Islamic State in Iraq and Syria research

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Politics

Document 1

This terrorist group is well-structured and has advocacy establishments, modern technology, as well as strongly established public relations at its disposal. As a result, it has grown tremendously and this can also be attributed to its funding sources, which include oil, taxes, and engaging in criminalities. Over the past few years, ISIS has attacked various countries in Europe and targets Middle East countries. Thus, ISIS is a global threat and this calls for the establishment of string security measures globally. The U. S government needs to engage and strengthen its intelligence community in fighting the ISIS threat. There is a need to enact strategies that will prevent any ISIS attack in the future. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria The circumstances surrounding the origin of ISIS dates back to the 5-year imprisonment of Abu-Musab Al-Zargawi in Jordan. It follows his 15-year sentencing after he was found guilty of being in possession of dangerous weapons as well as being a member of the affiliated Bayat al-Jihad. Moreover, Zargawi relocated to Afghanistan from where he had contact with the al-Qaeda and was capable of starting a Jihadi Group referred to as Jund al-Sham that was later rebranded to Jama’at al-Tawhid was-Jihad (Shamieh and Szenes, 2015). The new outfit had various objectives, but the main goal was to bomb numerous tourist sites in Jordan in 1999. In 2004, Zargawi declared that he was loyal to the al-Qaeda and established the Iraq al-Qaeda with the vision of bombing various places in the world including Jordan and Shia.

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Essentially, the Islamic State (IS) was formed from al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) when the multilateral invasion by the U. S. in Iraq was intensified (Tucker, 2014). In 2006, the AQI formed an ally with the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) with the main purposes of attracting more recruitments as well as to safeguard one of the primary objectives of the al-Qaeda involving the creation of an international Islamic caliphate that would be governed by the sharia law. Additionally, the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings made ISI see a good opportunity in Syria so that it could expand the territories of the anticipated Islamic state. In 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the expansion of the organization to the Syrian territories resulting in the formation of ISIS. In essence, ISIS stopped being an affiliate of the al-Qaeda in 2014 and became an independent organization with distinct goals and objectives.

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Nonetheless, ISIS shares some ideologies with al-Qaeda especially those concerned with vision and the group’s organizational structure. For instance, ISIS doctrines held that criminals like thieves would have their hands chopped off before the public eye while also having additional Islamic sharia legal decisions (The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, 2014). Essentially, ISIS has at its disposal, modern technology as well as a properly grounded public relations and advocacy establishments. Most of the information is conveyed through social media platforms as do the organization’s progress and plans.   The center of ISIS leadership is the Caliph, a position that is responsible for the general operations of the organization and is held by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Caliph gives orders to other junior leaders concerning the operations of the organization, and his decision is final (Front Line, 2018).

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Most of the donors mainly come from countries like Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the organization mainly has its central operation bases located in Iraq and Syria. Starting as Islamic State under the leadership of the al-Qaeda, the organization first identified its base in Iraq then later spread to Syria in a bid to cover more ground and increase its influence. Lately, ISIS has expanded its operations to the entire world with strikes in several European countries, and the U. S. Training mainly happens outside the conflict zones due to fear of interference by the U. S. military. One of the training methods used by ISIS is the sharia training program that varies among recruited new members. The difference is mainly reliant on the organization’s assessment of the person’s loyalty.

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ISIS has been able to conduct many terrorist attacks due to the sophisticated weaponry at the disposal of the organization. The weapons include advanced rockets and mortars (Shamieh and Szenes, 2015). The organization also has varied types of armor such as those with Russian, U. S. and Chinese origins. One technique that the organization has used to popularize its activities is propaganda, which is mainly distributed through social media platforms in the form of videos footages and audio files. The propaganda is mainly aimed at enhancing the organization’s recruitment and donation processes (The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, 2014). For instance, the organization has a Twitter account where it receives and conveys information and updates concerning their strikes. Further, the group’s propaganda machine endeavors to show that the organization has successfully filled the gap created in government.

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The Mosul based center for information and communication conveyed videos online showing that daily life and trading activities are going on as usual without any interference. Thus, ISIS seems to be a highly adaptable group (Cancian, 2017). Additionally, the organization employs various tactics, techniques, and procedures to counter the intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance of the coalition. The techniques include improvised fighting vehicles coating with aluminum foil to prevent damage from the extreme temperatures. Moreover, ISIS also uses strategically positioned suicide forces, who normally wait for the target from a hideout. In addition, ISIS mainly use significant events to plan attacks. Recruitment and training programs are based on religion. Essentially training programs entail orientations on political, religious as well as legal issues. The group mainly employs a multi-faceted communication strategy. Communication is majorly through the internet, especially over social media platforms.

