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Just Who is the Owner of ISIS?


Reflecting on “the Known unknowns and the fight against violent extremismPeter Fabricius finishes in the following manner.

Using the Arab term for ISIS, he said analysts had described a spectrum of influence of the organisation on individuals – ‘Daesh-inspired, Daesh-enabled and Daesh-directed,’ covering the range from exhortation and encouragement and inspiration on one side to direction and instruction on the other. Across that spectrum, it was hard to be sure that South Africa was not vulnerable. Ultimately, the question whether or not participation in the fight against ISIS inoculates a country from attack is an academic one. 
At the point where violent extremism is overrunning large swathes of Iraq and Syria, leaving mounds of headless bodies in its wake, whether to fight and destroy it is not a preventive option but an existential necessity – and a global responsibility. Prevention, then, becomes a luxury for those not in Daesh’s crosshairs.
Some people are undoubtedly beyond the reach of sociology, morality and reason. They are killers in search of a cause. That might be called an ‘unknown known,’ something we instinctively sense but don’t care to admit.
And what about Rumsfeld’s ‘unknown unknowns’? One might say that one of the great unknown unknowns when he was speaking in 2002 was the future emergence of ISIS, as a jihadist group even more violent and extremist than al-Qaeda. What about: did the United States itself create ISIS, to undermine and control certain Middle East states, especially those opposing Israel? That view is apparently widely held, even high up, in the Arab world, especially Iraq.
Although the US presumably did not deliberately create ISIS, only Rumsfeld himself, and a very few others, could tell us for sure whether that is in fact a known known. Otherwise it will have to be placed, like Rumsfeld’s own belief that Saddam Hussein was supplying terrorists with nuclear weapons, in a new category, the ‘known unknowables’ – fantasies we claim to believe because they serve our purposes.


Just Who is the Owner of ISIS? Just Who is the Owner of ISIS? Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on February 18, 2016 Rating: 5

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