ISIS Makes Recruits Feel Like Batman: Expert

Anti-terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann, in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” made some interesting comments on ISIS today suggesting that new recruits are made to feel like the Caped Crusader.

ISIS Makes Recruits Feel Like Batman: Expert

ISIS gives fighters a purpose?

Kohlman explained in his interview that ISIS recruits are made to feel that they are part of something bigger than they might otherwise be given the groups focus on online propaganda. Kohlmann is the chief research and development officer at Flashpoint a company that outs terrorists on websites that exist on the fringes and in the shadows of the Internet.

“They can be like Batman. They can wage fights against injustices around the world as they see it,” said Kohlmann. Those involved in the Paris attacks “were not religious fanatics to begin with,” but rather were given purpose by someone in ISIS.

Kohlmann’s interview on Monday came at the same time as Brussels remained on a high level of alert and third day of a lock-down spurred by fears of a Paris-style attack in Belgium’s capital.

Mr. Kohlmann went on to suggest that countries like Belgium and France as well as others will remain breeding grounds for extremists given the difficulty of integrating into the culture of these countries. “There’s not the same level of social integration that you have here (United States). There’s not the same level of economic parity. As a result people don’t feel like necessarily that they’re part of that society.”

It’s ISIS not the clerics in local mosques

In addition to his job as a terrorism analyst on NBC and his position at Flashpoint, Kohlmann has also consulted for the FBI and the Justice Department. Kohlmann was quick to point out in his interview that most European mosques are not preaching terror and hate and that’s where ISIS’ Internet sophistication comes into play.

“These guys are conditioned that … you don’t listen to the clerics, they don’t know what they are talking about.”

“Ninety percent of the mosques have nothing to do with [ISIS],” he stated while suggesting that the 10% have a limited influence on those that might seek martyrdom in an attack.

ISIS Influence in the United States is also limited

To suggest that an attack on U.S. soil by ISIS isn’t possible would be the acme of folly especially given the ease by which weapons can be procured both legally and illegally. However, Kohlmann points out that these attacks more likely in Europe.
Kohlmann pointed out that there was a fair bit of sophistication to the Paris attacks, especially given that all of the suicide vests functioned. Kohlmann believes that those could only be made by someone who traveled to the Middle East for ISIS training.
“There just aren’t as many folks here in the U.S. that have traveled to Syria; who’ve gotten training from ISIS; [and] who have made direct contact with ISIS.”

“Most of the folks here in the U.S., they’re limited to Internet contact,” he continued. “So they don’t have the training necessary to do something on the scale of what happened in Paris.”