This study attempts to analyze a major facet of the international struggle against Da’ish: its media war, which the organization wages alongside its efforts to expand and to fight surrounding regional and international powers. The study observes Da’ish’s media phenomena in the context of the integral role of the media in modern international conflicts, with attention to the development of media tools in Jihadist organizations since the seventies. This investigation reveals the remarkable evolution of the terrorist group in its bid to entrench itself as a caliphate state. The study focuses on Da’ish’s media administration structure and its strategy in deploying its various high-grade audiovisual products to attract youth around the globe. The organization has been able to amass numerous volunteers and extensive equipment to serve its media strategy by constructing an organizational structure that combines hierarchal and non-centralized networks.
The study seeks to gain further insight to the allure of Da’ish’s messages by examining the contents of some of these messages – estimated to number in the thousands in total. It analyzes the political and religious justifications put forward by the organization for its activities. Da’ish has made use of advances in photographic technology, the influence that it has garnered among the masses, and the globalization of news, opinions, and ideas. Despite the radical intellectual weight of its Takfiri jurisprudence and its closed ideology, use of the World Wide Web represents one of Da’ish’s most essential recruiting elements and tools. Therefore, this study focuses on the organization’s online activity, paying particular attention to social media, which has become a principal arena for virtual interaction among internet users. The study also demonstrates how the organization interacts with different sites, and how it hacks accounts and practices e-piracy as part of its war with the world. Finally, the study considers the issue of combating Da’ish through the media and the organized as well as haphazard forms such opposition has taken.
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies