The onslaught has already begun on social media, where ISIS is maintaining a slick, professional propaganda presence.
-By Ryan Mauro
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the former Al-Qaeda affiliate that has seized over one-third of Iraq, is open about its desire to establish a new caliphate with Baghdad as its capital. ISIS supporters are distributing propaganda on social media indicating its next targets towards that goal are Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
The image (above) shows territory in Iraq and Syria currently held by ISIS with arrows indicating future expansion into Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, there are no arrows pointing into the Shiite-majority southern Iraq:
ISIS supporters are also spreading a graphic that purportedly shows its five-year plan to reestablish a caliphate that stretches from western Africa to Indonesia, conquering Israel, Iran and India. It was first spotted by NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin. The picture lacks the professionalism of other ISIS-issued propaganda, perhaps indicating it reflects the aspiration of a supporter than a plan drawn up by the ISIS leadership.
ISIS and its supporters have proven to be masters of social media. Much of its online propaganda is in English and involves sarcasm and dark humor. One pro-ISIS account retweeted a joke about the national bird of Yemen and Pakistan being the drone. Supporters in Indonesia are also selling pro-ISIS clothing online. The group’s social media strength is so great that the Iraqi government is blocking Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google.
Clarion Project national security analyst Ryan Mauro appeared on Fox & Friends on June 22 (see clip below) to discuss the use of ISIS by social media through Photoshop, a Twitter application for Android cell phones and well-produced videos.