Unraveling the Islamic State’s Media Efforts: Understanding Its Structure and Struggles

TerrorAs the Iraqi Government Forces continue to advance on Mosul, it appears a major Iraqi city may be freed from two years of captivity. The battle is far from over, but taking Mosul will be a serious blow to the Islamic State’s brand. Though advantageous, it is also imperative to address the strategies, particularly media tactics, structure, and messages, that allowed the terrorist organization to hold a major Iraqi city hostage through intimidation and fear.

In a new publication, titled “Communication Breakdown: Unraveling the Islamic State’s Media Efforts”, the Combating Terrorism Center’s Daniel Milton examines the formation of the Islamic State media wing through declassified documents from the group’s predecessors. Additionally, Milton analyzes over 9000 official Islamic State media products to track current efforts to fulfill the group’s persuasive mission. Milton explains the organization landscape through charts and lays out it’s various regional media bureaus. The report also points out misconceptions that can affect counter-terrorism efforts. Finally, through maps, graphs, and data, Milton breaks down media releases to gain an understanding of strategies to counteract propaganda efforts.

As the so-called Caliphate’s geographical territory shrinks, its cyber imprint will expand. Continuous analysis will be needed to confront ever-changing threat. The Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) is your source for data driven analysis, deep dives into strategic and policy efforts, or to simply understand “What is Aleppo?” in case your new to the counter-terrorism field. (Some materials may require HSDL login)