GD Monday – ‘ISIS Is Successful’ – Week 6

The new season of GD Mondays is in its 6th week.

You can view the first weeks GD Monday discussion on ‘Celebrities Can Escape Crime’ – Week 1, here.

For the second weeks GD Monday discussion on ‘Make In India, A Success’ – Week 2, click here.

For the third weeks GD Monday discussion on ‘The Odd-Even Formula Mooted By The Delhi Government Is A Great Initiative’ – Week 3, click here.

Click here for last weeks GD Monday discussion – ‘Life Is A Chair’ – Week 4.


This week’s topic is ‘ISIS Is Successful’ – Discuss.



This is how it will work:

1) Users can post their arguments in the comments section below by logging in through their user id.

2) You can argue and counter-argue on the topic for the entire week.

3) The thread will be moderated by Team InsideIIM to ensure the discussion is kept relevant and is not abusive.

4) On Saturday, experts and industry professionals at InsideIIM (all ex-IIM, XLRI, ISB only) will rate each argument on the thread on the scale of 10 with some guidance.

This cannot replace the experience of the actual GD but this exercise will surely help you shape your line of thought. While we may not be able to help you here with your delivery, we ensure that if you go through these next few weeks with us on this thread you will markedly improve your content. Hopefully, there will be more substance when you actually speak in a GD after going through this exercise.

Find the 2013-14 season of GD Monday here.

Find the 2014-15 season of GD Monday here.

Team InsideIIM

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Vaibhav Mangla

Hi All,
For analyzing weather ISIS has been successful we first need to determine what are the goals of there organisations and how much they have succeeded in achieving those goals. We see the broad goal of there organisation is to create an islamic caliphate where they can practice radical islam. So for achieving this they have been invading in parts of iraq and syria and have some stronghold in the regions like mosul. in such regions slavery is common, public beheading is the punishment given to the people not following the rules and minorities are oppressed and even killed. They are also radicallising people through digital media so that they can help in spread of ISIS. Also numerous groups in many parts of the world are emerging who are resposible for terriorist attacks(indonesia being the recent one) and have given there allegiance to ISIS. So far we have seen that they are partially successfull in there agenda but there are counter forces from the likes of US army, Russian army , rebel groups who are fighting hard to curb its influence and destroy there organisation. We also have many organisations who are trying to show the world how there idea is unislamic and needs to be destroyed. So we have to make sure that ISIS is never successful in spreading there idea and should be curbed.

Abhiroop Bhattachariya

I would like give it a slightly different view point.. We can analyse ISIS’s performance from more of a business perspective.. Where terrorism is the industry and ISIS being one of the players in the market.. Lets go by some parameters one by one..

1)Brand/Image in the market – ISIS , as all would agree , has been more than successfull in portraying themselves as the fiercest group of rebels and the moment you utter the word terrorism, the first thought that will come across your mind will be that of ISIS!! They have succesfully established their brand as a terrorist organisation and made a lasting impression, which other rebel groups, if at all any, will take more than a decade to overcome…

2)Market leader, above any competion among contendor groups – Be it the boko harem group from nigeria or be it asia’s home grown Lakshar e taiba or taliban.. Isis is much ahead of them in terms of destruction caused and terror spread in general .. Clearly Isis has been the market leader by far..

3)Experience – Though Isis seems to be a relatively younger rebel organisation, it has its roots in the Saddam – era.. Infact the deputy of Abu bakr al baghdadi(ISIS chief) was one of the high rnked militant of saddam hussain..

4) Market Resource Capitalisation – With an attrition rate tending to zero , ISIS is the largest terrorist organisation both in terms of human as well as monetary resources. As is evident , they have drawn in humungous amount of funds for their operations..

The total area occuppied by ISIS presently in Syria and Iraq is comparable to the entire area of Britain.. With an impact this vast I would definitely term ISIS as a success.. After all the main motto of any terrorist organisation is the widespread of fear and terror.. And ISIS as a brand has been very succesful in it!!

