Islamic State's blood-thirstiness has been much commented on, as has its use of modern technology. Posting videos of a man issuing threats before killing a hostage ... this is the "new normal" for Islamic State comms, but somehow it's exercised a strange power over many western commentators and politicians.
Air strikes alone won't defeat ISIL. The organisation is clearly goading the West into direct confrontation. Once we get the first pictures of Muslim women and children killed by US missiles, no matter how isolated these incidents would be, that would up the ante in ISIL's propaganda war. This is when allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar will get cold feet.
Is it a crime to care for Gaza and Syria? Legally speaking, it isn't a crime to raise awareness of the human rights violations taking place, nor is it a crime to raise money and deliver humanitarian aid to those war-torn areas. Many non-Muslim human rights groups and charities engage in these actions, yet we do not hear of criminal prosecutions for their activism.
With the Middle East's biggest players coming together under the US-led campaign against ISIS, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to Marvel's Avengers Assemble. While Obama can justifiably play the lead role of Nick Fury, is ISIS on the other hand as formidable as Loki? With the military capability of the GCC and Egypt alone, what chance does ISIS really have against a unified effort by neighbouring states?
The recent migration of many jihadist organizations to social media reflects a desire to expand their targeted audience one step further. Password-protected forums - up until recently the main virtual gathering place for al-Qaeda supporters - made content particularly difficult to access for wannabe jihadists, while also representing a common target for the security services' disruption efforts.