Recently I was asked by a friend on Facebook why I believe the Muslim ban imposed by the new regime will actually help ISIS. And I ended up going on an insane rant. But it’s a rant because I feel really strongly about one of the key concepts behind it – the Accidental Guerilla. So I decided to use it as a blog post.
The biggest reason the ban will support ISIS – Think about it. If a country decided ‘US citizens are no longer allowed’ would we see them as a friend or an enemy? ISIS depends on the populations in the countries it exists to join their fight, ‘radicalizing’ the people there to their version of Islam. And it’s like in the US, if you have never been to a place, you will believe whatever the media tells you. So when someone from this nation starts hearing about the ban, about the government sanctioned discrimination, about all the terrible things that are happening to Muslims in the United States, they easily will believe that the US is in fact at war with Islam (despite the fact that a significant amount of people in the nation is fighting to support the rights of the Muslims). So if you have someone who is already leaning towards joining the fight, they are more likely to join therefore making ISIS stronger.
There is also this concept of the ‘accidental guerilla’ (really amazing book about it, written by David Kilcullen, easily one of my favorites that I read all through my degree). Basically the concept says there are three types of people:
1) Always going to support radical islam
2) Never going to support radical islam
3) Could go either way
The biggest group of people are those in the 3rd category. These are people who may have leanings towards radicalization, or maybe they fear for their lives because ISIS is in their village and is killing everyone who doesn’t support them. When these people see that the US has banned Muslims, those with radical sympathies become radicalized (because of what I first explained). But then there are those who fear for their lives and the lives of their families (who would also get killed). They realize their only option is to support ISIS. They have nowhere else to go. They could risk their lives by fleeing and end up in giant refugee camps that lack the resources to support the amount of people they have (especially since the proposed cuts to funding for international organizations that support the camps – even worse, ISIS has infiltrated some of these camps and is recruiting those who end up with radical leanings because of the horrible living conditions). Maybe they end up in Europe, but again – you risk your lives significantly getting there, and there is some pretty messed up stuff happening with refugees in Europe too. An insane amount of refugees get killed on their way to Europe. Or worse, they risk fleeing, then get sent back to their original country when they are denied refugee status, and end up getting brutally massacred by ISIS as an example of why people shouldn’t flee and should just join ISIS. OR they could just give in and join ISIS, even if they really don’t agree with them, because it will keep them and their families from being massacred. (A lot of horrible shit could happen to refugees really. There are very few good options for refugees in the current political climate – which again, the lack of support, the idea that the Christian world is treating them with such disdain, can easily cause people to become radicalized.)
The reality is: the more people ISIS has access to, the larger the recruiting basis for them. By refusing to accept refugees, we leave people within their territories, meaning there are more people that are vulnerable to their recruitment tactics (honestly, the most common one is join or we will kill you. The taliban did this too, there is a really fucking disturbing book about it that I could tell you the name of if you want). And this helps their cause – the US lost Vietnam because the Vietcong had an insane amount of people. For every 2 we killed, they only killed 1. But we still lost. Just like we will with ISIS if they keep their recruitment basis. To end any insurgency, you have to take away their ability to recruit, which we should be focusing on – not banning an entire religion that makes up 23% of the world, or banning all citizens from certain Muslim countries (side note – the people who planned 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, yet Saudi was not on that list. Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, and there is evidence to suggest they were hiding him, but Pakistan wasn’t on that list. It’s actually more common for radicalized American-born people to attack the US, than for foreigners to attack. And there are no documented cases ever of refugees committing terrorist attacks on US soil. Ever.)
Something else to note – the world has always treated refugees horribly. Always. And when we look back in history books, we vilify those who pursued and supported denial of refugees. Its also a really common sign to see before the breakout of significant, large-scale wars in history.