ISIS Military Doctrine: The Work of a ‘Genius’!
Jalal Abualrub, of www.IslamLife.com, wrote: The recent success of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seems to have been rapid and stunning. They started small in Iraq as ‘The Islamic State in Iraq (ISI).’ Their parent group is Al-Qa’idah in Iraq, established by Abu Mus’ab Az-Zarqawi who pledged allegiance to Osama Bin Laden. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the ‘Khalifa’ of Muslims is –strangely enough- Az-Zarqawi’s student! Why is it strange that Al-Baghdadi’s teacher is Az-Zarqawi? This is why: who would take a thug like Az-Zarqawi, who used to drink, hustle, and dance in Zarga, Jordan, as a teacher of Islam and jihad? This is the sad story of today’s jihadis; the type of teachers who teach them Islam and jihad explains the deviant type of Islam and jihad they practice and promote.
As stated, ISI started small in Iraq then slowly expanded as a jihadi gang vaguely affiliated with Al-Qa’idah. Like parent (Al-Qa’idah) like child (ISI), ISI’s main mission has always been to terrorize and massacre Muslim civilians in Iraq and, occasionally, direct their attacks against non-Muslims. The number of ISI Muslim victims, as compared to their non-Muslim victims, tells a story of typical Khawarij groups whose main mission is to kill other Muslims. Today’s jihadis seem to think that every part in the Quran that talks about jihad is actually directed against other Muslims who are not from their particular jihadi sect.
ISI campaign of extreme violence in Iraq has led the leadership of Al-Qa’idah in Afghanistan to criticize them harshly, just as Osama Bin Laden did when he also harshly criticized the extreme horrific violence Az-Zarqawi and his group committed in Iraq. It is such a pathetic state when Al-Qa’idah, which follows the extreme ways of their Khawarij ancestors by committing horrific crimes against Muslim civilians, in particular, and sometimes, against non-Muslims, would criticize one of its own sub-groups for being too bloody and too violent.
ISI saw a unique opportunity in the conflict that has been raging in Syria for three years now. They went into Syria at full strength; they even called themselves ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Greater Syria). At first, the so-called Free Syrian Army and its secularist allies, who the West now calls ‘moderates’, and Syria’s Al-Qa’idah affiliate, Jabhat An-Nusrah, as well as other Syrian Islamic and secularist groups, thought the ISI would be an asset in the war against the murderous Alwai Shi`a regime of Bashar Al-Asad. However, ISI started fighting everyone, including An-Nusrah which used to cooperate with ISI before.
In fact, in some areas, ISI military operations directly support the Syrian regime. In other areas, ISI fights the Syrian regime. In all areas, ISI fights every group that is fighting the Syrian regime. There seems to be no logic in their behavior and actions, except for the fact that to them, Sunni Muslims, Christians, Islamists, jihadists, Shi`as, Kurds, Yazidis, anyone, and everyone, are the enemies of ISI; so they war against everyone. Their goal is for their group to gain total dominance, and they do not care who they have to cooperate with or kill to reach their goal.
How ISI Became ISIS then IS
Having only three letters in their name, ISI, they wanted more. In ‘S’yria, ISI found an ‘S’, added it to the ISI they already have, and they became ISIS. ISIL is just another way to name this group, wherein the ‘L’ stands for the Levant. However, ISIS seems to have recently misplaced one of the two IS’s included in ISIS. They now call themselves, IS. After all, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, even though has more letters to it, is more exclusive than, the Islamic State. The latter can include the entire world, instead of just being limited to Iraq and Syria.
ISIS and the Western Connection
ISIS brought herds of European, Australian, American and other western men and women into its ranks; thousands of new Muslims and also non-practicing Muslims who were not even concerned with religion previously. They seem to be Muslim now –at least in name- but only recently, they were still western in heart, practice, culture, tradition, wrapping, dancing, drinking, drugging, and all other aspects of western culture. Europeans, Australians, Americans and other western jihadis suddenly went from embracing Islam, i.e., those who were not Muslim before, and from coming back to Islam, i.e., those already Muslims but did not practice Islam before, to becoming jihadis and executors of Islamic law. This amazing transformation happened without a transitional period of learning the religion they supposedly ascribe to; they simply went from having no knowledge in Islam to making major decisions on behalf of Islam and Muslims. Western jihadis joined ranks with multinational jihadi organizations comprised of commoner Arabs and non-Arabs, along with their own ‘scholars’ who instruct them on Islam, Shari’ah, politics, jihad, war, and peace. Islam, jihad, and Islamic law seem to have become the domain of the deviant, the ignorant, and the Muslims in name.
Blaming Islam for the errors of western jihadis is as ridiculous as it is funny, for these people did not have the time to learn Islam. If they qualify to be new Muslims, they do not qualify to be scholars on Islam or on its true practices and core values, including the correct methods of jihad. They do not represent the vast majority of Muslims who live in the West, whether converts or born Muslims. Like other modern-day jihadis, they do not represent Islam or Muslims.
Like Father Like Child
Again, like father like child, ISIS followed Al-Qa’idah’s footsteps: Same methods; same crimes mostly directly at other Muslims; mass murder; beheadings; suicide attacks on civilian gatherings, buildings, and marketplaces; exploding belts in masjids (erroneously called, mosques) during Friday speeches; attacking schools; bombs placed in cars, trucks, even donkey and horse-carts; assassinations of tribal and religious leaders; attacking neutral non-Muslims who lived peacefully among Muslims since the beginning of Islam; death; destruction. Almost the entire ‘jihad’ career of today’s jihadis is criminally directed at Muslims. Today’s jihadis did not achieve victory for Islam or Muslims, just plain misery.
ISIS Military Doctrine: The Work of a ‘Genius’!
