Will ISIS fall apart from internal struggles?

Reports are emerging from ISIS-held territory of a reign of terror, with lethal infighting among groups making up the diverse and hastily-assembled “caliphate.” It is quite possible that internal bloodletting could cripple the organization more than any response from the civilized world. Writing in The Daily Beast, Jamie Dettmer reports:

…quarrels over a range of issues—from divvying up of the spoils of war to competition over women and, yes, the handling of foreign hostages—point to a lot of trouble beneath the surface of this terror army.

This is according to political activists in northern Syria, including members of the a group called “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently,” who follow developments in ISIS very closely and appear to be well sourced inside the city of Raqqa, which is the so-called Islamic State’s capital. The group reported on a failed Jordanian attempt to rescue Muadh al Kasasbeh, a downed pilot from the Jordan Air Force, and his subsequent execution, burned alive, weeks before the hideous video of his murder was made public by ISIS.

So this group has a fair amount of credibility. They report:

…an ISIS cleric in Aleppo province who dared to criticize the immolation of al Kasasbeh has been removed from his post by the "caliphate" leadership and will be put on trial by the group. The Saudi-born imam had said those responsible for the video-recorded murder are the ones who should be put on trial.

There is no pope of Islam, so people do come to their own conclusions, and because they claim the authority of Allah, they can feel free to demand extreme punishments. In fact, this is the characteristic of all revolutionary utopians, who intend to establish paradise on earth (whether ordained by God, Marx, or whoever). TRhe goal is so overwhelmingly important that it justifies extreme cruelty or lethality in its defense. Jacques Mallet du Pan achieved immortality of sorts with his observation of the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution when he observed, “The Revolution devours its children.”

Diversity, it turns out, is also a problem for ISIS:

[Slaughtered Silently activist] Hamood Almossa, says ISIS militants are divided into several competing groups: some are extreme hardliners originally attracted by the harsh application of Sharia law; others are Syrian militants who now complain that they bore the brunt of the months-long fighting over the border town of Kobani and are reluctant to be used to reinforce ISIS units in neighboring Iraq. Still others are Gulf Arabs jealous of the power held by hardcore Iraqi militants who form the inner coterie of the ISIS leadership around Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Gulf Arabs, many of whom are veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, feel excluded from overall decision-making.

North African recruits among the Islamic State’s estimated 20,000 foreign fighters are among the most disgruntled, the Raqqa activists say. They complain they receive less than Gulf Arabs, Europeans and Chechens who are paid up to $1,000 a month. They grumble about missing out on many of the spoils of war, including women slaves and jihadi brides. Like local Syrian fighters, North African recruits say they have been used as cannon fodder, especially in the battle for Kobani.

Of course, it would not be wise to wait for ISIS to fall apart. The emergence of one strongman, a Stalin-like figure, could enforce terror and override factions. Ot a powerful group, like the mullahs of Tehran, could emerge as mediators.

Nonetheless, it makes sense to attempt to exploit the divisions within IDSIS utilizing the black arts of propaganda. Perhaps our Sunni friends in Saudi Arabia are already at work along these lines.

Reports are emerging from ISIS-held territory of a reign of terror, with lethal infighting among groups making up the diverse and hastily-assembled “caliphate.” It is quite possible that internal bloodletting could cripple the organization more than any response from the civilized world. Writing in The Daily Beast, Jamie Dettmer reports:

…quarrels over a range of issues—from divvying up of the spoils of war to competition over women and, yes, the handling of foreign hostages—point to a lot of trouble beneath the surface of this terror army.

This is according to political activists in northern Syria, including members of the a group called “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently,” who follow developments in ISIS very closely and appear to be well sourced inside the city of Raqqa, which is the so-called Islamic State’s capital. The group reported on a failed Jordanian attempt to rescue Muadh al Kasasbeh, a downed pilot from the Jordan Air Force, and his subsequent execution, burned alive, weeks before the hideous video of his murder was made public by ISIS.

So this group has a fair amount of credibility. They report:

…an ISIS cleric in Aleppo province who dared to criticize the immolation of al Kasasbeh has been removed from his post by the "caliphate" leadership and will be put on trial by the group. The Saudi-born imam had said those responsible for the video-recorded murder are the ones who should be put on trial.

There is no pope of Islam, so people do come to their own conclusions, and because they claim the authority of Allah, they can feel free to demand extreme punishments. In fact, this is the characteristic of all revolutionary utopians, who intend to establish paradise on earth (whether ordained by God, Marx, or whoever). TRhe goal is so overwhelmingly important that it justifies extreme cruelty or lethality in its defense. Jacques Mallet du Pan achieved immortality of sorts with his observation of the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution when he observed, “The Revolution devours its children.”

Diversity, it turns out, is also a problem for ISIS:

[Slaughtered Silently activist] Hamood Almossa, says ISIS militants are divided into several competing groups: some are extreme hardliners originally attracted by the harsh application of Sharia law; others are Syrian militants who now complain that they bore the brunt of the months-long fighting over the border town of Kobani and are reluctant to be used to reinforce ISIS units in neighboring Iraq. Still others are Gulf Arabs jealous of the power held by hardcore Iraqi militants who form the inner coterie of the ISIS leadership around Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Gulf Arabs, many of whom are veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, feel excluded from overall decision-making.

North African recruits among the Islamic State’s estimated 20,000 foreign fighters are among the most disgruntled, the Raqqa activists say. They complain they receive less than Gulf Arabs, Europeans and Chechens who are paid up to $1,000 a month. They grumble about missing out on many of the spoils of war, including women slaves and jihadi brides. Like local Syrian fighters, North African recruits say they have been used as cannon fodder, especially in the battle for Kobani.

Of course, it would not be wise to wait for ISIS to fall apart. The emergence of one strongman, a Stalin-like figure, could enforce terror and override factions. Ot a powerful group, like the mullahs of Tehran, could emerge as mediators.

Nonetheless, it makes sense to attempt to exploit the divisions within IDSIS utilizing the black arts of propaganda. Perhaps our Sunni friends in Saudi Arabia are already at work along these lines.