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Is the idea of ISIS dying?

by | Dec 2, 2015 | Planet Matters

New reports show that the increased use of force against ISIS is creating a rise in dissatisfaction and dissension among the people they control.

It’s often said you can’t destroy an idea with force, but is it possible to show an idea’s flaws through force?

“[The] call to join the Islamic State is still going out, and having an effect, on social media and within jihadist circles. But its promises ring increasingly hollow as residents living in ISIS-controlled areas flee deprivation, an intensifying barrage of airstrikes and an organization that many Sunni Muslims say has acted more like an organized-crime ring than their defender… ‘Public support is important, and they don’t have it,’ he said. ‘People heard good words from them but didn’t see anything good come out of it.'”

– NY Times article “ISIS Promise of Statehood Falling Shot, Ex-Residents Say”

A recent NY Times article talks about the increased coalition attacks against the terrorist group’s money-generating endeavors such as oil production. As a result the group is being forced to generate revenue from other places, including the heavy taxation of its “citizens.” In addition it has had to pull resources from it’s community-building functions such as schools and roads and hospitals.

Both of these actions have to some degree caused a growing number under ISIS rule to feel frustration and skepticism with the group that they felt would deliver a better life, even if it was brought about through brutality.

It seems that this growing disconnect between what ISIS has promised to deliver and what it is now being able to fulfill, could be its ultimate downfall.

Fundamental Flaw?

It’s interesting to see how ISIS’ fundamental operating belief that it could create the “perfect Muslim state” modeled in their skewed and diabolical view of Islam, using death and destruction and intimidation and fear, may in fact be proving itself to be a fallacy.

Of course the corruption of a global religion to appeal to a very small and radical group of followers and then imposing that on a larger population is also a fundamental defect in ISIS’ thinking.

But trying to build a state upon fear and coercion has no real glue to bind its people together, no matter the promises the people are given about a better life. Furthermore, if to build that state requires the use of death and destruction, it is only a matter of time until such a group oversteps it’s bounds and forces a retaliation both from within and from outside their borders.

It’s been over a year since the US and other countries began to exact that retaliation and it may seem, as the NY Times article suggests, that the recent escalations in coalition attacks on ISIS is starting to have a real effect.

Long Game

Some try and draw a parallel between the fight against ISIS with that of Communism, and that a more measured, “long game” may be needed to ultimately win out against ISIS. They say that Communism was brought down without the need for a major conflict between the US and the Soviet Union, and yes that is true.

However, there were wars by proxy, decades of spycraft and attempts at destabilizating each other, and the overarching threat of nuclear war. All of which did force the USSR to pull resources from serving its citizens and apply them to national defense. Again, an example of the disconnect between the promises made and the ability to fulfill them, brought about in some part by the use and threat of force against them.

This is not to try and paint Communism and ISIS with the same brush.

Yes, Communism was an idea that required at times harsh and even brutal methods and tactics to maintain its hold on land and people, and ultimately it proved to be unsustainable. Economic realities, political changes, and the underlying human desire to exist in a free and open world, won out.

And to be fair, Communism does still exist in the world, though countries like China have evolved into a more hybrid of Communism and Capitalism.

A Different Type of Enemy

But ISIS harbors no restraint on its use of force, it doesn’t have the invisible hand of Mutually Assured Destruction like the USSR and the US had, and it views death in battle as the utmost sign of honor. And as the attacks in Paris and the bombing of the Russian airliner show, it has decided to expand it’s reach.

So, whether it is the outright death of ISIS fighters and dismantling of its ability to fight that causes its demise, or if ultimately it is their inability to fulfill the promises it uses to attract more members, it has grown more clear that this scourge on the planet will be eliminated only with a strong and united use of force.

The questions that remain are when will a truly broad and actively involved coalition of countries, including those within the close reaches of ISIS itself, finally come to the fight?

And how many more innocent people will have to die before they do?

Robert Westfall

Robert is a writer, behavorial researcher and decision-making consultant. He is the founder of Instinct, a firm specializing in helping organizations be more human focused and planet conscious.  You can learn more about his work at www.TheHumanInstinct.com and follow him at twitter.com/WeAreInstinct

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Remember when things just seemed to work? Yeah, neither do we.

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