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Islamic State backers find ephemeral platform in Instagram
Lori Hinnant:
<p>Researchers say Islamic State supporters have found an ephemeral platform to share propaganda: Using Instagram’s “stories” feature, which causes posts to disappear in 24 hours.

With successive military defeats in Iraq and Syria, many of its recruits dead or on the run and its Twitter and Facebook accounts being shut down, the group’s propaganda drive is increasingly homemade. But a recent analysis found the networks of people inspired by the group remain strong elsewhere.

The software analysis identified more than 50,000 accounts linked to Islamic State supporters posting Instagram stories, according to Andrea Stroppa, who is part of the software research group called Ghost Data. Of those 50,000, just over 10,000 are described as strongly-linked to IS — they follow core IS accounts and are followed back, and about 30% of their posted content is about the group.

“They send a message that they know will disappear but they know who the audience is. They are using these stories because they know it is a safe channel to share information,” said Stroppa, who is also affiliated with the World Economic Forum.

There is no sign that the majority of the posts are from Islamic State’s central propaganda units — rather, they tend to be personal snapshots with little production value, like a clip of the IS trademark black flag, or a bloody photo showing what happens to “traitors.”</p>

50,000 is still quite a lot, given that those actually fighting will be one-tenth of that or less.
isis  instagram 
3 days ago by charlesarthur
In eastern Syria, fears of revenge killings, tribal clashes after defeat of Islamic State- SyriaDirect, Sep 13,2017
“In Deir e-Zor we don’t have sectarianism, so instead they exploited our tribalism,” says Assaf. This is not a new strategy. Decades before IS arrived, then-President Hafez al-Assad brought historically marginalized Deir e-Zor tribes into the fold of the state. Members of these smaller tribes—known for sheep herding and called Shawi—served in the army and intelligence services and rose in prominence.

While many individual Shawi tribesmen attained positions of power in the government, the state’s support for their community writ large would prove fickle. Under the neo-liberal reforms of Hafez’s son Bashar, investment shifted from the energy-abundant, but sparsely populated, east toward the urban centers in the country’s west. Shifting central-state priorities, along with an intense five-year drought, pushed the rural communities of eastern Syria into poverty.

When the revolution broke out in 2011, Deir e-Zor’s larger tribes allied themselves with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamist factions fighting the regime, and in return obtained control over land and oil refineries. Many Shawi tribesmen, accused of pro-Assad sympathies, were left out in the cold.

IS fighters keep fighting due to fear of revenge
tribes  Mar15  DeirEzZor  ISIS  recruitment 
7 days ago by elizrael
A striking positive shift in Sunni opinion in Iraq is underway. Here’s what it means. - The Washington Post, Sep 14, 2017
The April 2017 Almustakilla for Research poll found that Sunni Arabs are now more positive about the situation in the country than other major groups, most notably the Shiite Arabs who dominate the country politically. Fifty-one percent of Sunni Arabs said the country was going in the right direction as opposed to 36 percent of Shiite Arabs and 5 percent of Kurds. Fifty-three percent of those Sunni Arabs who had been liberated from the Islamic State control thought the country was moving in the right direction. In summer 2014, less than 10 percent of Sunni Arab Iraqis said the country was moving in the right direction in the areas that were just about to be taken by the Islamic State.

Now is the first time since 2003, according to the April Almustakilla for Research survey, that Sunni Arabs are more supportive of a Shiite prime minister than Shiite Arab Iraqis are. Support for Haider al-Abadi — the current prime minister and a Shiite — is highest among the Sunni Arab population, particularly among those who were once occupied by the Islamic State. Seventy-one percent of Sunni Arabs (74 percent of Sunnis liberated from the Islamic State) support Abadi, while 62 percent of Shiite share the same view. Three years ago, according to a nationwide survey carried out by Almustakilla for Research, just before the Islamic State captured large portions of northwestern Iraq, then Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had 5 percent support among Sunni Arab Iraqis.

The PMUs are viewed differently by Sunni and Shiite Arab Iraqis. When asked about the future role PMUs should play, 45 percent of Sunni Arabs say they should be integrated into the Iraqi army and 35 percent believe they should be completely disbanded. Among Shiite Arabs, 42 percent believe the PMUs should be integrated into the Iraqi army and 40 percent believe they should be left the way they are. Only 5 percent of Shiites believe the units should be disbanded. Thus, the continued existence and power of the PMUs worry many Sunnis that they will once again become victims of Shiite Arab abuse.
Iraq  Shia  Hashd  Sunni  polls  Abadi  ISIS  discrimination 
9 days ago by elizrael
בתוך החור השחור | ישראל היום, Aug 31, 2017
בישראל זיהו אז את פוטנציאל האיום - "שוהדאעש" היה הכינוי שהודבק אז לארגון - של גורם קיצוני שפועל על הגדר. במהרה הגיעו גם התמונות המוכרות: פעילי הארגון הפיצו ברשתות החברתיות סרטונים ותמונות שלהם על רקע ישראל, כשהם מאיימים להשמידה. במקביל, זרמו מהכפרים שבשליטתם הדיווחים על הזוועות המוכרות: הוצאות להורג, הובלה של אנשים בכלובים, התעללות שיטתית במי שנתפסו כאויבים. לפני כמה חודשים תפס כוח גולני בדרום הגולן שני אסירים, שהצליחו להימלט מהכלא באחד הכפרים; הם ברחו במתכוון לעבר ישראל, תוך כדי שלקחו את הסיכון שיירו בהם. אחרי שחלקו עם החיילים את מה שעבר עליהם (ועברו תחקור), הם הוחזרו לסוריה בגזרה אחרת, "ידידותית" יותר עבורם.
ISIS  Daraa  IDF  Mar15  refoulment 
10 days ago by elizrael
Pro-Iranian Shiite factions lose popular support in Iraq - Al-Monitor, Sep 4, 2017
The criticism against the Hezbollah deal was widespread in Iraq, including among several Shiite religious figures, the Kurdistan government and Sunni tribal leaders. It also resulted in creating a clear distinction between pro-Iranian forces in Iraq and national independent forces. On the one hand, the pro-Iranian factions within the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Shiite clerics loyal to Iran supported the deal, while on the other hand, current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Sadrist movement and a number of Iraqi Shiite clerics opposed the deal strongly.
ISIS  Iraq  Hashd  Mar15  Hizbollah 
10 days ago by elizrael
Vast new intelligence haul fuels next phase of fight against Islamic State - LA Times, Sep 9, 2017
US. intelligence analysts have gained valuable insights into Islamic State’s planning and personnel from a vast cache of digital data and other material recovered from bombed-out offices, abandoned laptops and the cellphones of dead fighters in recently liberated areas of Iraq and Syria.

