The ISIS Caliphate is using online fealty as a way to recruit jihadis around the world. It's a powerful recasting of an ancient concept that goes well beyond modern expressions of loyalty.
The way ISIS has constructed its brand of online fealty makes it globally scalable. The only barriers to entry are: conduct an attack and publicly pledge fealty. The most common platforms for a public pledge? Social media, 911, etc.
For example, when Omar Mateen pledged fealty to ISIS during his deadly attack, it provided him with the following:
- It instantly gave him permission to conduct an attack in the name of ISIS.
- It instantly accepted him into the ranks of ISIS as a proven holy warrior.
- It cleansed his previous sins (particularly his conflict over his sexual orientation).
This recasting of fealty is interesting within the context of open source insurgency because it might provide ISIS with a way to construct a globally scalable, segmented network of terror.
That's a very new innovation.