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Title: Assessing the effectiveness of Western actors in countering the Islamic State's narrative
Authors: Harjani Bharat Gobindram
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: The propaganda machine of the Islamic State {IS) is highly effective and has amplified the cause of global jihad. The CIA estimates that by 11 September 2014, IS had recruited approximately about 20,000 to 31,500 fighters from close to 80 countries. It is obvious that governments are struggling to counter IS' narrative with persuasive counter-arguments to weaken its appeal. Authorities in various countries have been unable to address jihadist messages transmitted via the internet and social media. While IS is sprinting in winning hearts and minds, governments are crawling. This paper proposes a greater emphasis on strategic counter-terrorism and the need to apply soft power through counter and alternative narratives to win the hearts and minds of those susceptible to IS recruitment. This paper first analyses IS' narrative and seeks to understand why IS has been so successful in its recruitment efforts. Next, the paper examines counter-narratives developed by Western actors and analyses the degree to which these counter-narratives address the different dimensions of IS' narrative. The analysis shows that Western actors have been addressing the wrong elements of IS' narrative. They have also neglected the important aspect of combating the Salafi-jihadi ideology of IS and have incorrectly propagated the notion of moderation. Lastly, the paper proposes the need to develop credible alternative narratives. It is time to relinquish the defensive nature of counter-narratives and take on an offensive position to win the hearts and minds of potential recruits.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Theses

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