Why does Isis slay hostages? To cover up the fact that it’s losing

The Islamic State’s real social media skill makes commentators too willing to believe its shaky territorial claims

10 January 2015

9:00 AM

10 January 2015

9:00 AM

At this point in the war between the jihadist group known as the Islamic State and a US-led international coalition, many observers are wondering how Isis keeps winning. Isis is up against western air power and powerful regional opponents, and yet has apparently seized a territory larger than the United Kingdom, and is expanding into Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, and elsewhere. It seems incredible.

But the truth is that it’s difficult to say Isis is winning by any objective measure. In Iraq, the group has been put on the defensive in the provinces of Nineveh, Salahaddin, and Diyala, and may soon face a major offensive on its stronghold of Mosul. It’s true, unfortunately, that Isis is on the offensive in Anbar province, and could potentially capture new territory there. In eastern Syria, too, Isis is well-established, having brutally suppressed a tribal uprising in Dayr al-Zawr, and it faces no significant resistance in its holdings in Raqqa and Hasaka. Isis can’t be said to be losing, exactly, but it has lost its momentum — having failed to take and hold major new territory since capturing the Iraqi city of Hit in October — and its position in northern Iraq looks increasingly shaky.

Lt Muath al-Kaseasbeh of Jordan, who died defending his country and region from Isis

More to the point, Isis’s international expansion seems more of a success in press reports than it is in fact. The question observers should be asking is not why Isis is winning; rather, how it has managed to convince us of its growing power while actually treading water.

Part of the answer lies in the Islamic State’s marketing genius, and another part in our own willingness to believe its propaganda — and the inability, or unwillingness, of western governments to counter this. A good example of Isis’s flair for PR could be glimpsed on 10 November, when it received public oaths of allegiance from groups in Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Yemen. Though these simultaneous oaths had clearly been coordinated, seeing groups in various countries express loyalty at the same time created the perception that Isis was winning support and assuming leadership over the global jihadist movement.

In Egypt, the Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, formerly considered a close ally of al-Qa’eda, declared itself allied to Isis. Superficially, this seemed like a triumph, but look closer and it is less impressive. ABM has been hit hard of late: Egyptian security forces killed many of its leaders last year, including several who hewed to al-Qa’eda rather than Isis. Moreover, ABM’s pledge has probably weakened rather than strengthened jihadism in Egypt, since it has deepened rifts between the group’s al-Qa’eda loyalists and those who wanted to join the new caliphate. Though it’s somewhat of an oversimplification to divide these factions geographically, intelligence sources have suggested that the ABM affiliates most opposed to Isis are based in the Nile Valley, while the pro-Isis faction is concentrated in the Sinai. The Nile Valley faction fears that Isis’s viciousness will put off potential sympathisers. They remember what happened after the militant group Gama’a al-Islamiyya killed 62 people, mainly foreign tourists, in Luxor in 1997. Gama’a probably expected to devastate Egypt’s tourism industry; instead it turned out to have rallied the citizenry behind the government’s counterterrorism measures.

Already ABM has seen an al-Qa’eda loyalist wing, the al-Ribat al-Jihadiyya Brigade, break away. Al-Qa’eda-orientated groups are a strong presence in the Sinai and elsewhere in north Africa, so ABM’s defection to Isis reduces its ability to cooperate with other militant organisations there and diminishes its capacity to bring in arms and supplies from Libya.

Of course, press reports from Libya suggest otherwise. More than one high-profile publication has reported that an Isis-aligned group called the Islamic Youth Shura Council controls the northern Libyan city of Derna. The group has released videos of its members parading through the city, and of Isis flags flying from government buildings. But these images are misleading. In fact, the Islamic Youth Shura Council isn’t the dominant faction in Derna, which is home to about two dozen militias. With so little law and order, pro-jihad parades are less of a challenge to hold than they might be, and the sight of an Isis flag on a government building is not so remarkable.

So why has the group been described as controlling the city? The answer is that social media doesn’t reach as deeply into Libya as it does into Syria, so a few posts by the Islamic Youth Shura Council can create a perception out of step with facts on the ground. Isis’s embrace of social media doesn’t make it unique among jihadist groups, but its skills in this arena are considerably ahead of the pack.