Again, like father like child, ISIS also followed Al-Qa’idah’s footsteps in a more substantive way: military strategy and tactics. Logical, normal thinking demands that military strategy and planning concentrate on limiting and diminishing the collective strength of enemy forces. This is achieved by, among other tactics, isolating main enemy force concentrations, cutting lines of supply, neutralizing the allies who already joined enemy forces, striving to prevent potential allies from joining force with the enemy, and, avoiding fighting more than one enemy on more than one front at the same time.
For instance, during the early Islamic era, the Prophet of Allah, peace be on him, fought one enemy force at a time. During the Battle of Al-Khandaq, however, the Prophet, faced by a coalition of pagan tribes comprising of 10,000 soldiers who attacked Madinah from two fronts, helped his companions dig a trench around two areas in Madinah. He also tried to convince Madinah’s Jews, who had signed a treaty of mutual cooperation with the Prophet, to remain neutral and refrain from aiding the pagans. The Jews proved to be very treacherous; they joined the pagan coalition against the Muslims of Madinah. The Prophet also tried to divide the attacking enemies using various tactics. The pagans were defeated and Madinah was saved.
Currently, the United States, the strongest military power in the world, has maintained a decades-old doctrine of being able to fight two wars at a time, not more. All countries, the United States included, try to avoid fighting multiple enemy forces at the same time. No sane leadership, whether political or military, wants to increase the number of enemy forces fighting them. Even the most powerful militaries in the world envision having the capability of fighting two wars at the same time, at most. It is not possible for any army, no matter its size and military capability, to efficiently fight three, four, or more enemy forces at the same time.
ISIS Military Doctrine: The More the Better!
ISIS Military Doctrine: “To bring as many enemies as possible into the conflict; to fight 10, 20, 30, even 40 enemy forces at the same time.” ISIS loves it, seeks it, and does it every time.
ISIS has not yet established themselves as a stable government anywhere. Their fighters only number between 20,000 and 31,500 (according to the CIA). Their local support is –at best- minimal and comes from a population that fears and dreads them. They have not yet defeated the mainly Shi`a Iraqi or Syrian armies, or the Kurds.
Yet, ISIS military strategy seems to call for bringing more enemies to the conflict, as if saying, “If you can’t defeat one enemy force, invite 39 more enemy forces: invite Shi`a armies of Iraq, Iran and Syria; invite Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, Sunni Arabs; invite American, French, British, Australian armies; kill an aid worker from the Cameron (as ISIS recently did), and (as they promised), the Cameron will join the war against you; invite everyone to war against you.”
What Can We Say?
It is not possible that any sane individual, let alone the entire leadership and members of a large group, would think this way. This is not normal. This is not logical. Do these Khawarij groups use drugs continuously that their minds are so shielded from rational behavior?
As for the CIA, well, they seem to be having serious problems of their own. The CIA says that the military strength of ISIS is between 20,000 and 31,500. Not between 20,000 and 21,000; not between 20,000 and 25,000, but between 20,000 and 31,500. Where did they come up with this bizarre range between a general number and a larger yet very specific number? Normally, one may estimate an army force to generally range between two numbers where the margin of difference is %5, even %10. The margin of difference here is more than %50. The larger number, 31,500, is so specific; the lesser number, 20,000, is so general. This is bizarre, to say the least.
In the pretext of fighting ISIS, Iraqi Sunni Muslims will again be bombed by a coalition of 30-40 countries. Also Sunni Syrians will be attacked in the same pretext. The proposed coalition will be using drones, military aircraft, cruise missiles, and so forth. Ground troops, mainly the murderous gangs of Shi`a soldiers who comprise most of the Iraqi army, will be using artillery, tanks, surface to surface missiles, even aircraft. Iran, and even Syria, maybe asked to help against ISIS. After all, ISIS beheaded 3 westerners. The West cannot allow this. Therefore, dare not mention the 300,000 civilians the Syrian regime killed; dare not speak of the American-British invasion of Iraq that caused the death of a million Muslims, the division of Iraq, and the giving of Iraq as a gift to Iran; dare not remind the world about the 3,000 civilians the Jews murdered in Gaza, just recently. Forget about all this. This is more serious: 3 civilian westerners were beheaded by ISIS, so bring in the coalition of 30-40 armies.
Still, it should be asked, what is wrong with some Muslims who support today’s jihadi groups, such as Al-Qa’idah, An-Nusrah, ISIS, Ash-Shabab, Boko Haram? Can they not see that these groups are a curse on Islam and Muslims? Do they not witness that wherever today’s jihadis go western (Christian) armies follow them, followed by death, destruction, and plain misery?
A better question: What is wrong with the leadership and members of Al-Qa’idah, An-Nusrah, ISIS, Ash-Shabab, Boko Haram? Do they not realize that they have failed in every area where they started their jihad; that their methods are horribly un-Islamic; that they never produce safety for the lives, honor, wealth, or lands of Muslims nor help Islam through the violence they call jihad? Do they not realize that mostly Muslims suffer from the violence which they call jihad? Do they have no sense to realize that normal human behavior prohibits their methods of seeking to gather every enemy in existence to fight against them at the same time?
Finally, among the biggest victims of today’s jihadis is the example they give to the world in the name of Islam. How can true Muslims call humankind to Islam, while the jihadis act so horribly with humankind in the name of Islam? How can true callers to Islam propagate the religion whose very name, among other things, means, ‘Peace,’ when today’s jihadis have so tarnished the image and goals of jihad that the mention of the word jihad has become synonymous to murder, suicide missions, mass killing, attacking civilians and capturing their girls for sale as slaves, and beheading? Once again, Islam and dedicated, practicing knowledgeable Muslims will pay the price of the ignorant who are supposedly following Islam.
Jalal Abualrub (www.IslamLife.com)