Sunday, November 09, 2014

About ISIS' Child Soldier Training Camps For "Cubs of the Islamic State"

Child soldiers are considered a war crime, not that anyone who actually recruits child fighters really cares whether it's a crime or not. ISIS prides itself on its army of child jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria. They're called the "Cubs of the Islamic State."  One such "cub" who died fighting in Syria- the Cub of Baghdadi"  had a video tribute posted to YouTube by his supporters. They have camps where they train the kids to fight.

“They teach them how to use AK-47s,” one Iraqi security official told NBC News on condition of anonymity. “They use dolls to teach them how to behead people, then they make them watch a beheading, and sometimes they force them to carry the heads in order to cast the fear away from their hearts."
Some graduates of the camps are used as human shields and suicide bombers. Other wee warriors man checkpoints, hoist heavy weapons and act as enforcers.
Beyond the additional fighting power, analysts and experts say brainwashing young recruits is a strategic move aimed at ensuring the militant group’s longevity by providing a ready-and-willing next generation of jihadis."
"It's being done for the same reasons that Hitler had the Hitler Youth," explained Charlie Winter, of the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based anti-extremist think tank. "That's effectively what we're seeing here — military training and ideological training."
Brainwashing the impressionable minds of kids, will cause irreparable damage. According to Winter:

"There's no term better suited to it than brainwashing." "These children won't have any point of reference other than jihadism so the ideology will be a lot more firm in their heads and a lot more difficult to dislodge."
These camps are located in Iraq and Syria. The training in the principles of jihad starts with:

Memorizing the Quran.
Learning about Shariah law.
Militarization- how to use weapons, make bombs, and attack.

It takes about two weeks to one month of intense training before from 40 to 60 kids graduate. Then another bunch are ready for their schooling. According to Laith Alkhouri from the global security firm Flashpoint Intelligence, it's about keeping “cycle of radicalization going.”

“In two, three, four years they’re going to be adults. By raising them up on this ideology and methodology, it becomes part of their everyday life. These kids are going to grow up, abide by and adhere to the ideology and carry out what ISIS want.”
Once they graduate, some of the kids accompany the older jihadists to the battlefield so they can get desensitized to blood and violence. From the perspective of an ISIS militant, Abu Dujana:

“They have to get used to hearing the sounds of explosions and machine guns and missiles and artillery and aircraft."“They should used to get to seeing blood.”
“The goal of these camps is not to take the cubs to the battles, but to prepare them for the battles in the future." “If some of them are taken to the battles, they stand in the back rows in order to see how to fight and hear the explosions and to see the wounded and the dead.”
And why?

 “this war will continue for a long time”
“We should start train them from now because they will complete what we started: the expansion of the Islamic caliphate."
NBC has more on ISIS's abuse of these children.

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