The author and analyst J.M. Berger has documented a variety of ways that Isis has ‘gamed’ Twitter. At one point it created an Arabic-language app, Dawn of Glad Tidings, that would automatically post Isis-created tweets from anyone who installed it. These tweets were carefully ‘spaced out to avoid triggering Twitter’s spam-detection algorithms’. Isis has also been adept at helping its topics reach Twitter’s ‘trending’ panel: as Berger writes, its media operations enlist ‘hundreds and sometimes thousands of activists to repetitively tweet hashtags at certain times of day’.

On social media, Isis is competent as well as sneaky. The group pushes out propaganda with a kind of faux granularity that allows it to become accepted as fact, and has attracted younger jihadists who are at home in the medium. Within its horde of Twitter supporters, one can find wit and snark sitting comfortably alongside applause for beheadings.

Yet this proficiency with social media allows Isis and its affiliates to mask their underlying weaknesses. Algeria’s Jund al-Khalifa, for instance, wasn’t particularly large even at its peak. Since September, when it murdered a French hostage, Hervé Gourdel, security forces have killed its emir, Abdelmalek Gouri, and arrested dozens of members. Given the group’s small size, this is likely to have a disproportionate impact. As for the oath of allegiance from Yemen, not only has Isis’s Yemeni affiliate done nothing since it was first declared, but the announcement has provoked a backlash from the more established Al-Qa’eda in the Arabian Peninsula. Even Mamun Hatim, one of the most prominent AQAP-affiliated figures to speak well about Isis, has repeatedly distanced himself from the caliphate since it announced its move on to Yemeni turf.

What Isis does have is an uncanny knack for scaring the audience it wants to scare: us. And we, addicted as many of us are to horror and violence in popular culture, seem perversely eager to be frightened. A stunt such as a grisly beheading, or the forcing of the hostage John Cantlie to serve as a propagandist, takes on a media significance that distorts our sense of Isis’s power. In turn, we become more willing to accept their territorial claims, even ones that don’t stand up to serious analysis. That’s why it is incumbent on western governments to communicate the limitations of Isis’s position. Better strategic communications on the part of Isis’s foes — helping journalists decipher truth from spin — would make a difference.

The difficult question for Isis is whether its slick, shocking PR can bring it a sustainable advantage. After all, back in 2005 many observers believed that Isis’s predecessor, al-Qa’eda in Iraq, and its emir, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had eclipsed al-Qa’eda and Osama bin Laden as the leaders of global jihadism. AQI and Zarqawi make for a striking analogy to the Islamic State today: Zarqawi, like Isis, was extraordinarily popular with young jihadists and revelled in brutality, becoming infamous for slaughtering Shia Muslims and for videos of beheadings. Although Zarqawi appeared ascendent for some time, the weaknesses in his strategy soon became apparent, and they ultimately wrecked his organisation. AQI’s excesses provoked a tribal uprising against it.

But as we wait for karma to catch up with Isis, we shouldn’t be complacent about the group’s propaganda. Isis’s sheer brutality and the publicity it achieves have inspired other jihadist groups to ever more appalling acts. The Islamic State has also been able to mobilise an unusual number of ‘lone wolf’ terrorist attacks in multiple countries. And the one cost that has received less attention is that Isis’s excesses make al-Qa’eda appear mild by comparison, giving the more established terror network the opportunity to detoxify its tarnished brand — something that Osama bin Laden hoped to do before he met his end, as the documents recovered from his compound in Abbottabad reveal. The danger then is that Isis’s eventual loss will be al-Qa’eda’s gain.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies and an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University.

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Show comments
  • Rik

    You have to be fair to ISIS and all the other nut job Islamic groups around the world,they truly believe in equality.
    They are happy to murder,rape and enslave,Christians,Buddhists.Sikhs,Hindus and of course their fellow Muslims.Nor are they ageist everyone from the youngest child to the helpless old is welcome to “enjoy”the benefits of Islam.

    • WTF

      Yep, the ultimate diversity success story for liberal progressives, don’t you just love em !!!

  • Zanderz

    Good analysis, but don’t forget that, as recent events have shown, the pen is mightier than the sword.

    Winning the war on Twitter may be more effective in the long term than winning the ground in Syria and Iraq.

    It doesn’t take a lot of terror to kowtow the ‘free press’ in the west.

  • grutchyngfysch

    Isis will almost certainly fall in the long run, if for no other reason than murdering your citizens en masse does not generally produce stable and productive societies. However, we have seen enough of Islamic terrorism to be a little past the idea that the threat can be embodied by a single organisation or entity. Isis will fall – but it won’t be the end, any more than the initial crushing of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was. This is an ideology with the trajectory of a virus – and like a virus it ravages its host to such an extent that it leaves it increasingly weaker.

