IS have the West positioned in a catch 22 situation and looking to turn the screw. Attacks committed by IS members or those inspired by it have increased in frequency over the last two years with a tangible goal in mind. A goal that can be achieved by using the Wests very own political and media structures.
Political unrest and disaffection toward politicians and establishment figures is at an all time high among Western societies. IS are fully aware of this occurring particularly in the UK, EU and US so the time is ideal to increase attacks.
IS is not like other fundamentalist organisations for a number of reasons, one is it allows the use of it’s name to those who are inspired by it, akin to a franchise. This means it’s name can be attached to attacks committed throughout the world and thereby project an image of influence, power and reach way beyond anything seen before.
This also means that those who commit attacks may not be particularly religious or pious in their beliefs. Inspiration and radicalization may occur over a short period of time without ever properly understanding the religious ideology they are acting on behalf of.
Whether the attacker is a fully committed member of IS or not, IS only need their name to be associated with atrocities in the West to serve their purpose. The purpose is very simple but very effective, divide and conquer with the help of modern Western society.
As IS attacks occur with ever increasing frequency, public opinion toward Muslim populations within society will become increasingly negative. As attacks continue, be it mentally ill refugees, migrants, or fundamentalist Islamic members, public opinion will inevitably become more radicalized. Human nature dictates this as limits are reached and far right politics take hold.
As public opinion becomes more radicalized, radical solutions and those expressing them become more appealing. Incumbent politicians will be seen as weak and incapable of protecting their citizens, especially those of a left leaning persuasion. Previous decisions made by incumbent politicians will be used as evidence to the on going problems and capitalised on politically by the far right.
Divisions will continue to grow and serve to further alienate Muslim populations living within society which groups like IS can capitalise on. Such events will help to support IS narratives of Muslim oppression and victimization by nations of unbelievers, thereby furthering support, recruitment and legitimacy.
If a heavier handed approach is taken by incumbent politicians on Muslim populations within society, IS will reap the fall out as more Muslims become disaffected. If little is seen to be done quickly by incumbent politicians, the far right will reap the continued fall out in public opinion and IS will ultimately benefit.
24 hour main stream media news outlets must report on attacks that take place, the more attacks occur, the more they are aired. Social media is updated by the second, news spreads widely and rapidly. If main stream news outlets begin to limit reports due to their frequency and fear of radicalizing public opinion against Muslim citizens, the more the news outlets will loose credibility. This ensures IS either gains from 24 hour news cycle advertisement, or the consequences of further social division from public reaction to news outlets that have lost credibility.
The more military action is increased in Syria and Iraq, the more civilians will be killed along with IS targets. This will unsure the continuation of domestic support for IS among those affected which includes family members and tribal affiliates. IS will continue to undertake attacks in the West and increase severity where possible as they have previously stated.
Ultimately the far right will become ever more influential and may well gain power in a number of countries. This will mean the heavy handed crack down on Muslim populations within societies and the real possibility of civil unrest if not already underway by this time. The division will be complete and IS will have achieved their goal.
The West is in a catch 22 situation on multiple fronts. Given the current political and social unrest already present in many countries, the ground is fertile. Real and very dangerous ramifications are now present to any decisions made going forward, unfortunately one thing is for certain, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.