In the most dramatic gain, U.S. officials over the last two months have added thousands of names of known or suspected Islamic State operatives to an international watch list used at airports and other border crossings. The Interpol database now contains about 19,000 names.

In the Badiyah desert, the Syrian regime’s eastward advance has jammed together America’s covert war in Syria, its overt campaign against the Islamic State, and two camps holding tens of thousands of vulnerable displaced people, all into one shrinking space.
A “deconfliction” arrangement to protect U.S.-led Coalition forces in a desert base is all that currently shields the camps from advancing regime and allied forces. But the Coalition isn’t there to protect civilians, it’s there to fight the Islamic State—and around the base, there’s no more Islamic State.
The U.S.-led Coalition won’t stay in this base forever, even if it’s unlikely to leave just yet. If America wants to leave, though, it needs to ensure the safety of these camps’ residents first.
intelligence  ISIS  USG  Iraq 
10 days ago by elizrael
Terrorists talking points
Terrorists know the value of sensational media coverage of every lame attack. That is why they encourage lame attacks, which is all they can really achieve these days. If there was responsible coverage of attacks, would terrorist organisations have to invest more into trying to pull off “spectaculars”? I suspect they would. And trying to achieve “spectaculars” is riskier for terrorists, easier for security forces to interdict and successfully prosecute.
on:medium  by:thegrugq  operational-security  2017  isis  counterterrorism  security  4-minute-read 
10 days ago by andrewjbates
1) BREAKING: claims responsibility for triple group suicide operation in , affirmed to have k…
ISIS  Nasiriyah  Iraq  from twitter_favs
10 days ago by DonQuixote
Hundreds of Isis defectors mass on Syrian border hoping to flee | World news | The Guardian, Sep 12, 2017
A Saudi national who fled Syria in late August told the Guardian that as many as 300 former Isis members, many of them Saudis, had established a community north of Idlib city, which is now dominated by the al-Qaida affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra.

“Most want to leave, like me,” said the 26-year-old, who called himself Abu Saad. “A lot of them realise that the group they were with tricked them. Others don’t trust Nusra. There are not many who believe that the people that they were with were on the right path.”

Former members of the group, however, have steadily been returning to Idlib and seeking refuge since late 2015. “That was when I left,” said Abu Saad, speaking days after he arrived in southern Turkey. “Others joined me later, and more are coming now.”

As the group has capitulated, MI6, the CIA and France’s DGSE have had increasing access to informants whom they have met within Kurdish controlled areas of Syria’s north-east and in northern Iraq. The increased access to informants with real-time information has left those who fled earlier with less leverage over governments who might otherwise have agreed to talk with them.

“It’s a lot better than it used to be,” said one intelligence official. “We have a more complete picture than we did.”
Idlib  ISIS  defectors  intelligence  Mar15  Iraq  Saudi-Arabia  ForeignFighters 
11 days ago by elizrael
ISIS Remote Control Agent OPSEC
"Essentially they established the minimum operational security necessary to safely make a purchase from a darknet market. A couple of XMPP+OTR clients, a proprietary (but free!) encrypted email account and TAILS. The security provided by TAILS not leaving forensic artefacts on the laptop (data at rest) is somewhat irrelevant as the principle vulnerability is the chat traffic (data in motion.) ISIS bros and their misguided digital security procedures, love it."
a:the-Grugq★★  p:The-Great-Whatsit★  d:2017.08.09  w:1500  terrorism  ISIS  security  logistics  from instapaper
12 days ago by bankbryan
Laurel & Jihadi
"There are more time waster volunteers than actual terrorist attackers. There are plenty of people who will flirt with the idea of romanticised violence, but not that many will actually go through with it. Stick in there and keep trying, eventually you’ll get lucky and some sucker will sacrifice themselves for a few column inches glorifying ISIS’ terrifying remote control capabilities which are in no way totally inferior to trained terrorist operatives."
a:the-Grugq★★  p:the-Grugq★★  d:2017.09.04  w:1500  terrorism  ISIS  security  logistics  from instapaper
12 days ago by bankbryan

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