    Isis exploded into power in Iraq and Syria the moment the West disappeared – does anyone expect the situation to be different again when we next leave the region?

    • Paul Wonnacott

      that is really well put

    • Maria Sevastos

      Murdering people for a joke – because there is truth in jest!!!

    • StoptheHate

      No. The West should just leave and let the region sort it out. It is an internecine war. It will likely not be different if the West keeps interfering in the killings. The problem with the West is that it gets sucked into these killings which ends up with more killings.

      • grutchyngfysch

        Yes – if all the West does is keep interfering, you are correct, we will keep on playing whack-a-mole with the worst culprits and fuelling the general state of affairs. The point is about long-term engagement, and not leaving a vacuum – the easiest solution to which is to understand that it means staying there for a long long time. 50 to 60 years at least, at the outset.

        I don’t claim that I think this is politically viable – even if there were politicians with the balls not only to order the troops out but to order the troops properly supplied, and to send in after them the civic officials and leaders that are necessary to help rebuild national infrastructure, they would have an extraordinarily hard time selling it to the British public. It would be costly, with results far off (never good in the 24-hour media cycle), and with the greatest benefits being for a region far away – but it would work.

        What assuredly will not work is poorly-funded holiday wars every decade where underequipped soldiers are sent to die to achieve each successive government’s desire to appear tough. Pulling out entirely will in the short-run solve us much grief, but the whole point of understanding that Islamic terror is more than Al Qaida, more than ISIS, and will outlast either of them, is that the internecine war will claim many flags and still remain just as vicious. We are not talking about men who are riled up to go and fight the Kaiser but who will be wearied by grief enough to want nothing to do with war: we are talking about generation after generation of men, women and children being sold into a death cult that chews through its own young by weaponising them. There are no older and wiser Jihadis who can sagely warn their grandchildren of the perils of conflict.

        It means that any peace we experience in the West will be short and endlessly fraught. Terrorism will not go away – and with it, nor will heavy-handed government responses cracking down on freedoms and liberties that were once our birthright. You will not end with a secure state, but a security state whose own abuses will be fuelled by the fact of the ever-present danger of exported terrorism from those very same internecine wars.

      • AverageGuyInTheStreet

        We can leave the region yes, but we’d also need to stop immigration or start discriminating on who we let in. Sounding like a win-win to me.

        • Brogan75


  • Graeme S

    The west or moderate arab states will not win until every single one of these monsters is dead and rotting in the filthy sand fly blown graves

    • Cobbett

      Moderate Arab states such as Saudi Arabia?

  • Graeme S

    The west or moderate arab states will not win until every single one of these monsters is dead a rotting

    • wycombewanderer

      Exactly; they may be on the back foot in shitholes in Iraq and Syria, but they’re marching across western Europe apace.

      Time for the government to start doing what, apparently the Jordanians are going to do in a few hours time and stretch the necks of the traitorous hordes

  • Dodgy Geezer

    …Better strategic communications on the part of Isis’s foes — helping journalists decipher truth from spin — would make a difference….

    What would make a difference is some western journalists who had more than one brain cell, who didn’t regurgitate everything published on Twitter as fact, and who could do research instead of taking the money to write 500 words culled from Wikipedia.

    At the moment Twitter, Facebook and the Web are a godsend to a jobbing journalist with no mind of his own and a deadline in 2 hours. The problem is that all of us can browse the web as well, and we soon notice when a blogger with some news writes something, followed three days later with the newspapers claiming an exclusive, and a week later by the BBC reproducing the Guardian article on the topic…

    • evad666

      I have been entirely unsurprised by the BBC constantly pandering to the group. It really should know better.

  • Brogan75

    Nuke Raqqa, half job done.

  • Mungo Williams

    So that’s all right then. “Isis can’t be said to be losing, exactly, but it has lost its momentum” and hasn’t captured any new territory since October. Wunderbar! We can all relax and stop worrying and the Americans can stop the bombing and the Iraq army can return to its …er..economic activities.
    Always wonderful to watch the advocates of complacency at work. You might try looking at the new map of the Middle East. And asking a few of the 3,000 ‘Brits’ who have gone out to join ISIL.

