Det strømmer på med stoff om ISIS: Telegraphas Harriet Alexander og Alaistair Beach ser på deres organisatoriske styrke, mens Charles Lister ved Brookings Institution i Doha forklarer hvordan vakuum gir nihilistiske krefter som ISIS en sjanse.


Vi har lenge hørt at ISIS oppsto som troll av eske så sent som i 2013. Det stemmer ikke sier Lister. Historien begynner med Abu Musab al-Zarqawi i 1999 i Afghanistan. Zarqawi er fra den jordanske byen Zarqa.

Jihadismens tre har nye skudd. Zarqawi brakte noe nytt inn i forhold til det vanlige al-Qaida, både i taktikk og strategi: En ekstrem vold og fremprovoseringen av sekterisk krig mellom sunnier og shiaer.

Det er denne taktikken ISIS har overtatt.

Den som er uten skrupler har et overtak på den som ikke tror slike finnes. Det snakkes om faren for at ISIS kan ta krigen til Vesten, men henrettelsen av James Foley er en måte å involvere Vesten på og vise at krigen har begynt.

In 1999, the IS father figure Abu Musab al-Zarqawi established a training base for his group in Afghanistan. After the United States invaded Afghanistan in late 2001, the group fled through Iran and ended up in northern Iraq. By 2003, it had effectively become Iraq’s main jihadist resistance movement. During the US occupation of Iraq, Zarqawi made a name for himself and his group. It implemented sharia law to such an extreme level that the various tribal forces rose up and drove them out in a movement called the «Awakening». The group suffered significant losses at the time. When the US began initiating its withdrawal, it marked the beginning of an opportunity for a revival of Zarqawi’s group.

From about mid-2009 onwards, it began establishing a sort of shadow influence. It launched an escalating level of attacks against security forces, a campaign of intimidation against local officials — within the military, police and local governments — and one of extreme violence. The extent of the campaign created significant leverage for the Islamic State. It also helps to explain why the IS was able to take Mosul so quickly.

Amerikanerne har lenge visst at Mosul var tilholdssted for al-Qaida. Likevel har intet skjedd.

Men det nye med ISIS er deres organisatoriske evne. Det er denne siden som gjør dem effektive og ekspansive:


«Isil is not out in the economic boondocks of Afghanistan or hidden in deserts and caves,» said Paul Sullivan, a Middle East specialist at Georgetown University in Washington. «Isil is developing in a vital oil, gas and trade area of the world. It can grab as it expands.»

Their greatest financial triumph came when they captured the Iraqi town of Mosul in June and looted the city’s banks. Reports at the time suggested the group’s fighters may have made off with £240 million, though the Iraqi government later said the heist did not occur.

Five captured oilfields provide up to £1.8 million per day in revenue, with much of the oil smuggled across the border into Turkey and Iran.

They are thought to earn up to £5 million a month through extortion of local businesses. In the past year they are estimated to have made £40 million from taking hostages, with each foreign hostage thought to be worth £3m – although the kidnappers of American journalist James Foley demanded £80 million.


ISIS modus operandi bærer en viss likhet med Nazi-Tyskland. Hitlers Machergreifung gjorde Nazi-partiet tiltrekkende for en rekke profesjonelle. Medlemskap var en formalitet. Den virkelige motivasjonen var karrieremulighetene i den nazistiske staten. Det var heller ikke slik at nazibyråkratiet bare besto av bøller. NSDAP tiltrakk seg og utviklet en egen gruppe mennesker som var operatører: som fikk tingene til å kjøre slik de ville. Stikkordet var total makt og smidighet.

