SYRIA — One of ISIS's top performers was passed up for a promotion yesterday for failing to complete computer-based training on suicide awareness. The decision was internally leaked and is being widely criticized as a weak organizational push to get fighters to kill themselves.
"I was in a CIA black site for the last three months," said Abdel Fattah. "They said I should have completed it before I was captured, but I'm sorry I was busy doing my actual job."
Fattah, an Aleppo native and active-duty militant since 2014, was outraged by the decision not to promote him. In addition to being a top performer, Fattah completed PME in-residence and earned a masters degree from Damascus Online University while held by the Americans, all of which should have made him a shoo-in for advancement.
Suicide awareness training is one of several annual requirements for all ISIS fighters. Other requirements include Human Trafficking, Active Shooter, and Caliphate Travel Card 101. Until now, militants who failed to complete one of the requirements received a slap on the wrist.
"This is a blatant attempt by bureaucrats to assert themselves at a time when nothing is happening," said Sayid Antar, a MITRE analysts specializing in ISIS affairs. "Commanders are just looking to validate their position by getting volunteers for suicide missions."
Defenders of the decision argue there is no ambiguity in the regulation and that the public response has been blown out of proportion.
"What part of mandatory do people not understand?" asks Hamid Safar, an ISIS public affairs officer. "If you don't learn the signs of suicide reluctance, how are you going to make sure your buddy goes through with it? Suicide is a team effort."
The Pentagon has also publicly criticized the move calling it "too harsh," but understands the importance of computer based training.