Let us start thinking about the fact that the era in which we live is looking for its own world order that contains and limits the side effects of the chaos caused by the liquefaction of the geopolitical categories of the twentieth century.
Now, order the chaos is not easy and require without no doubt to acquire new interpretative keys to understand the global interests, international, regional and local.
This is the first step and best possible prospective to decipher the daily events that now and for the future will affect us.
Our primary political and strategic interest is contained in the geographic space that goes from the Middle East to the Balkans until the Maghreb, and extends until the Turkey and southern shores of the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, for obvious reasons, economic and trade. So, the first point concerns the Islamic State, a problem we are forced to confront that will involve us in terms of political choices - internal and foreign - with implications that we must prepare to face.
The Islamic State is not simply and solely a terrorist organization.
In September, President U.S.A. Barak Obama, in a speech to the nation defined the Islamic State: a terrorist organization, pure and simple. This is an error: the Islamic State in any way can be finite in this category, and the American president obviously is aware of it. However, we know that in today's world the masses need to be quickly addressed throughout slogans and often, unfortunately, plagiarized. Slogans are functional to locate the enemy and justify any action will be taken against him.
The fact is that the Islamic State uses terrorism as a tactic - often merely claim actions brought to completion by others - but this is nothing compared to being a terrorist organization pure and simple, as it could well be called al-Qaida . The latter starting from the name - the base - with centrifugal action from its core in Afghanistan, projected its effects abroad, had only a few thousand organic, non-occupied a territory, hitting civilians, including Muslims ( error that will pay dearly in terms of alienation of the vote and sympathies in the Muslim world) and could not compete in the open field with an army. The Islamic State, on the contrary, first of all occupied a territory, counting on forces militarily framed with a lot of command line, does not affect the Muslim brothers, but "only" apostates and infidels making a massacre, has to deal with armies in open field battle, check the arteries of communication, organizes the life of the population under its control and is financed in various ways taking advantage of the resources available. The Islamic State is a proto-state is a different thing that I would call: LA COSA NUOVA (a proto-state mixed with a kind of mafia type organization e.g. the American La Cosa Nostra)
The Islamic State is a subversive organization.
In Italy for twenty years we have faced domestic terrorism of the extreme right and the left who wanted to change, each in its own way, the constitutional order of our country. We set ourselves the conceptual categories, and rules on penalties, to clarify what needs to be understood for subversion and terrorism. So I find it useful to rely on them to understand their differences and projecting that philosophy on terrorist and insurgent international context because these concepts are essentially universal.
For our sensitivity the Italian Penal code defining a subversive association protects the integrity of the State against internal attacks that tend to violently subvert the legal system, thus guaranteeing the essential interests of conservation and therefore, protects the inner personality and, consequently, the international one. While, for the Acts of Terrorism our penal code punishes the associations aimed at committing acts of violence for the purposes of terrorism both within the state Italian and international, or subversion of the constitutional purposes Italian.
In the first case the core is the association, an entity already structured, while in the second the emphasis is on actions, terrorist acts preparatory to a later stage still unrealized. This setting is reflected, of course, directly on the resulting policies to combat because it identifies departing the kind of enemy to deal with an organization already in there with his subversive program, or an association that, due to terrorist acts, seeks his own statement.
However, it is the practical experience to teach that organizations with subversive purposes, which have in their genetic code to subvert the will of the State structures using violence, start their own business performing acts of terrorism such as tactical operations aimed at affect the population, weakening the state structures, proselytize and accreditation as a partner claiming their existence in the political landscape. Once you reach that goal, having gained a relative military strength and bargaining, subversive or insurgent activity (according to the Anglo-Saxon lexicon) is diversified by resorting to operations of a political nature. History is full of examples.
Al-Qaida has never had the insurgents characteristics, but only of a terrorist nature; the same, as is evident, cannot be said for the Islamic State even if it claims the attacks carried around the world in his name, more or less.