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Contents of the messages are often based on propaganda, which is aimed at crediting the operations of the group.  According to an article by the Washington Post, the Central Intelligence Agency budget has dramatically increased between 2003 and 2013, based on a secret document obtained from a former national security agency contractor named Edward Snowden (Ehrenfreund, 2013). The figures include an estimate of $2. billion dollars that is assigned for human intelligence operations, $68. million dollars assigned towards maintaining cover, and $2. dollars on security, logistics and other needs that its people require during their assigned missions across the globe (Ehrenfreund, 2013). In a different light, the drug enforcement administration would be another great alternative to fight against ISIS. Its scope includes combating drug smuggling and drug use within the United States. This choice of agency seems to be unconventional however, ISIS has for years demonstrated that it utilizes unconventional methods to infiltrate its target communities such as the use of innocent targets as tools for their purposes (Ricks, 2015).

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An article by Clarke Colin of fortune. com (2017) highlights that ISIS territory continues to be squeezed by squeezing its primary revenue-generating streams that included oil. SIGINT is particularly important for the United States because it utilizes powerful signal processors that make use of sophisticated software algorithms to analyze signals that are transmitted with enemy emitters. This is an important collection method seeing that it facilitates data collection without placing human life at risk. The reason behind this is that humans / many people are afraid of trying to infiltrate ISIS because the consequences that would ensue tend to be very extreme and ruthless not only for the individuals in question but for their families as well.   According to a research That followed the 911 attacks, HUMINT is the most important source of intelligence information to fight against terrorism based on the challenges that terrorism present to organizations in the 21st century (Dahl & Viola 2017).

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Therefore, HUMINT would be another alternative data collection discipline that would best work for this particular terrorist group. Each of this tasks should be done with quality. The intelligence analysis strategies that would be the most effective for ISIS are expert judgment and structured analytic techniques. Expert judgment makes use of analyst’s expert knowledge for their application to new situations by combining this knowledge with other forms of expertise to highlight how definitive the results would be (“Intelligence analysis”, 2011). This intelligence analysis technique may have some pitfalls such as the fact that even experts may make flawed inferences. Nonetheless, the technique provides incredible insight, more so when fighting terrorist groups that tend to evolve with the changes in technology and communications of the 21st century. When properly implemented, the following recommendations will enable the U.

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S to prevent any catastrophic terrorist attack in the future. Adequate preparation, training, and coordination among all local agencies- In order to fully protect American population against ISIS, it is necessary for the local agencies to be prepared, funded, trained, and coordinated. Being at the forefront in protecting Americans from terrorist threats, Homeland Security along with the local agencies require increased funding. Most importantly, Homeland Security needs to work collaboratively with the intelligence community, local law enforcement, as well as the National Counterterrorism Center to ensure that all agents and first responders at the federal, state, and local levels have adequate training and information that would enable them to prevent and effectively respond to an ISIS threat on the U. Thus, Homeland Security should collaborate with other agencies in strengthening interactions and dialogues at the grassroots among Muslim communities besides all government levels and the non-Muslim societal sectors, as all Americans have a role to play in the fight against terror regardless of their ethnicities, religions, or races.

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Engagement can occur through public-private forums and task forces, and discussions on how to address security concerns. When taken together, these measures will help Homeland and the local agencies in averting any attack while at the same time being prepared for the worst. The recommended plan is critical in lessening the immediate threat posed by ISIS to American populations on the homeland. References Aid, M. mil/Journals/Military-Review/English-Edition-Archives/March-April-2017/ART-009/ Dahl, E. Viola, D. Intelligence and terrorism. Oxford research encyclopedia of international studies. Retrieved from http://internationalstudies. html?noredirect=on&utm_term=. bfa72a591ad3 Front Line (2018). ISIS Leadership. Retrieved from: http://apps. frontline.  Intelligence analysis for tomorrow: Advances from the behavioral and social sciences. National Academies Press. Pellerin, C. “Communicating Terror: An Analysis of ISIS Communication Strategy. ” Retrieved from: https://www.  International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 14(2), 149-192.

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Ricks, T. November 19). steps towards dealing with ISIS. EP. SZENES, Z. The Rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  Defense against Terrorism Review, 14(4), 363-378. Retrieved from: https://www. uni-nke. Retrieved from: https://eurasiacenter. org/publications/ISIS_Briefing_Colin_Tucker. pdf.

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