sense of legitimacy that would undermine the ability of the Iraqi government to govern.
ISIL has made social media use a key component of its strategy (Shane & Hubard 2014). For instance, it has created an app that its supporters can download into their phones free. Downloading the app allows the group to access to their Twitter accounts. As a result, the group can reach a wide audience by releasing a burst of tweets at scheduled periods. Consequently, each tweet by the group is sent by many people. The move creates an illusion that the messages are being tweeted by a large group of people. In addition, having a large number of people to tweet for it enables its messages to avoid being labeled as spam. In addition, its members often create or use popular trends. When the trend is retweeted by a large group of people, it gains a lot of attention in social media. Consequently, it attains a high rank that enables more people to see it. An evaluation of the online presence of the group demonstrates that it is particularly very effective in using Twitter.
Besides Twitter, the group has a strong presence on other sites. For example, it uses Instagram and Tumbler to spread images of some of its executions. The graphic nature of the material plays a significant role in ensuring that their updates have a viral effect.
ISIL understands that underlining a sense of progress and success enables it to develop relevance (Shane & Hubbard 2014). The move challenges the viability and value of its rival terrorist organizations in the region. The consistent ruthlessness and updates that it posts on social media enable the group to create an image that it is very powerful and successful. However, the image maybe removed from the reality on the ground. Consequently, the government has been forced to limit internet access to certain areas and effort to limit the online presence of the group. The move may prove to be counterproductive for the government. For example, it antagonizes the Iraq people at a time when it should be focusing on increasing its support among the Iraq people.
However, the Iraq government is facing a difficult task. Appealing to the public for support and stability may not be as convincing as the emotional appeals that are made by the terrorist groups. Terrorist organizations such as ISIL appeal to the hopes and fears of the people (Shane & Hubard 2014). Although the images it posts are mostly abhorrent, the rhetoric that it uses appeal to the emotions of the Muslim community. The most successful item that the foreign community has should worry about is the fact that these online appeals could enable the group to attract new recruits online. As a result, there has to be a deliberate effort to undermine the activities of the group on social media.
However, an evaluation of the facts suggests that its strong influence on social media can be attributed to the hype created by the western media. The news outlets in the western world have covered how the group uses social media in a sensational manner. In fact, sometimes their coverage seemed like an endorsement of its actions. The unintended consequence involved more publicity for the group across the world. In fact, it is possible that the media coverage of the group has played a significant role in its rise as a significant terrorist organization in the world. For now, the group is focused on creating an independent Muslim state (Shane & Hubbard, 2014). Consequently, it does not pose an immediate security risk. The urgency with which the international community is responding to the issue can be attributed to the fear that if the group succeeds in establishing a new country, it will destabilize the region. The move can be attributed to the territorial alterations that will enviably be followed by such as scenario. Furthermore, the western countries are afraid that once it achieves its domestic agenda, it will create an enabling environment for terrorist organizations to grow and develop in the country.
Criticism of ISIL
ISIL has received a lot of criticism. First, Muslim scholars have questioned its claim that its mission is based on the teachings of the Koran. The criticism is often accompanied by a strong argument that nothing justifies the extremist and militant ideas advanced by the group. Second, the international community has condemned its extremist practices. Third, Muslim scholars and international leaders have ridiculed its name and the Islamic Caliphate. Fourth, the group has evolved into a form that resembles a militia group as opposed to a terrorist organization. Although it enjoys a strong presence in the region now, it will be destroyed through a coordinated international effort (Borger 2014).
Compulsion in religion acts as the ideological foundation for ISIS and other Islamist movements in the world. Such groups believe that they have superior knowledge of the wishes of God (Whitaker, 2014). Consequently, in punishing all who refuse to conform with the divine will, they experience a sense of entitlement. Consequently, they conclude that the desire to make the earth more sacred influences their acts. The bombing of Islamist movements and ISIS may suppress those movements for a while, but the theological issue cannot be solved (Whitaker 2014). While freedom of belief is a generally recognised concept among the international community, it has not been completely adopted by Arab countries and societies.
Terrorist groups provide an elaborate system of leadership. The finding may be related to the information obtained from the classification of the three classes of terrorists. Muslim communities have a high respect for consistent systems of leadership. ISIL’s elaborate system has played a major role in ensuring that it is growing its presence in the region. In addition, it has enabled it to increase its influence in the region. In fact, the group has emerged as a serious threat to the stability of the region. Consequently, there is a lot of interest among international leaders in understanding the anatomy of the group. Moreover, it is clear that unless the international community intervenes in a meaningful manner, the Iraq government will not be able to hold off ISIL for long. The international community has to develop a global digital strategy to address the incredible rise of terrorism. However, the most effective strategy that the international community can pursue in addressing the rise of terrorism involves the adoption of a multipronged strategy. Firstly, the leaders and financiers of terror organizations should be targets. They should be killed through sustained drone attacks. Secondly, stakeholders should ensure that the Middle East becomes a stable and peaceful region again. Thirdly, it is necessary to identify and respond to emerging terror threats in different parts of the world. Fourthly, the Muslim community should take a strong stand against the people who commit unspeakable atrocities in the name of Islam. The underlying triggers of terrorism reside in the assumption that the Muslim faith advocates for its members to ensure that all humanity embraces Islam (Tahrir 2014). Understanding the anatomy of terrorist organizations has led to the identification of the factors that make terrorist organizations so effective.
- Ajbaili, M 2014, How ISIS conquered social media. Al Arabiya. [Online] Available at
- http://english.alarabiya.net/en/media/digital/2014/06/24/How-has-ISIS-conquered-social-media- .html> 25th December 2014
- Aymenn Jawad Al Tamimi 2014, Anatomy of militant groups reveals Iraq’s different
- challenges. The National. . [Online] Available at <http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/anatomy-of-militant-groups reveals-iraqs-different-challenges>25th December 2014
- Borger, J 2014, US claims Isis demoralized by heavy losses from air strikes. The Guardian. [Online] Available at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/19/isis-demoralised-us-air-strikes>25th December 2014
- Filger, S 2014, President Obama Wages War on the Islamic State, aka ISIS and ISIL: Anatomy of a Disaster in the Making. The Huffington Post. [Online] Available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sheldon-filger/president-obama-wages-war_b_5933642.html [25th December 2014]
- Shane, S & Hubbard, B 2014, ISIS Displaying a Deft Command of Varied Media. The New York Times. [Online] Available at <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/world/middleeast/isis- displaying-a-deft-command-of-varied-media.html?_r=0>[25th December 2014]
- Taheri, A 2014, The ugly attractions of ISIS’ ideology. The New York Post. . [Online] Available at <http://nypost.com/2014/11/02/the-ugly-attractions-of-isis-ideology/>[25th December 2014]
- Thompson, N & Shubert, A 2014, The anatomy of ISIS: How the ‘Islamic State’ is run, from oil to beheadings. CNN. [Online] Available at <http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/18/world/meast/isis-syria-iraq-hierarchy/ [25th December 2014]
- Whitaker, B 2014, Most Arab states share Isis’s ideology. They’re trying to have it both ways.
- The Guardian. [Online] Available at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/28/arab-states-share-isis-ideology-islam [25th December 2014]