Why ISIS Propaganda Is Still Successful Despite Group’s Defeat In Syria And Iraq

Donate

Why ISIS Propaganda Is Still Successful Despite Group's Defeat In Syria And Iraq

ISIS killer dubbed new ‘Jihadi John’

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

The Islamic State or ISIS is like any other social movement.  It supplies a range of services that are otherwise not provided to specific groups of people. These are chiefly the Sunni populations of the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, the growing and alienated mass of young Muslims in Europe. While ISIS has yet to make major inroads into the Caucasus or Central Asia, its ability to establish itself in Afghanistan to the detriment of the Taliban reveals a certain universal appeal among Sunni Muslim populations worldwide, particularly those living in failing or failed states which represent a particularly fertile soil for ISIS.

Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” is illustrative of the problem facing countries seeking to combat the menace of IS. In the instance of failing or failed states like Afghanistan, Yemen, post-US attack Iraq, Syria, and Libya, even the most basic needs like safety and security cannot be taken for granted. As brutal as ISIS may seem, to a population living in a state of anarchy it may appear as salvation. This is not without precedent.  The Taliban was also welcomed by many regions of Afghanistan tired of the seemingly endless civil war.  In other cases, for example in the Sunni regions of post-US withdrawal Shia-dominated-Iraq or in regions of Syria in the “grey area” of mixed Kurdish and Arab populations, ISIS was perceived as a sectarian defender against the danger posed by other ethnic groups or even the Iraqi government itself. This is one of the reasons why so many towns or cities saw mass executions shortly after ISIS take-over. In many instances, the local population aligned with ISIS militants avenged themselves on other ethnic factions as soon as an opportunity presented itself. Indeed, today one of the biggest problems facing US forces in Syria which support Kurdish formations is avoiding alienating the local Arabs. Even though US forces are in Syria ostensibly for the purpose of fighting ISIS, their utilization of Kurdish militias promotes the attractiveness of ISIS among Sunni Arabs who justly fear Kurd will expel Arabs in order to create Kurdish enclaves in northern Syria.

From the perspective of belonging and self-esteem, the remarkable military effectiveness of ISIS came as a welcome change to many Arabs who have experienced a series of defeats of incompetent Arab armies by Western and Israeli adversaries. This in a very real sense is military successes were perceived by many as rescuing Arab honor and restoring long-lost Arab reputation for fierceness in battle, even among those who did not see eye to eye with ISIS on ideological or religious matters. It also did not hurt that ISIS administration of the territories it occupied was relatively efficient and well financed. ISIS had revenue from oil and looted antiquities smuggled to Turkey and Jordan, and also funds generously provided by Gulf Arab states promoting a revival of Sunni power in Iraq and Syria.

Belonging and self-esteem are also behind the so-called “ISIS-inspired” attacks in Europe and the United States, which are usually perpetrated by young Muslim males who were either born or came of age in Western countries. These terrorists belong to a group which finds it hardest to integrate after moving to a new country whose culture is both attractive and at the same time alien and inaccessible.  Since their parents are unable to help them in that process, they feel snubbed, excluded, confined to menial jobs, so they turn to militancy as a means of restoring the sense of self-worth.

Finally when it comes to self-actualization, let’s face it, ISIS offers the prospect of a grand adventure, a de-facto extreme sports tournament with live ammunition which is enormously attractive to young adult males seeking a rite of passage to establish their sense of manhood. That sense of youthful adventure emanates from many ISIS videos, particularly the ones from their almost unopposed “victory tour” through Iraq and Syria in long columns of brand new Toyota trucks before the romanticism of the adventure faded under a rain of Russian bombs. In a very real sense ISIS is a latter-day re-enactment of Attila the Hun and other nomadic raiders of antiquity whose strength only grew with their conquests.  Like Attila, ISIS has been able to attract many recruits from conquered territories with their promise of adventure combined with not a small dose of pillage and plunder. After all, given a choice between being a victorious conqueror and a member of an apparently unstoppable jihadist force, or a civilian in an ISIS-administered region subject to possibly draconian laws and economic exploitation, the vast majority of eligible men would opt for the former and even be encouraged by their families to do so in order to curry favor for themselves with their new overlords. This phenomenon gave ISIS that peculiar self-sustaining momentum which allowed it to effortlessly overrun Sunni-majority areas and even make advance into territories where the Sunnis were not represented.

