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Rachel Huard Implications of Technology on the War on Terror:

What Will Stop ISIL? Rachel Huard Madonna University




This paper is multi-faceted consideration of what makes new terrorist groups dangerous and

difficult to stop, using the most recent headline group, ISIL (including their origins and the poor

state of affairs in the Middle East in general). The advantages of the internet and money can go a

long way for groups like these, especially when their materials can be viewed and donated to

from anywhere in the world. In comparison the United States and its allies, ISIL has access to

wealth and human capital that we dont because they have the so-called home field advantage.

They can also use social media and press junkets to easily spread fear to whoever they want, a

strategy perpetuated by the focused nature of the media itself. With the public reactions ISIL is

receiving, both home-grown and foreign terror in its name are growing industries. What it takes

to stop this from continuing is going to depend on money, weaponry, and sheer manpower. In

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 2 Abstract This paper is multi-faceted consideration of what makes new terrorist groups

other words: how far we get in this was depends on what we want to expend. How much we

expend relies on how quickly we can dispose of the old method of warfare and devise a new

system that applies to the specific issues of new-age terrorism.

Keywords: ISIL, terrorism, technology, counter-terrorism

A/N to Professor (not going in final paper): I tried looking it up on Purdue OWL and other

bibliography sites, but I’m not sure about how to reference the images in the Appendix. From what I read, because I made the Appendix and I’m not referencing someone else’s, I don’t have

to cite it in-text. I still didn’t want to leave it unreferenced, so I included the bibliography beneath each individual image (unless I should put it on the reference page). Also, this paper has some terms in it that require some background knowledge in order to fully understand. If I explained each one in the paper, I would come up with 12 pages before I even made my point.

So I made a glossary of the more technical terms or phrases that needed to be better explained (which is why you’re going to see random italicized words, just so you know).



The Middle East has been a source of conflict and violence in the world for thousands of

years. From the Crusades to the Iraq War, the region is constantly embroiled in conflict and

dispute. Because of the instability and lawlessness, some individuals have come together in an

effort to end the fighting and become the political majority. To some in their country, they are

revolutionaries who fight for the freedom of all. They rebel against their oppressive leaders and

overcome their opposition with a zeal that has become violent in the past. The supposed “Robin

Hood” archetype these groups have to select people in their country does not always extend to

the rest of the world. The Western world tends to call these groups “terrorists,” which can be

loosely defined as anyone using excessive violence against others, inspiring fear in order to gain

political ground. Whether one calls them revolutionaries or extremists, it is imperative that the

brutality of said groups is recognized. Freedom at the price of human life is an unfortunate side

effect of war, but even war has rules of conduct (as laid out by the Geneva Convention in 1949).

When those rules are ignored, it raises shock and panic in its wake.

In the last twenty years, there have been over fifty new “terrorist” groups identified in the

Middle East alone (as defined by the INA or Foreign Relations Authorization Act) (Foreign n.d.).

Names like HAMAS, Hizballah, and al-Qa’ida are well-known and feared by the Western world

at large, especially after the September 11th attacks. Until that point, the war on terror was an

overseas engagement in the public eye. The United States sent soldiers there to fight, and they

fought. But after the attacks, terror on the home front became a recognized entity in and of itself.

The war wasn’t in a desert far away anymore; it was now on our soil. This group had the

technology and the know-how to carry out a massive, terrible attack that changed the entire face

of war in the Middle East. With the exponential growth in the technological field since the

creation of the internet, young “terrorist” cells have the inherent potential to replicate the attack



to even more catastrophic results. In essence: the younger the cells are going to have a better

relationship with new technology and the internet than decades-old cells will. This is because

web-based organizations already existed at the onset of these new groups, so the foundation of

online criminal networking was established. The genesis of the internet gave the world a way to

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 4 to even more catastrophic results. In essence: the younger the cells are

instantly communicate, spreading ideas and data wherever and whenever they wanted. This is

why new “terror” cells are so dangerous, perhaps even more dangerous than their famous


IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 4 to even more catastrophic results. In essence: the younger the cells are
IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 4 to even more catastrophic results. In essence: the younger the cells are
IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 4 to even more catastrophic results. In essence: the younger the cells are

