How mainstream media in West treats Daesh?

8/1/2014 5:15:48 PM

DaeshTakfiri extremists are waging a sadistic sectarian war in Iraq, in a bid to carve out a new country in the region to set up their self-invented model of an Islamic state, but the bloodbath they have created has apparently fallen short of crossing the threshold in the West.

What the hard-line Daesh mercenaries are doing in Iraq is tantamount to sheer murder and genocide. According to the Economist the Takfiri extremists have invented a “new online genre,” what the English-language weekly describes “the war crime self-portrait”.

Yet, even the images of mass executions put on the Internet by Daesh have apparently raised little alarm among the anti-terrorist freedom pioneers in the West.

Of course, the Western government officials have employed a tone of condemnation to acknowledge the atrocities committed by the Takfiris in Iraq.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby says that they are “killing and maiming”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry shares the same sentiment with Kirby in his reference to the extremist group calling it a “terrorist organization”.

Kerry’s counterparts across the Western world also use a similar rhetoric in describing the group.

William Hague, UK’s top diplomat, for example, dubs Daesh or the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/Levant (ISIS/ISIL) “a brutal terrorist group”. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier again calls the Daesh extremists “terrorists” who are expanding their reach.

“ISIS is evolving from a terrorist organization into a military one and is expanding its reach,” Steinmeier says.

But, the story is not the same with the mainstream media in the West and the way they address the Daesh crisis in Iraq.

In their treatment of the Takfiri group almost all the Western news agencies and news outlets, employ words which do not necessarily imply an equal sense of negativeness as the word ‘terrorist’ does.

The Agence France-Presse calls Daesh a “jihadist” group.“Fighters from ISIL, the jihadist group that is now spreading an offensive in Iraq…” AFP writes.

The Associated Press, on the other hand, describes Daesh as a Sunni Muslim “insurgency” group, and its members as “militant” extremists.

Reuters, too, uses the word “insurgents” to refer to Daesh which it further identifies as a Qaeda offshoot.

“After Iraq gains, Qaeda offshoot claims Islamic 'caliphate',” Reuters writes in its headline.

While the CNN in the United States follows suit to call the extremist group and its members “insurgents” linked to Sunnis, the British Broadcasting Corporation or the BBC dubs them Sunni “militants” or Islamist “militants”.

This approach assumed by the mainstream media in the West to primarily shape the global public opinion, is not new.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, new words sprang up in the media jargon to accommodate the Western-led global war on terror and redirect in the best way the global opinion on the so-called “rooting terrorism” issue.

For instance, they invented “enhanced interrogation techniques” to refer to the questioning process applied to those arrested on terrorism charges.

But soon it was revealed that these enhanced interrogation techniques were tantamount to nothing but an array of tortures like sexual assault and humiliation, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, solitary confinement, mock executions, forced medication, use of dogs to scare detainees, temperature extremes, sensory bombardment (noise), watching others being tortured and…

The invented, euphemized combination, though, tends not to imply any sense of torture. In the same way, “detention”, “detainee” and “detention facility” are not going to exactly imply “imprisonment”, “prisoner” and “prison” and they fail to create the same sense.

The masterpiece of this euphemization process was “waterboarding” which unlike its “pleasant” form is in fact a “water torture” inducing panic and suffering by forcing a person to inhale water into the sinuses, pharynx, larynx, and trachea.

In case of Daesh in Iraq, the mainstream media in the West is employing yet again a special jargon to produce the desired results.

Jihadists, insurgents, or militants all refer to entities who have a potential for committing acts of terrorism but they are not necessarily terrorists.

Nevertheless, they seem to be more useful in convincing the global audience that a sectarian war is underway in Iraq and the crisis caused by the Takfiris in the Middle Eastern nation is not all about killing, murdering and terrorism.

Based on a discourse analysis Jihadism, insurgency and militancy all imply that there exists a pursuit of a “common cause”.

In case of Daesh in Iraq everybody should be redirected to believe that it is Islamism and an associated sectarianism leading to terrorism.

One of the outcomes of this skilful media approach to the Daesh crisis in Iraq is linking Islam to terrorism.

This, automatically, paves the way for the Western forces to easily invade the region to “fight off terrorism.”

More, it contributes to the spread of Islamophobia in the world which is home to an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims; a population expected to increase by about 35% by 2030, rising to 2.2 billion.

The media treatment of Daesh by the West has also produced an effect for home consumption.

Iraqi analyst Sabah al Nasseri maintains that the Daesh control of some parts of Iraq is a consequence of a US occupation.

He says that the way the West is addressing the crisis in the Middle East is a discourse for home consumption.

“I think when the media in the US or in Europe address the issues of securities and so on, politics of the Middle East and Iraq it's just a discourse for home consumption. It doesn't relate in any significant way to what happens on the ground,” says Iraqi-born professor of Political Science (Middle East Politics) at York University, Toronto.

This is why the Takfiri crisis in Iraq has served to be a fodder for partisan rivalry in the United States.

John Boehner, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for instance, accuses President Barack Obama of “taking a nap” while ISIS marches towards Baghdad.

Assuming a rather harsher tone, Karl Rove, a former close adviser to George W. Bush, tells Fox News that Obama has squandered the US influence in Iraq.

The Daesh dilemma in Iraq has another important function, too.

The Takfiris are aiding the West to maintain the status quo and manage regional crises in a way that best serves Western interests.

“I believe all these sectarianization and militarization of the conflict in Iraq and Syria and Libya, etc., are nothing but the mechanism through which the US and other European imperialists, like the UK and France and their regional supporters--to push back against the Arab revolutions, to push back against people's demands, and to try to reproduce the status quo before the revolutions. So it's a means through which the United States tries to stabilize its regional allies against the demands of the people,” says Sabah al-Nasseri.

No surprise that Washington doesnot consider Daesh an al-Qaeda affiliate nor has it a legal obligation to attack the Takfiri group.

The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against terrorists “wouldn’t cover such [air] strikes [against the extremist group] because ISIL isn’t part of al-Qaeda and wasn’t involved in planning, authorizing or committing the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” as the authorization law requires, says Christopher Swift, an adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s security studies program and an international lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP.

US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky believes that Washington is responsible for the Daesh advance in Iraq, as it armed the group’s allies in Syria.

“I think we have to understand first how we got here,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

"I think one of the reasons why ISIS has been emboldened is because we have been arming their allies. We have been allied with ISIS in Syria.”