The current Western panic over “fake news” and the escalating effort to censor social media, though currently mainly focused on the “Russian threat”, is an older phenomenon dating to the concerns that young Muslim males living in the West are being “radicalized” by the Internet. In actuality the task of radicalization has been accomplished by Western societies’ inability or unwillingness to assimilate their families. That sense of alienation means these young men do not feel they have positive role models in their own societies. This leads them to seek out “counterculture” alternatives, a phenomenon common among other young males who join gangs, join the illegal drug culture, or engage in other illicit activities. But since the alienation of young Muslim males takes place along ethnic and religious lines, it is only natural they will seek out role models who are Muslim themselves, and ISIS propaganda videos fill that void.

In this rebellious interpretation, their cultural and religious affiliation was facilitated by the current condition of the Western society, in which the image of the strong male as a provider or warrior is being systematically destroyed. While this policy in the main influences indigenous Western populations, it also creates an open niche for the new arrivals who, given their own social and cultural upbringing, interpret this as a permission to engage in criminal activity. What is more, even the police are trying to conceal or “soften” these patterns of behavior which have attracted publicity.

The phenomenon of the ISIS also is a challenge for most of the scholars of “post-materialism” and “post-modernism” who sprang up like mushrooms after the end of the Cold War. The general belief in the West in the 1990s was that, now that the “end of history” was upon us, it meant the end to nationalism, tribalism, identity politics of any kind. Because if identity is constructed, now that world peace was upon us, all of the group identities constructed in the course of earlier centuries and even millennia could be deconstructed and the global society built on the basis of 7 billion atomized specimens of “homo economicus”, rational actors pursuing self-interest framed solely in the terms personal material gain. What the constructivist crowd missed is that the human psyche has a hard-wired need to construct group identities. In the absence of state-sponsored nation-building, non-state actors will naturally rise to fill that void. While this has been a perennial problem for weak and failing states, in the post-Cold War era even the First World countries encountered the problem of identity which they thought they had well in hand.

There are two conclusions to be drawn from all this. The first is that there are many parts of the world, including Central Asia and the Sahel, where ISIS is still not heavily represented but where it could easily take root if the relevant governments fail to take preventive measures or panic and over-react. Secondly, the problem of ISIS cannot be solved through military means alone, nor can it be addressed by propaganda, re-education, or mandatory lectures on the proper interpretation of Islamic scriptures.  ISIS has prospered because it found a way to exploit vulnerabilities in MENA societies and even in European ones. It remains to be seen whether they can be addressed by Western states adhering to the neo-liberal economic dogma, even if they are actually interested in defeating ISIS rather than using it as a proxy force. To make matters worse, the United States has of late been displaying interest in Uighur-populated Xinjiang province and is stepping up its economic and political pressure on China. The interest in Central Asia as a political and even military battlefield from which Russia’s and China’s interests could be pushed out also means that Western intelligence services are not yet ready to curtail their reliance on Islamist extremists as proxy warriors. Since even 9/11 failed to dampen the enthusiasm for such practices, the occasional ISIS-inspired or even ISIS-planned act of terrorism in the West is apparently treated as “collateral damage” that does not fundamentally affect the cost-benefit analysis.

After all, thus far the only success at practically eradicating an ISIS-like entity was scored by Russia against the Caucasus Emirate in Chechnya and Dagestan thanks to a comprehensive array of military, political, and economic measures. Unfortunately, Russia does not really have allies other than Syria and Iran in that fight, though that may change should ISIS activity intensify on or within China’s borders. Therefore there is no reason to expect the ISIS phenomenon will fully disappear in the years or even decades to come.

Donate

  • HardHawk

    The Russians have no allies beside Iran and Syria…… I wonder if this writer of this article, ever leave the basement of his mother.

    And referring to the afghan war as civil show also how brain damaged he is, from western propaganda so how you can take him seriously to the rest he says?

    • Dear HardHawk, thsi comment is deleted. Personal affronts are unacceptable.
      If you want to write your own article on this topic, which would be written in an analytical style and based on the facts how you see it, feel free to send it to info@southfront.org
      Sincerely yours,
      SF Team

      • occupybacon

        Are you an Indian, sir?

