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Facing IS’ media strategy

Jan 04,2015 - Last updated at Jan 04,2015

While there are many questions about the capture of the Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh by members of the Islamic State, the video of an interview with him sends a very direct message.

In the video, the captured pilot is dressed in the well-known orange jumpsuit all Daesh hostages are shown in; it closes with a likely scripted admission from the pilot that he knows IS will kill him.

This shows that IS uses psychological intimidation of the coalition fighting against it, knowing that a hostage Jordanian pilot offers an effective leverage and can be a bargaining chip for negotiations.

The interview can also be used as disinformation, enabling IS to manipulate some facts.

With no other official source for some of the military details, it can target the US with the scripted interview, as part of the psychological media war.

The strategy will always be to fill the vacuum in the media and influence the story by being a source of information for the media.

As IS makes the media a new battleground, the coalition must manage the media much more carefully, in a way that was not used by the military in the past.

The media must be more transparent and anticipate possible strategies and tactics that IS could implement.

The traditional media strategy of the military is not sufficient in this battle, as IS uses the media in a new and skillful way.

The military must adopt a new media strategy that is capable of facing the intimidation tactics that IS is using, and manage the disinformation campaign it is running.

We are likely to see an increase in rumours and propaganda from Daesh about the Jordanian pilot in the coming days.

Managing these risks is not merely Jordan’s responsibility, but of the whole coalition, just as the capture of the Jordanian pilot is the responsibility of the entire coalition.


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