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Chapter 3 examines a double paradox with regards to ISIS and fear: first, that ISIS beheadings are a spectacle, while at the same time, there exists an image ban on viewing these images, and second, that ISIS is both inherently known as a threat, yet also fundamentally unknowable. It uses the framing of the Bilderverbot, the secularized image ban of biblical origin, to examine how beheadings are represented as unrepresentable, and how this paradox enters into normalcy. The chapter tells the story of two beheadings: one of an Iraqi head and one of a Western one. The first is shown but not seen, and the latter is seen but not shown. A micro-level examination of the severed head image allows these stories to emerge. The first account, concerning the severed head of an Iraqi man working as an informant for American soldiers, allows for an examination of how beheadings are often depicted in the language of horror, or as an example of “body horror.” The second story, the story of ISIS beheadings, is one in which the severed head has become a fact of international politics and in which fear of ISIS beheadings is taken for granted.
Competition is commonplace among militant groups. Although political scientists have begun recognizing its importance, they lag behind other fields in the general study of competition. This is critical due to the strategic depth that competition brings. How one group behaves affects another group, and vice versa. Moreover, target governments and international organizations can manipulate the environment in which the groups must then interact. This chapter argues that building models to examine these issues is a useful strategy, but that the literature on political violence has not yet explored the implications. We then set the stage for the results we develop throughout the book.
Our objective was to compare care-seeking patterns in Mosul, Iraq, in 2018, 1 y after Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) control, with findings from neighborhoods that had been sampled in 2017
For this multi-stage randomized cluster household survey, we created one cluster in each of 20 neighborhoods randomly selected from the 40 neighborhoods in the 2016/17 survey; 12 in east Mosul, 8 in west Mosul. In each, 30 households were interviewed beginning at a randomly selected start house. Questions were derived from the 2016/2017 post-ISIS survey.
We interviewed the head of household or senior female in 600 households containing 3375 persons. One year after ISIS, some household demographic shifts had occurred. Diarrhea in children during the past 2 wk decreased from 50.1% to 7.5% (P < 0.001); however, cough/difficulty breathing increased from 15.5% to 33.6% (P < 0.01). Among adults, care-seeking for noncommunicable diseases increased from 22.3% to 43.5% (P < 0.001). Emotional and psychological complaints common in the previous survey were now nearly absent. Pregnancy complications diminished from 65.2% to 15.4% (P < 0.001).
Communicable diseases predominated among children and noncommunicable diseases among adults. Access to health care substantially improved, although barriers remained. Satisfaction with services was mixed, with dissatisfaction expressed about testing, medicine access, and costs, but the work of health providers was rated highly.
In the winter of 2016 I partook in a tour of the front lines facing the Dawla al Islamia, the Islamic State, in northern Iraq. Two years earlier ISIS had burst on to the world stage and conquered vast swathes of territory in a now borderless region known as ‘Syraq’. In 2014, Iraq alone suffered a third of the world’s terrorism fatalities. But not all these deaths came at the hands of ISIS or its predecessor ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’. With Sunni ISIS garnering attention as the world’s most deadly terrorist group, less attention has been paid to the terror campaign carried out by Shiite groups that was launched, in part, as a response to the terror campaign by Sunni Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and ISIS. Many observers who commented on this wave of terrorism described the spectacular rise of ISIS in 2012–14 and emergence of Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite terrorist groups as coming ‘out of the blue’. But there was a long and rarely studied prehistory to the rise of terrorism in this land that begins with the 2003 US–British invasion of this secular, Baathist-dominated country that had previously served as ‘firewall’ against both Shiite and Sunni sectarian radicalism. An understanding of this background history and the role of 2003’s Operation Iraqi Freedom in opening the Pandora’s box of sect-based terrorism in Iraq is crucial to explaining the origins, goals, tactics and local and global impact of the terrorists operating in this land.
Whether in biblical times, during the Middle Ages, or in the twenty-first century, terrorist strikes were then and are now first of all communicative acts intended to get attention in particular communities, countries, regions or even around the globe. The more people witness terrorist violence or learn of horrific attacks from news reports, the more successful are the perpetrators of political violence in furthering the universal goal of terrorists throughout history: achieving the greatest amount of publicity. The one trait that all non-state terrorist groups and lone wolves have shared throughout the history of terrorism has been their quest for attention and spreading fear among their enemies, the recognition of their grievances and demands, and the sympathies of those in whose name they claimed to act. In that respect nothing changed in the maxim that terrorism is ‘propaganda by deed’. Once communication technology was invented, from the printing press, radio, television to the Internet and particular social media platforms, all terrorists have striven for and many have found alternative media to disseminate their own propaganda in written and spoken words, visuals and even motion pictures. Yet, even in the age of mass self-communication, made possible by social media, the traditional media have remained central in the propaganda calculus of all terrorists, in that old and new communication modes have complemented each other.
