Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/ISIS scores another propaganda win /US hits ISIS

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ISIS scores another propaganda win
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/Asharq AlAwsat
Saturday, 26 Oct, 2014

Why was the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) eager to promote a video showing its fighters stoning a girl to death as her father stands by, unwilling to forgive her alleged adultery? This video is one of the most dreadful videos to emerge that debases Islam. At the same time, the footage does not only depict the brutality of the organization—which we are all now well aware of—but also shows its ability to remain a top news item by using social media to further its own agenda. ISIS has succeeded in reaching its goals, as the video dominated news coverage soon after it was released.
ISIS’ goal is to shock and terrorize people through harrowing images of beheadings, mass killings of unarmed civilians, and the persecution and stoning of women. Even Al-Qaeda, which first began producing these kinds of videos, did not display cruelty to the extent that ISIS has done.
This violence and brutality are not only showcased to the general public to demonstrate the group’s ferocity, but ISIS is also trying to persuade people that the ideology they espouse is true Islam. The group is trying to assert the claim that they are the alternative regime to that of Bashar Al-Assad and that only they can recruit more members and survive challenges and change by promoting their own interpretation of Islam. The most recent video showed the extremists’ ability to convince the ignorant father that after his daughter was stoned to death she would go to heaven. ISIS also wanted to show that its fighters were even able to convince the girl that she deserved to be stoned to atone for her sins.
ISIS followers circulated this video but they failed to address what happened in the Syrian city of Raqqa, where the group gathered together citizens near the municipal stadium to stone a young girl but the public refused to participate in the crime. ISIS fighters stoned her without circulating the video because they knew that the non-cooperation and condemnation of the city’s citizens would not be the best propaganda material.
Nevertheless, we must not underestimate the success of the organization’s propaganda. If ISIS was able to convince the father and daughter to accept the stoning, it won’t be difficult for the extremist group to convince thousands of naïve people to join or support it when they see and hear about its activities. Although politicians are incessantly talking about the prosecution of hardline preachers and others who spread jihadist ideology, just taking a quick glance at social networking sites and videos on YouTube will clearly show that ISIS is winning the propaganda battle. Now, Syria and Iraq are no longer the promised land for those jihadists who are getting ready for battle; Yemen has become the new promised land. Taking on the Houthis, the Shi’ite rebel group that has taken over large parts of Yemen, is the new rallying call. Young men are being summoned to fight in Yemen, the goal of course is a bigger army for Al-Qaeda and its affiliates. It is not difficult to cross into Yemen via its extensive borders and rugged terrain, especially as the state is on the verge of collapse due to the alliance between ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthi militias who are known for their loyalty to Iran.
We should not view ISIS from our moral and religious standards as it is a group that has decided to turn the world upside down, more so than Al-Qaeda has ever done. The ramifications of what we are witnessing will linger for years, especially when rescue from ISIS comes too late. Most coalition countries set out to fight ISIS in strategic towns such as Kobani, but what about the hundreds of towns and villages scattered across Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya?There is no effective army to fight the extremists scattered throughout the region. Their numbers will never decrease, no matter how intense or precise the bombardment against them becomes, as they will continue to market their propaganda and recruit more members. Coalition efforts will be a losing battle unless there are coordinated policies by all governments to stop extremist propaganda from spreading, as well as holding all ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood supporters to account. That way, we may be able to put an end to their propaganda and exterminate extremism.

 

 

US hits Islamic State targets as Iraqis block group’s progress
Islamic State group attacks border crossing as Kobani awaits Iraq Kurdish forces’ relief; US, allies stage 22 air strikes in Iraq while Iraqi forces retake part of key town.
News Agencies /Ynetnews
Published: 10.25.14/
The United States and its allies conducted 22 air strikes against Islamic State forces in Iraq on Friday and Saturday, the US Central Command said, as Iraqi forces make gains in Baghdad area town.
US warplanes also destroyed an Islamic State artillery piece near Kobani, Syria, officials said Saturday. The 22 strikes in Iraq included attacks in the frequently targeted areas near the vital Mosul dam, the city of Fallujah and the northern city of Bayji, home of an oil refinery.
The Iraq strikes hit large and small Islamic State units, buildings, vehicles and fighting positions, Central Command said. The bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft used in the air strikes all returned safely, US officials said.
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces have retaken most of the town of Jurf al-Sakhar near Baghdad from Islamic State militants, the biggest gains in months of fighting for the strategic area, senior local officials said on Saturday.
Full control of the town could allow Iraqi authorities to prevent the Sunni insurgents from edging closer to the capital and maintaining connections to their strongholds in western Anbar province as well as infiltrating the mainly Shi’ite south.
“We have managed to push out Islamic State terrorists from the town of Jurf al-Sakhar today and now we are raising the Iraqi flag over the government offices,” provincial governor Sadiq Madloul said.
IS set to face off against Kurd forces
Islamic State group fighters made a new bid to cut off the Syrian border town of Kobani from neighboring Turkey Saturday as preparations gathered pace to deploy Iraqi Kurdish reinforcements.
The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq unveiled plans Friday for up to 200 well-trained peshmerga to join Syrian Kurdish forces defending Kobani in the coming week.
Kurdish news agency Rudaw said the first contingent could head to Kobani as early as Sunday but there was no immediate confirmation of that timetable.
Peshmerga ministry spokesman Halgord Hekmat declined to specify what route the Iraqi Kurdish forces would take, but they are expected to travel overland through Turkey, which has said it will allow them transit.
Since Ankara conceded to US pressure to allow vetted reinforcements into Kobani to prevent Islamic State group winning the high-profile battle for the town, the jihadists have made repeated attempts to cut the border before any help can arrive.
Before dawn Saturday, Islamic State group fighters hit Kurdish forces defending the Syrian side of the border crossing with mortar and heavy machinegun fire, an AFP correspondent on the Turkish side reported.
The heavy mortar fire around the Mursitpinar crossing prompted the Turkish army to order the evacuation of nearby hilltops from where the world’s press has been watching the battle for the town.
The Kurdish news agency said an initial peshmerga contingent of 150 was ready to leave for Kobani and would be headed by Sihad Barzani, brother of Iraqi Kurdish regional president Massoud Barzani and head of its artillery brigade.
It cited peshmerga officials as saying that an additional 1,000 Iraqi Kurdish fighters would follow.
Rudaw quoted a senior peshmerga officer as saying that the Iraqi Kurdish forces would deploy with heavy weapons, but that undertakings had been given to both Ankara and Washington that they would not be handed over to Syrian Kurdish forces.
“Our enemies in Kobani are using heavy weapons and we should have heavy weapons too,” he said.
The main Syrian Kurdish fighting force in Kobani has close links with the outlawed rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has fought a three-decade insurgency in southeastern Turkey.
Ankara has been adamant that no heavy weaponry should fall into its hands.
Turkey has tightly controlled the flow of both fighters and weapons to Kobani and has accepted only Iraqi Kurdish or Syrian rebel reinforcements for the town.
Washington delivered light weapons to the town’s Kurdish defenders last weekend but was forced to do so by air after Ankara refused deliveries by land.
The Turkish government has been one of the leading supporters of the rebel Free Syrian Army in its more than three-year civil war with the Damascus regime and has proposed allowing in 1,000 of its fighters into Kobani.
But Syrian Kurdish officials inside the town have expressed reservations about the Turkish plan, saying that any deployment must have their approval and that FSA forces would be better used opening new fronts against IS elsewhere.
Washington has expressed new confidence that Kobani’s fall to Islamic State group can be averted but has cautioned that in neighboring Iraqi a major fight back against the jihadists is still months off.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report