Isis operates in urban settings and offers recruits

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Isis operates in urban settings and offers recruits immediate opportunities to fight. It advertises bydistributing exhilarating podcasts produced by individual fighters on the frontlines. The group alsoprocures sexual partners for its male recruits; some of these women volunteer for this role, but most ofthem are coerced or even enslaved. The group barely bothers to justify this behavior in religious terms;its sales pitch is conquest in all its forms, including the sexual kind. And it has already established a self-styled caliphate, with Baghdadi as the caliph, thus making present (if only in a limited way, for now) whatal Qaeda generally held out as something more akin to a utopian future.In short, isis offers short-term, primitive gratification. It does not radicalize people in ways that can becountered by appeals to logic. Teenagers are attracted to the group without even understanding what itis, and older fighters just want to be associated with isis' success. Compared with fighting al Qaeda'srelatively austere message, Washington has found it much harder to counter isis' more visceral appeal,perhaps for a very simple reason: a desire for power, agency, and instant results also pervades Americanculture.20152006Counterterrorism wasn't the only element of national security practice that Washington rediscovered andreinvigorated after 9/11; counterinsurgency also enjoyed a renaissance. As chaos erupted in Iraq in theaftermath of the U.S. invasion and occupation of 2003, the U.S. military grudgingly starting thinking aboutcounterinsurgency, a subject that had fallen out of favor in the national security establishment after theVietnam War. The most successful application of U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine was the 2007 “surge”in Iraq, overseen by General David Petraeus. In 2006, as violence peaked in Sunni-dominated AnbarProvince, U.S. officials concluded that the United States was losing the war. In response, PresidentGeorge W. Bush decided to send an additional 20,000 U.S. troops to Iraq. General John Allen, thenserving as deputy commander of the multinational forces in Anbar, cultivated relationships with localSunni tribes and nurtured the so-called Sunni Awakening, in which some 40 Sunni tribes or subtribesessentially switched sides and decided to fight with the newly augmented U.S. forces against aqi. By thesummer of 2008, the number of insurgent attacks had fallen by more than 80 percent.Looking at the extent of isis' recent gains in Sunni areas of Iraq, which have undone much of the progressmade in the surge, some have argued that Washington should respond with a second application of theIraq war's counterinsurgency strategy. And the White House seems at least partly persuaded by this line
2/16/15, 10:04 AMEBSCOhostPage 7 of 9…01%26hid%3d4102%26bdata%3dJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%253d%253dof thinking: last year, Obama asked Allen to act as a special envoy for building an anti-isis coalition in the

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Term
Spring
Professor
ChristianaStoddard
Tags
Microeconomics, ISIS, Al Qaeda

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