It seems unarguable that religious belief and practice have contributed on occasions in the past to the generation and sustenance of terrorism. Moreover, the contemporary persistence of religious commitment suggests that such long-rooted processes may have life in them yet. In relation to terrorism as to much else, those who espouse a religious faith probably deserve more serious-minded, respectful attention than scholars sometimes afford them. Certainly, in settings where religious values and beliefs have undeniably contributed in complex ways to the dynamics of terroristic violence (such as Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine), the assumption of an evaporative quality to religion and its effects would seem profoundly ill judged. And if terrorism is potentially most revealing in regard to the world-historical forces with which it intersects, then examination of the multilayered relationships between terrorism, history and religion represents a major challenge. Accordingly, this chapter suggests that the precise nature of the important and complex relationships between terrorism and religion might helpfully be examined through addressing the following four historically minded questions. First, should religious belief and practice be seen more as causes of terroristic violence, or as restraining influences upon it? Second, has religious terrorism represented an existential threat, or more of a horrific nuisance? Third, is religious terrorism a novel phenomenon, or a recognisably familiar one? Fourth, is religion a detachable part, or an organically inextricable feature, of the beliefs which can lead to terrorist activity?
A definitional modification has had the effect of greatly magnifying the perceived importance and frequency of terrorism. The United States failed in its military interventions in Libya and in the Syrian civil war, both of which replaced coherent if unpleasant regimes with chaos and murderous disorder. There was, however, a successful campaign against Islamic State, or ISIS, or ISIL, an especially vicious, ultimately self-destructive, insurgent group that had a genius for making enemies and owed its initial successes in 2014 primarily to the often-monumental incompetence of the US-trained Iraqi army. However, as with al-Qaeda after 9/11, ISIS scarcely presented a challenge to global security, inspired near-total hostility in the area, and was soon pushed back. In defense and in decline, ISIS relied primarily not on counteroffensives, but on planting booby traps, using snipers, and cowering among civilians, and the costs for defeating it might have been lower if the methods to do so had been more measured. The strategy against ISIS worked because of a couple of features not likely to be found in many other conflicts: local forces were prepared to do the fighting and dying, and ISIS inspired existential angst in the US public.
Considers the challenges facing the state in contemporary democratic societies where it must find a balanced way of relating to traditional institutional religions, a flux of modern variants and assorted forms of belief and imported cultures, at a time when secularism is becoming steadily more assertive, and where all must be given autonomy and the freedom to mix and mutate. Takes into account the disruption caused by protracted wars in largely Muslim countries, combined with the ongoing migrant crisis, together with residual ISIS-related terrorism, all of which inevitably impose constraints upon domestic policies of multiculturalism or pluralism and impact upon civil society. Notes that these developments are accompanied by varied national progress in terms of a grid of equality and non-discrimination legislation and in subscribing to supranational human rights. This gives rise to some discussion of cultural dislocation, the levelling effect of equality legislation and perhaps the desiccation that threatens to accompany the present rights-driven approach to complex social problems.
This article analyses the decisions of Belgian and Dutch courts concerning the repatriation of the family members of foreign fighters who are now detained in dire conditions in North-East Syria. The article shows that, under international law, these women and children have no individual right to be repatriated by their State of nationality, based on either consular assistance, the extraterritorial applicability of human rights treaties, or the right of return to one's own country. Nonetheless there are good reasons why States should exercise their prerogative to repatriate.
The possible reasons why people were attracted to Paul’s message have been rather neglected in Pauline studies but are important to consider. However, we need to approach the task cautiously and make careful comparisons, for various reasons, not least to avoid any presumptions of Christian superiority. Possible reasons for the appeal of Paul’s “good news” are considered, ranging from more theological or religious reasons, such as escape from divine wrath and mystical experience, to more personal and social ones, such as Paul’s charisma and zeal, and community meals and mutual support.
This chapter explores the foreign policy discourse of the old Anglosphere coalition during the third phase of the crisis and civil war in Syria. First, the chapter considers the Anglosphere response to the rise of Islamic State, as the Anbar Campaign saw the group seize territory in northern Iraq. Second, it analyses the re-working of discourses of the War on Terror to articulate and frame the new threat for Anglosphere audiences. Third, it explores the discursive war of position that structured foreign policy debates in the USA, UK and Australia. The chapter explores how, despite some resistance, the Anglosphere rallied against the new threat in contrast to the Syrian Civil War’s first two phases.
Applying the lessons learned from the previous chapters, this chapter explores how defining ISIS as a “terrorist organization” without understanding the underlying behavioral and economic dynamics of violence is damaging to national security and the policy response to ISIS.