    • james cormack

      ‘Brits’? Yes they may have British passports but I wouldn’t call them British.

    • StoptheHate

      Dont let them back into Britain. Let them die fighting the war.

      • evad666

        Oh but the idiot lawyers and the politicians in charge here in the UK will hear nothing against this murderous crew and their mols human rights.

  • Cobbett

    Well, that’s all right then. Not that we had anything to worry about, but I wonder why all those in Syria and Iraq are having such a rough time lately.
    As for ‘no good at war’….Basra and Afghanistan spring to mind.

  • Suleiman

    Wishful thinking. They are good enough fighters. We need to stop looking for excuses not to send in our own ground troops.

    • WTF

      Judging by what the drones are accomplishing, we don’t appear to need much in the way of ground forces except to do a tally !

    • Ed  

      No, they’re not good enough fighters. They’re being badly embarrassed by the Kurds, and they can’t even knock over a teetering old baathist regime. They’re pathetic. The British never did think much of Arab soldiers, compared to Sikhs or Ghurkas, and they were right. Not to mention repeated Arab-world-wide battlefield losses to tiny Israel…….

      • Suleiman

        They are not just Arabs. The free availability of sex slaves make young Muslims from all over the world rush there.

        If you want to feel good about yourself – fine. I still say, they are good fighters, as good as can be expected from people who were mostly non-warriors previously (in the specific army sense). Advances against them are very slow. They cause massive casualties to the Kurds. No, we need to send our ground forces to fight them there. Air strikes are having only partial success (and they must become more intensive).

        I hope that Israel will not fall into the complacency which you represent. Israel has already paid dearly for such unjustified contempt towards the enemy in previous years.

  • Radford_NG

    I wish you would stop calling it Isis/ISIS….a perfectly good and ancient name.You could call it the Islamic S.S. as they behave as the Waffen S.S. did on the Eastern Front.Their victims call them Daesh,an Arabic term meaning roughly the same as Viking did to the early English,Scots and Irish:murdering bandits who came out of nowhere;killing,raping,looting and taking slaves.(They are also known as Daeshbags).

    If on twitter look-up:kobane/YPG/YPJ/cahit storm.

    • Paul Wonnacott

      very good point, one I have made myself, I have a friend who’s daughter is called Isis, born long b4 all this, islamic SS sounds about right

    • Arthur Ascii

      How different the world would be if the Goddess Isis was still a popular choice.

  • hdb

    ISIS isn’t brilliant at manipulating the media, the media are whipping up the terrorist threat all by themselves (well, with a little help from spooks and policemen who want to build anti-terrorism empires and ‘sceurity’ companies keen to market their product).

    I can remember when we had a real terrorist threat – from the IRA and loyalist terror organisations – in this country. Terrible as this weeks events were, they would have only been a bit above an average northern Ireland week. What has happened in the UK since September 11 is nothing above the normal carnage that would be expected from random nutters like Peter Sutcliffe and Denis Nilsen. So let’s calm the rhetoric a little please journos.

    • Paul Wonnacott

      indeed, Hamilton in Dunblane, Ryan in Hungerford, Fred and Rose West, in this country you arte still more likely to get abducted, raped tortured and murdered by perverts than you are at risk of terrorist attack

      • Hogspace

        I suppose the 7/7 victims’ families and places like Rotheram are going to disagree.

        • Paul Wonnacott

          excuse me, my comment includes the Rotherham victims did I need to actually state Grooming gangs ?, I thought that was implicit in the “abducted, raped tortured and murdered by perverts” statement

    • Hogspace

      Loyalist paramilitaries never presented any threat to the people of mainland GB. Unless you happened to be a Provo money collector.

      • Paul Wonnacott

        or a Celtic football manager

  • Braboxten Dewer

    HAHAHAHA you cant even win against Al Qaeda and dreaming win against ISIS, ask Jurgen Todenhofer for clarification…. HAHHAHHHAHAHA

  • Attilio De Moliner

    no such thing as moderate muslim states

    • Maria Sevastos

      …only their women know the truth – not the burka wearing oppressed, brainwashed, scared, wimpy, fools but, the freedom fighters – they need to be in charge!!!

      • Attilio De Moliner


        • Maria Sevastos

          The women of the world that are smart enough to know they are being controlled, oppressed, used, abused and the like – only they can stop their own!!! From within!

          • Attilio De Moliner

            I agree but will they? camon ladies kick these oppressors in the nuts!

