walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Organized Chaos
The Modernity of ISIS

Giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “terrorist organization”, ISIS has been keeping such thorough accounts and conducting so sophisticated a social media campaign that some have compared it to a Western corporation. This explain why ISIS’s efforts to spread violence and chaos through Iraq and Syria have been so successful.

That ISIS records all of the details of its sinister operations is a shock, but the numbers themselves are even more staggering. From the FT:

In 2013 alone, the group’s report claimed nearly 10,000 operations in Iraq: 1,000 assassinations, 4,000 improvised explosive devices planted and hundreds of radical prisoners freed. In the same year it claimed hundreds of “apostates” had been turned.

The ISIS social media presence probably contributes more to the group’s success than its record-keeping:

Before last week’s takeover of Mosul, Isis-linked accounts on Twitter were flooded with a co-ordinated campaign of hashtags and images, carefully calibrated to shock – and inspire.

[Washington Institute Jihad expert Aaron] Zelin pointed to Isis activities on social media in Syria as having paved the way for their propaganda war in Iraq. Images stream out of Raqqa – the group’s stronghold in the north of the country – on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube depicting the proto-state it is creating there.

Isis’s use of social media has been one of the main reasons why it has become the single most popular organisation for fighters from foreign countries – including an estimated 2,000 from Europe, according to estimates from western intelligence agencies.

Ragtag this is not.

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  • lhfry

    Sounds like the Germans under Hitler. They kept impeccable records – to their detriment when it became time for retribution.

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