ISIS. The international equivalent of Donald Trump. Just a little smarter, darker, and more powerful.
We all know about the ISIS that bombs places and takes credit. That which has proclaimed Jihad, and sends gruesome video threats. But is that all ISIS is?
ISIS, among many other names, stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They call themselves a state, not just a Jihad group. They try to attract extremists from across the world with the image of waging a holy war, showing them an opportunity to be brave men for the cause of Islam. But not everyone gets to be a mujahideen (Someone engaged in Jihad). A lot of them just do everyday jobs, like cleaning toilets. In fact many who go to Syria to join IS return disappointed for this very reason. You can read some first hand experiences here.
While women are oft-targeted by the IS, and chained by a thousand rules, they are encouraged to take up supporting roles in the State. Taking up arms is not allowed, but they can provide first aid, cook, nurse, sew, and stuff like that. In fact, it even made guides for women in 2014, on how to be good wives of the Jihad. These guides are fully written in Arabic, and were promoted on social media by the Zora Foundation. For more on the guide, check out this post with extracts and translations from it.
DABIQ is the official propaganda magazine of ISIS. As intolerable as the content is, it is a pretty magazine with beautiful design and glossy pages. I read a lot about writing stories, and a lot of the suggestions say people love a villain who has real motivations, someone who is justified in their actions. If that was true for real life, ISIS could be the world’s favourite super villain.
In the magazine, typically, the State boasts of its handiwork. Then there are comments on the happenings of the World, ISIS’s philosophies and advice to followers, a few Islamic stories, interviews, etc. An extremist Muslim or mujajideen could possibly enjoy reading the magazine.
Here‘s a PDF of DABIQ, the latest issue as of this post, if you want to check it out. A word of caution, though: it might enrage you.
Where the hell do they get their money from?
ISIS seems to be filthy rich. I mean, it seems to be capable of doing things so many governments aren’t capable of. They have the arms, all the weapons they could need, all the transport required, all the tech services they could want. They have a huge digital presence, and publish a magazine of their own. Where do they get their money from?
Donations are one source of income. Donations come in from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, in the name of ‘Humanitarian Charity’. But an analysis by the RAND Corporation discovered that donations accounted to only 5% of the State’s funding.
So what other sources do they have? There’s farming, taxation, and oil revenues. But more major sources are sale of antiques and artifacts, robbing banks, extortion, ransom demands, and illegal drug trade. The same analysis showed that around 20% of their income comes from Iraqi cells, which get their money through kidnapping and extortion rackets.
Iraqi intelligence has found out that ISIS is worth US$ 2 billion, making it the richest Jihadi group. Some say around 75% of this money was looted from banks in Mosul, but this fact is disputed.
I literally Googled “Human side of ISIS”, “Good things about ISIS”, and stuff like that. I was hoping to see at least one story where there was an expression of pity or sympathy. Even if not by IS itself, at least by some one mujahideen. I failed grandly.
So, are they pure evil, then? Some articles say that they’re not evil people, they’re just people doing evil things. I couldn’t decide if that was insanely deep or plain stupid.
But there’s one thing. They unite us. Countries that are normally squabbling with each other, will still be on the same side if it came down to war with the ISIS. It might be causing a lot of parallel destruction, but the pieces that we have broken down Earth into are uniting again, at last.
Can things go wrong?
They’re rich, they’re powerful, and they get things done. It is like they’re an unrecognized 197th country, one that could take over the world. It’s not simply their resources that make them powerful, it’s also their lack of inhibition. They wouldn’t mind ordering a mass execution that could kill hundreds, and there is no one within them to question their decisions.
So, can things go wrong? Will there come a day when ISIS rules over the world? Such questions cannot be answered, but one of the either has to come to an end: ISIS, or the essence of the World. And even if it is ISIS that is destroyed, it is not going to pretty. As we have seen, the State is more of a community than an army. The mujahideen men, some might say, may deserve their fate. But there are so many women who don’t. So many children will die, whose only mistake will be being born in the wrong place.
Well, the world is doing what it can.
P.S. The Brussels death toll has risen to 35. Horrible things they can do, the ISIS. My heart reaches out to the people of Brussels. Leave your thoughts, wishes, and prayers below.
And if you want another read, you can check out this article on the cool hacktivist group Anonymous, which had declared war on ISIS.