The Terrorist Group’s Media Strategy and the Solutions of Fighting It

Abdalaziz Alhamza “RBSS”

First part

ISIS has always amazed the world with its videos which contain a heavy load of brutality and new ways of slaughtering and executing in order to spread fear and terror. Starting with the video of burning the Jordanian Pilot Muaz Al Kassasbeh and ending with its recent video in Deir Ez zor where they slaughtered several young people and hung them as sheep in a way resemble to slaughtering sacrifices which led to lots and lots of condemnation even among the group’s supporters. An ISIS supportive twitter account Tweeted:”This is a mockery of the Islamic ritual in sacrificing animals; God ransoms the prophet Ismail by a sheep. This shows us how sacred the human soul is, God is good and does not accept anything not good”.
How ISIS runs its media war? What are the group’s tools, strategies and goals? How important the picture and the symbols in ISIS videos?
From the beginning, ISIS was aware of the importance of the media war, so the group subjected a lot of money for this purpose, you can tell that by the professional cams and the professional methods of montage carried out by specialized team as well as the scenarios where the method of executing the penalty depends on the director vision even if it is against the Islamic rules.
The group’s official media agencies are:
– Al Furqan Foundation
– Al Aitisam Foundation
– Al Hayat Foundation has issued several productions mostly in English.
– Ajnad Foundation that had produced high quality audios, this foundation is supplying the other foundations with audios and poems.
The group’s unofficial media agencies:
– Amaq News Agency: which is the most famous one; it is specialized with battles and shelling news. It has not issued any official production.
– Turgeman Alosorti foundation: This has started as a personal account on twitter and closed several times by the site administration. Is has several productions such as (breaking the borders)
– Al Battar and Caliphate foundations
– Al Bayan FM Radio, the group’s first radio, it broadcast from the main headquarters, Mosul and Raqqa.
The terrorist group also relies on supporters’ accounts on twitter and Facebook where they use their own hash tags along with Just Pas It web site. The administrations of these sites have repeatedly closed these accounts but the group supporters keep making new accounts. It is worth mention that the Army of The Caliphate, a group of online ISIS supporters, had hacked several sites and official accounts belong to the American army.
We can summarize the goals of ISIS media by the following:
1- Looking hones before the group’s supporters, and gaining people’s trust in order to collect more and more supporters especially in Europe and America by showing the group’s controlled cities as if they were from One Thousand and one Nights. Dabiq magazine once published an essay about weather and food in the Group’s controlled cities, especially Raqqa and Aleppo suburbs.
2- Repeating the scenes of victory, conquests, executions and beheadings in order to establish the group’s slogan (Remaining and Expanding) along with spreading the fear in enemies’ subconscious just like what happened in Mosul in 2014 summer when the Iraqi army retreated a few hours before the arrival of ISIS troops to the city leaving behind their weapons.
3- Focusing on the upcoming epic battle in the metaphysical Islamic heritage in order to recruit the largest number of supporters, this is clarified in ISIS slogan (our appointment is in Dabiq) by which ISIS is taking advantage of young people to convince them to recruit in its troops.
4- Showing the group as an integrated state: In Breaking The Borders video, the terrorist group was glorifying the break of Sykes – Picot agreement borders between Iraq and Syria, the reason behind that is to make a media victory, and we say media because the fact does not show any victory because the terrorist group has lost wide areas and both of Al Adnani and Al Shishani, who had announced this victory, have died recently by the International Coalition airstrikes.
Moreover, several videos have been produced to show the economic and structural status of the so called state. Two years earlier, ISIS published a long report talking about the group’s intention to change the world’s economic balance by coining the group’s own currency, the golden Islamic Dinar which does not coined yet.
5- Intimidation and controlling the group’s territories: ISIS knows very well that it is not welcomed by the local folks, so the group used terror policy in order to subdue people and prevent them from even thinking of doing any action that might threaten the group’s security. In order to do that ISIS started with executing lots and lots of people in public squares and then moved the second step which is its brutal Hollywood-Like videos.
ISIS has managed to benefit from the media experiences of all previous jihadist groups and established a new kind of media depends on creating an imaginary terror in people’s minds. The terrorist group also managed to create a fake picture of the situation in its territory.
In order to fight this hypocrisy, there should be some real solutions where the defeat of the group’s media will accelerate the group’s defeat.

media activist from the city of Raqqa, student at the Faculty of Law at the University of the Euphrates. Director of the Media Office of Raqqa, founding member of "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently", founding member of the documentary project of "Sound and Picture". I work in documenting violations committed by Assad's regime and ISIS group and extremist organizations inside the city of Raqqa, as I work in programming, design and visual media. I hold a certificate of coach in digital security, and a certificate of journalist coach, and a certificate in documenting violations against human rights, and a certificate in electronic advocacy. I underwent a training under the supervision of "Cyber-Arabs" in collaboration with the Institute for War and Peace "IWPR", about the management of electronic websites and leadership of advocacy campaigns, and a training of press photography under the supervision of the photojournalist "Peter Hove Olesen".