        • Maria Sevastos

          It’s time they relieve themselves of those ridiculous cover ups! Because all they do is give more power to their men… that’s not a religion it’s a cult!!! It serves no other purpose but to keep them oppressed!!!

  • Marvin

    Why are the cowards covering their faces, they hide behind their women and children
    do barbaric and vile acts.

  • WTF

    Judging from this video, it looks like a turkey shoot !


  • abacus

    How is it that none of these fearless warriors have the guts to show their face.
    They are like women in their burkas.

    • Cincinnatus

      They don’t want to lose their unemployment benefits currenty being paid to them by various European governments.

      Plus there are number of doctors who used to work for the NHS, who may wish to resume their former positions in the UK.

  • Maria Sevastos

    Isis should adopt a new name “propaganda”
    Isis is dead in the Ancient world – we gave it the wrong name just like the fake Macedonia country wannabee Greeks!!!

  • rtj1211

    Look, ISIS was funded by the CIA, MI6 and various Middle East potentates.

    From that you conclude that our ‘secuirty services’ and our allies are really rather slapdash in where they spread their favours and have no coherent strategy for peace in the Middle East.

    My view is that they do it deliberately because the narrow interests they serve (not the interests of humanity, lest you wonder) are favoured by the Middle East being a jungle of war-torn countries. They thrive on pictures of refugees to make Westerners ‘feel good about helping the crisis’, not to mention gun running to all parties, drug running to all parts of the world and organising coups to install their own client dictators (who are far preferable to the security services than any elected government of popular appeal).

    All this nonsense about how the US is the weaker party here just won’t do.

    The USA has been organising mayhem ever since 1945 and it’s about time it was required to answer every tough question put its way………and so should the supine little pillocks in the UK who say Yes Uncle Sam, No Uncle Sam, Three Bags Full Uncle Sam……

    • abacus

      I would be very interested to know where you got all this information from.

      • StoptheHate

        At least the West should just focus on defending itself and let the Iraqis, Syrians, Saudis and Iranians figure it out for themselves. I don’t see Chinese planes in that region and China has the same economic and global interests as US. China has a bigger internal jihad problem than the US. The problem with the US is somehow we keep getting involved on multiple excuses – protect oil, protect humanity, project democracy, create peace, etc… etc… and it has ended up worsening the situation. Let us stay out as China has and let them fight it out.

        • Jim Station

          That would be fine…except we in the UK get all the consequences from the middle eastern wars…immigrants who will never go back importing their paranoid hatred of us but willing to take all they can get while refusing to integrate. I’m not aware of many people from the middle east heading further east to the Asian continent. China can afford to stay out of things.

    • WTF

      I don’t buy that as in my opinion its government arrogant stupidity in not seeing the real enemy plus some PC, Multiculralism & Diversity thrown in for good measure.

    • Dogsnob

      There’s a hell of a lot of this sort of slack-bollocked nonsense on Youtube.

  • Ed  

    The PR game is important. The Viet Cong launched the Tet offensive, and were throroughly and comprehensively defeated, with heavy losses, by the US Army. Soon after, US public opinion forced the US Army to withdraw.

    This lesson has not been overlooked by the world’s bad guys.

    • Helen of Troy

      Kissinger knew the truth. The Left didn’t want to know the truth that Kissinger knew, and still doesn’t. I hate the Left with all my heart. It is the betrayer of decency, goodness, and freedom — all the things I love best about any society.

  • TRAV1S

    It worked for Hamas Palestinians so why not for ISIS?

  • WTF

    Its less of a case of ISIS conquering the media and more of western governments capitulating yet again to a minority group and ensuring the media follows the party line of multiculturalism and diversity at all costs and despite all deaths that result as a consequence.

  • Robertus Maximus

    Thank you Daveed for a rare thing – mature analysis instead of lazy copy-and-paste reporting. Your article provided a much needed respite from the doom and gloom fare we are constantly fed. More such articles from professional analysts rather than jobbing hacks would be such a relief. May I end by wishing ISIS a very unhappy and disaster-ridden New Year.

  • RandomGuy

    I believe the picture shows a Gaza Hamas militant and not ISIS member, because you can clearly see the state of Israel on his head covering, because they work to free the entire “occupied Palestine”. And because I’m Israeli we learn Arabic for 3 years during school, so I know how to read the letters, it says “Saraya Al-Quds” meaning “Jerusalem Brigades” so basically this : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Quds_Brigades.
    Yep definitely not ISIS, but Palestinian terror group.
    But it doesn’t really matter – To-mate-o, To-mat-o.

