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Old 07-08-2014   #1
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Default Beyond the frontline: watching ISIS

Londonistani is back, now commenting on the Middle East; analysing al-Baghdadi's "I'm the Caliph" speech at Friday prayers in Mosul:

As opposed to Osama's empty threats and Zawahiri's tirades, Baghdadi casts Muslims as not a downtrodden people but a nation - represented by his caliphate - who are ready to extract their revenge. Unlike his AQ predecessors, he isn't looking for unrealistic concessions from Western powers but demands allegiance and assistance from Muslims across the world - his new constituency.

But it's about more than just messaging. ISIS has learnt how to synchronise its communications, military and political efforts for best effect. It makes sense that the group would use Sunni frustration in Iraq to cobble together an alliance to take territory. But to hold its gains, it seems to need to move quickly from a shaky coalition based on Sunni grievance to something bigger. The announcement of the Caliphate and the bold speech are part of that.
He concludes:
Like AQ, ISIS's weak spots are its inflexibility, extreme sectarianism and propensity for bloodshed. And like AQ, it gains support when it can claim to be acting to "save" its core Sunni community. As many commentators have said, in real terms the announcement of Baghdadi's caliphate may mean little, but the Jihadi movement has turned a significant corner and what remains to be seen is what he can use it to do next.
Sharp-eyed observers noticed he was wearing an expensive Rolex watch on his wrist.

Londonistani had had a break from blogging, he has been working to support the media work of the Syrian opposition. His old thread on Pakistan is here:

There is a short commentary on:

Moderator's Note: thread closed and a new thread started upon President Trump being sworn in:Responding to ISIS & Terrorism under President Trump

Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-30-2017 at 11:38 AM. Reason: Add Mod's note
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