All about ISIS

It is always easy to portray Islamic State as a bloodthirsty monster and… to stop here. This kind of attitude presents two majors drawbacks (to my eyes):

  1. As all black-and-white approaches, it does not allow understanding,it does not allow determining where Daesh or ISIS is coming. It’s happy with just condemning, preferably in reference to the bloody demonstrations (which are a key part of their own propaganda, which we fall for).
  2. Worst, without understanding what ISIS really is, there is little hope to stop them, to contain them or to reduce them.

With this in view, I found two remarkable articles which try and bring some light on this very complex issue. One tries to determine the operating modes of ISIS (a sectarian organisation, but not an arbitrary lack of logic; A rigid organisation directed by rules extracted from the Kuran) in order to define pragmatic orientations to oppose the Islamic State with some efficiency (and which gives explanations on why some strategies are/were so blatanlty inefficient). Written by Graeme Wood, published in The Atlantic, What ISIS really wants is a realtively long paper, but worth all your reading time.

The other looks more specifically into power structures of the organization. This is a barely understood side (even if newspapers sometimes speak about the Coalition efforts to eliminate some of ISIS leaders), and it is written by Adrian Lewis for BBC: Islamic State: How it is run.

Each of these require your taking time and concentration to draw most of their contents, but I believe that they are useful for all who want to understand first, before building an opinion and before proposing an action plan.