Based on things we've seen posted
online regarding ISIS, especially those directed at strong military
options (e.g., carpet bombing ISIS locations), we wish to discuss the
basic elements of the ISIS strategy. Knowing what ISIS is
attempting to accomplish can enhance efforts to combat their goals.
As noted by various analysts (an online
search will bring up several), ISIS strategy has two primary parts:
Military (geographic "Islamic State") and Terrorism. They
supplement and benefit each other.
Part I: Islamic State
ISIS has captured land in northern
IRAQ, primarily in the city of Mosul. US backed forces have been
driving ISIS out of that area. As of December of 201 6, upwards of
50,000 ISIS combatants have been killed. If things progress as
they have, the Islamic State will not be viable.
Part II: Terrorism
It is important to understand that ISIS
(and all terrorist groups) commits acts of violence in order to: :
Create widespread fear, a major
psychological goal. For this reason, they welcome being called
terrorists, because they think that label means they are succeeding in
producing fear. They absolutely do not want to be labeled for what
hey actually are, international criminals.
Create negative backlash against
Muslims in general. This backlash assists in recruiting new ISIS
members, especially amongst those already living in countries they wish
to "terrorize," thereby eliminating the need to infiltrate those
Obtain worldwide, national, or local recognition for their cause by
attracting the attention of the media
Harass, weaken, or embarrass government security forces so that the the
government overreacts and appears repressive
Steal or extort money and equipment, especially weapons and ammunition
vital to the operation of their group
Destroy facilities or disrupt lines of communication in order to create
doubt that the government can provide for and protect its citizens
Discourage foreign investments, tourism, or assistance programs that can
affect the target country's economy and support of the government in
Influence government decisions, legislation, or other critical decisions
Turn the tide in a guerrilla war by
forcing government security forces to concentrate their efforts in urban
areas. This allows the terrorist group to establish itself among the
local populace in rural areas.
As of now, ISIS appears to be winning many of these
Part II goals, especially those that involve creating backlash and
repressive responses in other countries, thereby gaining recruits in
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