For an example of such a group, one need only look back as far as 2004. In 2004, the

branch of al-Qa’ida that operated out of Iraq (AQI) broke from the organization and became

known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or more recently, the Islamic State of Iraq

and the Levant (ISIL) (Fuller 2015) (see Appendix A). ISIL has become one of the newest and

most notorious “terrorist cells” in the Middle East, gaining much media attention in the past few

years because of their brutality against westerners and their own people. The western world is

prepared to treat this cell as it has multiple other groups that have sprung from the area in the

past: with aerial bombings and the possibility of ground troops being deployed. However, no

group has the exact motivations and advantages that others have had before. Newer groups have

monetary and technological advantages that other groups did not have when we engaged them

before. Aspects of weapons and manpower are overshadowed by the power of news and social

media over the internet, making their creed easy to spread and difficult to stop. Our methods of

warfare become outdated when we are engaging a group that is technologically literate and

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 4 to even more catastrophic results. In essence: the younger the cells are

What is outdated, our military tactics or our assumption that we are the greatest and they are mere peons?

globally aware. If we want to keep foreign terror off our soil, then the world needs to revise the

assumption that we know exactly how to neutralize the threat.

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 4 to even more catastrophic results. In essence: the younger the cells are



To understand the extent of the issue, one must first understand the origins and mentality

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 5 To understand the extent of the issue, one must first understand the

of the people behind the name. ISIL is a group of relatively young (Engel 2014) Sunni Muslims

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 5 To understand the extent of the issue, one must first understand the

Do you mean "Americans"

(see Appendix B) that are radical Islamists, meaning that their ultimate goal is to unite all of the

Middle East (and north Africa) under the banner of the “Islamic state” (see Appendix C).

Multiple countries in the Middle East do function on partial or complete enforcement of shari’a

law, which is a code of legal and ethical practice outlined in the Qur’an (Denny 2012). Even if

shari’a isn’t enforced, the story of Islam is the foundation of these nations in much the same way

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 5 To understand the extent of the issue, one must first understand the



IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 5 To understand the extent of the issue, one must first understand the

I wonder

democracy is the flagship of the United States. Islamist ideology is similar to anti-establishment

capitalism work

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 5 To understand the extent of the issue, one must first understand the


IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 5 To understand the extent of the issue, one must first understand the

American Tea Partiers as far as philosophy. The members are a combination of spill-over from

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 5 To understand the extent of the issue, one must first understand the

the Syrian war for independence, an already existing branch of al-Qai’da, and foreign fighters

from all over the world. Many of these fighters are already from areas of turmoil, such as Jordan,

Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina (with additions from-but not limited

to-Western countries like Belgium, Sweden, and Denmark) (Foreign Fighters 2015).

ISIL is, as discussed, a Middle Eastern group. In other words, the activity is centralized

between Europe and Asia, including Saudi Arabia and the Sinai Peninsula. This area is very arid

and desolate; the main settlements are around religious sites or places where oil wealth can

support the population. More than eighty percent of the Middle East is desert, receiving less than

ten inches of rain a year and having limited natural resources (Countries 2015). As a result, the

Middle East has a wide wealth gap. Because ISIL used to be AQI, most of their activity is still

based out of Iraq (which would be a very wealthy oil country if economic sanctions in recent

years had not prevented this). Despite being centrally run from Iraq, ISIL control is growing

increasingly in the Middle East (see Appendix D).



The group now called ISIL has been active since 1999 and has been independently

working since the early 2000’s (Bryen 2014). ISIL has gone beyond radical Tea-Party-style

protests and have used their law (not necessarily the law of the land) to justify ethnic cleansing

of their own people and westerners. They use the so-called “sword verses” in the Qur’an to

launch a “Muslim Inquisition” of sorts, persecuting those who disagree or who are not as

dedicated to the cause as they are. It is their belief that by removing the competition and scaring

any would-be “invaders” from the outside world, they can be free to unite the Muslim world and

regain peace. While peace is the eventual goal of all parties involved, the continued war with

ISIL is an open opportunity for another disaster like 9/11.

What can be done to prevent this from happening boils down to capital and resources.

Money, machines, and man-power are the materials one needs to win a war. The United States

and its allies are fighting a war with ISIL on the premise of containment. In other words, cutting

of trade and arms deals in an effort to “starve” the area of income. The main problem with that

theory is that it ignores civil sustainment and internet-based donations. Operations in northern

Iraq and northern Syria have amassed several oil refineries that have funded ISIL exploits, and

they have oil-rich supporters in Qatar and Kuwait (Bronstein 2014). The United States has

attempted a series of air raids on these refineries attempting to cut off oil smuggling into Turkey

and elsewhere, but oil isn’t the only source of income ISIL has. There are internal criminal

contributions from bank robberies or town pillage that also keeps ISIL afloat. In fact, one such

robbery of the Mosul central bank could give an estimated 60,000 ISIL fighters $600 a month for

a whole year (Bryen 2014). Another way they gain revenue is practicing government policy.

