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ISIS has captured the world's attention with gruesome videos of beheadings, wanton destruction of antiquities and skilled use of social media.U.S. President Barack Obama says that ISIS must be degraded and ultimately defeated.Its possession of territory creates the legitimacy and capacity for offensive jihad, which it wages not only against infidels but also Shiites and Sufi Muslims, whom it considers "takfiris," or not true Islamic monotheists.By some estimates, there are more than 25,000 foreign fighters serving in ISIS today.On the one hand, it is important to use hard military power to deprive the caliphate of the territory that provides it both sanctuary and legitimacy. But if the American military footprint is too heavy, the soft power of ISIS will be strengthened, thus aiding its global recruiting efforts.Assad is one of the most effective recruiting tools of ISIS.As it stands, the funding and coordination of America's soft-power strategy is inadequate. But we know that hard power is not enough, particularly to contest the cyber territory that ISIS occupies – for example, by developing a capacity to take down botnets and counter hostile social-media accounts.
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