ISIS Has A Playbook. And It’s Ultra Violent

Good investigative work by the Washington Post’s Terrance McCoy

Last week, as the forces of the Islamic State crept within 40 miles of Irbil, fear settled over the urbane Kurdish capital. People had heard of the militants’ brutality — of the crucifixions, the beheadings, the mass killings. They were understandably frightened, Kurdish journalist Namo Abdulla told The Washington Post. Some began to flee. Others made for the mountains. The killers were coming.

In the last week, images of the Islamic State’s savagery have been inescapable. News exploded yesterday of an image of a young boy, son to an Australian member other of the Islamic State, hoisting a severed head beside his proud father. (snip)

The glorification of extreme violence using social media is one of the defining aspects of the Islamic State. The Sunni militants wield savagery like a tool, analysts say. It’s neither extemporaneous nor undisciplined. It’s concerted. It’s tactical. It’s evil. And that’s the point. “There’s a strategic reason behind the executions,” wrote the Washington Institute’s Aaron Zelin. “And the gruesome pictures posted online for all to see.”

The seeds of today’s brutality were perhaps sown long ago in a 2006 book called “The Management of Savagery,” wrote expert Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker. One version of the book, written by a radical Islamist thinker named Abu Bakr Naji, details patterns of “abominable savagery” witnessed in both the Islamic State and its earlier incarnations. According to this English translation, it calls for an “administration of savagery” and merciless campaign to polarize the population, attract adherents, and establish a pure Sunni caliphate. “We must make this battle very violent, such that death is a heartbeat away, so that the two groups will realize that entering this battle will frequently lead to death,” the book says. (snip)

“In sum, the beheadings and the violence practiced by [the Islamic State] are not whimisical, crazed fanaticism, but a very deliberate, considered strategy,” analyst Crooke wrote. “…The seemingly random violence has a precise purpose: It’s aim is to strike huge fear; to break the psychology of a people — and according to reports this is exactly what [it] has succeeded in doing.”

You should read the whole article as it details how this book is put into use by ISIS (ISIL), and what they are going for is an Islamic caliphate. When they threaten to raise the flag of Allah about the White House, this is not some empty bloviation: this is something they actually want to do, and will work towards. Whether we would stop them is a different story.

Let’s face it, though: there is another playbook being used. The Koran. Some see peace in the book, some see violence. They see spreading Islam at the point of a sword. They see giving infidels a choice: convert or die.

(TROP) The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

The context of violent passages is more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God, however this can work both ways. Most of today’s Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book’s call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about justifiable violence. Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.

And you get passages such as

Quran (8:12)“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

Call it Islamaphobia, call it “hating”, attempt to make a false equivalence with the Bible, at the end of the day, the Koran gives all a jihadi needs to be barbaric.

And, yes, not all Muslims practice the violence. But, there are more than enough that do. Hardcores are streaming from around the world to join ISIS.

We’ll leave the discussion of how many radical Muslims are using peaceful methods to take over for another day.

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5 Responses to “ISIS Has A Playbook. And It’s Ultra Violent”

  1. david7134 says:

    I was just listening to a lecture from the Army War College about the handling of counter-insurgency. Guess what? Obama has not been doing any of the tried and true measures necessary to eliminate this stuff.

  2. […] to fly their flag over the White House. They literally have a book (no, not the Koran, another book) instructing them on how to carry out their campaign of terror and violence.They want to do the beheadings of men, women and children right here in the United […]

  3. Jeffery says:

    It is my hope that every member of ISIS dies a painful, fiery death at the hands of the Iraqis, Kurds or Americans. And soon.

    But don’t make the mistake that the Quran is more violent than your Bible.

    For example, here your God instructs his believers to stone non-believers to death.

    If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

    And others… Your God prefers killing women and children of unbelievers. See more below:

    And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the LORD’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.

    Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’ “The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”

    The sons of Judah also captured 10,000 alive and brought them to the top of the cliff and threw them down from the top of the cliff, so that they were all dashed to pieces.

    Then the Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. Whenever one of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No” they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites fell at that time.

    When the Israelite army finished chasing and killing all the men of Ai in the open fields, they went back and finished off everyone inside. So the entire population of Ai, including men and women, was wiped out that day—12,000 in all. For Joshua kept holding out his spear until everyone who had lived in Ai was completely destroyed.

    Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, unto battle at Jahaz. And Jehovah our God delivered him up before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed every inhabited city, with the women and the little ones; we left none remaining.

    So the LORD our God delivered Og also, king of Bashan, with all his people into our hand, and we smote them until no survivor was left. We captured all his cities at that time; there was not a city which we did not take from them: sixty cities, all the region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns. We utterly destroyed them, as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women and children of every city.

    Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ” … He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword.

    Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.

  4. jl says:

    Nice attempt at deflection, J. “But don’t make the mistake that the Quran is more violent than your Bible.” Don’t make the mistake to think you know what you’re talking about. Of course what’s important is not so much what the two books say, but rather what their followers do. No one is doing those things listed in the name of Christianity, but the Quran is obviously quite different. Christianity has evolved, while Islam is still stuck in the 7th century, your pathetic attempt at some sort of moral equivalence not withstanding.

  5. Jeffery says:


    Exactly my point. Both of these religions are based on the philosophy of stone age goatherders. Christianity gave us the Inquisitions, the Crusades, antiabortion violence, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, forced Christianization – but is now largely moderated by Western philosophy. The damage that Christianity inflicts on the US is largely reflected in right-wing policies – not object violence.

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