Accession Number:

ADA622220

Title:

Defense Horizons. Number 77, October 2014

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2014-10-01

Pagination or Media Count:

13.0

Abstract:

On June 29, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or the Islamic State, a Sunni jihadist group with the capability of a paramilitary, established an Islamic caliphate. With 10,000 militants, the group took territory and achieved a goal that rival terrorist group al Qaeda has pursued for decades. Yet how did a group with relatively few fighters accomplish so much ISIS and its caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have learned lessons from past insurgents and leaders. In the implementation of its campaign, the group has used strategic tools to project military, economic, political, and informational power to the local, regional, and global community. From exploiting the sectarian divide to gain support, to manipulating political and social media to inflate its appearance of strength, to recruiting disaffected Sunnis and Muslim youth of the world through social media, ISIS has proved to be a new class of insurgency. ISIS, however, has projected the most power and shown the most innovation with technology and media. It demonstrates a masterful understanding of effective propaganda and social media use, producing a multidimensional global campaign across multiple platforms. ISIS has used these platforms to exhibit intimidation, networking, recruitment, justice, and justification. It continues to spread its anti-Western, pro-jihadi messages to vulnerable populations using viral videos made to look like video games. Yet its skill is best displayed on Twitter where it has garnered tens of thousands of followers across dozens of accounts, eliciting feedback from average supporters.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE