Delayed Governance?

Delayed Governance?

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2190-7.ch003
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Military Tactics

The United States’ military engagement to limit the Islamic State’s physical sphere of influence will not be enough to dismantle the foundation of the group, which lies within its ability to publicize the jihad and advances online to the masses. In September 2014, General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence conceded that the United States had failed to recognize the strength of the Islamic State in relation to the weakness of the Iraqi army and unwillingness of the Syrian regime to fight IS with the force that the regime was fighting the rebel faction attempting to take out the Assad regime. Clapper stated, “What we didn’t do was predict the Islamic State’s will to fight…In this case, we underestimated IS, and overestimated the fighting capability of the Iraqi army (Ignatius, 2014).

As Vitale and Keagle (2014) argue, the United States must take an aggressive role in counteracting the spread of powerful propaganda by IS by waging a “proactive digital campaign” as opposed to the continued reactive foreign policy that has long plagued the Obama administration. The existence of a multitude of social media platforms and IS-managed, supported, or inspired accounts is an advantage to global intelligence agencies, but particularly the United States, where many of the most popular sites originate and are maintained. It is crucial that Western governments wage an aggressive digital attack on the communication and recruitment operations of IS, as well as the actual construction of a coalition of Middle Eastern nations willing to speak out and ‘put boots on the ground’ to dismantle the group’s logistical headquarters in Iraq and Syria.

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