Wilayat al-Qawkaz - The Islamic State in the North Caucasus. Frames, Strategies and Credibility of Radical Islamist Propaganda Videos

Anna Seib

Abstract


The growing influence of the terror organization “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) on Russian speaking communities has come to fruition in the North Caucasus. ISIS has not only managed to attract individuals from the North Caucasus to join the jihad in Syria and Iraq, but further to establish the regional branch “Wilayat al-Qawkaz”. Now, as a major international event in Russia 2018, the FIFA World Cup poses an attractive target for ISIS that has been threatened through ISIS’s online channels. In order to reach different target groups, ISIS has produced several high-quality propaganda videos. According to Benford and Snow (2000), social movements perceive social phenomena differently and communicate their interpretation of reality by using frames. To sustain or increase the number of followers, ISIS spreads a narrative that identifies problems, proposes solutions and offers incentives to join. Benford and Snow describe this pattern as the three frame dimensions: diagnostic, prognostic and motivational frame. This research paper aims to highlight the strategies of ISIS's propaganda videos in the North Caucasus by identifying the main topics within the three frame dimensions. Based on the analysis of five propaganda videos, it points out the main frames addressing the oppression of Muslims as the problem, jihad as the solution, religious duty and rewards in this world and the next as the incentives. Considering that persuasion of propaganda is only effective with credible frames, it can be observed that this requires references to real events and more important the use of reputable speakers that can be religious or militant leaders, as well as ordinary but authentic jihadists. Taking the visual frame analysis into account, the visualization of violence and community plays a huge role to create credibility, offer identity and to claim relevance as a serious opponent.


Keywords


ISIS, Wilayat al-Qawkaz, North Caucasus, Radical Islam, Propaganda Videos, Frames

Full Text:

PDF

References


Agaev, H. (2013). Религиозная идеология, цели и стратегия «Кавказкого Эмирата» (engl.: Religious ideology, goals and strategies of the “Caucasus Emirate”. Modern Research of Social Problems. No9 (29)

Benford, R. D. and Snow, D. (2000). Framing processes and social movements: An overview and assessment. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, pp. 611-639

Benford, R. and Snow, D. (1988). Ideology, Frame Resonance and Participation Mobilization. International Social Movement Research. Vol. 1, pp. 197-217

Benford, R. (1987). Framing Activity, Meaning, and Social Movement Participation: The Nuclear Disarmement Movement. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Benford, R., Snow, D., Rochford, E. and Worden, S. (1986). Frame Alignment Processes, Micromobilization, and Movement Participation. American Sociological Review, 51(4), pp. 464-479

Bernhardt, P. (2016): Unter der Fahne des Kalifats: Zur Funktion visueller Frames in Videobotschaften des „Islamischen Staates“. Oesterreichische Zeitschrift Fuer Soziologie, 41(2), pp. 149-164

Bewarder, M. and Flade, F. (2015). Balkan wird zum Einfallstor für IS-Terrormiliz. WELT (07.06.15). Retrieved from: https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article142061297/Balkan-wird-zum-Einfallstor-fuer-IS-Terrormiliz.html, accessed 05/04/2017

Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (2014). Olympische Winterspiele in Sotschi. Retrieved from: http://www.bpb.de/politik/hintergrund-aktuell/178480/olympische-spiele-in-sotschi-05-02-2014, accessed 11/01/2017

Coleman, R. (2010). Framing the Pictures in Our Heads. Exploring the Framing and Agenda-Setting Effects of Visual Images, in: D'Angelo, P. and Kuypers, Jim A. (eds.), pp. 233-263

Dannreuther, R.; March, L. (2010). Russia and Islam. State, society and radicalism. London: Routledge

D'Angelo, P and Kuypers, Jim A. (eds.) (2010). Doing news framing analysis: Empirical and theoretical perspectives (1. publ. ed.). New York [u.a.]: Routledge

Dearden, L. (2016). ISIS claims responsibility for first terror attack in Russia after men try to kill police with gun and axes near Moscow. The Independent (19.08.2016). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/isis-terror-attacks-news-latest-russia-moscow-balashikha-police-gun-axe-allegiance-video-chechen-a7198731.html, accessed 13/01/2017

Europol (2015). North Caucasian fighters in Syria and Iraq & IS propaganda in Russian language, 041 Counter Terrorism & 047 EU Internet Referral Unit, The Hague. Retrieved from: https://www.europol.europa.eu/publications-documents/redacted-north-caucasian-fighters-in-syria-and-iraq-and-russian-language-propaganda-edoc-801733, accessed 02/11/2016

