Everything you Need to Know to Understand the Islamic State’s Terrorist Attacks, Cope … and Fight Back

Whatever way one wants to see it, despite defeats in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and the Philippines, the Islamic State has not disappeared and will most probably remain a feature of our world for some times. The regular terrorist attacks taking place throughout the world are there to remind us that to win over ideas – […]

GEOPOLITICS, UNCERTAINTIES AND BUSINESS (6) :
The Psychological Impact of the Islamic State Terrorist Attacks

This article is the second of a two-parts of a series seeking to identify the impacts of the current and most probably forthcoming terrorist attacks by the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, and focuses on major socio-psychological consequences. It follows a first article, which started outlining a framework for impact assessment out of our current understanding of the economic consequences of terrorism, which notably pointed out the need to use mapping as methodology if the complex and cascading characters of these impacts are to be properly assessed. The larger aim of the series is notably to understand if businesses should or not neglect these aggressions and related geopolitical uncertainties, while finding out ways to foresee these risks so as to best design answers (see Helene Lavoix, “Businesses and Geopolitics: Caught up in the Whirlwinds? (1)”, The Red (Team) Analysis Society, 17 Oct 2016)

To find out which could be the psychological impacts of the ongoing string of terrorist attacks, we

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Fighting the Islamic State’s Terrorism at Home – The Third Way

On 12 and 13 June 2016, two terrorist attacks claimed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) reminded the Western population, with immediate impact on the U.K. “Brexit” polls (see below), that the war waged against them and all non-Salafis had not ended. The first attack took place against a gay nightclub in Orlando, U.S., killing 50 and wounding 48 people (e.g. BBC News, 13 June 2016). The second occurred in Magnanville, France (e.g. BBC News, 14 June 2016). There, a jihadi stabbed to death a police commanding officer, who was coming back from work, then killed the police officer’s partner under the eyes of their three and half boy in their home. The attacks generated political reactions showing that the debate has polarised but without truly evolving since the first recent […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya – Sc 2 (4) Qatar Intervenes on the Islamist Side

This article is the fourth of our series focusing on scenarios depicting interventions in the Libyan war. In our previous article, we discussed an Egyptian intervention in Libya on the nationalist side. In this article, we shall detail a Qatari intervention on the side of the Islamists, as well as possible scenario outcomes for an intensified, protracted conflict that results from either an Egyptian or Qatari intervention. At this stage for our scenarios, external actors have decided to militarily intervene in Libya by taking a side with either the Islamists or nationalists that could emerge from a renewed split in the Government of National Accord (see previous article). Considering the future names of potential factions that would result from a new split […]

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At War against a Global Islamic State – from the Philippines and Indonesia to Bangladesh

As the noose seems to be slowly tightening around the Islamic State in Mesopotamia, it is even more important to consider the global dimension of the Khilafah. It is indeed likely that all geographical components will be used by the Islamic State in its will to counter-attack and survive. A strong indication confirming the global […]

Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Money, Wealth and Taxes

As we evaluate the Islamic State’s ability to create a real and sustainable polity, we examined previously the overall structure of the Khilafah with its wilayat system (“Structure and Wilayat“), the top ruling authorities and related legitimacy (“The Calif and Legitimacy“), and the monopoly of the legitimate means of violence, i.e. military, security and police (“Means of Violence“). Continuing using Weber’s classical principles of what a state is (1919), we shall now turn to the capacity of the Khilafah to extract resources. Indeed, as the recurrent problem of public budget deficits and currently of the Greek crisis, permanently reminds us, no state may survive long without an ability to get resources or income that are necessary to carry out its mission, notably in terms of security. In other […]

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Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Means of Violence

As we seek to assess the Islamic State’s ability to create a real and sustainable polity, meanwhile understanding it better, we first focused on the overall structure of the Islamic State and its Khilafah, which can usefully be seen as a wilayat system. Then, we started analysing the top leadership constituted by the Calif (Khalif, Khalifa), the Shura Council and the Sharia Council, what these institutions mean and entail in terms of legitimacy. Here, after having rapidly explained our methodology, using Max Weber’s (1919) classical distinction, we shall focus on the monopoly of the legitimate means of violence, i.e. military, security and police. With the next post, we shall deal with the extraction of resources as well as with all the other administrative agencies. Of course, legitimacy […]

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Scenarios for the Future of Libya within the Next Three to Five Years

Now that we have identified and understood the actors in Libya’s civil war (see State of Play), we may outline the various scenarios regarding Libya’s future within the next three to five years. A civil war with two rival governments, armed coalitions, jihadists, and various tribes creates a complex climate, and we have constructed initially […]

Understanding the Islamic State’s System – The Calif and Legitimacy

In this section of our series on the Islamic State, we seek to assess the Islamic State’s ability to create a real and sustainable polity. The capture of Ramadi (Iraq, Anbar, e.g. Mitchell Prothero, McClatchy DC, 17 May 2015) on 17 May and Palmyra (Tadmur, Syria, Homs) three days later on 20 May 2015 (e.g. Oryx blog, 21 May 2015) by the Islamic State – showing among others the ability to win against two different governmental armies, one supported by the US-led coalition of 60 plus states (U.S. Gov) plus Shi’a militia and probably Iran, the other by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, two strategic cities on two fronts separated by 620km – the sudden acknowledgement by U.S. officials, that no, the war against the Islamic State […]

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Understanding the Islamic State’s System – Structure and Wilayat

Conflicting information regarding the Islamic State and the evolution of the war emerge everyday from the media, while analysts, commentators and official statements are no less swaying. For example, on 13 April 2015, “Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman” stressed that the Islamic State had “ceded 5,000 to 6,000 square miles of territory”, painting a “rosier portrait” as […]

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