Following on from news of Isil’s losing streak on both the digital and real battlefield – Sinjar, oilfields, internet space – here’s what it is still doing right:
** It has released a rebranded version of its smartphone app, allowing instant download of many of its chilling videos
** It has just issued a catchy nasheed, a Muslim devotional song that does not use musical instruments, entitled ‘I Am a Mujahid’ and it is in Mandarin Chinese. As Quartz writes, it “released a song ostensibly trying to recruit Muslims in China…The singers have a firm grasp of Mandarin pronunciation.” This is staggering in terms of ambition.
** A recent report by the Soufan Group, a consultancy, estimates that the number of Isil’s foreign recruits has more than doubled since June 2014, to a total of 27,000-31,000. They have come from at least 86 countries.
Clearly, the battlefield losses still have some way to go to dissipate Isil’s appeal.