Falkowski, M. (2014). On the Periphery of Global Jihad. The North Caucasus: The Illusion of Stabilisation. Centre for Eastern Studies. Warsaw: Point of View Number 45, pp. 1-31

Flick, U. (1991). Handbuch qualitative Sozialforschung: Grundlagen, Konzepte, Methoden und Anwendungen. München: Psychologie-Verl.-Union, pp. 148-177, pp. 209-213

Geise, S. and Lobinger, K. (2013). Visual Framing. Perspektiven und Herausforderungen der Visuellen Kommunikationsforschung. Köln: Herbert von Halem Verlag, pp. 9-19

Goffman, E. (1977). Rahmen-Analyse: Ein Versuch über die Organisation von Alltagserfahrungen. Frame analysis (1. Aufl. ed.). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, pp. 31-52

Hedenskog, J. and Holmquist, E. (2015). The threat of the Islamic State to Russia's North Caucasus and Central Asia. FOI. Swedish Defence Research Agency. RUFS Briefing NO. 28. August 2015. Retrieved from: https://www.foi.se/download/18.2bc30cfb157f5e989c31820/1477482863711/RUFS+Briefing+No.+28+.pdf, accessed 11.01.2017

Heffening, W. (2012). Murtadd. Retrieved from: http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/murtadd-SIM_5554?s.num=0&s.f.s2_parent=s.f.book.encyclopaedia-of-islam-2&s.q=Murtadd, accessed 16/02/2017

Hughes, J. (2011). Dual Radicalization: The Making of Jihad. Chechnya: From Nationalism to Jihad. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 94-127

International Crisis Group (2016). The North Caucasus Insurgency and Syria: An Exported Jihad?. Europe Report N°238. Retrieved from: http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/europe/caucasus/238-the-north-caucasus-insurgency-and-syria-an-exported-jihad.pdf, accessed 28/06/2017

Kavkaz Center (2014). Clarifying Position in Connection with ongoing Discord in Syria. (06.03.2014) Retrieved from: http://www.kavkaz.org.uk/eng/content/2014/03/06/18990.html, accessed 16.12.2016

Kireev, M. (2017). Russlands neues altes Terrorproblem. Zeit Online (04.04.2017). Retrieved from: http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2017-04/russland-st-petersburg-anschlag-terror-hintergrund/komplettansicht, accessed 06/04/2017

Lamnek, S. (2010). Qualitative Sozialforschung: Lehrbuch. (5. Aufl. ed.). [Weinheim]: Beltz Verlagsgruppe, pp. 434-497

Lister, T.; McKirdy, E. and Dewan, A. (2017). St.Petersburg bombing carried out by ‘suicide’ attacker. CNN (04.04.2017). Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/04/europe/st-petersburg-russia-explosion/index.html, accessed 05.02.2018

Mayring, P. (2010). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken (11. Aufl. ed.). Weinheim [u.a.]: Beltz

Messaris, P. and Abraham, L. (2001). The Role of Images in Framing News Stories, in: Reese, S. (2003), pp. 215-226

Oliker, O. (2018). Religion and Violence in Russia. CSIS. Center for Strategic & International Studies

Patton, M. (1990). Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, pp. 169-186

Payne, M. (2017). Pro-ISIS poster threatening World Cup terrorist attack depicts Lionel Messi crying blood. The Washington Post (24.10.2017).

Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/10/24/pro-isis-poster-threatening-world-cup-terrorist-attack-depicts-lionel-messi-crying-blood/?utm_term=.806d2cb1abb9, accessed 05/02/2018

Pisoiu, D. (2013). Theoretische Ansätze zur Erklärung individueller Radikalisierungsprozesse: eine kritische Beurteilung und Überblick der Kontroversen. Journal EXIT-Deutschland. Zeitschrift für Deradikalisierung und demokratische Kultur, Ausgabe 1/2013, pp. 41-87

Pokalova, E. (2015). Chechnya's terrorist network: The evolution of terrorism in Russia's North Caucasus. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.]: Praeger, pp. 67-105, pp. 143-173

Ratelle, J.-F.; Sokirianskaia, E. (2018). Online Militant Jihadist Propaganda Targeting Russian-Speaking Audiences and the Russian Response, in: Oliker, O. (ed.), pp. 117-150

Ratelle, J.-F. (2003). The Insurgency in the North Caucasus: Putting Religious Claims into Context. Russian Analytical Digest No. 131 (08.03.2013), pp. 5-8

Reese, S. (2003). Framing Public Life: Perspectives on Media and Our Understanding of the Social World, XVI

