The NY Times has a fantastic piece out about ISIS and Al-Bagdhadi. It is a tremendous look at the myths that are woven around this man. It is also a steady attack on how ISIS and their dear leader are both residue of the American foreign policy and military intervention in the Middle East. This is red meat for its readers. It is also selective avoidance to control the ignorance of its well informed readers. The NY Times does not want to admit it nor even let it be up for debate, but there are diversity, multicultural and religious lessons in ISIS that no liberal wants to touch. ISIS has taken a broken and beaten back group (Iraqi Sunnis) and given them something to rally around, something to fight for and an outlet to channel their energy that cuts along religious and ethnic lines.
ISIS is a terror organization, but one that is pretty well put together with powerpoint presentations, quarterly reports, and other Bond villain ideas. They operate oil and gas facilities to keep revenue up. They think of non-confrontational ways to have leverage like controlling a dam and threatening to drown Baghdad. They have taken the Caliphate 2.0 concept from Al-Qaeda and actually claimed one. It is a Sunni organization. This is not pan-Arab nor pan-Islam. They kill those who do not convert and attack groups that are not Sunni Arabs. Kurds might be Sunni but it does not matter. Shias might be Arab but are not Sunni. This is tribal warfare with basics of you are either one of us or one of them. The NY Times avoids discussing this instead to harp on the US policy moves that led to such a figure.
The Sunni Arabs go from ruling the region in 2002 to the losers of a civil war 2006 to the main antagonists of a bribe or kill policy (the Iraq Surge) to a broken beaten down minority pushed around, hunted down and squeezed by the central government run by the ethnic majority they used to dominate. Once the US forces all left Iraq, the government security forces became a Shia unit to harass and kill Sunnis. That sounds like a depressed group looking for any positives and primed for a leader. ISIS is nuts and disliked by Sunnis who give sound bites to foreign reporters as they leave battle zones, but check the NY Times article for details. They incorporated old Baath regime generals and leaders. The leadership delegated powers to different groups. The jihdais complain he relies on Baathists too much. Look at the map of where they control, and it shows ISIS controlling ethnic Sunni areas and fighting at the edges of other groups and areas held tighter by autocrats. It is a tribal unit. It has a goal. Proclaiming an independent state as the Caliphate, while sounding bonkers to Westerners, has a strong appeal to Muslims, especially Sunni Muslims in Iraq beaten down the last few years by Shias. ISIS is also winning. The Arabs, and most humans, are known to pick the strong horse and follow the hot hand.
The Times will avoid this rally around the tribe effect because it is an unpleasant reality of the world that globalist, multicultural pushing institutions like the Times doe not want to give any attention. If the Times were honest, they would label him the public face of the fighting front of the Sunnis against the Shias. (We are seeing it right now to a lesser degree in America with the latest dead black criminal turned martyr political ritual.) It is not hard to look around the globe and question the viability of liberal democracy or even nation states themselves. Catalonia? Scotland? Ukraine? The Times would not entertain the idea or even want its readers to entertain the idea of different models, but as history moves and the world changes alternative forms of unification should be explored and debated. While barbaric in their practices, the glue made from ethnic and religious identification and unity exhibited by ISIS and those who are supporting them directly and indirectly should not be excluded from any discussion.