  • Merijn

    Sure the Israeli-Secret-Intelligence-Service is very Popular among Donkey-Bashers, Talmudic Wahhabis, Criminals, Psychopaths, Drop-Outs, Massmurderers, Mental Patients, Failures of Society, Inbreds, Rapists & Kiddie-Bangers….ISIS-RAEL Fullfills their WILDEST WET DREAMS the DISNEY-CALIPHATE….MK-Ultra & Captagon does the rest…

  • MADE MAKER

    SO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE WENT TO JOIN ISIS NOW THEY ARE ALL DEAD GONE

    • HardHawk

      good, this way you control bad defective DNA, reproducing more shit on earth.

    • Merijn

      And that is a good thing….a lot of Retards Died…never to return to Society again… the more the better…thanks to them a lot of Innocent folks Died….

  • John Whitehot

    “Therefore there is no reason to expect the ISIS phenomenon will fully disappear in the years or even decades to come.”

    That’s because the name “ISIS” will be largely used as a propaganda tool by zionist and other aligned entities.

    In fact, whatever “ISIS” was, has been largely destroyed on the ground. Of course, what remains it’s the more general entity that could be called “Saudi/Wahabi sponsored terrorism” – if we consider this, then it will exist until the Saudi regime exists.

    • Ken Nonickname Nonecknom Under

      *Ceases to exist. ;)

      • John Whitehot

        ))

  • That Guy

    Oppressing Muslim (or Sunni) populations brings ISIS-like entities to existence.

    • Abramo Putra

      The most oppressed Muslims in the world are those of Palestine, then come the Saudis, dominated by the Mafia Saud family where there are no political rights and even women have 0 rights.
      Who oppresses the muslims? But 1st is Israel and 2nd Saudi Arabia. You should agree, no? If you think that the West is democracy.

      • That Guy

        Fully agree. That’s why ISIS did strike Saudi Arabia (from within) and Israel (from Sinai) a couple of times.

        But you should not forget that in a certain period of time, Shiite militias and government in Iraq used to kill children and their parents just because their names were Omar and Aisha, which is the main reason behind the rise of ISIS in Iraq, then later moving to Syria.

        • Abramo Putra

          The main reason for the ascent of ISIS is that Al Bagdadi was freed from Abu Graib as a US agent, the army of cut mercenaries from all over the world was financed with millions of dollars, equipped with sophisticated American and Israeli armaments and columns of thousands trucks donated by the US have roamed for Iraq and Syria undisturbed. In addition, Israeli hospitals on the Syrian border are home to thousands of wounded men from the caliphate who then send them back to the front, but they do not arrest them. Friend your fairy tales are only good in Hollywood.

          • That Guy

            “Friend your fairy tales are only good in Hollywood.”

            I can reply likewise to conspiracy theorists. lol.

      • putinbeater

        also in the islamic state of iran

        • northerntruthseeker .

          Again, JIDF/Hasbara agent here…

          They are so easy to expose due to their stupid comments!

        • That Guy

          Iran is anything but Islamic. Shiite state, yes it is.

          • putinbeater

            islamic. also in the official name. and similarly as saudis, there is a religion police in iran, too.

          • That Guy

            Ok…. Whatever you say… But I’m gonna tell you that your overview on the situation in the middle east is not so deep. Meh…. It doesn’t matter anyways.

          • andyoldlabour

            Have you ever visited Iran, because I have several times, and other countries in the region. The people are the friendliest I have met, and compared with other countries in the region they are pretty tolerant.

  • putinbeater

    The caliphyate is dream of all moslems. It is their archetype.

    • northerntruthseeker .

      JIDF/Hasbara agents are here once again..

  • iosongasingsing

    The ISIS has a base of 80% of international mercenaries paid by Saudis and emirates and the other 20% is recruited for subsistence and convenience towards the landowner. The expensive weapons and training are provided by the US and its staff, the medical care of the thousands of wounded take place in Israeli hospitals.
    So the ISIS has never attacked Israel and even the columns with thousands of trucks donated by the US the US aviation has never bombed, not even by “mistake”, as happened so many times with the Syrian army. ISIS, USA, ISRAEL are the same thing.

  • Abramo Putra

    ISIS is like Al Qaeda a CIA-Mossad creation, Al Bagdadi freed from prison in Iraq is US agent, as was Bin Laden. The only ones to fight against the fanatical head-cutting terrorists who have nothing Islamic, like the mafia has nothing Christian, are Russia and Iran.

