Defeating The Digital Caliphate

In order to stop the growth of Islamic Terrorism it's helpful to read their statements. They often talk of Success.

As in the Islamic State successfully attacked this, or successfully took this area or defended that area. The event does not matter, what ISIS and terrorists are offering to young disillusioned Muslims is success. A pathway to make a difference.

Of course its a dead end as the terrorists can't provide the end state they suggest.
But without an alternative narrative or pathway to succeed in life , young idealistic people will continue to be sucked into the terrorist camp.

There must be an alternative pathway for them as well as efforts to fight.

The U.S. government has incorrectly characterized the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levantís (ISIL) strategy as having the endstate of creating an Islamic state according to the Westphalian definition of ďstateĒ built on the shared experiences achieved through geographic proximity and territorial integrity. While this goal is certainly an aspect of ISILís strategy and one that the U.S. may be thwarting, ISILís overarching strategic objective is one that U.S. national security professionals do not adequately appreciate or address: ISIL is leveraging basic psychological manipulation principles in order to build an online community predicated on the notion of a digital caliphate which is more important to ISILís long-term success than a geographically bounded caliphate. While true that U.S. military forces are defeating ISIL fighters and liberating key terrain from ISIL control, it is a mistake in perspective to see these defeats and ISILís associated transition from the land domain to the cyber domain as large blow to ISILís organizational efficacy.

This paper argues that ISILís notion of a Caliphate is aligned with the concept of a community rather than that of a state and that ISILís strategic focus is on psychological control rather than territorial control. After exploring ISILís success in building a digital caliphate based on the sociological concept of community, this paper presents recommendations for developing and promulgating alternative methods of community that will usurp the appeal of ISILís burgeoning digital caliphate. Finally, this paper concludes by discussing the implications of this research on a U.S. counter-ISIL digital messaging strategy.

The argument advanced by this research adheres to the following structure. The paper begins by articulating the differences between the concepts of community and state from a sociological perspective. It then makes the case that psychological control is more important to ISIL than territorial gains by assessing ISILís ideological impact on their three major target audiences before disaggregating the digital caliphate into its four basic components. After showing how these four components support ISILís concept of community, the paper offers a new paradigm for developing alternative models of community that offer credible alternatives to ISILís digital caliphate and how the U.S. government bureaucracy and organizational structure should be leveraged in order to effectively address the digital caliphate.

Posted by: Howie at 09:14 AM


1 the 'caliphates' that formed historically across a millenium were continually fought over with muslim killing muslim wholesale.

Hate Christians and Jews ?? They just hate.

Posted by: bremerfargast at June 20, 2017 02:04 PM

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