A video recently released by Daesh/ISIL/ISIS provides a vivid and accurate picture of our enemy, along with the rhetoric and propaganda that has been so successful in their global recruiting campaign.
There are several key factors to consider in the video:
- Khalifah agenda: ISIS has outlined its Khalifah (Caliphate) agenda, and while this is not new information, it is the first time that they have openly bragged about the size of their lands. The flag at the beginning of the video (white with black Arabic script) translates to “The Khalifah is the platform (stage) of the Prophecy.” For a little background, the Sykes-Picot agreement, a WWI-era secret agreement between Britain, France, and pre-Bolshevik Russia to divide the lands that make up parts of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Turkish-Armenia, and northern Kurdistan contrasted the McMahon agreement of 1915 negotiated by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), allowing for self-Arab rule in return for supporting British and French troops against Turkish forces. The Levant (the “L” in ISIL) are those same lands either controlled by Daesh or the target of their operations. This is a powerful recruiting tool that gets very little public acknowledgement, but was referenced by one of the terrorists after the Paris attacks.
- “Shirk and nationalism”: The word “shirk” in Arabic is the sin of polytheism—basically, everything our first amendment supports. Since many Americans and free peoples equate nationalism to religion, this becomes the ultimate sin. It’s the vice of having a partner to God. It is considered unforgivable.
- Dabiq: This represents the overarching philosophy and the foundation of their organizational commitment. The word itself doesn’t mean much—an adhesive or bond, something to that effect. It can be a substance or obligation that binds. The important factor is that it is also a town in northern Syria where an ancient prophecy (800-1300 years ago depending on the calendar) depicts the final battle, Armageddon, will occur. There are varying accounts of this specific Prophet Muhammad “hadith,” or saying, but in general it depicts the Sunni army fighting the mighty struggle against the crusaders who carry 80 banners (how many countries are now in our “coalition?”). The word Dabiq (also the name of the quarterly Daesh magazine) has become slang for “prophecy,” and is a powerful motivator that precedes al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
The video’s references to the U.S. military suicide rate, our veterans’ healthcare system, the moral values of our presidents, present and past, provide strong rhetoric. Our own national media and presidential debates are being used as a recruiting methodology. Our current U.S. race and ethnic challenges are addressed as the video reaches out to all Muslims, regardless of color or ethnicity, or any person who is willing to convert.
The film shows children studying and praying, but what isn’t displayed is the growing role of women within their organization. Women (not the suicide bombers and operatives) are playing a vital role in the education, mind development, and historical and religious indoctrination of the next generation of Daesh terrorist fighters. This is a strong bond that the West cannot afford to underestimate.
The next generation of terrorists is already preparing for war.