Helle Dale-- The Daily Signal
ISIS’ effectiveness at using the Internet to spread terror and attract foreign recruits is now well documented.
The terrorist group has taken psychological warfare to dimensions Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would have admired. In-depth analysis of ISIS propaganda is a necessity for understanding how to combat violent Islamic extremism online.
A program at The Heritage Foundation last week delivered some of that analysis. “Cyberspace & Terrorism: The Islamic State and the Lone Wolf,” featured Daniel Cohen of the Cyber Security Program of the Israel-based Institute for National Security Studies and was led The Heritage Foundation’s Steve Bucci.
As Cohen explained, ISIS identifies its own strategy as stage A: Islamic State in Syria and Iraq; stage B: regional expansion throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including the Iberian Peninsula; and stage 3: global expansion through the export of terrorism.
As much as international attention as ISIS has grabbed, it is important to remember the current campaign goes back less than a year. Its Internet presence began in April and May, and it was only in June that the group, known before as “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” declared the Islamic State. And it was only in August that the horrific videos began to appear.
ISIS’ media operation is as sophisticated as its actions are barbaric. Recruitment videos are tailored to audiences in as many as 14 different languages, and some feature Western recruits. A propaganda shot shows a laptop and a handgun lying next to a bag of M&Ms.