September 24, 2017


Deciphering the mindset of ISIS jihadists : Lebanese writer Hazem al- Amin, who has been profiling jihadists, says suicide bombers were predisposed to kill them­selves long be­fore ISIS existed. (Samar Kadi, 9/22/17, Middle East Online)

Lebanese writer Hazem al- Amin, who has been profiling jihadists, said suicide bombers were predisposed to kill them­selves for a variety of reasons be­fore ISIS existed.

"ISIS offered them the narra­tive framework with which they could achieve their aspirations. In fact, it was the receptor of the outcome of many crises because all its members came from areas in crisis or have personal prob­lems and issues," Amin said at a discussion hosted by Carnegie Middle East Centre titled "Inside the Jihadi Mind."

"All the problems and failures of the world and the region re­sulted in the rise of ISIS. The fail­ure of the French, for example, in integrating their migrants. The failure of Turkey in controlling its borders and the failure to mend Sunni-Shia divisions, etc."

The flow of suicide bombers to ISIS is not so much related to the group's ideology as it is to a range of deeper underlying and com­plex causes, Amin said, noting that, during the battle of Mosul, the jihadi group sent 20-30 bomb­ers daily -- some 900 suicide bombers in seven months.

Amin documented cases of ji­hadists from Lebanon, almost ex­clusively from Tripoli, a city that is historically, geographically and socially close to Syria.

"Tripoli sent 100 to 200 jihad­ists. Their reasons for joining ISIS were different from jihadists who came from other countries and environments," Amin said. "Al­though each is a different case, they have common features such as broken families, poverty and poor education. On top of that, sectarian tensions (Sunni-Shia) made it easy for ISIS to recruit them."

Joseph Khoury, assistant pro­fessor of clinical psychiatry at the American University of Beirut, agreed that there was no stand­ard terrorist profile but there are recurring characteristics.

"Each member in ISIS has his own story and reasons for ending up in the group," Khoury said in the debate. "Of course, there is a psychological aspect to that but psychology cannot give all the answers. Explaining ISIS involves a combination of social and po­litical factors and surrounding circumstances."

"Many joined because they wanted to live in an Islamic ca­liphate, others because their friends have joined, some were more interested in the harm that ISIS could cause to the West, and many (rebels without a cause) had nothing better to do because their life was meaningless. Each wanted something from Daesh," Khoury added, using an Arab ac­ronym for ISIS.

Or, as Hoffer put it : "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business."

Posted by at September 24, 2017 8:06 AM