ISIS Turns Against John McCain in Latest Publication

ISIS released the second edition of Dabiq, its glossy magazine yesterday, titled "It’s Either the Islamic State or the Flood"." There's a drawing of a big ark on the cover. While they certainly have mastered graphic design -- the issue is visually compelling, well laid-out, and uses easily readable fonts, it's also very long (44 pages) and mostly centered around religious concepts.

As with its other publications, it mostly ignores the West and U.S. The notable exception is that it devotes 2 pages to John McCain. On the first page it blasts him.[More...]

On “12 June 2014,” the crusader John McCain came to the senate floor to rant irritably about the victories the Islamic State was achieving in Iraq. He forgot that he himself participated in the invasion of Iraq that led to the blessed events unfolding today by Allah’s bounty and justice.

On the next page it reprints his speech. But says nothing about it. Why? I suspect it's because McCain lauded the group's power and accomplishments. He confirmed ISIS's stature as a group that is going places and to be feared. A snippet of McCain:

[ISIS]now controls at least 1/3 of Iraqi territory and is rapidly gaining more ....And of course, hourly they are experiencing greater gains while the Iraqi military and police seem to be dissolving before our very eyes.

...ISIS released footage of large numbers of weapons and armored military vehicles being received by members in Eastern Syria, confirming fears that the looted weapons would fuel the insurgency on both sides – both Syria and Iraq.

ISIS didn't follow the quote with any commentary. Obviously, it thinks the quote speaks for itself -- it's proud of McCain's validation.

More on the magazine as a whole:

I don't think this issue is intended to recruit potential young foreign fighters. It's asking instead for allegiance. It encourages people to move to the Islamic state to live with their families (it will provide housing), or alternatively, spread its message at home and on the internet. Its advice to those who can only call for allegiance via the internet, but find themselves in a "police state" is not to bomb the state -- it's to find a private internet connection.

If you live in a police state that will arrest you over such bay’āt, then use means of anonymity to convey your bay’ah to the world.

While it sets out its position on Gaza and rants against Jews in a few places, and lists a day by day progress report of its accomplishments during Ramadan, it's not very vitriolic. It reads more like a stern parent: You are going to do this my way ("It's either my way or the flood") because we say so, we are right and you aren't smart enough to make your own decisions. I found this line a little insulting:

Indeed, the people today are like a hundred camels amongst which you almost can’t find any that are fit for riding.

While the English, as usual, is very good, it also uses a lot of foreign words that represent concepts that aren't explained, making it harder to understand than the first issue. For its next issue, I'd recommend it include a glossary.

This issue also seems like an attempt by ISIS to answer its Muslim critics and justify its actions. With ISIS, its interpretation of Islam is the only one that's correct. It's very up front that there is no such thing as "free choice" in the Islamic State. You have to buy in hook, line and sinker.

Like almost all of ISIS' other publications, this issue goes back and forth between promoting itself as a danger to its foes and a benevolent and charitable host to those who accept them. As the Financial Times says:

Pictures posted on its social media sites show fighters handing out food and cuddling kittens but also shooting prisoners in mass graves and posing with beheaded corpses – sending a message that those who accept its rule are safe but those who do not face a brutal end.

Curiously, while the issue quotes a lot of people, there are very few references to the new leader of the Califphate, Abū Umar al-Baghdādī.

I don't see legions of young western foreigners flocking to ISIS as a result of this issue. It's far too concept-oriented, wordy and preachy. It's appealing for allegiance, not fighters.

Could ISIS be preparing to tone down its testosterone and adrenaline levels for a while, to concentrate on governing its conquered territories and implementing Shari'a law? I've read that ISIS uses 12 month campaigns with specific goals, and the latest, Soldier's Harvest, began in July, 2013. On Twitter, analysts say it's due to expire any day now. Or maybe there just aren't many places left to conquer in Syria and Iraq?

Not that Iraq is even remotely calming down. According to the New York Times, Malaki is now engaging in "gangland warfare" and ramping up the Shia militia assaults on Sunnis.

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    One suspects... (none / 0) (#1)
    by unitron on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 05:59:12 PM EST
    ...that they've actually been anti-McCain all along.

    And in a much less civil and tolerant way than anyone here.

    Thank you for your service (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jack203 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:38:28 PM EST
    Mr. McCain. But it is time to retire.

    The foreign policy you have championed the last decade has been an unmitigated disaster.  You have sparked a civil war in which amazingly both sides despise us as much as their foes.   You cannot promote Democracy within other countries by blowing their countrymen and relatives up and using strategies such as "shock and awe".  You are so far removed from reality your own words are used as propaganda against us.

    It is time to hang it up.  We will all be better off without you.

    Thank you.