Because the entire region is so unstable and has been for so many years, groups like ISIL have

deep roots and a complex hierarchy. Once an area is taken over, the IS stops being a rebel force



and becomes a theocracy. They gain money from civilians from taxes and tolls just like any

government does. With the onset of internet communications, ISIL can also set up international

donation pages and communicate with sympathizers the world-over. Therefore, although the

region itself depends on international trade and suffers from economic sanctions, ISIL could

easily be self-sufficient and be unaffected. Containment and isolationism theories from the Cold

War era are only effective on a government that relies on outside resources as a main means of

financial support.

What’s more: the United States and its allies can’t afford this war, either. The Western

powers have been a near-constant presence in the Middle East since the Gulf War. With the wars

in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone cost an estimated $4.4 trillion (Economic 2014), plus the

$41.2 billion used per year by the Department of Homeland Security (Fact Sheet 2015), and $18

trillion plus in national debt (US National 2015), the United States can’t afford to keep this

outdated version of warfare alive. ISIL clearly has the advantage in terms of money; bringing the

fight overseas is always costly, and the United States isn’t fighting in its own territory.

As far as machines go, ISIL does have friends on the outside that help. Their arsenal is a

combination of Soviet-era tanks, American operating systems, and black market arms (Harress

2014). Much of the American equipment was taken during the Syrian war and the capture of

Mosul, some of which was “sophisticated” weaponry. The problem with acquiring and using

those kinds of arms is that replacement or working parts are not commonly found on the black

market. For what they could not use, ISIL adopted the “scorched earth” policy and destroyed it

so no other faction could use it. But other supplies such as American Humvees and portable

surface-to-air missiles have been observed in official ISIL videos. There are also black market

arms shipments that are smuggled into Iraq via Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but appear to come



from private dealers in eastern Europe (most notably, Croatia) (Harress 2014). ISIL tends to stay

with smaller weapons, which make their operation more portable and better honed for guerrilla-

style warfare.

When considering how ISIL has gained such a following, one must realize that money is

also one of the main recruitment tools for ISIL fighters (besides just religious or political zeal).

As previously stated, many countries in the Middle East are quite poor. There is also a very high

unemployment rate; nearly thirty percent of the region’s under-25-years-old population is out of

work (Ellyatt 2014). Economic sanctions from other countries in this region are putting an

immense financial burden on the shoulders of the already-poor Middle East’s younger

generation. With the money that ISIL has and the support it gets from civil and foreign

communities, it’s a huge incentive to join their ranks. Health care, clean water, and food are

expenses that are all rapidly rising in cost and falling in quality. If these young people have a

family to support, then that’s what they will do regardless of whether or not they think it’s the

right thing. If anything, the sanctions being enforced now make civilians unable to afford to

decline membership.

However, the money, ground advantage, and pilfered weapons that set ISIL apart are

juxtaposed by the sheer numbers and aero-naval power of the United States and its allies. As the

battle against ISIL was mostly landlocked, the United States relied heavily on air support

(bombers, helicopters, and air-drop supplies). During the war in Syria, more naval forces were

used in addition the aircraft carriers already sustaining the air bombings over Iraq. Because of the

recent expansions into Syria and the Levant, the middle estimate for active ISIL member

(including both military and civilian positions) is close to 100,000 members (Gartenstein-Ross

2015). The United States has over a million active service members, and over 850,000 reserve



troops (Text 2013). In just man-power and machines, the west does have an advantage. However,

from what is already known about the wealth of ISIL, it should not be assumed that this

advantage can be kept.

If money, machines, and man-power run the war machine off-shore, then the media runs

the war at home. These days, not a single day will go by without hearing of some horrific deed

done in the Middle East that somehow connects back to ISIL. Names like the Taliban and al-

Qaida have nearly fallen by the wayside to make room for this new media monster. That is not

to suggest ISIL is not responsible for appalling crimes against humanity. However, one must also

understand that it is not the only active terrorist group; it is simply the one that draws the most

attention from news viewers. The reason ISIL is such a household name in the war on
attention from news viewers. The reason ISIL is such a household name in the war on terror is
because it is the subject of plenty media attention. The issue with having all this attention
spotlighted on ISIL is that it feeds terror at home, and it exacerbates the actions of so-called
“jihadists” abroad.

