Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626). “Revenge is a kind of wild justice: which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out.”
Having just browsed through a sample of the typical blindfolded attempts to “understand” and thereby “defeat” the Islamic State I thought perhaps I would clarify something for the massive clique of western political “scientists” toiling endlessly for coin in the Jihadology Mines. I don’t even read Brookings output anymore, finding it to be near universally worthless. But the great part of this conflict is a contest between two different systems of consensual rule of law: man’s law (secular democracy) and God’s law (shariah).
وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“there is [a saving of] life for you in Al-Qisas [the Law of Equality in punishment], O men of understanding, that you may become Al-Muttaqun”
So I will say that what Charlie Winter calls brutality, and what other western analysts like Hassan Hassan call savagery or barbarism appeals to recruits and citizens and sunni muslims and global youth on two levels– as revenge and as law.
Revenge is one of the most potent human drives, organically speaking. The neuroreceptors for revenge are co-located in the same area of the neo-cortex as those for opiates and sex. Revenge can become addictive, like opiates and sex. The neuro-hormone cascade rewards revenge behavior in the perception of vengence justice– there are many studies on this. The human neocortex is also strongly oriented towards visual impact. It is gobsmackingly obvious why a revenge/justice narrative would appeal to youth recruits– in the past decade 9 million sunni muslims have died as a result of the US Global War on Terror. Hard to ignore the causality there– it is a greater holocaust than that visited on the jews.
Like Sir Francis says it is necessary to weed out revenge in western law– but like much of shariah, Allah’s law “manages” revenge– harnesses its power and shapes it instead of trying to suppress it. That is what Qisas is. The Wali [protector] of the victim is allowed leeway in choosing the punishment. The Islamic State considers itself the Wali of the Ummah at this point, after 9 million dead Ahlus Sunnah wa Jammal. I have to believe that is why western polysci analysts so fiercely ignore the basic facts of the legitimacy of the Islamic State. They can’t acknowledge any guilt or responsibility for the 9 million muslim dead.
But again the facts on the ground are that muslims will make up one quarter of the global population by 2050 and the great majority will be Sunni muslims, concentrated in ME, Africa, & Indonesia. There will be one billion youth in Africa by 2050, most of those in the sunni muslim belts of North Africa and Subsaharan Africa. The ME is 87% sunni and 60% youth today.
It is simply not possible to wipeout the Islamic State. All the billions of dollars and billions of words poured out on futile plans to degrade/destroy it signify zero understanding of demographics, history, and science.
Like Dr. Scott Atran says…
“The caliphate as an idea has never gone away,” Atran says, “And now that it is here again after a hiatus of nearly 100 years, as a concrete matter of fact, it will focus the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people. The critical question is not, ‘How can we thwart or destroy the caliphate?’ because attempts to do that will likely backfire. Rather the question is, ‘How can we live with and transform the idea and reality of a caliphate – and one that will be nuclear-capable probably sooner rather than later – into something that does not threaten other peoples’ ways of life?’ That is a question for everyone, but it is not even on our political radar.”