Issue 15 of ISIS' Dabiq Magazine: "Break the Cross"

ISIS has released Issue 15 of Dabiq Magazine, titled "Break the Cross." You can read a safe copy of the 82 page magazine here or here.

I immediately turned to the end to see if there was something written by hostage John Cantlie. There is not.

There are some new themes, such as the West is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. Even if the bombings stop, it says the best the West can hope for is a temporary truce.

See page 30: "Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You." Shorter version: Because you are non-believers. The invasions and bombings are secondary.

ISIS seems intent on baiting the West into an all out war. It doesn't yet seem to grasp that only foolish politicians like Donald Trump and Republicans will fall for that. [More...]

Thus, even if you were to stop fighting us, your best-case scenario in a state of war would be that we would suspend our attacks against you – if we deemed it necessary – in order to focus on the closer and more immediate threats, before eventually resuming our campaigns against you. Apart from the option of a temporary truce, this is the only likely scenario that would bring you fleeting respite from our attacks. So in the end, you cannot bring an indefinite halt to our war against you. At most, you could only delay it temporarily.

.... The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay jizyah and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you. No doubt, we would stop fighting you then as we would stop fighting any disbelievers who enter into a covenant with us, but we would not stop hating you.

I'm a little confused here. First it says any truce would be temporary, the fighting will resume at some point. But it also says if disbelievers accept Islam and pay a tax, they can live in peace (although humiliated.) Does the truce last until Armageddon, the eventual battle to take place at Dabiq, or sometime sooner, to be arbitrarily decided by the Caliph or the group's leaders at the time?

I think at one point it mixes up liberal and conservative media. It refers to the liberal media as the media segment that has refused to acknowledge there is a method behind ISIS' madness:

The gist of the matter is that there is indeed a rhyme to our terrorism, warfare, ruthlessness, and brutality. As much as some liberal journalist would like you to believe that we do what we do because we’re simply monsters with no logic behind our course of action, at we continue to wage – and escalate – a calculated war that the West thought it had ended several years ago. We continue dragging you further and further into a swamp you thought you’d already escaped only to realize that you’re stuck even deeper within its murky waters....

The liberal media has gone out of its way to examine ISIS methodology and point out that everything they do is rooted in their view of the Koran or other religious texts or Sharia law. The liberal media has pointed out they view themselves not just as a terrorist group but as a state intent on governing and establishing Sharia law. It's the right wing media that has labeled them insane, barbaric monsters who behead and kill for no reason.

Moving on, on page 26, there is a Words of Advice column by an American convert to ISIS to Christians who have accepted Islam. The writer instructs on lone wolf attacks at home:

As for a final word of advice to you regarding your operation, do not make intricate plans, but instead, keep it simple and effective.

If you can obtain a weapon, do so and use it, as soon as possible and in a place that will cause the most damage and panic, bringing death and injury to the enemy of Allah, the disbelievers. Just as they terrify the Muslims in the lands of Islam, so should you terrify the disbelievers in their homelands. But unlike them, your terror shall be just, an equitable response to their crimes against Islam and the Muslim nation

On page 64, there is an interview with "one of many" ISIS fighters from Trinidad and Tobago. (Reportedly, there are 100 or more citizens of Trinidad and Tobago who have gone to Syria and joined ISIS. But there seems to be more concern about those who are planning attacks at home.) The interviewee says he is a sniper, and he has a message for Muslims in his home country:

I also say to you, my brothers, that you now have a golden opportunity to do something that many of us here wish we could do right now. You have the ability to terrify the disbelievers in their own homes and make their streets run with their blood. Where is your jealousy for the religion? They are bombing your brothers and sisters day and night in the land where Allah’s law is supreme. It is an obligation upon you to act and force them to think thrice before bombing the Muslims. Therefore, terrorize the disbelievers and make them feel fear everywhere, even in their own bedrooms. Due to their mere disbelief, their blood by default is lawful to spill.

Attack the interests of the Crusader coalition near you, including their embassies, businesses, and “civilians.” Burn down their government institutions just as they try to bomb our buildings where Allah’s law is upheld. Follow the example of the lions in France and Belgium, the example of the blessed couple in California, and the examples of the knights in Orlando and Nice. If you do so then your reward is with Allah and you will have no regrets when you meet Him.

