The War of US against ISIS in Psychological Warfare and Internet as the New Frontline


  • Urtak Hamiti



US, ISIS, psychological warfare, on-line propaganda warfare


Barbaric, savage, horrific-these were terms to define the decision of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to murder its captured Jordanian pilot by burning him alive inspired a thesaurus of horror and revulsion. The men who did it, the perpetrators were described by the media as mad men, thugs, monsters. To most of the people, the act itself seemed inexplicable and without sense. However, behind the choreographed and videotaped violence lies a calculated horrible cold logic. Although, ISIS is often portrait as a mighty force on the ground in Syria and Iraq, facts state that they control mainly communications between various provinces in both countries, and, as most guerrilla armies, are militarily weak by conventional measure. ISIS has little or almost none defense against the bombing campaign that is facing now, while US has formed a coalition that is confronting them on the ground as well, after President Barack Obama published the “New Security Doctrine” which includes degrading and finally destroying ISIS. ISIS, however, have proven to be very organized in promoting dramatic acts of violence against their enemies and promoting them two achieve two goals: use terror tactics as a psychological weapon against all those facing them and all those that are to face them in combat. Secondly, through usage of social network platforms to promote killings and executions, the aim of ISIS is to encourage recruits from out of Syria and Iraq, and elsewhere, to join them in their cause. Online operations of ISIS fall under a production group called the Al Hayat Media Center. The Center was created to seduce Westerners into joining the ranks of ISIS and also to distribute propaganda through social and media platforms. It is difficult to assess the success of this operation, but solid sources provided by US military and intelligence estimate that at least 300 Americans are fighting in the ranks of ISIS (at least two Americans have been killed fighting for ISIS in Iraq/Syria region) while the number of Europeans is in thousands. The US Response to this psychological kind of warfare came when President Barack Obama established the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) aiming to combat terrorist propaganda. The main strategy of CSCC is not directly to confront ISIS operatives, but rather than that to deal with the people they are trying to recruit. Now, with almost entire international public opinion on their side, it is time for US to more actively respond to ISIS especially in the manner of psychological warfare since it is obvious that operations of “winning hearts and minds” of people in Iraq and Syria are not enough compared to ruthless tactics of ISIS which “winning hearts and minds” by brute force, terror, and vivid violent images. The online propaganda war is a new component to conflicts of 21st century that allows enemies to reach one another’s home fronts directly. ISIS might seem not so strong on the ground but it has captured one fundamental flaw of the media of 21st century-the one that bad news is always good news and that televised violence will always have an audience. ISIS has proclaimed that its goal is to create a caliphate of 21st century but its psychological warfare and propaganda is inspiring individuals throughout the West to commit horrible terrorist crimes. Could this be another mind game set up by ISIS, it remains to be seen. However one thing is for certain, US and its allies must tackle ISIS not only by planes and other military means, but also by a strategy that would eliminate its influence in spreading their propaganda.




How to Cite

Hamiti, U. (2016). The War of US against ISIS in Psychological Warfare and Internet as the New Frontline. European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2(2), 82–87.