ISIS ser ut til ha en lignende type mennesker i posisjon:

Lister: Money is key here. It is well-known that the IS is almost entirely self-financed. Its money comes from the control and illicit sale of oil and gas, agricultural products like wheat, the control of water and electricity and from imposing taxes within areas it controls. It is literally earning millions of dollars each week, and a great deal of this money is pumped into social services. This is symbolic of the fact that IS is presenting itself exactly as its name implies: as an Islamic State. To do that, you have to provide the same services a government would. People are allowed to keep their jobs, but they become employees of the IS as we saw when it temporarily had control of the Mosul dam. By threat of force, and by paying salaries, they have managed to retain professionals in their jobs both in Syria and Iraq, from waiters in restaurants right up to workers at the hydroelectric dam.


Hvordan kan et fenomen som ISIS oppstå? Maktvakuumet som oppstår når en toppstyrt, autokratisk-diktatorisk regime faller, og med det river med seg staten. Regime og stat er identiske. Det ene overlever ikke uten det andre. Amerikanerne ville starte på ny og forsto ikke at de dermed øket sjansene for anarki og ekstremisme. Det gjør at USA er mer forsiktig med å fordømme Abdel Fatah al-Sisi i Egypt.

De sentrifugale kreftene var undertrykt i Irak, og når regimet var borte, sprang de frem. De som mener at dette var USAs skyld kan bare se på Syria; der oppsto krigen helt uten vestlig påvirkning. Kreftene er de samme som i Irak og de har med Midtøstens sosiale, demografiske, økonomiske, religiøse og politiske struktur å gjøre.

Hvem driver ISIS?

Både Lister og Telegraph-journalister mener det er et toppsjikt av tidligere offiserer i Saddams hær. De tar med seg det verste fra Saddams tid og setter det i jihadismens tjeneste.

Lister: It’s difficult to say with 100 percent confidence, but my perception is that military operations are being run by Baghdadi’s immediate deputies. They are largely all individuals who previously served as officers in the Iraqi military or the intelligence apparatus, so they are much better equipped to design and implement this quite professional, methodological campaign in Iraq and Syria. I would be very skeptical that Baghdadi himself could have been the architect of that.

At the top is a «cabinet» of experienced military officers.

Abu Ali al-Anbari was a major general in the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein. Under Baghdadi he is now charged with managing the Syrian territories currently under Isil control.

Another former officer from Saddam’s army is Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, who was a lieutenant colonel in military intelligence. The finances of the group’s Iraqi provinces are managed by a man calling himself Abu Salah.

Details of the Isil leadership structure were unearthed after documents were captured during a raid on the group’s positions in June.

They revealed that a series of other deputies have been assigned to a variety of roles befitting a major terrorist organisation – including the oversight of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and caring for the families of «martyrs».

Den tekniske kunnskapen er like effektiv enten den brukes av SS eller ISIS. En organisasjon er som et maskineri. Det gjelder om å forstå hvilke håndtak man drar i og hvordan man får mennesker til å arbeide for seg.

Kjernen er likevel åndelig: Perverterte idealer, førerkult og millenarianisme. Troen på tusenårsriket.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Isil is run like a terrorist bureaucracy, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed Caliph, at its head.

Born in Samarra, Baghdadi was studying at the University of Islamic Sciences in Baghdad when the US invaded Iraq in March 2003. He was not thought to be connected to either al-Qaeda or its local offshoot in the early years of resistance. But by late 2005 he had been captured as a suspected mid-ranking figure in the anti-US Sunni insurgency, and he later rose to lead al-Qaeda in Iraq before splitting with them to form Isil.

He has since established a team of obedient Islamist mandarins – everything from prisoner management to suicide operations is delegated to his deputies.

«He is rational,» said Hisham al-Hashimi, a senior Iraqi researcher senior on Islamic militancy

«He thinks very clearly about what he is doing. He is deeply ideological and committed. He is also very determined to make himself into the one true ruler of Sunni Islam.»

Et annet særtrekk ved ISIS er bruken av sosiale medier. Videoene har et moderne tilsnitt som aldri al-Qaidas videoer hadde. Hvem er det som står bak denne strategien og kunnskapen? Alle bemerker denne promotering av pop-jihad, men ingen har kunnet forklare hvem som står bak.