On page 40, there's a summary of ISIS operations to date, which it says is not all of them, including France, Belgium and Orlando. It refers to the Orlando shooter as a "soldier of the Caliphate." It doesn't mention California in the section on America.

My take: Dabiq is written in English to appeal to potential converts. I've always maintained we should steer clear of ISIS's baiting and let ISIS rivals like the former Jabhat al Nusra, al Qaida, Taliban groups loyal to al Qaida, jihadists from the Khorassan region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, groups in Caucasus, etc. take it out. These rival groups will never accept al-Baghdadi as a Caliph (assuming he is even still alive) and unless we give them a reason to band together, such as killing scores of civilians in our airstrikes (which seems to be on the rise)or sending ground troops, their reach is limited. We are simply not in danger of ISIS taking over the world. Their views are not shared by other jihadist groups, even in their part of the world.

Reuters quotes analysts who believe as ISIS loses territory and fighters, and it becomes clear the attempt to establish a Caliphate has failed, ISIS will seek to increase attacks in other parts of the world. I don't disagree, but I think the pool of willing ISIS recruits is shrinking, due to the increase in influence of rival groups. ISIS can call for foreign attacks all it wants, but what if nobody's listening?

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    Too tue (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by TrevorBolder on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 06:00:23 AM EST
    Even if the bombings stop, it says the best the West can hope for is a temporary truce.

    See page 30: "Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You." Shorter version: Because you are non-believers. The invasions and bombings are secondary.

    Exactly, and the last 40 years are proof of it. They bombed the WTC in 1993. It has just ebbed and flowed. If we ignore them, they will just consolidate and strengthen themselves at home, and now they do have significant territory to call a home, and film their horrific videos.


    Homeland, through the voice of Peter Quinn, sort of nailed it in Season 5.

    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 08:12:09 AM EST
    REPORTER: Mr. Bin Ladin, will the end of the United States' presence in Saudi Arabia, their withdrawal, will that end your call for jihad against the United States and against the US ?

    BIN LADIN: The cause of the reaction must be sought and the act that has triggered this reaction must be eliminated. The reaction came as a result of the US aggressive policy towards the entire Muslim world and not just towards the Arabian peninsula. So if the cause that has called for this act comes to an end, this act, in turn, will come to an end. So, the driving-away jihad against the US does not stop with its withdrawal from the Arabian peninsula, but rather it must desist from aggressive intervention against Muslims in the whole world.

    Interview with bin Ladin by Peter Arnett then with CNN in March  1997

    What's it like? (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 09:32:03 AM EST
    Living your life in constant fear of "the other"?

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Lora on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 11:04:53 AM EST
    Much as I am amazed that I seem to agree with Jim on this matter, I believe Isis to be a serious threat that has been taken far too lightly for far too long.

    I wonder if even Bin Laden (none / 0) (#3)
    by jondee on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 08:31:20 AM EST
    would call Westerners and their families Nazis for fleeing death, destruction, and starvation?  

    Too bad (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 08:45:14 AM EST
    George W. Bush decided to help Osama out with his mission.

    Irony of (4.50 / 2) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 08:44:21 AM EST
    ironies is conservatives here in America sound just like ISIS in that both want some sort of holy war to bring about the end times or whatever.

    the "liberal media" (none / 0) (#8)
    by Lora on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 11:02:43 AM EST
    Isis may be responding to the careful distinction Obama and I suppose many in the so-called "liberal" press have made to separate the religion of Islam from terrorists who are Muslim.

    I think Isis is saying no, we are one and the same.  The reason for our actions is because of Islam.

    Yes, me know Isis is saying that.. (none / 0) (#10)
    by jondee on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 11:15:01 AM EST
    are you suggesting that the so-called liberal media shouldn't be the making the careful distinction they've been making?

    No, I'm for the distinction (none / 0) (#12)
    by Lora on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 12:24:20 PM EST
    I just don't think Isis was mixing up the liberal vs conservative press.  In fact, it's the "conservative" press that is all too happy to conflate Isis with all of Islam.

