Violent Jihad

REIGN OF TERROR: ISIS Executes Hundreds of Men, Children before Mosul Fight

Fearing an uprising to coincide with the invasion of Iraqi, Iranian, Kurdish and American forces, the Islamic State attempts to instill utter terror of resistance in the people under its dominion.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | October 28, 2016

The Islamic State (ISIS) has engaged in a series of mass executions in recent days, killing hundreds of men and children in preparation for the siege of Mosul.  ISIS is also pressing tens of thousands of innocents into service as human shields.

The executions have both a tactical and a strategic purpose.  Tactically, ISIS executes those who are likely to be sources of uprisings that could support the offensive led by the Iraqi government, with its Iranian, Kurdish, and American allies.  190 former members of Iraqi security services were put to death in part so that they could not be rescued and turned into fighters.  By a similar token, ISIS has been going through surrounding towns and murdering both former members of the military or police, such as 45 men captured at a military base near Kirkuk, and also probable resistance fighters.  ISIS claims to have discovered at least one actual plot to revolt against them under cover of Baghdad’s offensive thrust, executing 58 men associated with that plot.  In Mosul itself, 22 were electrocuted for alleged collaboration with Peshmerga forces.  These kinds of executions are meant to cut down on the number of additional troubles that could pop up once the main fight for Mosul begins.

There is also a strategic purpose, which we can see from ISIS’s propaganda around these killings.  Here they released photos as well as a statement about their execution and beheading of two members of the “sahwat,” or “Awakening,” a movement of tribal fighters that assisted the United States military in overcoming ISIS’s predecessor organization, al Qaeda in Iraq.

Serving both a tactical and strategic purpose, ISIS has executed a number of its own fighters who have attempted to flee or refused to stand their post.  These executions, by burning alive in a trench filled with oil, are meant to prevent further defections or cowardice in the face of their enemies.  Executions of this kind convey that to flee is to suffer a worse and more shameful death than would be risked by standing to fight.  The hideousness of the mode of execution ensures the transmission of the message.

ISIS has resorted to these hideous modes of execution several times recently.  In addition to the beheading and the burning alive, ISIS recently thrust the children of families determined to be enemies into an industrial dough-mixer.  According to this witness’ testimony (video at link), some 250 children were put to death in this way.

As security analyst  has noted, these tactics fall in on a well-established Islamist ideal of maintaining an advantage in morale through savagery.

This view appears consistent among jihadist organizations and is reflected in Abu Bakr Naji’s Management of Savagery, an Al Qaeda strategy manual from 2004 held in high esteem by Islamic State. Regarding waging jihad, Naji writes:

If we are not violent in our jihad and if softness seizes us, that will be a major factor in the loss of the element of strength… the Umma which is able to protect the positions it has won and it is the Umma which boldly faces horrors and has the firmness of mountains.

Indeed, although the argument for using moral horror in war has Western sources as well, not only jihadist forces but a Pakistani military text on war identifies the use of terror as rooted in the Koran.  The Quranic Concept of War, by Brigadier General S. K. Malik of the Pakistani Army, suggests that instilling terror in the enemy is one way in which God enables victory over them. Terror “can be instilled only if the opponent’s Faith is destroyed . . . . It is essential in the ultimate analysis, to dislocate [the enemies] Faith.”  By the same token, “a weak Faith offers inroads to terror.”

Viewed in this way, ISIS’s killings make a kind of strategic sense.  They offer a way in which ISIS’s own fighters can practice instilling terror rather than feeling it.  They reaffirm their faith by engaging in brutality in its name.  That offers a kind of guard against “a weak Faith” that could lead to terror of the enemy that is now advancing upon them.

ISIS thus has many reasons to engage in these murders, which explains why there have been so many of them, and why they have so often been horrible.  Until the black flag is torn down, we can expect to see the reign of terror intensify.



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