Daesh and Al-Qaeda both are terrorist organisations, but what makes the former far more threatening is its advanced use of the digital space to win support, especially from young minds.
This is what Dr Andreea Stoian Karadeli, a lecturer at Turkey’s Sakarya University, has concluded in her research.
“Daesh is very updated, has a better media structure,” she said while presenting her research assessing differences and similarities between Al-Qaeda and Daesh at the International Conference for Media and Conflict in Islamabad on February 12, 2020.
The Abu Ibrahim-led group has a comprehensive media strategy and its e-magazines, website and a cell phone application prove this.
On the other hand, Al-Qaeda, has clung on to conventional methods to propagate its message, such as using jihadist forums and websites.
This is the area where Daesh one-ups other groups. It uses Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms that typically reach a younger audience.
It employs a multifaceted online media strategy to recruit targeted demographics of which the ISIS brides are a glaring example. These brides used to ask young women to join them. They called them their “sisters”.
But unlike Al-Qaeda, which has primarily targeted the United States, IS targets those closer to their home, Bashar Assad’s government in Syria and Haider al-Abadi’s in Iraq.
Dr Karadeli regretted that the world had missed an “opportunity” to hit back at the group when Turkish-backed Syrian rebels recaptured town of Dabiq from IS in 2016.
After this, the group changed the name of its online magazine from Dabiq to Rumiyah.
“The international community should have taken advantage of this to pin them to the ground.” said Dr Karadeli. Rumiyah was released in English, French, German, Russian, Indonesian and Uighur.
Dr Karadeli stressed that IS could’ve been “killed with its own narrative,” meaning that IS ideology that they are supposed to win the prophesied last battle between good and evil turned to dust after the defeat in Dabiq.
She meant that the world should have highlighted this to make IS followers skeptical and expose them.