    I am Looking For an Article (none / 0) (#11)
    by RickyJim on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 11:24:47 AM EST
    that explains from the standpoint of those soldiers that have joined ISIS, why they did so and why they are willing to give up their lives for this organization.  Apparently I haven't found the right search words for Google yet.

    Close to what you are looking for? (none / 0) (#13)
    by Lora on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 12:40:53 PM EST
    Huffpost "mothers of Isis recruits"

    What Boudreau had witnessed was a classic radicalization process, Koehler told me. Its phases are remarkably similar whether the person is joining a sect of religious extremists or a group of neo-Nazis. First, the recruit is euphoric because he has finally found a way to make sense of the world. He tries to convert those around him--and, in the case of radicalized Muslims in recent years, to make them care about the suffering of Syrians. The second, more frustrating stage comes when the convert realizes that his loved ones aren't receptive to his message. This is when the family conflicts begin: arguments over clothing, alcohol, music. At this point, the convert begins to consider advice from his cohorts that perhaps the only way to be true to his beliefs is to leave home for a Muslim country. In the final stage, the person sells his possessions and often pursues physical fitness or some kind of martial training. As his frustration mounts, his desire to act becomes overwhelming, until he starts to see violence as the only solution.

    I searched on "Isis recruits rationale from their standpoint". Hard to find anything useful in their own words.  Seems like cult-style brainwashing.


    Thanks, Lora (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 05:26:50 PM EST
    Interesting. And makes sense from the point of view of what happens with the radicalized recruit.

    But at the leadership level, what is it?


    clausewitz (none / 0) (#16)
    by pitachips on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 05:49:21 PM EST
    The leaders are engaged in pure politics ("War is a continuation of politics by other means"). The cannon fodder are in it for all of the reasons detailed in the article above.

    Agreed. But what is their politics (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 08:31:54 PM EST
    and what inspired them? What was there in Islam that flowered into such hate?

    Do you thing they actually believe they can establish a European caliphate on their way to doing the same in the US?


    islam is the tool (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by pitachips on Mon Aug 01, 2016 at 09:28:24 PM EST
    Political actors, whether they were elected (present day Turkey), put into power through revolution (revolutionary Iran), through coup (Nasser/Sadat/Saddam), or through bloodline (Saudis), or seek power through terrorism, always use Islam one way or another to gain or strengthen their power. None of them actually believe it - but historically, whipping up religious fervor is a pretty reliable way to build an army of followers willing to die for the cause.

    Think about it this way. If you're trying to convince some kids that they should leave their privileged lifestyle to strap a bomb onto themselves, telling them they're dying to help kick Assad out of Syria is probably not going to work. Telling them they're the vanguard of an effort to establish a caliphate to defeat the western crusaders makes them seem a lot more important and valued.

    The people leading ISIS and other similar groups are not stupid enough to think that they have any chance at establishing some sort of worldwide caliphate. But the minute they admit that, their recruiting efforts are severely undermined. It's the "us against the world" mentality that drives a lot of these people to join the fight.


    I mostly agree (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Aug 02, 2016 at 11:34:00 AM EST
    especially about the kids. But what is the motive of the mid level?? They're the ones leading the fighting and they're being killed along side the kids. What's their cut of the victory?

    Fighters must believe at all levels. Sergeants run the military. So there must be some amount of belief up to and including the leaders.

    So there is <em>something</em> there.


    I think (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by pitachips on Tue Aug 02, 2016 at 11:42:57 AM EST
    People do things for a multitude of reasons. Some of them are true believers who have managed to survive. Some are former military who have no real skills other than fighting - and ISIS probably pays better (and more reliably) then any other job you can manage to find in the middle of a warzone. That is what we saw in Iraq after de-baathification led to tens of thousands of seasoned fighters suddenly without a means to support their families. Some are probably ultra nationalists who would fight against anyone that they consider as invaders. Some are religious fanatics. You may be looking for a unifying explanation where one doesn't exist.  

    Multi-causation.. (none / 0) (#22)
    by jondee on Tue Aug 02, 2016 at 01:06:55 PM EST
    but it seems to be the nature of the beast to seek out single unifying explanations.

    I'm put in mind of the rebel soldiers fighting for the Great Lost Cause who said they were fighting because "you're down here".