To illustrate, the first time many people heard of ISIL was because of the highly-

publicized beheading of James Foley in 2014. He was killed by a masked man, who ordered the

United States to cease their campaign against “his people,” or the killings would continue. Until

then, ISIL was just another terror group, indistinguishable in the public eye from any other. The

publication of the video of the death of Foley hit social media pages all over the world, and

instantly the news stations were in an uproar. Stories and connection to the group that had been

side-stories before were then front page news. The brutality of Foley’s death, while terrible to

see and a tragedy, was not a nuance in the Middle East. Previous groups in the Middle East did

use this method of execution, as well as suicide bombings and mass murders by firing squad.

Even for the local police, beheading is still a common and legal form of execution (Clark n.d.).

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 9 troops (Text 2013). In just man-power and machines, the west does have



But the fact that it was recorded and available for the masses to view via social media made it

much more personal. One could compare it to the effect of the invention of television on the

Vietnam War. Before television, one only heard death counts and progress in the war in the

newspaper or on the radio. After television, people everywhere could see the desolation,

destruction, and death that came with war. It had such shock value that it changed home front

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 10 But the fact that it was recorded and available for the masses

support of the war in Vietnam overnight. Just like the ISIL video, it made war suddenly very

close to home.

Now, the entire western world was paying attention. The United States began seeking

support from its allies to “degrade and destroy” ISIL (Obama 2014). After the world focused in

on them, the group sent messages to the United States’ best allies: Great Britain and France. Both

countries lost a citizen in the same way Sotloff was (David Haines and Hervé Gourdel,

respectively). The actions of ISIL were condemned across nations and religions; security alerts

were raised. The news media continued to print stories of the deaths of captives, and ISIL

continued to dominate the news. While a new awareness of the problems in the Middle East was

something the American populace needed, the media unwittingly did most of ISIL’s job for


The point in spreading the videos over the internet was to scare as many people as they

could and promote themselves as much as possible. To most of the American population, seeing

the message of ISIL on the news every day was frightening. People were (and still are) afraid of

another 9/11. Not only do we see their message on social media such as Twitter and Facebook,

but the name ISIL has been so canonized on television that it is now associated with any and all

terror plots in the Middle East. This is a huge promotional tool for them. First, the videos prove

to potential supporters that they are serious about what they are claiming to do. Second, this is a



very young branch of militants in several meanings of the phrase (see above). They now have the

notoriety of groups that have been around for decades (such as the Taliban) due to the

responsiveness of the media. Third, the message they give in the videos are ones of violence

under the guise of peace. The “jihadists” claimed that they would cease the violent murders of

western captives if the bombings on “their people” would end. It would seem that all they want is

peace, and victory over their oppressors. Unfortunately, this is a creed that some people feel

called to defend. This leads to the possibility of “home-grown terrorists.” The media has given

ISIL a weapon of fear and a way to spread their words (and gain potential recruits in the United

States and around the world). Fourth, the specific attention given to horrific acts simply

encourages them.

The shock and fear at the publication of the first video instigated the publication of the

next, and the next after that. The videos are meant to get a reaction, which is why they increased

in number and intensity. The murder of two Japanese nationals very close together, and then the

mass murder of twenty-one Coptic Egyptians by beheading. When both failed to bring about the

changes ISIL was looking for, members released an atrocious video of Jordanian pilot Muadh al

Kasasbeh being burned alive (Harris 2015). To put in more innocent terms, it’s the same kind of

progression of behavior one would see from a misbehaving child who wants something from

their negligent parents. The child has a tantrum breaks and something important, the parent has a

reaction to (but doesn’t correct) the mischief, and the child does it again. To keep the parent’s

attention, the child has to keep advancing the things that get ruined. Maybe the first time, the

child broke a vase. The next time, it’ll be a window. The time after that, it’ll be the car. The time

after that, the house won’t even be standing anymore.



