Yemenity2010's Blog

The MO of ISIS according to PBS

Posted in Blog Entry in English, Tema: Politik by yemenity2010 on 12/11/2014

– These guys are crazy. But there’s method to the madness.

Ali Soufan, representing something called The Soufan Group, interviewed in the documentary ”The Rise of ISIS”, published on October 28 by American Public Service Broadcaster PBS, available online here on the other side of the Atlantic as well.

– They’re trying to create a real state, not some postmodern virtual, al-Qaeda style thing that only exist in your head. They’re trying to create something that looks like a real state. It’s a very different model.

David Kilcullen, American military advisor according to the show, describing the MO (or modus operandi) of ISIS or the Islamic State and comparing them to al-Qaeda. They’re not exactly the same thing… Well, we’ve heard that before, right? We’re all learning. Much have been said and written about ISIS, ISIL or IS or whatever the official acronym eventually will be. Everyone everywhere involved in international politics seems to have an opinion about the group, or army, or band of brutal brothers, or… take your pick. And a lot of what’s being said is about ventilating thoughts on how and when everyone else in a position to do something about it, should have done something about it, before it came to this place. Where we are now. Or at least where the people in the affected region find themselves.

ISIS have experienced military staff in their ranks, and captured American weapons as an added bonus. They know how to organize their troops, plan ahead, use sophisticated military equipment and also how to improvise. Syria and Iraq are their main battle field right now, but at least according to what we are told by experts (real or purported ones) it’s not going to end there. This recent documentary probably isn’t the definitive account of what has led to this development, but it does provide quite a lot of background information and analysis into roughly one hour. It obviously has a strong US perspective on the matter, and does contain some pretty graphic footage from the war zones where ISIS has moved forward, including short but effective sequences showing mass executions of enemy soldiers. For your information.

The images are effective. While the interviewed people are close to 100 percent either military, intelligence or political analysts, mostly from the US (and a few Iraqi ones) as far as I could tell. Also, nearly all of them are men, middle-aged or older. That seems like a norm in these kinds of strategic policy-minded, sort of in-depth documentaries. And it begs the simple question: Why?

One important point the documentary makes is the need for the sunni and shia muslims in Iraq to reach an agreement, see eye to eye to avoid a disaster. But there’s a long and complicated relationship history there, and obviously a bumpy road ahead…


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