(This is the second part of an analysis on Jihadist propaganda efforts. Part 1 can be found here).
Jihadist propaganda can be found everywhere on the internet – Twitter accounts, YouTube videos, discussion forums, etc. Catching a glimpse of suicide bombers attacking a military convoy while the voice of an off-screen narrator chants the praise of these new “martyrs” is fairly easy, and it’s precisely the point. These videos are broadcast to a variety of target audiences – the Western public, Western soldiers and, of course, young Muslims who are encouraged to join God’s fight against evil. Quite frankly, it’s a familiar narrative that isn’t exclusive to Muslim extremists.
So, these videos have been circulating around for years now, relayed through DVDs sold in bazaars, online discussion forums and since 2009, Twitter. The Taliban have proven quite proficient with social media, disseminating “information” through their website, Shahamat-english.com and the Twitter account of Abdulqahar Bakhi, The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s “Community manager.” But recently, another group learned to harness and master the power of social media, one I dubbed the “Capliphate 2.0” due do its use of information technology, as well as its virtual nature.
I’m talking about the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, or ISIS, if you trade “Levant” for “Syria”).