The media attention is also intensifying religious animosity on the home front. One of the

tenants required by ISIL to end the war is to stop attacking “their people.” “Their people”

doesn’t just refer to their local nationality; it includes the world community of Muslims. So when

their videos initiate further misunderstanding between religious groups in the United States, it’s

the same to them as an assault on the battlefield. These misunderstandings are sometimes caused

by the media itself, independent of the videos they have to play. A strong understanding of

terrible events taking place but a weak comprehension of the background involved leads to an

incomplete and skewed portrait of reality. For example, the word “jihadist” is a term coined by

the media that stands for a Muslim who uses violence and warfare, and usually terror, to spread

their faith. It is similar to the term “crusader” in Christian terms. This would seem to follow, as

most people would define “jihad” as a holy war. But this is not what “jihad” actually translates

to. “Jihad” is a religious term that means “to struggle,” and is intended for personal use on the

battle of good and evil within each person (Denny 2012). It’s concoctions like this that cause

unnecessary confusion and fear between people of different faiths, which is exactly what ISIL

and other groups like it want.

Despite the western world’s refusal to acknowledge it, ISIL is a different kind of group

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 12 The media attention is also intensifying religious animosity on the home front.

than we are used to. We cannot medievally starve them out as we had in the Cold War; they are a

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 12 The media attention is also intensifying religious animosity on the home front.

self-sufficient entity. The only people feeling the economic stress are the citizens, who were

potential recruits before the sanctions made it a necessity. We cannot wipe their sources of

wealth off the face of the earth; they are many and internationally supported. We cannot

completely halt the acquiring of weapons; they have many friends and private black market

dealings that are nearly impossible to cut off totally, and their gains in Syria have given them

American-grade weapons. We cannot stop the spread of terror materials over social media; the



internet and lightning-fast communications has made that impossible. We cannot order the media

to stop publishing stories on ISIL to stanch fear at home; that would be a breach of free press and

everything America stands for. We cannot continue to allow the horrific murders of innocent

civilians (western and otherwise); it comes down to whether or not we are willing to ignore the

rise of the new genocidal empire ISIL has become. So what can we do?


I'd like to see more about the ideological

conflict that is going on between a quasi-religious centric group and a capitalistic centric group. It almost seems like things have never changed; as the preachers went into Africa to tame the savages, we in

the name of conquering the oil are trying to do much of

the same thing today.

The irony is that those who

ignore or support ISIS, e.g., China, Russia will probably end up with the oil partially because they keep ideology out of the discussion/conflict while keeping economic well within sight.

Think more about the ideological conflict ...

See you at 7:25-7:30 on 4/9




Al-Qaeda. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from

This resource gives a brief definition of al-Qai’da, including where they come from and what the

name means in Arabic, according to

Bronstein, S., & Griffin, D. (2014, October 7). Self-funded and deep-rooted: How ISIS makes its

millions - Retrieved March 22, 2015, from

This article explains how ISIL gets its money: from oil rigs to banks to rich friends outside of

Iraq. There are many facts and statistics on how much ISIL can make and where they can get it

from both government organizations and independent corporations. This is important because

they each give slightly different estimates, which helps a researcher corroborate evidence and

make a decision on which estimate is most accurate. The US Department of State figures ISIL

take about a million dollars to run per day, but takes in a lot more than that in taxes and tolls.

Bryen, S., & Johnson, M. (2014, August 20). What is ISIS, where did it come from, and when

did the US know it was there? Retrieved March 22, 2015, from


The article gives lengthy important background on the origins of ISIL and the policy the U. S.

has been adopting towards it. This helped determine how long ISIL has been an acknowledged

entity and where they are based out of. It is worth mentioning that, however detailed the site, it is

written by the Jewish Policy Center. Therefore, the opinions expressed in this article were

disregarded as possible author bias and only facts were utilized.



Clark, J. (n.d.). A history of head loss. Retrieved March 24, 2015, from


This multi-page article gives a cultural background on the history of beheading, including the

European and Middle Eastern uses of the execution method. Using examples such as the French

Revolution, it explains that beheading has been a criminal punishment for thousands of years and

is still legal in the Middle East today.

Countries and their cultures. (2015, January 1). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from


In order to explain the situation of the people who live in the Middle East currently, it was

necessary to gather information on the physical and economic conditions. This article gave

rainfall and wealth conditions of the Middle East, which helps explain why ISIL has gained such

a following: out of desperation to stay alive.

Denny, F. (2012). Jews, Christians, Muslims: A comparative introduction to monotheistic

religions (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

This text is a scholastic textbook comparing the three Abrahamic traditions: Judaism,

Christianity, and Islam. It compares many topics, such as Worship and Ritual, Scripture and

Tradition, and Political Orders, all of which are important in explaining shari’a law and the

Islamist view on operating government. It also provides a well-researched background into the

Muslim belief system and way of life.