This difference is not trivial and allows us to frame the problem in its true dimension as well as conceptual especially practical. Al-Qaida is financed through funds from proxy countries, private donations, the personal assets of its leaders, kidnapping and little else. American intelligence has been able to stop this flow of money, thanks to the revelations of the captured members of the organization and then draining the money which resulted in less real power. The Islamic State is not subsidized from the outside, at least not in this second phase, it uses and manages assets, licit and illicit, land resources under its direct control, and foreign states little they can do; Indeed there are many who contribute to its economic health through the sale of weapons or purchase of crude oil sold at competitive prices.
One thing is a terrorist organization, other one is a subversive organization. The Islamic State is already in the second phase, but not only, is already much further: it is a criminal organization of the mafia-type, advanced towards the formation of a state, is: La Cosa Nuova.
Why the Islamic State is an organization of the mafia type.
It is pretty obvious: the fundamental concept that differs a mafia criminal association is that it achieve its own scope, the illicit enrichment, throughout the power of intimidation that comes from its membership commitment. And this is the starting point. Mafias project this intimidating power over a territory they control, and this Islamic state does very well. Mafias have international relations, and this seems obvious to the Islamic State. Mafias necessarily have relations with other powers that are present in the same territory: political, economic and religious, and here we are. The Islamic State without the support of the real power of the tribe of al-Ambar province, where everything is born, cannot exist; in fact, without giving guarantees about the continuation of smuggling he would have not had from them the green light. Let's say that between the Islamic State and tribal community of al-Ambar has made the deal that many try to demonstrate but that in fact in my opinion is self-evident and obvious if we proceed on the big picture and then, in the end, get to the particular and not vice versa; at least from the point of view of history if not historiography.
Religion, bonding ritual for the gangs to the Islamic State is an equally powerful factor of aggregation in which the shape and to which the weak cling to overcome their disadvantaged size and the human condition to go to the extreme enough to blow themselves up in hope of exorcising this idea averse to a better future.
But above all, the gangs to assert its power real resort to extortion, pure and simple that has a direct impact on people's lives and therefore of society. The Islamic State, in the territories that conquest, requires, in the form of donation with religious roots, what we call our latitude Pizzo: in practice a sum to carry out any activity or access any service. The al-Ambar is a border province through which - as always - flourishing illegal trafficking of all kinds much from east to west or vice versa under the control of the local tribes without whose support nothing would be possible to realize even the affiliates Islamic State.
A traveler of the early nineteenth century Italian-Swiss, Marc Monnier, arrived in Naples, the capital of the Bourbon kingdom, to describe the Camorra in the opening of his namesake volume dedicated to it says that the Camorra might be called extortion organized whose end is evil.
But to clarify why the Islamic State behaves and acts as an organization of the mafia type I resort to the words of Italia writers Leonardo Sciascia, who knew what it was about. To the question: What do you think is the Mafia, he responded: ... a criminal organization, with the purpose of enrichment for its members, which has as its brokerage parasitic, and sets by means of violence, including the property and work, between production and consumption, between the citizen and the State. Clearer than that?
Obviously the Islamic State is not only this and that is why it is La Cosa Nuova. Is a proto-state that unites the mafia in one dimension and international projection in an extremely sensitive area from a geopolitical to the many interests that reflect the national priorities of a dozen states leading international arena.
The Islamic State is La Cosa Nuova since in the past have had similar experiences different outcomes from the French Revolution up to the experience of Hizb Allah that although it is still a terrorist organization for many, but in fact, is a political actor in Lebanon.
The Islamic State is the perfect result of the economic and international policies in this period are looking for a new world order: it acts as a state (population, territory and structure), but is not a state, is banned by the international community but most of the actors who are part, directly or indirectly, will fuel the vitality through economic relations unofficial acts as any criminal organization of the mafia type finally, it is a religious organization, but is not worldwide recognized as such.
Certainly I do not pretend to answer but only to raise doubts prompting reflections.
The Islamic State in this context is certainly a very interesting starting point for a research because as being La Cosa Nuova clearly highlights the differences with the past to which we are accustomed and which we also unintentionally reference. These differences reveal the instruments suitable to contain the threat that unfortunately anyone who invests, directly if not today, certainly soon.
Geocrime Education Association is working to help to understand what is happening and what will come.