The land of the two rivers under the black banner: Visual communication of al-Qa῾ida in Iraq | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-2867
  • E-ISSN: 1751-2875



This article seeks to explore specific modes of visual communication concerning the so called ‘Islamic State of Iraq.’ As an alliance of some Jihadist groups under the lead of al-Qa῾ida in Iraq, this movement managed after the year 2003 to temporarily seize control of some parts of the Iraqi soil and perpetrate mass-casualty attacks. Hence, it still poses one of the most serious threats for the young Iraqi republic.

Regardless of the actual validity of this ‘state’, the article argues that Jihadist groups are able to operate in the Middle East, among other things, because they manage to connect their ideas, norms and beliefs to the cultural memory of their recipients. They employ symbols and semantics that gain effect through re-connection to the religious and cultural heritage. These symbols and semantics are, at the same time, used to frame reality in a specific way and portray the Jihadist ideology as the serious basis for an alternative model for society.

The article will examine the political iconography of the ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ in digitally circulated images. It will present an iconological analysis of the composition and construction of paradigmatic icons and images and will show which motifs, themes and narratives are employed to give meaning to iconographical representations.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error