Worth Magazine

Profits of Peace

When the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly known as ISIS, rolled into Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in June 2014, the Iraqi soldiers garrisoned there dropped their guns, discarded their uniforms and fled. ISIS warriors seized abandoned weapons, including reportedly six American-supplied Black Hawk Helicopters, and piles of cash stored in banks.

But in a way, it was hard to understand why it was taken in the first place. The Iraqi soldiers outnumbered the invaders 15 to one, yet they were routed; just 2,000 insurgents conquered a city of 1.5 million people. Why did the Iraqi soldiers abandon their posts? The simple explanation is they were afraid, and the reason they were afraid had a lot to do with the was ISIS uses modern media technology...

"The arrival in conflict areas of tech and data and social media gives you a window into the human dynamics-- the DNA of conflict," [PeaceTech Lab CEO Sheldon] Himelfarb explains. That combination of technology and data, he adds, provides "unprecedented early warning."

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