This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Reprehensibly Sacrificing Children Jihadis for Allah

"It is striking that children are being integrated into the ISIL war machine not as substitutes but as soldiers and suicide attackers fighting alongside adult [militants]."
"We know that there are a lot more [children] being recruited than eulogized. As the military situation becomes more difficult for ISIL in the months and years to come, we'll see more instances of youths being used on the battlefield."
Charlie Winter, senior research associate, Georgia State

"[ISIL, unlike other terrorist Islamist groups] is absolutely advertising it, [its use of child soldiers]  and making it routine."
"It's about changing what is considered right and wrong, and making children almost immune to the horrific nature of what they're seeing [by exposure to atrocities; witnessing beheadings, watching ISIL videos]."
"It hardens these children and makes them more ready and psychologically available for things they'll do in the future."
Mia Bloom, professor, Georgia State
Child suicide bomber en route to fulfilling his mission - still from ISIL video

With the release of yet another atrocious video from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the question might be how it is possible for religious fervour to drain a father of love and the normal nature of parenthood to protect their offspring, in favour of sending that child off on a suicide mission from which it is well known by both father and child that the boy will never return, his body spewed in a multitude of unrecognizable parts as he detonates his suicide vest as he has been taught to do.

The boy in the video looks around twelve years of age. Boys look upon their fathers as their heroes, whom they make every effort to emulate in any conceivable way. This boy, knowing that he would never return from his mission, is confident that he is doing w hat he must for the honour of Islam. And he takes his leave of his father, to climb into an armoured vehicle that has been prepared for that mission that will produce a destructive fireball, killing all within direct distance.

He leans over to kiss his father's hand. This is no play-acting for the edification and titillation of ISIL's wide audience of would-be jihadis. The attack took place last month in Aleppo, and it represents one of an estimated 89 similar such events in the past year, where the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has dispatched children or teens, trained to execute their deadly missions to perfection. These are the 'cubs' that the 'lions' of ISIL prepare for martyrdom.

What young boy would hesitate to please his father and make him proud through his child's sacrificial prowess in war? The video was a propaganda piece posing as an eulogy to the courage of a child instructed to kill and to prepare himself for the honour of being recognized as a martyr. "The Islamic State is mobilizing children and youth at an increasing and unprecedented rate", states a report published by the Combating Terrorism Centre at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

This strategy embarked upon by ISIL is incorporated into a broader one meant to cultivate school-age militants who have been well seasoned in the Islamist jihadi ideology, inured by constant exposure through their indoctrination process, to the violence they help to perpetrate. While civilized onlookers are shocked, children exposed to videos like the one of a child wearing an ISIL headband pressing the button of a remote control device to detonate a bomb strapped to a car within which sit three accused spies, consider it an admirable example of military strategy.

One that excites fear and revulsion in the mind of the enemy, and resolve and envy in the mind of the children who aspire, in accord with what they are taught, to themselves become the star principal of such videos. And so, ISIL grooms children to take part in missions that they are aware they will never return from. Sixty percent of the victims who left to take part in these missions were "adolescent", between 12 to 16 years of age, with none older than 18, and some as young as 8 or 9.

In January, at least eleven children or adolescents died in ISIL strategic operations, according to the report, co-authored by researchers at Georgia State University, titled Depictions of Children and Youth in the Islamic State's 'Martyrdom' Propaganda. The report points out that ISIL considers young boys subordinate to the cause of e-establishing a universal "caliphate". The researchers anticipate that as the broader conflict goes increasingly against ISIL's aspirations, greater use of child militants will ensue.

Of 89 cases the report focuses on, 36 boys were killed carrying out operations where they drove vehicles packed with explosives; eighteen of the  youth took part in teams carrying out Kamikaze-type assaults on enemy positions firing weapons, and detonating suicide belts, while two cases reflected suicide attacks on civilian targets. Preparing the children for these killing sprees includes attendance at public beheadings and watching propaganda videos of children taking part in suicide missions.

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