Team Insideiim

Except defining the industry as terrorism, you have refrained from passing a value judgement on the kind of organisation ISIS is. That is well done. Basis to measure success are also well enumerated. 7.5/10

Team Insideiim

Good start. Measuring success against goals is a valid route to take. Grammatical errors should be avoided. 7/10

kishore pd

Its too soon to term ISIS a success. They are still in a process of establishing their caliphate. Yes they have annexed vast areas in Iraq and Syria, but they can vanish if greater cooperation is built between all the forces involved in the area i.e Iraq , Syria , U.S , Russian governments and the rebel forces. They are however successful in spreading their idea of an Islamic State globally which has led to various fringe organisations and rebel forces to be affiliated to it . Its also important to acknowledge that the very people coming under the rule of ISIS in the area are still unwilling to accept them as a form of government which is the core of their agenda. They are merely exercising control over the people through arms and force , such a form of governance can never last in the long run . So any form of conclusion on ISIS can only be obtained once the dust settles in the turmoil of Iraq and Syria, and when the people in the established Islamic State concur in recognizing its governance as acceptable.

Team Insideiim

The market response is an important indicator of an organisation’s success. To that extent that’s a good point to bring up here. Articulation is good too. 7/10

Subhopriyo Gupta

There is not much difference between this ISIS and the Britishers who invaded India with the sole purpose of ruling it, than to do business. ISIS too, in the name of Calipha, are just ruling the territories according to their free will. They have already extended there support from a large number of people from all over the world. British, at their time of ruling India, without even proper technology, were able to control crores of Indians, with a handful of people. So its obvious, that with the full use of advanced technology, ISIS are able to reach a large number of people, and they might become successful in the near future if we don’t pull the rein with an iron hand.. So its high time that not only the advanced countries like US and Russia, taking part in this war, but all the countries should take an active part in dealing with this situation. Else in near future, we might find ourselves shackled to death, with or women finding themselves as slaves.

Team Insideiim

By drawing parallels with British imperialistic tendencies, you have given a new angle to the debate. However you haven’t given enough evidence to support your comparison. Also the last part doesn’t add anything to the topic at hand. 5/10

pratik merchant

The Rise of ISIS in such a short span of time is surely an indicator of its growing influence in the world. They were successful in attracting youth through their networks,force,sophisticated weapons, jihad, money, a vision for better life. ISIS used Digital Media channels to spread their motives and messages across the world hence we find supporters of their philosophy around the world which is not a good sign for World peace due to radicalistic, extremist,militaristic ways of achieving their goal (creation of Islamic caliphate). But at the same time it is important to know about the causes that led to such a rising and evaluate from a neutral point of view.

Team Insideiim

You have delved into the marketing aspects of the organization and also framed the agenda for this gd going forward. Both things done well 7.5/10

Dhruvika Chawalla

It, indeed, is too soon to tell that the ISIS has been successful. Even though, they have captured Iraq and Syria, one should not forget that their goal is to conquer the world. However, with the beliefs they hold, they should be curbed to do so. It is an extremist Jihad group that relies on religious violence and regards those Muslims who do not agree with its interpretations as apostates. 90% of Iraqis, 70% of syrians and 25000 foreign terrorist fighters from 100 nations support the group. A lot of other jihadi groups like boko haram and other 60 groups across 30 countries have pledged their alliance. How have they created this support is a question of concern. However, they will have to face huge number of rebels from US, Russia and the supporters of Assad before they can further expand their territories. Thus, their goal to establish its caliphate under their caliph, al baghdadi, seems far fetched as of now.

