Game Theory, Isis and the Ecology of Fear

When you understand game theory, you can understand isis.

There is glory in fighting against all odds. FOr a just cause.

Freedom for Syria.

Liberation for Iraq.

Young men are prodded into duty by visions of adventure or they may want to escape the frustrations of life in the West.

Sorta like the Marine Corps.

First to fight. For a just cause. Against the evil empire.

Feeling alienation, personal crises, dissatisfaction with empty spiritual lives  or rebellion?

Have we got a cause for you.

From urban slums of Iraq to Taliban strongholds, the militant group’s logo and name have appeared in graffiti, posters and pamphlets.

The ISIS brand offers the disillusioned a purpose. They offer fund-raising and recruiting, a possible advantage over rival factions and, most powerfully, a new template for waging jihad.

20,000 fighters from other countries have joined the fight in Syria and Iraq. Most are believed to be members of ISIS, making up a large portion of the group’s strength. They mainly come from other Arab countries, but an estimated 3,400 of these volunteers are from the West, especially Europe.

ISIS is different from other groups by nonstop publicizing its seemingly limitless violence. This attracts a group of individuals who are not repelled by graphic images of mass executions, beheadings, crucifixions and burnings — and who may actually be attracted by the opportunity to participate in such atrocities.

ISIS must enforce sharia law within it and that offers the attractions of the black and white. No compromises. Discipline, dedication and determination. Pledging allegiance to a valid caliph, when one is available, is an obligation that ISIS supporters view as binding on all Muslims.

ISIS it seems, offers a thrill to the notion of finding a religious cause to whom followers  can pledge their swords without scruple or hesitation.

In Game theory,  ISIS shows that the attack against the oppressors model outperforms other pure or mixed strategies of national resistance and proves the importance of restricting discussion of tactical advantages brought by the flee option. Cities often flee when ISIS comes in and armies run. There is no mercy in this man’s ISIS army.

The ecology of fear model identifies the endpoints of a continuum of N-driven (population size) versus μ-driven (fear) systems. In N-driven systems, the major direct dynamical feedback involves ISIS  killing prey, whereas μ-driven systems involve the indirect effects from changes in fear levels and prey catchability. In μ-driven systems, the potential victims respond to ISIS by becoming more vigilant or by moving away from suspected attack to downright fleeing once in a city.

So the solution of ISIS is to offer another nobler cause, with struggle, sacrifice and victory.

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