With the release of the Islamic State (IS) Manifesto we see the latest installment from IS’ intensive, digitally propelled Information Operations (IO) machine. The message is that Muslims are being persecuted worldwide and Islam is under attack. This is a familiar refrain and one that is being dredged up from previous conflicts for its continued effectiveness. With this production they take it to the next level by publishing a ‘fatwa’ approving the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to kill as many as ten million Americans. The video issuing the speech and fatwa by this IS leader was posted on the internet in multiple languages. Of interest is the move by authorities to censor the manifesto, especially given the number of ultra-violent videos from IS showing graphic violence, already available. More important is the building theme with each IS media release, that America and the coalition are falling steadily further behind in the war of ideas.
Fatwa |ˈfätwä|noun: a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority.
WMD: Weapons capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or propelling the weapon where such means is a separable and divisible part of the weapon.
English transcripts are still available for anyone still interested in general content.
ISIS CHIEF CALLS ON FOLLOWERS WORLDWIDE TO WAGE JIHAD
One does not need to be a subject matter expert to understand some ground truths regarding our deficit in this area, or why our Department of State (DOS) and Pentagon are consistently being outclassed by their IS counterparts. There is almost a complete dearth of information operations being conducted by our government or its agencies to dissuade the opposition and their prospective recruits. Islamic State understands the value of sending a strong core message (victory, the caliphate, jihad) to the target audience, and their IO machine is tireless in its efforts to crank out their message often and emphatically. Consider the following video, typical of their productions. Its message is clear and appeals to their audience.
SHOCKING VIDEO SHOWS THE EXTENT OF EXECUTIONS IN IRAQ BY ISIS (dailymail.co.uk)
The Man Behind the ISIS Media Curtain Ahmad Abousamra (isisstudygroup.com)
By contrast our DOS operates a Twitter feed, @Thinkagainturnaway, previously covered in the ISIS Study Group piece: State Department Failure: Messaging Gaffes Miss Mark Completely. The IS makes a bold appeal to their audience and lures them using images depicting power, violence and victory over the enemies of Islam. The DOS Twitter feed responds in a fashion reminiscent of college campus politics or some hipster think tank. IS makes a video of a beheading and DOS responds by targeting them with a hash tag and a pithy phrase. In short, there is no comparison between the effectiveness of IS products and the one-trick pony that is @Thinkagainturnaway.
Read more at ISIS Study Group