Team Insideiim

You haven’t added any new aspects to the discussion. But you have given some useful idea of their influence and challenges backed by data 6/10

Sivani Mallajosyula

They have only partly achieved their broader goal of establishing a caliphate. Apart from this their major aim intends to get rid of Sykes-picot agreement line and change the borders to those of middle ages that were established when Islam was at its peak. However, that is not a very desirable scenario for world peace as it threatens democracy as we know it.Their agenda involves killing of all the religions that do not align with the caliphate in the long run.So precisely it of utmost importance to us that ISIS doesnt succeed.

Team Insideiim

No new points. This far into the discussion, it’s better to pick a route suggested by others and go deeper into it

Sayantan Das

Agreeing to my friends here, ISIS hasn’t yet been successful entirely. Their prime motive to establish an undivided islamic caliphate stretching from middle east to parts of India and other south Asian nations, is still a distant reality. From the time they spun off from Al Qaeda to form ISIS they did manage to progress rapidly until now. Their short term success can attributed to the illegal strong hold in Iraq and Syria, preaching Sharia islamic law, brutal killings of anyone who refuses to abide by their law, mass kidnapping and slavery. Boko Haram, one of their leaders ..who has emerged as the recent face of terrorism. ISIS also leveraged social media and technology to spread its tentacles all across and planning terrorist attacks around the world.
But their success so far looks short lived, as Major world powers such as US, France, Russia and other rebel groups are targeting and destroying their hotspot, the recent instance being the one in Mosul. Its only a matter of time when all these nations combine forces and curb ISIS to name in history.

Team Insideiim

The focus on answering the main question of the discussion is commendable, even though you don’t bring in any new aspects. 6.5/10

Akash Kumar

‘ISIS is successful’ , i think it’s very much true. Seeing the amount of destruction it did in Paris and other parts of world,we can surely say this. It has been able to attract people from all parts of world belonging to different professions viz engineers,doctors etc. Yet another parameter which checks how much successful ISIS has been is despite several countries are acting against it none of them has been successful enough to stop it.Even it has children as its member . But , we will also have to see the aspect that why it has been successful? ISIS controls major parts of Iraq and Syria.Some country are providing artilleries,food and what not in order to get oil at very cheaper price . By their aid and support ,it has been able to support the training of more and more number of people.No real plan has been adopted by powerful countries of the world to tackle it.Every country has it’s own plan and they are just doing so that people acknowledge them for their work.

Team Insideiim

Very good examination of several points. You have delved deeper into existing points and also brought out new ones, like the cause for its success. 8/10


The success of ISIS has been discussed from here to Barack Obama’s speech. It has become a revolution and that to a successful one and my friends have already mentioned its successful endeavors like attack in Paris,Indonesia
I would like to forward the discussion by analyzing the reasons of ISIS success:
1. Clear goal: Unlike all other Islamic group the ISIS has a clear goal of establishing a Caliphate. Before ISIS the term ‘Caliphate’ was unknown to many and even who knew the idea of caliphate , though inspired by it ,didn’t thinkt it was possible in real world. ISIS is successful in removing that mental block of the “Caliphate”.
2. Enough Resources and Money: By exploiting the resources of Syria to fund its operation, ISIS has become probably the wealthiest Terrorist group in the history. It controls nearly 60% of Syria’s oil assets.
3. Military strategy: It tapped into the marginalization of Sunni population in Iraq to again territory and local support. Then it seize the opportunity of Syria Civil war to fuel the resurgence of the group.
4. Brilliant social media strategy to recruits fighter and increase their international recognition: The use of facebook, twitter and even watsapp to recruit and spread their Ideology was a master stroke by ISIS. Even the well-educated and employed manager of IOCL was deeply influenced by their ideology and it is not just him but youth from all over the world fleeing their country to join ISIS.