A personal note, written by a Syrian human rights activist and political dissident. Dr Allabwani became an opponent of the Baathist rule in 1981 (during Hafez al-Assad’s Presidency), having witnessed the Hama massacre during his compulsory military service as a medical doctor. In 2000, when Bashar al-Assad became president, Dr. Allabwani took part in meetings of activists who called for political reforms and the strengthening of civil society and institutions, later known as the ’Damascus Spring’. Dr Allabwani was arrested for his involvement and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, where he was held in solitary confinement. In this epilogue, Allabwani describes his perspective of the Syrian conflict and his vision for Syria – for the state he hopes one day his country will become but which, at this juncture, seems as remote as ever.
Considers the strong realism of Obama and how his efforts to avoid the Syrian Civil War were like those of George H. W. Bush in Yugoslavia. Examines pros and cons of his nuclear deal with Iran and his failure to contain Russian power in Ukraine and Syria, an impotence he shares with several of his Cold War and post–Cold War predecessors. Assesses the Obama foreign policy legacy and how far it explains the rise of Donald Trump.
The chapter explores restraint in the context of security. It examines two cases where restraint proved difficult or even unsatisfying: (1) the 2013 US decision to avoid military action against Syria following the latter’s 2013 chemical weapons attack and (2) the 2014 ISIS beheadings that drew the USA into a limited use of military strikes against that transnational terrorist organization. It also applies the complexes to different Islamic movements over time. It concludes via ontological security and securitization with the reasons restraint appears to be so unsatisfying in the context of security policies.
Chapter 5 deals with the creation of the Islamic State and of the movement ISIS. Their literalist and expressly politicised interpretations of doctrine have led it to espouse exclusionary and aggressive notions of the umma. The community of the faith becomes identifiable with a revived Caliphate, based on territorial dimensions and purist standards of community membership. The chapter elaborates on the trajectory of radical Islamism and points to areas of difference with al-Qa‘ida. It also argues that the brutality of ISIS against the Shi‘a and others subverts its avowed expansionist aim, as many within the Muslim world as well as non-Muslim powers have sought to destroy it. But, as the chapter demonstrates, military defeat and territorial retrenchment are unlikely to exorcise the allure, in receptive quarters, of a purportedly ‘authentic’ but highly romanticised umma.
ISIS seized Mosul in June 2014. This survey was conducted to assess health status, health needs, and health-seeking behavior during ISIS control and the subsequent Iraqi military campaign.
Forty clusters were chosen: 25 from east Mosul and 15 from west Mosul. In each, 30 households were interviewed, representing 7559 persons. The start house for each cluster was selected using satellite maps. The survey in east Mosul was conducted from March 13–31, 2017, and in west Mosul from July 18–31, 2017.
In the preceding 2 weeks, 265 (5.4%) adults reported being ill. Some 67 (25.3%) complaints were for emotional or behavioral issues, and 59 (22.3%) for noncommunicable diseases. There were 349 (13.2%) children under age 15 reportedly ill during this time. Diarrhea, respiratory complaints, and emotional and behavioral problems were most common. Care seeking among both children and adults was low, especially in west Mosul. During ISIS occupation, 640 (39.0%) women of childbearing age reported deliveries. Of these, 431 (67.3%) had received some antenatal care, and 582 (90.9%) delivered in a hospital. Complications were reported by 417 (65.2%).
Communicable and noncommunicable diseases were reported for both children and adults, with a high prevalence of emotional and behavioral problems, particularly in west Mosul. Care-seeking was low, treatment compliance for noncommunicable diseases was poor, and treatment options for patients were limited. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:758–766)
To effectively address/counter/neutralize the areas in which ISIS/ISIL/IS/DAESH has had
success in its strategy, operation and tactics, the international community must deal with
the following three issues: (A) multifaceted recruitment counter-efforts; (B) looking at
women as survivors of ISIS on a continuum from free agent to victim; (C) the need to
investigate and monitor the movement of people with concern and respect for human rights and
international treaties. The role of different actors is examined in detail. The need for
international efforts and coordination is also addressed. Concrete recommendations are
provided. The list of members of the International Task Force that worked on this
Conclusions and Recommendations is given.
More than 550 Western women have moved to Syria and Iraq to join the “Islamic State of
Iraq and Syria” (ISIS), showing a success of ISIS in attracting women from the West that no
other jihadist group had before. To explain the reasons for such success, it is important to
understand how ISIS lures women from the West, why ISIS persuasion tools are so successful,
what motivates women to join such a notorious terrorist group, famous for its brutal
violence, mistreatment and enslavement of women and what role women expected to play in the
“Islamic State.” Understanding the motives why ISIS Western female migrants left their
Western countries of residence and moved to ISIS-controlled territories is crucial to find
appropriate measures to prevent and stop the radicalization of women, to cut the support
that ISIS receives from its female sympathizers, to properly treat female returnees and to
prepare appropriate measures against women ready to plot against their countries of
residence in the name of ISIS goals.