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ISIS is not misleading us through its media

Truth be told, if we know anything about ISIS, it’s that it’s an organization which does not resort to disinformation

Diana Moukalled

Published: Updated:

It would be monotonous if one of us decided to count the times when the term “disinformation” was used in statements concerning the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) seizure of the Iraqi city of Ramadi. Most officials’ statements, and even some religious statements, tried to downplay the scandal of the fall of Ramadi. They said the terrorist organization is misleading us using the media and they even called on the public not to believe ISIS footage which clearly showed Iraqi army convoys fleeing Ramadi, just as they shamefully fled Mosul last year.

Truth be told, if we know anything about ISIS, it’s that it’s an organization which does not resort to disinformation.

ISIS is exactly as it presents itself: a blind killing machine whose violence and love for control has no limits. Yes, ISIS is launching a psychological and propaganda war and it’s succeeding at that. However this organization, which the entire world is supposed to be fighting, is still capable of expanding and achieving gains on ground.

Truth be told, if we know anything about ISIS, it’s that it’s an organization which does not resort to disinformation

Diana Moukalled

However, there’s shock as a result of this expansion, and this shock would not have happened if ISIS rivals hadn’t lied. It’s those ISIS rivals who are most probably the main reason behind the organization’s power! The Iraqi government, which presents itself as a leader in the fight against ISIS, continues to pursue a policy of failed governance via corrupt sectarian policies. ISIS wins because it presents its violence as it is, without any embellishments. It kills, slaughters, enslaves, stones people to death, destroys monuments and elevates the status of an extremist sectarian and religious rhetoric, and it considers these acts as its achievements.

Time to stop the lies


We will not win against ISIS until we stop lying about it. Masks have completely fallen off in this supposed universal war against it. What we’ve seen in Ramadi is not a success for ISIS but a horrible failure for our governments and regimes, and it’s also an American failure.

We can clearly see photos of ISIS crimes as the terrorist group takes footage and broadcasts it to us online. But how can we take footage of the failure to act towards these murders? The footage of Iraqi army units fleeing Ramadi reflects ISIS’s victory and says much about the American president’s statement that he trusts the Iraqi army. This footage is a response to the Iraqi government and to its sectarian and inadequate policies. Footage of Iraqi army forces fleeing Ramadi was not disinformation and were rather the culmination of failure. It says a lot about both, the Iraqi army and government, and a similar scenario is now unfolding in the Syrian city of Palmyra which ISIS now controls.

ISIS cannot be confronted via sectarianism, corruption and failed imperial ambitions. We’re perhaps not yet in the final stages of ISIS’s age of conquest as its defeat is not on the horizon.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 27, 2015.

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Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.