Economic cost summary | Costs of war. (2014, June 1). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from



This article gives an itemized list of costs for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, both

separately and as a whole (statistic used in the paper). The categories include (but are not limited

to) overseas expenses (fuel, weapons, food, armor) at-home care for returning soldiers

(medication, physical and psychological therapy), and overall expenditures.

Engel, P. (2014, December 12). ISIS is too insane for some of its loyal members. Retrieved

March 17, 2015, from


In attempting to understand the motivations and origins of the majority of ISIL fighters, most

voluntary fighters are spill-over from the Syrian war. Despite, their original enthusiasm and

veracity for the ISIL cause, this article has individual testimony from those members believing it

was a mistake after the fact. This is important because it emphasizes the fact that ISIL gains its

fighters rapidly, but can’t keep them unless they can give a valid reason (like money).

Ellyatt, H. (2014, October 4). Youth unemployment in rich middle east a 'liability': wef.

Retrieved March 22, 2015, from

This article provides additional statistics of unemployment and GDP for the Middle East and

each country, as well as references to wealth gap. It also enhances the theory that money and the

need for a steady job is a real problem for many people in the Middle East, which is why it’s

such a great recruitment tool.

Fact sheet: Department of homeland security fiscal year 2016 budget. (2015, February 2).

Retrieved March 22, 2015, from


This article gave the statistic for the proposed budget of the Department of Homeland Security

for the 2016 fiscal year.



Foreign fighters in iraq and syria -- Where do they come from? (2015, January 29).

Retrieved March 22, 2015, from

Even more additional information on where the fighters in ISIL come from. Mostly used as

background knowledge, not specific statistics. The article is an interactive graphic that shows

where the greater majority of foreign fighters come from. With the black arms deals from Croatia

and fighters from Bosnia, the Middle East’s relationship with eastern Europe is most concerning.

Foreign terrorist organizations. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from

This is the official list of foreign terrorist organizations from the Department of State, active and

delisted. It includes the official dates they were added to the list as well as the qualifications it

must have to end up on the list.

Fuller, J. (2015, January 20). 'ISIS' vs. 'ISIL' vs. 'islamic state': The political importance of a

much-debated acronym. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from


This is a summary of a very important debate in the news currently. It explains the transition for

ISIS to ISIL and why the Obama administration is using ISIL. This article gave the information

that helped ascertain the terminology to be used in the paper.

Gartenstein-Ross, D. (2015, January 1). How many fighters does the islamic state really




This article gives a recent estimation of how many fighters there are in ISIL approximately. It is

a combination of individual research and government statistics that gauges a middle ground for

the probable number of fighters after the war in Syria. It also explains why the government

statistics may be a little too low.

Geneva Conventions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from

This entry by Cornell Law School gives a definition of the Geneva Convention as written in its

four chapters. The main references are about prisoner treatment from the 1949 final chapter.

Harress, C. (2014, August 15). ISIS weapons growing in number, sophistication: a soviet,

balkan and american mix, but the group can't use all of them. Retrieved March 24, 2015,



This article explains where ISIL is getting its weaponry: captured American weapons, Croatian

arms deals, and leftover Soviet tanks from their alliances in the Cold War. It also details the

“scorched earth” policy and the fact that more advanced American weapons cannot be used due

to unavailable replacement parts on the black market.

Harris, C. (2015, February 2). Barbarians burn pilot alive: ISIS will never release a living

prisoner. Retrieved March 22, 2015, from

Although broadly mentioned in the paper, this article gives the name and circumstances of the

pilot’s death. The photograph at the head of the article shows him praying while the fire is lit.

Hezbollah. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from



This is the entry for Hezbollah, including political party, background, and Arabic

translation of the name.

Laub, Z. (2014, August 1). Hamas. Retrieved March 24, 2015, from

This article gives the background to the rise of HAMAS, including pictures, political party, and

past criminal activities that they are most famous been.

Obama says beheading videos won't intimidate US - The Times of India. (2014, September 3).

Retrieved March 22, 2015, from


This is the article where Obama was quoted as saying that we would “degrade and destroy” ISIS.

This happened after the first beheading video was released. This showed the solidarity of the US,

while at the same time telling ISIL their plan had absolutely worked.

Ohlheiser, A. (2013, April 3). The associated press's new definition of "islamist." Retrieved

March 24, 2015, from


This was an article about how a journalism company had to change their definition of “jihadist”

because it wasn’t quite accurate. This gave both the pre- and post-definitions that showed how

loosely the media used the word and how broadly it was previously applied. Although the

narrowing of the definition is a step in the right direction of preventing miscommunication, it

was a very recent change and hasn’t completely caught on yet.



