Filling in for Steve Malzberg, Ben Swann covers how ISIS—now known as the Islamic State—grew so powerful so quickly. ISIS has adopted a strategy that is using social media, video, power, violence, mystique, wealth to build and recruit a massive network. While the president continues to add more boots on the ground and we begin to move back to war with Iraq—and make no mistake, we are going back to war in Iraq—we must consider how ISIS was given this opportunity in the first place. Is there a strategy to combat ISIS with more than just bullets and bombs? Because on their end, the strategy, believe me, is far more comprehensive.
Here are three points on the Islamic State:
1. Funding—Data has proven that they now control more than $2 billion in assets, including military equipment, oil fields in Mosul and cash from bank robberies.
2. Cruelty—They endeavor in mass executions. Christians are being slaughtered, soldiers are being decapitated, and other shocking acts of violence are part of their strategy.
3. Tactically Millennial—Their social media savvy, development of a mobile app and the production behind the video of James Foley’s beheading demonstrate how different this militant group is from any other.