  • Barba_Papa

    I think they forgot one of the most attractive factors in favor of ISIS, well, at least the physical caliphate. Sex!!!

    When you live in a culture where sex out of marriage is frowned upon, and you can only marry when you have a good job, and there is a serious lack of those jobs, or you can only get shitty menial jobs, then it will be hard to for you to meet your sexual needs. Even worse when that same culture allows for polygamy, where rich men can marry multiple times, thus reducing the number of remaining females for the less rich men. The caliphate at least offered an outlet for that, sexual slavery of non-Sunni muslim women. Fight for the caliphate, live out your porn induced sexual fantasies with a yezhidi sex slave. Don’t tell that wasn’t a factor?

  • gustavo

    ISIS is a Israel-USA-NATO creation with the help of Jordan-Saudi-Qatar-Turkey, this group will exist as far as Israel-USA-NATO continue financing, supporting and protecting these terrorists.

  • This article has some interesting perspective.

    However, it ignores the role of Western assistance to ISIS, both direct and indirect.

    It could never have become what it has become without that.

  • John Brown

    This article is totally wrong. It is successful because it is backed up by racist supremacist Jews with hundreds of billions of dollars, just like the anti human LGBT transgender agenda, the anti human and anti christian mass migration agenda, the anti women feminism agenda, the anti human anti capitalist manonist economic agenda teh anti human slavery agenda etd. etc.
    Without the money and organization it would not exist it woud just be petty crime and gang activity like in Chicago.

    Jewish racist supremacism.
    yuhttp://www.thejewishchronicle.net/pages/full_story/push?article-Sephardi+leader+Yosef-+Non-Jews+exist+to+serve+Jews%20&id=9964937 http://www.jta.org/2010/10/18/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/sephardi-leader-yosef-non-Jews-exist-to-serve-jews For some proof These links below on Jewish racism were on RT, if they could show it hopefully you will allow it on this site. JEWISH FORCED STERILIZATION of blacks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZFTvvFpKUQ Video links, Racism in Israel against all Goyim / humanity not an isolated incident. They are from “SOS Racism” so again I hope you will allow it on this site for all to see. The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land by Israeli government and people it’s not just a few it’s the majority of Israel and the Israeli government Israel’s New Racism: The Persecution of African Migrants in the Holy Land Make sure to watch from 2:40 onward at least of link below part 1 of 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPxv4Aff3IA Racism vs. Africans in Israel (2/4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iIZd4O5IDo&t=639s Racism vs. Africans in Israel (3/4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX2ub2CyoiY Racism vs. Africans in Israel (4/4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osBwvlLbBLw Jews want Africans OUT. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOGSBHqRDuw Israel: NO BLACKS ALLOWED. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPxv4Aff3IA new link Ester Vorknach: Sick & tired of racism in Israel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDES2UIHXF8 Jews selling blacks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqzDSrR4L4w Ethiopians outraged over blood disposal http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3322247,00.html Ethiopian communities respond with rage at Channel 2 report that revealed blood donated by Ethiopians is frozen and disposed of. ‘There’s no difference between my blood and the blood of someone else’ says chairman of Ethiopian students union. Mada: ‘These procedures are handed down by the Health Ministry, and are accepted all over the world’ Jews enslaving blacks https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=163&v=hyTmEdWZlqA They are from “SOS Racism” some of the very few good non racist Jews left so again I hope you will allow it on this site for all to see.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/65272ba33698043a57e8677e4dfb9b290550d79a0d39a7be6eeff14a12a9f86e.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f55865fb69c1ef63394088d6108d0229b9671a10180006effaf42b9e90b875de.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/65272ba33698043a57e8677e4dfb9b290550d79a0d39a7be6eeff14a12a9f86e.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bab1f727d4c3540bf3cc01206e5d85bf7ceef69956bbec260c05195d02328860.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ba66a5487755d460d9773eea8b8d16e9ae17ccf052e22a1ba4dbff6dc76aba73.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e13b8bb9a5a25fd33bc47742b6f6dd77910dcfca90857294f6eaeb0c3eaa6929.jpg
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3e11a5550681c285238f67a00a8a3731d95f23297cf61d52fcbce8dc566877d0.jpg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqzDSrR4L4w
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_BobWq2sq0&t=8s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImFMcbF2MYY