Paul Wood

Isis’s weakness is now its strength

As coronavirus swept the globe a year ago, Isis began issuing pronouncements. ‘God, by his will, sent a punishment to the tyrants of this time and their followers,’ said one such; ‘we are pleased about this punishment from God for you.’ With the world on lockdown, Isis followers were urged not to sit around at home but to ‘raid the places’ of the enemies of God. ‘Don’t let a single day pass without making their lives awful.’

The virus might have begun as God’s punishment to China for persecuting the Uighurs but, as one Isis video put it, the pandemic was a chance to attack Americans, Europeans, Australians and Canadians. For a moment, the jihadis toyed with the idea of sending infected volunteers to sicken the enemy. But they dropped that, telling their followers to use the reliable methods for which Isis is known. ‘Plan your perfect killing spree…coldly kill them…stab them, shoot them.’

At night, in the villages, Isis is in charge and people are afraid

Isis anticipated economic collapse, chaos and anarchy in the West. ‘The last thing they want during these trying times is for the caliphate soldiers to hit them like before in Paris, London and Brussels.’ Isis apparently did not intend to send martyrs from the Middle East as this would break sharia rules to quarantine and ‘flee from sick persons like one would flee a lion’. Instead, attacks from jihadis within would catch the crusader nations by surprise, Isis said — even though they had announced the plan in their weekly newsletter. A military triumph was inevitable, just as when Muhammad swept all before him.

This was the usual Isis guff: pompous rhetoric and wild predictions out of all proportion to reality. So far, fortunately, there has been no Isis offensive taking advantage of the West’s weakness in time of plague.

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