Rodriguez, L. and Dimitrova, D. (2011). The levels of visual framing. Journal of Visual Literacy, 30(1), pp. 48-65

Roessler, P. (2010). Inhaltsanalyse. Konstanz: UVK-Verl.-Ges. (2. Aufl. ed.), pp. 95-155

Schaefer, R. (2011). Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.]: Praeger, pp. 144-178, pp. 233-271

Souleimanov, E. (2015). Jihad or Security? Understanding the Jihadization of Chechen Insurgency through Recruitment into Jihadist Units. Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 17(1), pp. 86-105

Steinberg, G. (2014). Eine tschetschenische al-Qaida? In Syrien internationalisieren kaukasische Gruppen den bewaffneten Kampf und werden zur Gefahr für die Türkei und Europa. SWP-Aktuell 40, pp. 1-8

Theine, S. (2016). Die Rekrutierungsstrategie des IS: Welcher Inhalte und Techniken sich der Islamische Staat im Internet bedient. Marburg: Tectum Verlag

The Independent (2017). St. Petersburg supermarket ‘bomber’ arrested by police in Russia. The Independent (30.12.2017). Retrieved from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/st-petersburg-supermarket-bomb-explosion-attack-terrorist-russia-police-arrest-detain-a8134766.html, accessed 05.02.2018

The Soufan Group (2015). Foreign Fighters. An updated Assessment of the Flow of Foreign Fighters into Syria and Iraq. Retrieved from: http://soufangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/TSG_ForeignFightersUpdate3.pdf, accessed 08/04/2017

UNODC (2012). The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes. United Nations. Retrieved from: https://www.unodc.org/documents/frontpage/Use_of_Internet_for_Terrorist_Purposes.pdf, accessed 13/02/2017

Wiktorowicz, Q. (2005). Radical Islam Rising Muslim Extremism in the West, in: Pisoiu, Daniela (2013), pp. 41-87

Winter, C. (2015). The Virtual Caliphate: Understanding Islamic States Propaganda Strategy. Quilliam Foundation

Yarlykapov, A. (2010). The radicalization of North Caucasian Muslims, in: Dannreuther, R.; March, L. (eds.), pp. 137-154

Yemelianova, G. (2001). Sufism and Politics in the North Caucasus. Nationalities Papers, 29(4), pp. 661-688

Zeit Online (2016). IS bekennt sich zum Anschlag im Nordkaukasus. Zeit (30.03.2016). Retrieved from: http://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2016-03/dagestan-russland-anschlag-islamischer-staat, accessed 13/01/2017

Primary sources:

Jihadology (29.09.2015): New video message from The Islamic State: “Message From the Mujāhidīn – Wilāyat al-Qawqāz”. Retrieved from: http://jihadology.net/2015/09/29/new-video-message-from-the-islamic-state-message-from-the-mujahidin-wilayat-al-qawqaz/, accessed 24/01/2017

Jihadology (24.11.2015): New video message from The Islamic State: “The Lone Wolf”. Retrieved from: http://jihadology.net/2015/11/24/new-video-message-from-the-islamic-state-the-lone-wolf/, accessed 24/01/2017

Jihadology (05.03.2016): New video message from The Islamic State: “A Profit That Will Never Perish – Wilāyat al-Qawqāz”. Retrieved from: http://jihadology.net/2016/03/05/new-video-message-from-the-islamic-state-a-profit-that-will-never-perish-wilayat-al-qawqaz/, accessed 24/01/2017

Jihadology (06.03.2016): New video message from The Islamic State: “The Caucasus: The Disease and the Medicine”. Retrieved from: http://jihadology.net/2016/03/06/new-video-message-from-the-islamic-state-the-caucasus-the-disease-and-the-medicine/, accessed 24/01/2017

Jihadology (28.12.2016): New video message from The Islamic State: “Now, Now the Fighting Comes – Wilāyat al-Qawqāz”. Retrieved from: http://jihadology.net/2016/12/28/new-video-message-from-the-islamic-state-now-now-the-fighting-comes-wilayat-al-qawqaz/, accessed 24/01/2017

Jihadology (28.12.2016): New video message from The Islamic State: “Now, Now the Fighting Comes – Wilāyat al-Qawqāz”. Retrieved from: http://jihadology.net/2016/12/28/new-video-message-from-the-islamic-state-now-now-the-fighting-comes-wilayat-al-qawqaz/, accessed 24/01/2017


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2018 Anna Seib

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

ISSN: 2363-9849 

Proud Member of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)