Thursday, January 7, 2016

Why It May Be Different This Time

Published on Brown Pundits - June 26, 2014

This piece was written when ISIS was just becoming known in rest of the world. The fears expressed in it have proved to be all too real, though ISIS has not really proved to be as strategically mature as I had feared. Above all, its strategy of using extreme violence to achieve its ends is ultimately self-limiting. Successful enterprises need to be attractive, and the attraction of ISIS is severely constrained by its violence (though see the viewpoint of Scott Atran). It is worth noting that we have also had a significant ebola epidemic since the writing of this article, so perhaps the ISIS virus is even more dangerous than it seemed"

"The jihadis will truly become an existential threat to the rest of Muslim society the day they turn away from mindless violence and start building social capital. That's why ISIS, with its financial resources and organizational savvy, is so especially dangerous. Because of the large area they have already acquired, the sympathy of a significant population based on deep resentment and, above all, their very deep pockets, ISIS is the first jihadi force that may actually be able to create a de facto state in the name of their ideology."

The whole article can be read here.

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