[ by Charles Cameron — a deep look into IS / Daesh from Amsterdam ]
This video contains some of the most fine-grained analysis of IS / Daesh and the situation in Iraq / Syria that I have seen so far:
Eye-witness report from the frontline by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad [0:7:00] Discussion on the appeal of IS to foreign fighters by Shiraz Maher [0:22:15] Implications for Western foreign policy by prof. Edwin Bakker [0:37:36] Panel discussion on Western foreign policy, moderated by Ernesto Braam [0:53:15] Audience Q&A moderated by Ernesto Braam [1:02:40]
The detailed description of the mix of local interests present in IS / Daesh provided by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in his initial presentation is very impressive indeed, as are his comments around 1.32.30 about the fifty or so factions working under the IS / Daesh name and umbrella..
On another tack, one particular phrase he used [0.16.45] caught my attention:
This is a new breed of militias .. the Shia al-Qaida.
I recommend the entire 2 hour presentation.
A few further comments…
To my ear, this was one of the key remarks from Ghaith Abdul-Ahad during the Q&A:
The more you bomb, the more you radicalize.
His remarks from abound the 1.08.00 minute mark up to that quote less than a minute later are chilling in the extreme.
There’s an interesting question raised from the gallery at about the 1.16.30 mark, asking how US or European citizens volunteering to fight with the IDF differ from citizens of the same nations volunteering to fight in one branch or other of the jihad. Aren’t both of them instances of youth traveling to the Middle East to fight?
Dr Bakker responds to this question at around 1.29.20 with a story about an uncle of his who fought in the Spanish Civil War. FWIW I imagine that this is an extremely touchy question, and would welcome ZP comments..
And here’s a key Q&A remark from Shiraz Maher around 1.22.30:
What should a de-rad program look like? … Some kind of deal needs to be struck: some form of pardon, in return for cooperation, cooperation that leads to active intelligenve, that leads to us gaining a better insight about the threat…
I’m particularly interested in this video because I hold a high opinion of Dr Edwin Bakker of Leiden University, having followed his Terrorism and CT Coursera course three times now, the last two times as a TA.
I recommend his comments here, his analytic work in general, and his Coursera class in particular.
Interestingly enough for my own purposes, Dr Bakker’s final slide juxtaposed these two images, one from Zhitomar in the Ukraine, the other drom IS / Daesh in Syria, to good effect — in what regular readers here will recognise is essentially a DoubleQuote in the Wild:
All in all, a most enlightening panel.