In the previous post I’ve left you with a question: what will be the outcome of the Paris attacks for ISIS?
It’s a question with more than an answer and tells us something about cultural differences between Western audiences and the public in the Middle East countries.
The first answer, the most obvious one, is: to show that they can. Simple as that, every strike carried in a Western country is like a spot for ISIS. They show to the world that they can carry on a strike almost everywhere. Paris is like a first-class theatre for them, a way to stay on the world top news for no less than a week.
The second answer is: to show to other groups that they’re tougher than them. This is important for two different reasons. The first is about recruitment, because the new wannabe jihadist will join the stronger group. The latter is about money, because the not-so-shady financiers will bleed more money to a very active group like them.
The third reason is: for propaganda purposes. ISIS is quite different from the likes of Al-Quaeda. They learned very well the lesson about psyops and propaganda. There is a complex and well-funded network of radio stations, TV stations and web-based activist who pump up every damned thing they do in a professional way. They broadcast in a large number of languages, using every media available.
The fourth reason is: to kickstart a bigger reaction from the Western countries. We have to understand a basic point of view of this people: they want a full-scale war and they want it now. In their vision of the world, in their so-called prophecies, a great war against the Western armies will be the start of a fire that will draw every muslim of the world at their side. Call it Armageddon if you like to, but the ultimate goal of the most fanatic wing of ISIS is no less than a world-wide war.
The fifth reason is: to show to the muslims that the Western countries aren’t able to defend themselves. While waiting for the great war to come, they exploit a cultural difference between Western audiences and the great majority of the public in the muslim countries. If the Western countries do not react full-force, is because they can’t. And if they can’t, it’s because they are too weak to do that.
As you may see, they’re changing the war theme. In these last two years we’re discussing war against a bunch of militias who can’t place in the field more than 20,000 soldiers, who don’t have an air force or a navy. There are three countries (Libya, Syria, Iraq) where they are free to roam almost undisturbed. This is a paradox. And this will the start for the next post.