“Honey traps” have been used from time immemorial. After all, didn’t Samson’s enemies use the information Delilah was able to obtain from the biblical hero to capture him?
And now ISIS is on the same course, according to reports.
One, from the OneIndia reporting service, found the Islamic terror army that has been sweeping across Syria and Iraq is recruiting Muslim women volunteers from Hyderabad, an Indian city that is 40 percent Muslim.
One of the women said: “We felt the need to protect our brothers. We were told that the battle will be a long one and hence we were required to assist them.”
She said the women were offered a range of roles.
“We were told we could cook for the soldiers. If we were interested we could also be part of an operation where we lay honey traps,” she said.
Analysts are not surprised by the development because of the “sophisticated” strategies of ISIS, which aligns with Islam’s general view of women.
Intelligence Community analyst Peter Cohen explained, “There are a lot of poor Indian women who need money, and some of these women are willing to work for nefarious organizations, if they get to keep some of the proceeds.
“I am clear about Indian or any women from anywhere being used, sadly, as objects for men’s pleasure, just as Yazidi women in Iraq are raped, enslaved, and forced to convert to Islam from their Zoroastrian-like belief system,” Cohen said.
Center for Security Policy Vice President for Research Clare Lopez confirmed the move by ISIS wasn’t unexpected.
“Because the Islamic State seems to me very sophisticated,” Lopez said.
The use of women also is consistent with ISIS statements and actions, according to Mark Durie of the Middle East Forum.
“There is a principle in Islamic jurisprudence that necessity makes lawful what is forbidden. So it would not be surprising if they are doing this,” he said.
“Jihadis in Syria have been recruiting women for sex jihad from all over the Muslim world for a few years now. This seems consistent with that. As they are bringing in many men to fight, they will also need women to serve in various ways,” Durie said.
Islam analyst and Jihad Watch publisher Robert Spencer said ISIS recruitment of women as spies is completely in line with Islamic teaching and practice.
“They don’t have any problem using women in this way. It’s in line with what they think women are for,” Spencer said.
Spencer added that ISIS is likely using women who already have been compromised.
“They prey upon women who have been caught in adultery or seem to them to have been, and tell them they can only enter paradise by being a suicide bomber (or sex spy as the case may be). This is presented to them as the only way they can save the honor of their families,” Spencer said.
A former CIA station chief who asked not to be identified for security reasons said the tactic is similar to how the former Soviet Union used women spies in the KGB.
“The Indian women will probably be significantly less well trained than KGB ‘Sparrows,’ but the principle is identical; to get a man into a compromising position where he can give intelligence or be susceptible to blackmail,” he said.
Cohen questioned the value of ISIS or another jihadist group employing the “honey trap” tactic.
“I am unclear, however, what intel Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi wants for ISIS. If he needs strategic topographical information, Indian women aren’t going to help; he can just capture the opponent (usually a Kurdish fighter) and make them talk. Who is he trying to trap?” Cohen said.
Cohen said it would make more sense for ISIS to use women from the Middle East.
“As for ISIS or Islamic terrorist movements that fold as quickly as they form, I see no benefit in using women in general, and the only logical trap that makes sense for ISIS, would be captured local women, especially young, exotic and innocent women, like Yazidi women or captured Kurdish women,” Cohen said.
However, the former CIA station chief said the ISIS focus may be more on the sex than the intelligence.
The “Islamic rationalizations,” he said could be: “The women are slaves, in status if not in fact, and therefore can be used for anything. The next reason is that the women are faithful Muslims doing their duty, almost martyrs. The third reason is that numerous fatwas have permitted women to participate in jihad. Spying and deception, including honey traps, are a tactic of war. Last, Islam permits whatever is necessary with the proper rationalizations.”