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World Wide Web is ISIS's favourite playground

July 17, 2014 12:34 IST

World Wide Web is ISIS's favourite playground

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Vicky Nanjappa / Rediff.com

The World Wide Web is being effectively harnessed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant to recruit fresh blood in its ranks.

Vicky Nanjappa / Rediff.com reports

In the last few days, a lot has been written and debated about how terror outfit Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has been successfully recruiting youth, including Indian, through the social media to join its armed campaign in Iraq.

A major chunk of the 8,000-strong ISIS militia is comprised of foreign fighters; most of them have been indoctrinated through a programme that the ISIS has set up on its social media platforms.

Experts say that even if not everyone -- who has been swayed by the radical Islamic propaganda -- may end up joining the militia, the ISIS will benefit if more and more people subscribe to their ideology.

Aki Peritz, co-author of the book Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism Campaigns that Killed bin Laden and Devastated Al Qaeda and a former American Central Intelligence Agency counter-terrorism analyst, told rediff.com, “The Al Qaeda has upgraded its skills and today has slick multimedia productions.”

“They clearly kill people for the cameras. Watch enough of these productions, and you will generally notice the terrorist participants -- the executioners and the others in the shot -- seem very much at ease with what they are about to do. They take to their jobs with gusto. Even the chants of “God is great” that accompany each murder are happy, full-throated ones. And they sometimes go well beyond execution and into mutilation.”

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Photographs: Reuters

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Vicky Nanjappa / Rediff.com

“ISIS’s delight in its gruesome exploits indicates the way its leaders would run their self-declared “caliphate” across a broad swath of Iraq and Syria. But their bloodthirstiness may prove to be the group’s downfall; after all, no other Iraqi insurgent organization or Sunni tribe subscribes to its fanatical agenda,” Peritz said.

“It is hard to imagine that any permanent political settlement there could tolerate such stunts for very long. The Sunni tribes of Iraq will eventually turn on ISIS, as they have done in the past. But when that occurs, expect even more bloodletting -- and more gruesome videos.”

“They are using a multi-layered strategy to gaining publicity -- both on the Internet as well as in traditional media outlets. They reach different audiences,” Peritz added.

An Indian intelligence official told rediff.com that if camps were being held for indoctrination or training, it was possible to track them down and put and end to it. But then what could be done when the same is happening over the internet?

He said, “Is it possible to monitor all the content on the Internet? How many sites will you shut down? No government in the world can shut down sites of this nature as there are too many of them; once one is shut, another will emerge. Moreover, it is impossible to track what each one is doing on the internet, especially in India which has such a large Muslim population.”

Indian agencies are now mulling to get the local police to interact with heads of the mosques and community leaders to preach to the younger lot on a daily basis the horrors of joining such forces and also reading up radical material on the Internet. 


Photographs: Reuters

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