Between Lure and Coercion: ISIS's Soft Power

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-7-27-37

A. Yashlavskii (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation

Acknowledgments. The article was prepared in the course of work on the topic “Informal institutions, norms and practices in the emerging system of global governance” within the framework of the project “Formation of polycentric world order: risks and opportunities for Russia”. The Program of Presidium of the RAS no. 22 “Analysis and forecast of new global challenges and opportunities for Russia”.

Abstract. Terrorist Salafi Jihadist groups (and first of all, the “Islamic State”)* widely use “soft power” tools to promote their ideological agenda and to recruit new supporters throughout the world. The main target audience of the extremists’ propaganda activities is the local Sunni population of Syria and Iraq, which has been under control of ISIS militants, on the one hand, and young people from different countries of the world (including Western countries), on the other. Skillfully manipulating people’s consciousness and emotions, using the full range of Internet technologies and communications, operating with a wide variety of narratives and tools of the contemporary pop culture, the “Islamic State” and alike groups’ masterminds are largely successful in development of extensive support base (both active and passive). For this reason, to effectively stand against the extremists, it is necessary to use a “smart power” which is a combination of “hard power” and “soft power” elements.

* Terrorist organization banned in Russia

Keywords: extremism, Islamism, Jihadism, Islamic State, Syria, Iraq, Middle East, terrorism, ISIS, IS, Caliphate, soft power, propaganda, communications, social media


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For citation:
Yashlavskii A. Between Lure and Coercion: ISIS's Soft Power. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 7, pp. 27-37.

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