Virtual Caliphate Rebooted: The Islamic State’s Evolving Online Strategy

Editor’s Note: The Islamic State’s territorial expansion and burgeoning online presence seemed to rise together. As the group lost territory, however, its online presence evolved. Jade Parker and Charlie Winter, two leading analysts of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine, describe how the group’s propaganda production has changed in the post-Caliphate era and how we can prepare for the next round. *** The territorial Islamic State has collapsed, its once-contiguous caliphate fragmenting into an archipelago of inter-connected statelets in rural parts of Iraq and Syria. The organization will undoubtedly live on but, in order to do so, it will have to metamorphose into something else, swapping its overt governance programs for covert insurgent tactics and terrorism, whenever and wherever the conditions allow. Reflecting this change in tactical emphasis, its media priorities have been changing, too, as indicated by the gradual winding down of its…

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