Mridul Agrawal

“Success” objectively taken, is too strong a term to be attributed to ISIS. In the short term, they surely have made a mark in the world in general and Iraq and Syria in particular. But as to the attainment of the long term goal, there is a long way to go, to create a mark on the entire world.
Truth prevails. Thus, wrong ideologies of ISIS will stand corrected ultimately.
However, the area of concern is the INFLUENCE its creating. Few Indians have been caught and stopped from (voluntarily) joining ISIS. This has to be curbed. This not only determines their (pseudo) ‘success’, but also our failure.
Also, the hacker group Anonymous, has declared a cyber/ Digital war against ISIS.
This gives us a different perspective and a lesson, to make our own, albeit small, contribution in the battle of the Truth.

Team Insideiim

Success is a positive term, not a normative one. Any one successful in achieving their objectives, however grotesque the objectives may be, can be termed successful. The scope of this discussion is hence focused on evaluating ISIS’ success and not whether it’s good or bad. You could have rather focused on the Anonymous point and brought out how it’s challenging ISIS 5/10

Tony Sebastian

What is ISIS? Where did it come from?
It starts with the war in Syria between the Bashar Al Assad government and rebels. Various Jihadist groups as well as the Al Qaeda set up base in Syria to fight alongside the rebels. In February 2014 after intense fighting, Al Qaeda affiliate mostly based in Iraq breaks up from the rebels coming to be known as ISIS which doesn’t fight Assad but instead fights the Kurdish and rebel groups within Syria carving out a mini-state in Syria that it calls it caliphate; That summer it marches into Iraq seizing territory and galvanising the world against it. Soon the coalition led by the USA declares their war against ISIS. As the various participants on the ground in Syria are primarily fighting different groups, there is no common enemy for all the stakeholders; With Israel stating that it would prefer ISIS to Iran in the conflict. The Islamic State has capitalised on this confusion on the ground and growing sentiments of the residents of the conflict region against the traditional government. As far as terrorist outfits go, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ‘Daesh’ has seen the greatest influx of capital, higher publicity and growth in of members in the limited time from its inception. The terrorist outfits that have taken up all the TV spots earlier have now declared that they do not support ISIS, perhaps out of concern that ISIS might grow into such a great power that it may absorb or make inconsequential other terrorist outfits. All of this seems to point to the perception of a succeeding ISIS. ISIS is arguably the single most important agenda of various nations and it is certainly the most attractive for people with such inclinations to join a terrorist organisation. I’m no terrorist mastermind, but it seems like ISIS has been successful in its journey so far.

Team Insideiim

Going into how it was formed as good strategy. No one has spent time on that. Good points made 7/10

Vivek Jha

Success is a relative term and to discuss if ISIS is successful, we need to understand which parameters are we discussing for its “Success”. Is it about the span or reach of ISIS, that we should talk about? Is it about the fear in the hearts of countless numbers of people, whose family members, relatives or friends died due to actions of ISIS? Is it the Government actions or alertness against ISIS that measures its Success? Well, I believe answers to these questions would definitely show that ISIS has been successful. Starting from cities of Iraq and Syria, it has its reach in various other countries such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Recent attacks in Paris and Lebanon and the bombing of a Moscow flight prove the growth that it has seen continuously over the years. If I focus a bit more on the recent Paris attack, among the 8 terrorists that were involved in the attack, 1 was supposedly a refugee from Syria, while other 7 were French. This shows the radicalisation that it can imbibe in the mind of the person who turned to ISIS to kill their own people. It definitely proves the success of ISIS. After the attack, Moscow and France started bombing the Syrian cities targeting the areas under ISIS radar. Now, this also brought collateral damage in those countries. Supposedly, for every 1 ISIS fighter that died, 8 residents were killed. This has surely induced fear in the hearts of the people. ISIS is successful considering generally, such organisation think of death of their people as becoming Martyrs. Undoubtedly, it’s a win for them. Politically, after knowing that 1 terrorist was a Syrian refugee, USA and France started working on the Immigrant rhetoric. This shows that ISIS has been successful in hampering the thinking of the Government of big superpowers like the US, Britain and France. Apart from all these factors, ISIS has been immensely successful economically ( earning almost $2,00,000 from the sale of Oil everyday) and gaining local support in Iraq.

