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The front view of the Imam Ali Mosque in Iraq before its destruction. Courtesy of US Navy/Arlo K Abrahamson

Lying to Win: The Islamic State Media Department’s Role in Deception Efforts

Craig Whiteside
RUSI Journal, 9 March 2020
Terrorism and Conflict, Counterinsurgency, Information, Technology, Terrorism
The Islamic State's media arm used deception infrequently.

This article analyses the Islamic State media department’s involvement in deceptive influence efforts. Relying on an extensive database of the department’s products from its origins to the present (Tawhid wal-Jihad, Al-Qa’ida in Iraq, the Mujahidin Shura Council, the Islamic State of Iraq and ISIS), Craig Whiteside identifies situations when decisions are made to involve the media in deception efforts, and why. He finds that the Islamic State used deception infrequently and carefully, usually in a defensive manner, while carefully balancing the need for credible and truthful information activities outside its deception efforts.

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