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Monday, June 06, 2016

ISIS Portrays Stalin-like Paranoia

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Totalitarian tyranny is always about power, be it the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, modern day Venezuela, the ranks of the Democrat Party in the United States, or among the leaders of Muslim organizations such as ISIS.  With the desire to maintain power comes the fear of losing power, and it tyrannical systems, the way to gain power is to eliminate those who have power, and then replace them yourself.  In the Soviet Union, Josef Stalin died more than 60 years ago, and his fear of losing power led to paranoia the led to the brutal 30-year absolute ruler over the Soviet Union to purge his population of any dissent, using methods including expulsions, forced displacements, imprisonment in labor camps, manufactured famines, torture and good old-fashioned acts of mass murder and massacres.  The full death toll of his reign of terror may never be known, but is estimated to be about 0 million dead.  That's in addition to the estimated 20 million Soviet troops and civilians who perished during World War II.  Stalin eliminated anyone and everyone who he believed to be a threat to his power, including persons and groups who had previously been his allies.  In short, Josef Stalin had no regard for the sanctity of human life.

Breaking down the numbers of Stalin's reign of death, 1 million imprisoned or exiled between 1927 to 1929; 9 to 11 million peasants forced off their lands and another 2 to 3 million peasants arrested or exiled in the mass collectivization program; 6 to 7 million killed by an artificial famine in 1932-1934; 1 million exiled from Moscow and Leningrad in 1935; 1 million executed during the ''Great Terror'' of 1937-1938; 4 to 6 million dispatched to forced labor camps; 10 to 12 million people forcibly relocated during World War II; and at least 1 million arrested for various “political crimes” from 1946 to 1953.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the literary giant who wrote harrowingly about the Soviet gulag system, claimed the true number of Stalin’s victims might have been as high as 60 million.

Most other estimates from reputed scholars and historians tend to range from between 20 and 60 million.

The same seems to be true, in the sense of paranoia over power, and believing that the enemy has infiltrated their ranks to the point of killing their own indiscriminately, with ISIS (Islamic State).  It is believed by ISIS leaders that there are spies among their ranks tipping off the Americans about troop movement.  Following an incident in Syria where a senior commander in ISIS was blasted by a drone while in his vehicle, 38 ISIS members were killed on suspicion of acting as informants.

In recent months, the attempt to purge the organization of possible informants following airstrikes killing prominent figures has led to dozens of ISIS members being killed by their own leadership.  Other possible informants have disappeared into prisons, or have fled because they feared they may be the next one killed by their group as ISIS frantically searches for moles.

As the death toll piles higher, fear among the terrorist organization runs high.  Suspicions can be triggered by just about anything  A mobile phone call, or an internet connection can raise suspicions. As a warning, ISIS displayed the bodies of some suspected spies in public — or used particularly gruesome methods, including reportedly dropping some into a vat of acid.

Fearing the Americans may kill them, new commanders being brought in to replace the former commanders are asking to not to be identified as they limit their movements.

As the purge emerges, ISIS has lost considerable ground in both Syria and Iraq.

Some allies have indicated that ISIS fighters are willing to feeding information to the coalition for money, since ISIS has sharply reduced salaries in the wake of coalition and Russian airstrikes on IS-held oil facilities earlier this year. The damage and the loss of important IS-held supply routes into Turkey have reportedly hurt the group's financing.

One way ISIS is fleshing out suspected spies is to feed false information to a suspect member about the movements of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and if an airstrike follows on the alleged location, they know the suspect is a spy.  They stop fighters in the street and inspect their mobile phones, sometimes making the fighter call any unusual numbers in front of them to see who they are.

According to a senior Iraqi intelligence official in Baghdad, ISIS "is now concentrating on how to find informers because they have lost commanders that are hard to replace. . . Now any Islamic State commander has the right to kill a person whom they suspect is an informer for the coalition."

Some suspects have been shot dead in front of other IS fighters as a lesson.

"There is chaos. Some members and commanders are trying to flee," Sherfan Darwish, of the U.S.-backed Syria Democratic Forces, said.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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