The lightning spread of The Caliphate in Iraq and Syria not only to Libya, Yemen and other land masses but now to Africa and Indonesia has been made possible by clever use of the worldwide web. In the 7th century the camel and the Arabian horse of Muhammad’s missionary-Jihadist-warriors were the delivery system for the new faith. Most of the Near East and serious inroads to Europe and Asia were made by a forceful and merciless army that took no quarter and demanded submission.
Today from a mishmash of groups seeking to overthrow more or less secular governments and replace them with sectarian theocracies a worldwide movement towards a Caliphate of true Islam is spreading rapidly. Converts and recruits are made by social media, video and well produced presentations worthy of the best of Hollywood and Bollywood. The alarming appeal to many Europeans to flock to the black flag is unprecedented. In past years political groups recruited by forming volunteer parties, using print media and holding rallies that could draw critical attention from wary authorities. Today’s hyper-politically correct governments fear media reaction and minority complaints that go viral more than they do any real overt signs of hostile action. The current political climate in the United States is an excellent example.
Social media in itself is a still developing and constantly changing medium. Its Byzantine web of policies and changeable rules keep many users confused and yet enthralled. Tweets, likes and selfies are posted immediately and often to the chagrin and regret of the poster. These entries are essentially eternal since even if the poster removes them someone else has shared them. The rabbit hole is endless and untraceable. Social media is private property and the network owners make their own rules and change them when it is advantageous to them. They store and sell personal information and release it only to those who pay or grant favors. The Caliphate uses many social media sites and has tens of thousands of addresses and issues multiple messages.
Social media is used to recruit those who seek a higher goal than their station in life. Teenage girls who seek to be the warrior-bride of a Jihadist run away from home to join The Caliphate. European and American Muslims fulfill their mission by serving in the holy war and the are allowed to return to await a call to Jihad in their home country. The messages are effective in motivating those who see a personal fulfillment in the Mahdi’s war. They are fully committed and single minded and internally seething. Social media is intimate, personal and addictive all at once. It is also profoundly accessible and generally untraceable. Yet it is a critical force in the worldwide spread of the Apocalyptic Jihad to places that once took weeks or months to reach and now are instantly available.
Recently a news report was published about the UK’s having a social media warfare unit. The 77th Brigade. This select group monitors pages from popular sites and abstracts data and intelligence that would have been only accessible to James Bond. Because the web is a 24/7/365 environment the dataflow is unending and can change or shift instantaneously. It has been a standard tactic of intelligence gathering to monitor “chatter” on the web by using forms of search engines that measure keyword usage and can make workable predictions of activity or events of importance to national security. This includes emails and other online media. Social media stretches this by considerable numbers. The US Army has its own group of social media experts as well and the IDF is highly active and effective in battling the social media onslaught by enemies without and within its borders.
Hamas and Hezbollah are very astute in stimulating violence by random and planned actions. Some hacking from hostile groups has been reported and the internet has as many vulnerabilities and advantages in this war of binary code and electrons. Mysteriously, the highly budgeted and vaunted NSA of the United States seems to be inert in utilizing this information. Critics have rightly declared that the Administration is more concerned about US citizens, especially conservatives and Christians, than Muslim warriors intent on violence in the lower 48 States.
Digital warfare is an important weapon in the battle for hearts and minds. The human heart can run dark and deep and be motivated by clever and devious means. The internet can be invasive, probing and can reach emotions deep in the psyche of the target audience. In ages past Muslim warriors moved across vast reaches of land to force submission to the Prophet. They sailed oceans to reach the Philippines and Indonesia, their energy saw no limits. Today the internet has expanded the reach of mullahs, ayatollahs and Mahdi’s beyond the limits of sand and sea. Time is being wasted on useless debates on how to stop this brutal sect and its violent and cruel methods. As groups such as Boko Haram and other similar minded groups in Indonesia swear allegiance to the Mahdi of Iraq and Syria, the internet recruits, invigorates and motivates many more than Muhammad in his wildest dreams ever envisioned. Pan Islam is almost upon us. Western governments are clueless and useless in this life or death struggle and it will fall to Israel and its allies in the region to act and do decisively.