The Black Flag of ISIS Signifies the Military Tactics of Muhammad
The Black Flag of ISIS is not new. It has been seen in the West before. The strategy of those who fight under that flag is not new, either. The strategy is world domination under the rule of Islam.
The general Muslim strategy followed by ISIS is explained clearly by Raymond Ibrahim. He writes, “…The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general. Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam…”
What about the military tactics used by ISIS? Are they new to Islam? Will coalition bombing be enough to force ISIS to surrender? At this time, the answer to this question looks to be no. As many ground troops have seen (and some Air Force generals admit), no one has ever surrendered to an airplane.
In her article on the Black Flag, Nina Porzucki writes,
“The flag is often called the Black Standard or the Black Banner. ‘The black banner of Islam as a symbol goes back to the 8th century, when the Second Dynasty of Islam came to power with black banners,’ says Jonathan Bloom, a professor of Islamic Art at Boston College.”
“The white writing that you see at the top of the flag is the first half of an Islamic phrase called the shahada, or declaration of faith, which reads: “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.’”
“Another appropriated symbol on the flag is the white circle at its center, which contains the second part of the shahada: "Muhammad is the Messenger of God … The two Arabic phrases, the black color of the flag and even the ancient looking font of the Arabic all work to evoke an image of the historical Islamic caliphate, the massive state that ISIS claims to have resurrected.
The fact that the Black Flag of ISIS makes us look back to the eighth century for their inspiration also means we should look back as well to understand ISIS’s military tactics.
Michael Van Ginkel, in his article “Muslim Military Strategies in the Times of Muhammad,” writes,
“Originally organized in small war bands, the early followers of Muhammad relied on guerrilla tactics to overcome their opposition.”
“Muhammad, however, soon managed to mobilize tribes on a far grander scale, diverging from caravan raids in favor of large scale, organized warfare. Combined with Muhammad's strategies and tactics, the new Muslim military arm would conquer great swathes of land even after its founder's death.”
Add to that,
“Muhammad utilized an array of different tactics to overcome his enemy with minimal losses. By manipulating his opposition through deception, unconventional tactics and diplomacy, Muhammad used war as a means to a strategic end. In addition, he began to evoke psychological warfare through mass killings in order to suppress those who would resist his incursions.”
From what we see reported in the media, the military leaders of ISIS are following the same tactics used by Muhammad more than a thousand years ago. It is uncertain who commands all the ISIS military forces, but whoever he is, that man has knowledge of Muhammad’s way of waging war.
Writing for BreitbartNews, Frances Martel states,
“…Omar al-Shishani, a Chechen Georgian…may be the military leader of all of ISIS…With the exception of the reclusive al-Baghdadi, ISIS has established an organization mostly bereft of high-profile leaders, making it more difficult for those fighting jihad to target leaders and destroy the group from the head down.”
In many ways, Omar al-Shishani’s charismatic leadership of ISIS mirrors that of Mohammad’s leadership. The way he has been fighting the ground war for ISIS is likewise similar to the tactics used by Mohammad.
Tactical advances and withdrawals, controlling large areas of territory, using the media to broadcast terror and fear, the use of oil as a source of revenue and soliciting ISIS recruits from Muslim communities in the West have so far made ISIS unstoppable.
Can the West develop tactics to defeat ISIS and its commanders like Omar al-Shishani? That remains to be seen.
The single most important mistake Western military commanders make at this time is that they mirror the enemy. ISIS is just like us, they believe. All the ISIS jihadists want is to drive SUVs, have a house in a Saudi Arabian suburb and maybe enjoy a pulled pork sandwich once in a while. We can reason with them.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Black Flag should tell us that we will be engaged in a religious war with ISIS. Their inspiration and tactics go back more than a thousand years.
Furthermore, behind ISIS is Islam. This means every Muslim living in the West is a potential ISIS recruit capable of jihad against the West. The beliefs progressives have about moderate or radical Muslims are misguided.
Militarily speaking, there were no moderate or radical Nazis. There were just Nazis. Likewise, there are no radical or moderate Muslims. There are just Muslims. In other words, a moderate Muslim is a nonobservant radical Muslim.
Many progressive leaders in the West do not understand the threat posed by Islam because they cannot get their collective heads around the idea that religion is still a force in the world. Unlike secular progressives, ISIS troops do believe in a god and are willing to die for that god.
War is a hellish business. ISIS is at war with the West. If we want victory in that war, then we must open the doors of a hellish business. This means killing the enemy and destroying their resources until they have had enough and surrender. If you don’t believe it, ask those who fought at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
The knights who fought and died at Lepanto will tell you the counterinsurgency tactics developed by General Petraeus for the conflict in Iraq may not work in a war with ISIS. To be blunt, until we kill the enemy so there is no longer anyone left to fight, there will not be victory. Then, there will be no need for a “population-centric” strategy.
For those who remain unclear what a victory by the West over ISIS and Islam may look like, we suggest that Istanbul will again be called Constantinople and a Baptist church will be built in Mecca. Defeat in that war will look like Dearborn, Michigan.
ISIS is just one strand that is the Gordian knot of Islam. A soon-to-be nuclear Iran, oil from Saudi Arabia, and Russian support for Syria are other strands of the knot. Alexander the Great also confronted a knot like this and unraveled it with one decisive blow.