I will not enter the minutiae and nuances of each book or writer throughout this post. My focus here is another, but I shall use both books as the foundation for my thesis, albeit it might be one you heard before.
Of course, and not without motive, all we hear today is ISIS. ISIS is the threat to the world. ISIS is the biggest radical movement up to this date. ISIS fuels violence on a personal level like Al-Qaeda never did. ISIS attracts young Australian and British young kids to fight Jihad. ISIS is building a caliphate. ISIS has billions of dollars.
What is it with ISIS? What makes them so “unique”? Are they smarter? Are they businessmen? What´s going on around there? Who is ISIS? How they attract so many people?
All those questions are valid ones. They are substantiated, but are very hard to be answered objectively. The ISIS Apocalypse by William McCants, and Inside the Army of Terror by Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan try hard to answer as best as possible what make ISIS what you see in the news today. Unfortunately, they are not very successful. But I don´t blame them. Although both books are worth reading, they will not suffice if you´re looking for a better understanding of the new radical Islam phenomenon. Actually, nothing will suffice. Because in my humble opinion, it´s a matter without a straight-forward explanation.
Not one person, or organization, or think-tank, or the UN is able to explain how ISIS is conquering the Middle East, and our young and brightest. The books mention their ability to exploit social digital media, video digital effects, the force of a united banner, huge amounts of daily revenue, and on and on. But really??? These are the reasons people will join a fight to behead infidels and treat their women like garbage??? I don´t buy it.
I was hoping that by reading McCant´s and Weiss´s book I was going to have a better understanding of what´s going on with ISIS and how they became so powerful. But, after finishing both books, I was even more confused. I am sure there is a wide array of variables that made the current scenario a reality, but I am unable to pinpoint with exactitude such variables. And so are the authors, journalists, publishers, and everyone else who pretends to know something.
Time will tell if ISIS is just another radical group that will either die or transform itself into something else, like so many other groups before them. Or they will endure to create their so called caliphate and attract more and more people into their craziness.
The fact of the matter is that how such a powerful and destructive group emerged and continues to live and grow is a question even the most knowledgeable of intellectuals are struggling to find an objective answer.
ISIS’ power of persuasion, resistance and endurance is not to be underestimated. If we could find their formula, we ought to apply it for more righteous purposes. Maybe then we could balance the scales of Good vs. Evil.