The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. One of the greatest threats to world peace and order as it exists today. Not since the peak of Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 has there been such a damning threat to us. And if it seems like ISIS is following the same error-strewn path, you need to think twice.
There is a global alliance at war against ISIS. In fact, it is the only thing that unites each and every single nation in the face of the Earth. While significant traction has been made in this fight, the threat still looms. We haven’t managed to eradicate this disease entirely.
There is a reason behind that. ISIS, unlike its predecessors, operates in a much different manner that makes it hard to get rid of. Unlike previous terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban, ISIS operates more shrewdly, in the sense that they don’t directly involve themselves in all their crusades.
Perhaps the greatest achievement (an unfortunate word in this case, but nevertheless true) of the organization is how it has been able to spread its message, vile as it may be, convincingly to a global mass. Its followers have been radicalized to such extents even without ISIS directly involving themselves. Key to this is their effective use of social media.
Social media has taken over the world, that alone is hard to refute. ISIS has managed to weave its web of influence effectively through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, spreading their message to remote audiences worldwide. They aren’t as conventional and stuck-up as their predecessors, and focus on recruiting a global army.
Due to their operations online, it is hard to entirely pin them down. Freedom of speech and expression is highly valued in the West, and any accusations made can be countered. Nowadays, there is much more of a strict policing on social media, and any communications captured with suspected ISIS members can lead to prosecution.
The point of the article is to recognize the difference in strategies ISIS employs, and why it matters. Only when we truly understand their strengths and weaknesses can we deploy a counter-strategy. In this case, the social media usage implies that governments need to have enhanced security measures to track down suspicious profiles and communication channels.
Combating terrorism today requires a strategic shift in thinking. Conventional strategies will not work anymore. And ISIS knows that.