This a response to two excellent Atlantic articles by Graeme Wood: What ISIS Really Wants and What ISIS Really Wants the Response. Woods article is the first honest attempt I have seen to understand the Prophetic Methodology.
Bismullah. Let us just dispense with the sillie ISIS/ISIL acronyms unless you want to go with ISISLLN to add the wilayats of Libya and Nigeria– its going to get out of control.
It is foolish to argue that IS is NOT Islam– there are many variants, many schools. If you believe (as I do) that the uncreated revealed Quran is outside time and space then it must contain all possible versions of Islam– a kind of islamic many worlds theory. IS represents jihadi-salafism, an islamic tradition dating from Ibn Taymiyya and the Mongol invasion.
I was surprised to learn Will McCants translation of Abu Bakr Naji’s Management of Savagery has been around for four or five years. It exquisitely details the goals and strategies of the Islamic State and the roadmap. Cole Bunzel recently mocked IS as a “paper caliphate” but he couldn’t be more wrong. Naji doctrine is a shellscript for propagating and executing jihadi-salafism, and it has been running in the background since 2004. Naji speaks to the use of violence, unviolable blood, both warfighting and administrative jurisprudence, superpower collapse, destruction of the “media halo” (NetWar) and creation and management of savage chaos.
therefore, the management of savagery is defined very succinctly asthe management of savage chaos!! –Naji
There have been millions of words written by cottage industry “jihadologists” laboring in the American Terror Economy in seemingly vain attempts to determine what IS wants and how they plan to get it. ( And millions of runs of simulation code written by the wargaming quants that toil in the sub-basements of the Pentagon.) Its really very simple. IS wants Chaos.
In Nonlinear System Dynamics the basic model looks like this–
NLSystem–> NLSystem Collapse–> Chaos –> Emergent Order
AKA what Dr. Strogatz calls Sync. In Syria the Assad regime collapsed and militias emerged in the chaos field. IS is the dominant emergent order, the strongest militia, even joining the chaos field in Iraq to the one in Syria by demolishing an artificial border, Sykes-Picot.
But Naji advocates a more active management style– its really brilliant. Cole Bunzel in his Brookings panel stated his belief that IS management is highly talented and unique, and the best way to defeat IS would be to remove it. But in Naji leaders are selected for both battlefield and governance skills– like transformers they can apply either warfighting jurisprudence or administrative jurisprudence as the situation demands. There is a very deep bench of talent in IS.
Probably the response I most agree with is this– from Graeme’s Muslim emailer:
[The] enemies of the Muslims may be aware of what the Muslims are planning, but it won’t benefit them at all as they prefer to either keep their heads in the sand, or to fight their imaginary war based upon rational freedom-loving democrats vs. irrational evil terrorist madmen. With this in mind, maybe you can understand to some degree one of the reasons why many Muslims will share your piece. It’s not because we don’t understand what it is saying in terms of how to defeat the Muslims, rather it’s because we know that those in charge will ignore it and screw things up anyway.
My position is that the mathematics favor IS succeeding in their goals, both the mathematics of demography and of nonlinear and complex systems dynamics. Next I will write about how social sciences also support IS, about NetWar and Social Network Theory and Antifragile Hydras.
IS embraced Chaos in the very first issue of Dabiq— props to Pieter Van Ostaeyen
The Prophet of God (Praise be upon him) said: the [last] hour will not come untill the chaos (Harj) increases. They said: and what is Harj O Prophet of God; he said: the killing, the killing.
PROTIP for the jihadology industrial complex– Ignore IS system dynamics wizardry at your own peril.