The extremist jihadist group leading the insurgency against the Iraqi government is using apps, social media and even a feature-length movie to intimidate enemies, recruit new followers and spread its message. And its rivals – including foreign governments – are struggling to keep up.
A video purporting to show British jihadists urging Western Muslims to join them in Iraq has been released on social media. The footage - which has not been independently verified - apparently features Britons and Australians fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
As Al Qaeda-inspired ISIS continues its violent march towards Baghdad, the group's social media outreach is being closely examined.
US President Barack Obama ordered American troops back onto Iraqi soil. Granted, it's only a few hundred this time, and they are ostensibly there just to protect the US embassy in Baghdad — a far cry from the thousands that flooded the country after the 2003 invasion. Still, US troops in Iraq carry the baggage of that long, bloody war, a fact that is not lost on the average Iraqi.
It's a truth of warfare in the digital era: Bullets and bombs often are augmented by status updates and tweets. The bloody conflict taking place in Iraq is no different.
Everyone agrees an ISIS-controlled state could be deadly—but in what ways? We typically think of terrorist outfits like al-Qaida and ISIS as nonstate actors. But what does it mean when a nonstate actor carves itself a state? The disaster is worst for those unlucky enough to find themselves living under ISIS rule. The jihadist group’s extreme ideology calls for killing or subjugating not only Christians and Jews, but also many Muslims. Shiite Muslims, who make up a majority in Iraq, are particularly hated for their supposed apostasy, as are the Alawites who rule in Syria.