How? Why? Is it part of the mastermind plot?

The ISIS Hysteria Industry

How has a group with such little actual military power created such overblown global paranoia?

by Adam Patterson

There are few conceivable gaps larger than that which exists between ISIS as an actual real-world insurgency and ISIS as a media phenomenon. While the bungling jihadis have persistently floundered and self-destructed in the upper Levant, they’ve managed to find spectacular success convincing credulous western audiences of their vast and formidable power.

The overrating of ISIS as a military force and geopolitical power was as vexing as it was grimly unsurprising. That level of dumbfounded fear is exactly what they wanted, with the group’s constant attempts at media manipulation betraying its obsessive attention to self-marketing and public posturing. In so few words, ISIS desperately cares what you think. And the Western press has happily indulged them.

ISIS has lost greater than an aggregate 50% of their peak territory in Syria and 20% in Iraq. Leaked documents reveal the group is overrun with internal discontent, managerial incompetence, and low morale. Reports from inside the caliphate can sound like Monty Python sketches; British expats who join the Islamic State complain that their fellow jihadis seem incapable of forming an orderly queue, and frequently steal shoes or unplug cell phone chargers without permission. (“I knew you chaps were barbaric, but this is ridiculous!”)

Militarily, they suffer excruciating fatality rates against more organized forces, and lack the resources and manpower necessary to hold key supply lines. Prominent figures within the ISIS leadership are dying like flies. Despite the yammering bravado of their earlier propaganda, ISIS’ official media apparatus is beginning to release statements conceding that their project in the upper Levant is not long for this world. Even the most cursory analysis reveals that the self-declared Caliphate is doomed.

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