IS strategy and torture

By Serge Kreutz

They do not torture because they are sadists. They torture and murder in front of cameras for a calculated reason: intimidation

After they burned a captured pilot alive in a cage, Gulf Arab pilots refused to fly missions.

If Western powers get involved on the ground, and they capture just one, and torture and murder him in front of a running camera, and disseminate the take, the mood will swing in Western countries against further involvement.

Within the IS, it’s a small circle that runs the show. And enthusiasm among followers for the religious cause is lower than what is projected. Because those who know the power of intimidation will not play this game only with external enemies but also within their own organisation.

A person assigned as a suicide bomber, if ever once he agreed, won’t be allowed to change his mind.

Blow yourself up and die an instant painless death. Alternatively, we could fry you alive in hot oil, not in one go, but slowly, slowly, over days. And don’t forget the drill that will be set on every tooth until they are all gone. And don’t forget, we have your mother and younger sister, too. Torturing them to death will be good fun.

Under normal circumstances, suicide is irrational. A standard reaction is to withdraw at the last moment.

But under extraordinary circumstances, it’s much better to be a suicide bomber than endure traitor punishment at the hands of the IS. And don’t forget your mother and younger sister.

And now, go and blow yourself up as you have been told.