Rourke, J. (2014). Taking sides (16th ed.). New York, New York: Mcgraw-Hill.

“Taking Sides” is a scholastic textbook that takes recent issues, gives a detailed background, and

then argues both sides of the issue using speeches and other official forms of documentation.

Every new edition is a new years of issues to discuss. The section on the Israeli-Arab conflict

centers mostly on nuclear involvement, but also on border disputes for religious and ethnic


Text of the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2013. (2013, January 1).

Retrieved March 22, 2015, from

The National Defense Authorization Act gives the number of active service members and reserve

service members as signed into law in 2013.

U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2015, from

The US national debt is always rising, and quickly. This real-time calculator takes all kinds of

things into account, from interest to social security to oil sales in order to calculate national debt.

Since the number is always going up, the statistic in the paper is as of March 22, 2015 and is

subject to alteration.



Glossary of Terms

Sunni Muslims: There are two divergent groups of Muslim people who are fairly evenly spread

out in Iraq. The main difference is that of ascendency. According to the Qur’an, the prophet

Muhammad declared that whoever the people vote upon should succeed him in leadership.

However, upon his deathbed, he named a relative of his as the next leader of Islam. The two

philosophies weren’t in competition with one another until a leader who was not of direct

bloodline to the prophet was chosen. Animosity built between the sects until the leader was

assassinated. Although the majority of Muslims in the world today are Sunni (believing a leader

should be elected), there is still violence on both sides (Denny 2012).

Geneva Convention: This term refers to a four-part treaty that allowed for a neutral party to

provide humanitarian aid to all in a war zone (the Red Cross). Used by itself, it typically refers to

the last part of the treaty ratified post-World War II that dealt with the treatment of prisoners in

the Nazi Regime. The 1949 chapter outlined what is acceptable treatment for prisoners of war

and what constitutes a war crime or a crime against humanity (Geneva n.d.).

HAMAS: An acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya ("Islamic Resistance Movement"),

a Palestinian political group opposite the Israeli political group Fatah. It was named a foreign

terrorist group by the United States in 1997 and continues to be part of the uprisings in the West

Bank and Gaza Strip. “Hamas” is also Arabic for “enthusiasm” (Laub 2014).

Hizballah: (pronunciation: khes-bal-lah) Shi’ite organization in Lebanon that is anti-Israeli, and

therefore anti-United States. Literally, “Party of God” in Arabic. Westernized spelling:

Hezbollah (Hezbollah n.d.).



al-Qa’ida: (pronunciation: all-kai-dah) Founded in 1988 by Osama bin-Laden, a radical Sunni

group opposed to any and all western interaction in the Middle East. Literally, “the base’ in

Arabic. Westernized spelling: Al-Qaeda (Al-Qaeda n.d.)

Foreign Relations Authorization Act: In order to be designated a Foreign Terrorist Group (FTO), a group must meet the following criteria:

  • 1. It must be a foreign organization.

  • 2. The organization must engage in terrorist activity, as defined in section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)), or terrorism, as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (22 U.S.C. § 2656f(d)(2)), or retain the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism.

  • 3. The organization’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States (Foreign 2015).

Levant: refers to a number of countries in the Mediterranean coast, generally including Syria,

Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, and Hatay, sometimes Turkey, Egypt, Iraq and Sinai. The

terrorist group under question is not affiliated with Israel; however, ISIS has expanded past the

boundaries of its name. In an effort to retain accuracy, one must therefore refer to al-Qa’ida of

Iraq as ISIL with the understanding that Israel is generally excepted from the title. See Appendix

A for area map.

Islamists: an advocate of a political order based on the religious laws prescribed by Islam. Not a

synonym for “jihadist” or “militant,” it is an ideological stance on how society should function

(Ohlheiser 2013).

Islamic state: a government based on the strict enforcement of Islamic religious law. It does

already exist in some countries in the Middle East and functions of their own free will; it’s not



intended to be oppressive. However, pro-Islamic state terrorist factions use it as a political

flagship to build their empire and have imposed it on states that had partial or non-existent

religious law. See Appendix C for a Romanized version of the Islamic state map in terms of

ISIL’s empire (see Appendix C).

shari’a: (pronunciation: shar-ee-yah) a code of legal and ethical conduct as laid out by the

prophet Muhammad (both Hadith and Sunna) in the Qur’an. Prescribes religious, civic, and filial

duties of the individual and community in order to reach Paradise after death. This is the

religious law radical Islamicists use to format their government (Denny 2012).

