One of the benefits of starting this project has been the exposure to new sources of information. Previously, I would have considered myself a junkie for news and information but this project has taken that to a whole new level. One thing that continually surprises me however is the unbelievably great sources for information out there that I had no idea even existed! I figure if I, a self-admitted junkie don’t know about them, how many of our young military members don’t know about them either? That, in part, is the reason why I started this project and additionally, why I added the “What Others are Writing Section” on the sidebar of our front page. (If you haven’t checked it out you really should. There, I link to about 20-30 articles a day that cover a wide range of headlines.) Initially, I had envisioned daily bullets that would summarize headlines in an easily consumable fashion, but that proved harder to put together than I thought and is simply not possible with my current work and family requirements. So, if you are tired of the endless scrolling or sifting through dozens of sources of information and want a one stop click for recent headlines, you should check it out! And it there are other sources for information that you check, drop a link in the comments and I will add them to my daily reading also!
During this past week I had a chance to listen to three great podcasts and hopefully each will get a dedicated post of their own. Today, we are going to the latest Generation Jihad podcast: The Would-be Caliph was a Snitch.
In this episode, Craig Whiteside joins hosts Tom Joscelyn and Bill Roggio to discuss the new Islamic State’s leader and the recently released files on the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. While driving, I jotted down the Combating Terror website because I felt there was the potential for a new source of information and boy it did not disappoint! If you like reading and understanding the current fight in terrorism, then this site is a must stop and needs to be added to your favorites. I will be checking it daily and have also linked to it on our Additional Sources page.
The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point describes itself as:
We Teach, We Research, We Advise
The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point educates, advises, and conducts research to equip present and future leaders with the intellectual tools necessary to understand the challenges of terrorism and counterterrorism.
You can go to their origins / history here but you should not stop there. I cannot more highly recommend this source for information on anything terror related. It is truly an impressive site.
Back to the podcast. In case you have forgotten, Generation Jihad describes itself:
The war against Islamic Jihadism is defining generations. It was our father’s war, it’s our war, and will most likely be our children’s war. The FDD’ s Long War Journal team has been researching and reporting for over two decades on the jihadists fueling this terror. “Generation Jihad” features LWJ Editors Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn as they diagnose the black and white motivations behind the world’s most notorious terrorists, report on their expanding malign activities, and offer their prescriptions for confronting the multi-generational menace that is Islamic Jihadism.
Here are my notes from the podcast although I highly recommend that you scroll to the bottom of this post and listen for yourself. If you are interested in this sort of stuff, you should subscribe and listen each week. Here are my notes:
- The new emir of ISIS was a snitch and the releasing these interrogation interviews almost a year after he was announced as the emir was a missed opportunity in the information warfare campaign that could have damaged his reputation and caused leadership conflict within the Islamic State.
- ISIS does not have a cult of personality leadership model. In fact, it may be the reverse where the position is more important than the person. The leadership is not charismatic and this may be by design.
- This podcast is based off the release of 3 of 66 interrogation reports after he was captured in 2008.
- The ISIS emir is partially based of ethnicity, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi who they believe his real name is Amir Muhammad Sa’id ‘Abd-al-Rahman al-Mawla, is from a small town in the vicinity of Tal Afar which is primarily Turkman. Al-Mawla identifies as Arab very early.
- Lineage is important to the emir of ISIS but may not be a requirement as Zarqawi did not make this claim.
- While ISIS was in a pitched battle for survival, 2005-2007, al-Mawla was going to school at Mosul University trying to get a Master’s Degree in Koran Science, the same time as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
- 44 years old – Joined ISIS when others were deserting
- ISIS has long roots in Mosul and Mosul University for recruiting Sharia experts. In Mosul they were building the infrastructure for the State apparatus.
- The structure of ISIS is still al Qaeda
- ISIS tries to have Sharia experts in everything they do, similar to a JAG officer being with a SEAL Team not unlike Commissars during the Russian Revolution and in the French Revolution.
- They noted that there was no awakening in the Mosul and that was probably because of Kurdish overreach.
- Petraeus waned the Assad Regime that by allowing the pipeline of insurgents to establish from Syria to Iraq that it would eventually reverse and the insurgents would flow back into Syria.
- They discussed the decentralized insurgency and the difficulty in coordination with leaders and communicating with other groups.
- Discuss the fluid structure of the constant fighting and the second and third order effects of killing leadership and the potential that we actually make the organization better.
- Characteristics of al-Mawla, opportunist and pragmatic
- Don’t know for sure but the discuss the potential for an al Qaeda-ISIS reunion since most of the hardliners have been killed.
- Note that it is scary that ISIS has figured out succession beyond individuals.
- They believe individual actions, defections/alliances will foreshadow a potential ISIS-al Qaeda reconciliation.