It’s All Lies: How Propaganda Wars in Extremist-Controlled Mosul, Iraq, are Being Fought
From the very beginning of its prominence in Iraq, it has been very obvious that the leaders of the extremist group known as the Islamic State are aware of the importance of propaganda and the effect of the media on their activities and followers.
A lot of people in Mosul, the city that the extremist group took over last June, even credit the rout of the city’s security forces back then to a particularly cunning use of propaganda.
As British analyst Charlie Winter writes in a recently published report on the Islamic State, or IS, group’s media strategy, the extremists’ “strategists rightly deem that a good image not only brings symbolic influence, but tangible power too”.
This is true not just outside of Iraq, but inside the country too. And another thing that is certain is this: The traditional Iraqi media is lagging behind the efforts of the Islamic State group.
Since the very first days of its control of the northern city of Mosul, which it managed to take over last June, the IS group set up what may best be described as “media hubs” in busy neighbourhoods in the city. These are small kiosks that show films and other material that the IS group has produced – subjects include battles that the group says it won, public executions and other punishments meted out to locals as well as speeches by the IS group’s leaders and senior members.
The media hubs also broadcast new statements, orders and instructions from the IS group. At the beginning of the month of Ramadan, the IS members opened new media hubs in a number of popular spots around the city.
One example: On a road leading into the neighbourhood known as New Mosul, in the west of the city of over a million, the IS group’s media office have erected a large screen and loudspeakers. In front of the screen there are chairs scattered around.