New leak: ISIS prepared a new media campaign entitled “And fight them so that there is no strife”

Based on this leaked internal memo, the Islamic State (IS) Media Oversight Committee (MOC) are currently considering the announcement of a new media campaign (Fight Them Until There Is No More Strife). It seeks to rejuvenate their recent failed global attack campaign (early-Jan 2024; And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them), refocus the group’s efforts into Palestine/Jerusalem/Gaza, and regain a degree of authority over a conflict which has caught senior leadership and the MOC completely off-guard. IS has long been challenged over it’s position for the 7 Oct 2023 Israel/Gaza conflict; this is an emotive theme in a geography where the sympathy for Muslims against the perception of great powers ‘crusading’ for influence is palpable. But the challenge for IS is far more intrinsic, both representing existential competition for primacy as a relevant transnational terrorist organization, and contending with the strategic duality of moderating support to Hamas (a Shia Iranian-aligned proxy force and political entity). Any attempts to invest or contribute to the conflict are therefore late and inconsistent, and serve only to reinforce the decline of IS’ reach into the broader Middle East.

Through weekly al-Naba issues the MOC has struggled to articulate IS’ position on the Israel/Gaza conflict, being forced to maintain a indistinct/tertiary narrative which only supported the plight of Muslims. In issue 412 (12 Oct 2024) they sought to claim that jihad was a religious duty worldwide, with issue 413 (19 Oct 2023) being more specific, and inciting followers to attack Jewish/western/apostate-Arab interests; neither explicitly mentioned Hamas or Gaza. It took until 4 Jan 2024 (89 days after the start of the conflict) for Abu Hudhayfa (Spokesperson) to release a statement on behalf of Abu Hafs (Calif) to formally comment on the conflict. It is clear from this leaked memo that the group is again attempting to assert itself as the predominant Jihadist force fighting to reconquer Jerusalem. Again, not mentioning Hamas by name but pointing out the theological and doctrinal failures of “nationalism and patriotism”. Seemingly the group is having to reassert to its own members their superiority and purpose, in the face of Hamas’ wildly successful Terror campaign and subsequent propaganda.

Again, the tone of this memo speaks to IS increasing weakness and their paranoia/ fear in the face of a resurgent Iran and Shia influence growing across the Middle East. The quandary IS have found themselves in, when confronted by a highly successful militant group that spans the opposite side of the Jihadist ideological spectrum is painful to watch. They cannot praise the October the 7th attack against Israel (though they certainly applaud the results) and they are incapable due to their own weakness to contest the online narrative for attention and have all but slipped in to obscurity behind Jihadist rivals.

This leak was originally published in Arabic on 1/19/2024 Here

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