Counter Daesh Insight Bulletin 2-8 April
Daesh supporters and media groups linked to Daesh allegedly reinstated their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi through an online campaign. This campaign seems to have been initiated by the Nashir News Agency. Daesh’s anti-democracy theme has been popular over the last couple of months, and it seems they are using the campaign to undermine the upcoming Iraqi elections. Sustaining an online presence has been a battle for Daesh, and they keep trying to find new ways to distribute their propaganda. Daesh also claimed that they are exploiting their adversaries’ security weaknesses, and they are warning their operatives against both the neglect and excess of security. The latest al-Naba also reports on the attacks Daesh claimed in Egypt and summarizes the operations they have claimed in Afghanistan.
Daesh’s battle to stay online
Although Telegram has been the main platform Daesh has used to distribute its propaganda since 2015, Daesh’s media operatives are urged to use other mainstream social media outlets to disseminate their material. In 2017 Nashir News Agency announced their presence on Tumblr, Riot.im and Baaz. Last week they set up a page on Google Plus, but this was short-lived. Now they are promoting a new messaging app called TAM TAM. It is a private messaging app but also has a “channel” function, which allows users to spread their messages to an unlimited audience. The TAM TAM channels act as a mirror to the Nashir News Agency’s channels on Telegram.
TAM TAM is an initiative run by the Russian internet company Mail.Ru Group, and requires users to login with a telephone number. The TAM TAM app can be used on mobile phones or on PCs via a desktop app.
Daesh’s presence in Afghanistan
In January 2015, Daesh officially declared the establishment of its Khorasan Province branch, which encompassed Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ever since, they have repeatedly claimed attacks and killings in the region. In 2016, they even released a video claiming governance activities in the region. (Source: BBC monitoring)
In the latest issue of al-Naba, an infographic claimed that Daesh have killed more than 1200 people in attacks on the Afghan capital over the last six months. It detailed Daesh’s operations from September 2017 to March 2018, claiming to have carried out 13 commando attacks, 3 IED attacks and a car bombing. It also claimed to have killed 535 Shia Muslims, 360 Afghan police and government forces, 129 Afghan soldiers, 110 members of political parties, 76 media personnel and their security officers, and 25 “crusaders and consular staff”.
Daesh’s security principles
In a series of generic al-Naba articles (the latest published on 5 April), Daesh have claimed successful attacks which exploited knowledge of weaknesses in their adversaries’ security procedures. The article did not specify whether it was referring to physical security or electronic communications security. The claim was not backed up by any examples but the article meant to highlight Daesh’s counterintelligence capabilities.
In the same issue of al-Naba, Daesh provided guidance on how to balance between security and the ability to operate. It criticised both fighters who believed they could trust God for safekeeping and so compromised security in order to be able to act rapidly, as well as fighters who used security as an excuse not to act.
Summaries of research reports by independent academics and institutions. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the Global Coalition.
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Produced by the Global Coalition Counter-Daesh Communications Cell, based in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London. Contact us at global.communicationsCell@fco.gov.uk