  • aloha597

    In this related video, we find Obama verbally supporting the Muslim Brotherhood: http://bit.ly/ObamaMuslimBrotherhood

  • Coleridge1

    The Islamic fanatic Mehdi Hasan has posted a vile piece in the New Statesman attacking Charlie Hebdo just days after his co-religionists massacred its cartoonists.
    Hasan asks whether any cartoonists would caricature the Holocaust. Answer – throughout the entire moslem world the Holocaust is disparaged and vile cartoons published about Jews. Moslems cite ‘freedom of speech’ as a defence for propagating racism.
    We need to be concerned about islamists like Hasan spreading their intolerant Islamic creed in UK papers as much as ISIS.

  • Beauceron

    The pen is NOT mightier than the sword. The Islamists will, eventually, win in Europe. What happened in France is the beginning of the beginning.
    There is no reason at all to believe that the European elites will ever stand up to– well, what? Our leaders fall all over themselves to announce to a gullible public that none of this has anything whatsoever to do with Islam– that peaceable, misunderstood faith so similar in its philosophy to the Amish.
    They can’t even name it, and you actually think they’ll defeat it? Face it, Europe is a dead man walking. In 60 years or so, there won’t be a Europe, at least not as we’ve known it.

    • Helen of Troy

      No, they won’t. We can crush them in a moment if we want to. And we should. The decent life of the whole world — human and animal — depends on it. It’s a question of political will. It’s a matter of the confused brutal Left getting out of the way – the Left that caused so much misery and death in the last century, finally getting out of the way and admitting that it CANNOT help.

    • Dogsnob

      Well said. If violence and aggression never got results, then I might have been planning a visit to Constantinople this summer.

  • scottnsanfran

    The taking of Mosul and the deaths of ISIS fighters is the best communicator I can think of. The arming to the teeth of the Kurds speaks louder than a good Twitter day ever could.

  • Cjones1

    Is their Caliph (Baghdadi) legitimate or not? If he is maimed or killed, ISIS dissolves. This band of miscreants, ex-cons, and psychotics who murder, rape, and massacre expect a mantle of holiness while they imitate the Devil. They have transformed themselves into swine by their actions.
    They may have surprised the unprepared, but now that ISIS is known, they will be defeated and their cause proven a lie.

  • Zanderz

    Error – already commented a month ago. Spectator seems to be publishing a lot of old stuff at the moment… (Liddle’s 5 year old piece!)

  • Gerschwin

    Their savagery is in direct inverse proportion to their grip on power and reflects their desperation – as they continue to lose they will get a lot nastier

    • Helen of Troy

      It also reflects their utter inhumanity — which the rest of the world needs to REACT TO, instead of just standing with our mouths agape that such things could happen in the 21st century. These moral outrages need to be shown that Hell awaits them, and they need to be made to fear such H-ll, or else we shall have more of this. Personally, I’d rather feed ’em to H-ll and have a happier life on Earth for the sane among us.

    • Helen of Troy

      By the way: How much ‘nastier’ can they get? They are already shoot-on-sight diseased and dangerous. As they said in the Old West, and in this case I think they were right: Some varmints just need killin’.

      I can cope with alligators. I can deal with snakes. I have even dodged a gun-wielding mugger or two (Harlem, NYC, and Houston, Texas). But these men are desperately sick. Pull it.

  • WTF

    And we we’re disgusted by the Nazis after WWII but Islam inspired terrorism beats them hands down for brutality and genocide.

    Now wait for all the lame excuses from the likes of Cameron, Miliband & Clegg and many other western leaders talking about the religion of peace as though it has nothing to do with this. How many more people must be tortured, be-headed or killed for western leaders to accept that Islam is at the core of the problem in inspiring and promoting its barbarity. Will it take a death of a member of their family to knock some sense into these deniers !!!!

  • Robert Heenan

    ISIS is a CIA/Zionist/Wahabbi mercenary terror group and this is all part of a plan to further destabalise the middle east with Jordan also being targetted for destabalisation and destruction

    • Helen of Troy

      F8ck off.

  • Cobbett

    So, it’s all a fantasy world courtesy of twitter…well that’s a relief. Nothing to worry about then.

