Tags: Emerging Threats | ISIS/Islamic State | ISIS | islamists | experts | appeal | muslims

Maj. Gen. Nagata: To Defeat ISIS, Must Understand Its Appeal

Maj. Gen. Nagata: To Defeat ISIS, Must Understand Its Appeal
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By    |   Monday, 29 December 2014 08:13 AM

The U.S. army general tasked with defeating the Islamic State on the front lines says it is first essential to understand "the intangible power" the group wields, according to The New York Times.

Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, Special Operations commander in the Middle East, months ago brought together a panel of some three dozen experts to explore the psychology behind the appeal of the Islamic State (ISIS). Members of the group, who come from the private sector, academia and think tanks, are due to submit their final report to him in January.

In charging the panel Nagata said, "We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it."

He added, "We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea," the Times reported.

Intelligence experts are divided as to whether the movement's primary goal is ideological or territorial. A developing consensus seems to be that the Islamic State does not yet have "the bureaucratic sophistication necessary to govern," according to the Times.

The Islamc State already controls enormous tracts of Syria and Iraq. It has tried to expand operations to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Libya.

Every month, around 1,000 Muslims from all over the world travel to Iraq and Syria to fight with the extremists.

Nagata maintains that for now "we are not the target" — the Islamic State's main struggle is for supremacy within Muslim societies.

Nagata and other experts say it is necessary to understand the factors that are abetting the extremists, making them so alarmingly "magnetic" and "inspirational" to young Muslims, the Times reported.

"When I watch Americans use words like cowardly, barbaric, murder, outrageous, shocking, etc., to describe a violent extremist organization's actions, we are playing right into the enemy's hands," Nagata said. "They want us to become emotional.

"They revel in being called murderers when the words are coming from an apostate," he told the Times.

Nagata has been a commando for much of his 32-year Army career, with counterterrorism experience in Somalia, the Balkans, Pakistan and Iraq, according to the Times.

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Army Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, tasked with defeating the Islamic State on the front lines, says he first has to better understand "the intangible power" the group wields and to that end is awaiting a January report from experts he asked months ago to help, The New York Times reports.
ISIS, islamists, experts, appeal, muslims
Monday, 29 December 2014 08:13 AM
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