Although ISIS has been more or less defeated territorially in both Iraq and Syria, its pernicious ideology must still be actively contained.
While the battle against ISIS has ended militarily, Iraqi officials say that the ideological war against the militant group continues. Despite being defeated in Iraq in December 2017, the militant group’s ideology and discourse have continued to attract many vulnerable people across the world. As a result, the Iraqi Government has held its fourth annual international conference, which seeks to counter the militant group’s ideology.
“In Baghdad, more than 60 countries, as well as large international organisations, will participate in the Fourth International Conference on Combating ISIS’s Media and Ideology,” said Sa’eed al-Jayash, the secretary of the National Intelligence agency. “We will now begin the next stage, the post-military phase.” During the conference, the Iraqi military intelligence agency will be exhibiting some of the personal belongings and documents that have been retrieved from ISIS’ offices and militants’ homes after the liberation.
“The Directorate of Military Intelligence is holding an important exhibition about ISIS’s documents, arms, and equipment, which was seized during the liberation battles,” said Ali al-Dahlaki, an official in the Media Directorate of the Military Intelligence. “In fact, after scrutiny, these documents reveal the mentality and strategy of these militants.”
Since the defeat of ISIS’ so-called “Caliphate” in cities across Iraq and Syria, the security forces have seized hundreds of documents that revealed the militant group’s inner workings. While some of the papers seemed to be merely marriage certificates, the dowries that the militants gave to their wives exposed the cruelty and maliciousness of the group. According to one of the documents found in Fallujah, an ISIS bride received a suicide belt as her dowry. Other documents also reveal the divisions that occurred within ISIS’ ranks with many urging citizens not to believe news of the militant group being defeated in battles. These documents were also coupled with videos and magazines that were used in an attempt to brainwash people into believing the militant group’s ideology.
Since the militant group used many new forms of communication such as social media to recruit members, the Iraqi Government has invited experts and scholars to find solutions to counter the group’s hateful ideology.