Qur’an: (pronunciation: kor-ahn) Muslim holy text, believed to be miraculously written in by the

illiterate prophet Muhammad as dictated by the angel Gabriel. It is comprised of 114 sura (or

chapters) of various lengths and themes, and was originally written in Arabic without vowels.

Much of the Qur’an is “fire-and-brimstone” text, its main purpose to warn the masses about

divine punishment in the afterlife. Translated versions of the text are not considered valid or holy

because they are not the original “Word of God.” Westernized spelling: Koran (Denny 2012).

wealth gap: the difference between the poorest and the wealthiest people in a nation. Also called

wealth inequality.

sword verses: sections of writing within a text, usually scripture, that advocates violence and the

making of war to defend an ideological stance. These occur in the Christian Bible and the Jewish

Torah, as well as the Qur’an. Most specifically, Sura 9:5 tells Muslims to take up the sword

against infidels, pagans, and non-believers should they not repent their ways. Some of the Qur’an

tells the story of Muhammad as he uses the “Word of God” as his shield against his enemies

(similar to the story of Joan of Arc). It is worth noting, however, that before Muhammad waged

war on the evils of the world, he won the battle between good and evil in himself (Denny 2012).



containment: a mid- to late 20th century American policy meant to limit the expansion of

communism during the Cold War and even until today. The United States did this by creating

alliances and treaties with other governments and offered their full support to those governments,

as long as they were anti-communist and pro-United States. Because of these policies, the United

States allied with groups they otherwise wouldn’t (such as dictators), which caused a lot of anti-

U.S. sentiments that still stand today. Although the main “war” was between the United States

and Russia, it was often fought through satellite states and contemporaries on both sides (Cuba

and Vietnam) (Rourke 2014).

Cold War era: “cold war” referring to a state of hostility between two or more countries

characterized by threats and propaganda, but no actual fighting. The Cold War usually refers to

the post-World War II period when the United States and Russia were at “war” because of the

communism/capitalism debate. Because of the so-called “Red Scare” in the United State

President Reagan put laws regarding the expansion of communism into place, backed by nuclear

power. The situation culminated in the famed Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 that could have

caused World War III, but was miraculously avoided by President Kennedy and his counterparts.

Gulf War: a United States-led coalition against the forces of Saddam Hussein in Kuwait in the

early nineties. The troops expulse Hussein and his troops, but failed to capture him (leading to

the “need” to re-invade the area later on). The landing in Saudi Arabia is another reason for anti-

American sentiments in the Middle East - the non-believers occupied and trampled all over the

Holy Land. The profaning of sacred ground wasn’t, and still isn’t, something to be taken lightly

(Rourke 2014).



scorched earth policy: a military strategy where food, shelter, weapons, and supplies are burned

or deliberately destroyed to prevent them from benefitting the enemy. Used by multiple

militaries from the American “March to the Seas” to the Nazi winter invasion of Russia.

guerrilla: military strategy that involves stealth and tactical know-how, often using natural

fortifications as defense and camouflage. Used by early American settlers against the British in

the American Revolution. The fashion of military excellence at the time was to line up and

march at the enemy in a frontal attack; the British considered hiding in trees and taking out

military leaders cowardly and dishonorable fighting.

James Foley: first public video of the beheading of an American citizen. He was abducted in

2012 while working as a freelance journalist and war correspondent in Syria. He was executed

after two years of torture and an unsuccessful rescue mission.



Appendix A

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 26 Appendix A Levant. (2012, August 27). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from

Levant. (2012, August 27). Retrieved March 21, 2015, from



Appendix B

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 27 Appendix B Thread: Mosul, Iraq's second city, falls to jihadists! – 287

Thread: Mosul, Iraq's second city, falls to jihadists! 287 days old. (2014, August 8). Retrieved

March 21, 2015, from




Appendix C

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 28 Appendix C Endley, B. (2014, July 5). ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Endley, B. (2014, July 5). ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi breaks cover and tells followers 'we

like killing our enemies' Retrieved March 24, 2015, from




Appendix D

IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 29 Appendix D Ries, B. (2014, June 13). Iraq Implodes: What You Need

Ries, B. (2014, June 13). Iraq Implodes: What You Need to Know. Retrieved March 21, 2015,