All of these show the success of ISIS and has openly questioned International Peace and coalition to work united against the biggest terrorist organisation currently in the world.

Team Insideiim

Need to work on better articulation of ideas. No new points made. The Paris attacks and their impact was the only good point made here 6/10

Rahul Datta

ISIS does not seem to be only a terrestrial force which could cause harm only through invading the boundaries of other countries . This army is equipped with mind , weapons , ammunition , financial support and the power of technology which makes it a perfect brutal force . They can invade the minds of the people in different countries through various means like they have their own Facebook , i.e , “Khalifa book” . Through their android app “Amaq” they show the success stories of ISIS and its evolution which is enough to target the minds of youth . Recently they have opened their own own Flipkart , i.e , which allures the lower strata people to commit wrong and earn rewards in return . According to the recent sources more than 30000 people in India and willing to join ISIS and fight for Islam . Truly the number is too small for a population of 1.25 billion but every drop makes an Ocean. This entire work is managed by their technically skilled force , “The ghost army” . These small steps are clearly an indication of what they are going to achieve in future . Moreover their hold on the Oil resources make them more dangerous as it allows them to earn easy money . It has become a necessity to stop it otherwise their success stories could vanish the future of many countries .

Team Insideiim

It is smart work this late into the debate to focus and go deep into one aspect. You have brought out the online war beautifully. 7.5/10


Success comes from power and money.
As my friend explained that ISIS have become the richest terrorist organization till by selling Syria oil but we know that oil prices have trembled down by 60% and looking at the current world situation it’s going to fall more or stay low in coming years. That will definitely affect the revenue of ISIS.
Decrease in revenue means less money and thus less resources and artillery for fighting.
Secondly recently more countries have come together to fight against ISIS. Turkey which was earlier in neutral state has joined the fight. Similarly China is also planning to team up with Russia to boost the fight against ISIS. With more than 30 countries fighting against ISIS now, I don’t see a bright future for ISIS.

Moreover in India ATS and NIA is doing applaudable job by catching ISIS promoters and sympathisers . They had recently made 14 arrest all over India and in past has fouled the plans many youth who were leave Syria for joining ISIS.

One of the main reason why I consider ISIS unsuccessful is because like any other terrorist organization the main motto of ISIS is to spread terror among people and though it was successful in bombing Paris, Indonesia, Yemen but it failed in installing the fear in people. The people of Paris came out strongly after the terror attack and so will the people of other countries.

In the end I would say,
ISIS may have won few battles but it’s going to lose this war.

Team Insideiim

An interesting route to take, saying it hasn’t instilled fear even after its attacks. Need to work on articulation though 6.5/10

Rushi Vyas

ISIS has been successful in what they aim to achieve. They have successfully spread fear around the world after successful terror attacks such as the one on Paris and Bali. But the fear factor is only one aspect of their success. ISIS has successfully established a structure of modern government in the areas they control. Welfare services are provided for the ones accepting their fatwa. Price controls have been established and taxation has been imposed on the wealthy. ISIS runs a soft power programme which includes socia services, religious lectures etc. It also carries out public services like repairing roads, maintaining electric supply etc. Food production is maintained, with more than 40% of Iraq’s wheat production controlled by ISIS. ISIS has also used social media extensively to preach its ideas and principles, alongwith horrifying acts of execution and other crimes. ISIS has also made itself economically viable, with major income coming from sale of oil. TRAC has identified nearly 60 organisations that have pledged allegiance to ISIS, a testament to the fact that ISIS has been successful in imposing their ideology around the world. Thus, ISIS has been successful in their endeavors. But their success is a blot on humanity and would not be considered a success by anyone other than themselves!

Team Insideiim

By bringing out the soft power aspects, you have added a new dimension to the discussion. Keeping your value judgements for the end is also smart, assuming you absolutely want to make them 7/10