  • Bonkim

    ISIS is an idea and their barbarity is seen as strength in the Middle East. It intimidates people there and as in Iraq Government soldiers turn tails at the first sign of blood.

  • Helen of Troy

    Put these rabid animals down. NOW. By any means necessary. If I were Churchill there would be nothing left of them by lunchtime. And no one to regret them either, the sorry b-stards.

  • WTF

    If this is winning the war against terrorism I hate to think what losing it is !

    Polls carried out into the way Muslims around the world feel about carrying out Islamic teachings show 90% of Pakistani & Afghanis back the sort of atrocities such as burning alive or beheading someone they want to kill and even in Europe and the UK, a good 50% of Muslims give tacit approval for this sort of punishment.

    Lets not fool ourselves into believing most Muslims condemn this behavior and ISIS or Islam is losing or moderating its behaviour. Jordan reacted in the correct ‘biblical’ sense by executing their terrorists and its time Cameron grew some and brought back hanging for Islamic inspired terrorist acts like the beheading of Lee Rigby. It may not stop future acts of terrorism but its a correct response and removes some ‘mad dogs’ from society !

  • AffectedNotOffended

    See propaganda works. This is what the misogynists use too, the games, the music, the misogynist p*rn, the books, the blogs, the Twitter accounts and commenters. Hence the hundreds of thousands of attacks on and hundreds of murders of women in the UK each year. Unlike potential male victims of islamic or irish terrorism though, female victims of sexist terrorists are not encouraged to carry on regardless, they are encouraged to cower and give in and take endless lists of useless and life thwarting precautions. Meanwhile, the law protects men against the this type of incitement, and offers zero protection against it for women. Instead the women who petition the male law lords for that are hounded as censors.

  • Nick

    And why did the last government and this one allow radical islam to manifest itself in the UK? Why?

    Just another reason why I will not vote for LibLabCon.

  • Fred Collier

    This entire article is based on the assertion that many (unnamed)
    observers are wondering why Isis keep winning. I read the news and accompanying commentary regularly and have seen no such suggestion. I have seen plenty of journalists writing ever greater, in terms of hysteria rather than quality, scare stories in reaction to the work of other journalists writing an easy money article, accompanied by an eye-catchingly graphic photo, on the most shocking events of the week. Those that do seem to be winning are the writers who get published in this formerly great magazine with no better qualification than
    their membership, or in this case fellowship, of an organization with an assuring
    and reasonable enough sounding name (who could argue with defending
    democracies?) which in fact operates as a kind of brothel for self-styled intellectuals to tout their assumed academic insight and independence to any rich customer that they feel they can get into bed with and still be able to justify it to
    themselves or, far more importantly, defend it in the face of criticism from fellow
    intellectuals. They have their limits (“I don’t do extreme right”), but also
    their price. Adjunct assistant professor indeed. Defunct I would have thought. If
    this is really the standard of writing you publish can I suggest something: “Fred
    Collier defends Pippa Middleton’s bum against claims it isn’t perfect” (with
    accompanying eye-catchingly graphic photo of course).

  • Fred Collier

    This entire article is based on the assertion that many (unnamed)
    observers are wondering why Isis keep winning. I read the news and accompanying
    commentary regularly and have seen no such suggestion. I have seen plenty of
    journalists writing ever greater, in terms of hysteria rather than quality,
    scare stories in reaction to the work of other journalists writing an easy money
    article, accompanied by an eye-catchingly graphic photo, on the most shocking
    events of the week. Those that do seem to be winning are the writers who get
    published in this formerly great magazine with no better qualification than
    their membership, or in this case fellowship, of an organization with an assuring
    and reasonable enough sounding name (who could argue with defending
    democracies?) which in fact operates as a kind of brothel for self-styled intellectuals
    to tout their assumed academic insight and independence to any rich customer
    that they feel they can get into bed with and still be able to justify it to
    themselves or, far more importantly, defend it in the face of criticism from fellow
    intellectuals. They have their limits (“I don’t do extreme right”), but also
    their price. Adjunct assistant professor indeed. Defunct I would have thought. If
    this is really the standard of writing you publish can I suggest something: “Fred
    Collier defends Pippa Middleton’s bum against claims it isn’t perfect” (with
    accompanying eye-catchingly graphic photo of course).

  • Fiji’s Best

    Where’s Joe Biden in all this? Wasn’t he supposed to be some sort of Middle East expert?