ISIS communication process
Paper in English
Although information chaos and various forms of jihadist propaganda, ISIS has implemented particular communication methodology regarding official announcements of terrorist attacks and further promotion of jihadist activities.
The last terrorist attacks in Brussels have finally defined ISIS communication procedures. The mechanism was first applied after the series of terrorist plots against the Russian plane in Sinai and the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015.
1. The first step reflects communication in Telegram messenger that includes exchange of encrypted information and potential details concerning preparations of attacks.(1)
2. Application of an official statement posted in A'maq ikhbariyya – the official ISIS media center.(2)
- The statements are released in Arabic, French or English and they are similar to war reports. They usually contain dates and type of attacks as well as number of casualties among security forces and civilians. However, descriptions and updates are always followed by appropriate graphics, pictures, color scheme and logos that identify the organization and of the country in which the attack has occurred.
- The same model of the statement was delivered on March 23, a day after the Brussels attacks.
3. The official statements are derivated and followed by multiple propaganda materials such as video films, online journals and messages posted in social medias. They are usually released by ISIS militants who demonstrate their personal attitude to attacks and jihadist activities.
- For instance, on March 24, the media agency Al-Battar released a video titled "The Exile of Islam and Brussels Attacks," featuring scenes of the devastation of Zaventem Airport and the Maalbeek metro station.(3)
- Moreover, ISIS has published the 23rd issue of Al-Naba newsletter, which includes infographic references to the bombings in Brussels.
- The Brussels attacks also affected communication in Twitter and Instagram. For example, some posts enclose videos of a men wearing black masks and speaking with London accents: "Belgium, Brussels airport big boom went off...innit. Heathrow...". Another jihadist adds: "Gatwick, Downing Street... you get me bruv..??'.(4)
- Besides, Belgian ISIS fighter Hicham Chaib responsible for countless beheadings, crucifixions and amputations in Syria warns in a video posted in social medias that the Brussels attack was just “a taste” of what is to come.(5)
ISIS communication methodology relies on official manifestos that refer to particular logotypes and style. The official statements also become a sign or inspiration for other militants who start their own Internet campaign, which includes video films, online journals and messages in social medias.
Moreover, logistic details of terrorist plots as well first information regarding responsibilities for the attack are usually exchanged by encrypted messengers such as Telegram or WhatsApp.
Dr Marcin Styszynski
Faculty of Arabic and Islamic Studies Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
terrorisme, etat islamique