ISIS: Assessing Rumiyah

12 September 2016

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The propaganda released by ISIS since late 2015 provides a fascinating case study of how a group in politico-military decline uses messaging to coax friends and foes into fixating upon and exaggerating their strengths while ignoring, dismissing or reframing their failures. In this context, the group’s latest English-language publication, Rumiyah, provides an insight into the role of Australians in ISIS and is a reminder of how misguided counter-terrorism initiatives can do more to assist extremist appeals than counter them.

Through 2014-15 ISIS propaganda framed politico-military successes as manifestations of divine approval and their defeat of enemies as evidence of divine disapproval. While ISIS narratives have continued to emphasise that their caliphate remains and is addressing its citizens needs, these messages have been increasingly partnered (and often overshadowed) by narratives that frame material losses as fleeting and divinely foretold and therefore part of a master plan that requires the unceasing commitment of true believers to ISIS’ perpetual war.

Read ISIS: Assessing Rumiyah by Haroro Ingram published in the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

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