Things that help ISIL grow:
- Substantial increase in indiscriminate UAV attacks
- Killing Qadaffi, freeing up Libyan weapons cache for ISIL. Where did all those MANPADs go?
- Very narrow rules of engagement, barring even bombing ISIL fuel trucks because a civilian might be driving it.
- Releasing $150B to ISIL enemy Iran
- Paris, Russian airplane, Lebanon like attacks that shows ISIL can attack others
- Capitulation of Iraq army when attacked by ISIL
- Specific anti Muslim movements in Europe, that make US anti Muslim trends look tame.
- Presence of US troops in theater
- Lack of economic opportunity for 20 year old males
- Promises of religious idealism, free house, electricity, food, healthcare etc – blasted out on twitter, Facebook, whatsapp, etc to unemployed disaffected youth – in mass and daily (90k tweets a day alone on twitter)
- A long held vision to reclaim the reach of the Ottoman empire, turning Europe to Islam, achieving trans continental Caliphate.
- Radicalized Mosques in western nations
- And now apparently reluctance of US to accept, without further background checks, 10k of the 10M refugees running away from ISIL.
While #13 may be on the list, I think data shows recruiting maximizes with Paris style attacks, not Ted Cruz campaign stops. Since 67% of Americans are against letting refugees in (a predictable ratio normal in all past mass migrations in US), if it is a good recruiting tool for ISIL perhaps a leader might work overtime to explain why these refugees are not a threat. Given 67% means more than the GOP, perhaps widen the message. A leader might work quickly with congress to say “Your concerns have been heard, we have taken some additional measures, and we all agree on a path forward”. Supporting the bill might actually diffuse the whole debate.
The elephant in the room is why only 10k out of 10M.
But, #9 likely is the biggest issue. A demographic boom in the middle east of young males matched with world wide unemployment in that age group, lays the foundation for recruiting youth with a idealistic message. Perhaps the greatest failure in the middle east strategy is a failure to reform regional ecosystems to promote entrepreneurship and growth.