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Terrorist Groups: Critical Discourse Analysis Report (Assessment)

Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) has widely been in use by various media platforms to imply a metaphysical approach to syntax and lexis, as well as its manifestations across different groups. As a concept of liberal arts analysis, CDA continues to emerge as an intellectual orthodoxy with prowess to contextualize worldviews. As CDA continues to rise as an intellectual concept, a certain tendency for being confounded is in the offing. Breeze (493) opines that many people, as well as different institutions, apply the concept simply as a valid way of giving their researches greater weights without necessarily considering its weaknesses and other concepts that continue to attain intellectual respectability. For instance, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) menace is a real danger that gives contemporary governments no sleep.

The task that lies ahead in tackling the ISIS menace is great. However, a robust counter-offensive strategy does not only rely on the airstrikes and heavy combating of the ISIS loyalists and sympathizers, but also on a calculated intelligence approach. ISIS, as Castells (79) notes, is no longer an ordinary terrorist organization, but a highly sophisticated Jihadist movement that demands a lot of intelligence to intercept. As a movement, ISIS continues to conquer Syria and Iraq to establish its ideological orientation with impunity. The ISIS continues to gain momentum, and in the process engages the world in the war of ideas. With its elaborate networks, strategic propaganda, and enhanced technical offensive support, the global community must now look at new angles from which to fight this movement. It is necessary and appropriate to avoid framing the CDA strategy as the only intelligence modicum to counter-terrorism approach. While the CDA analysis aids in the understanding of the relationship existing between discourses and ideologies, it is equally necessary to go beyond the narratives of syntax and lexical solutions to the ISIS menace.

The Syrian ISIS solution is a great concern to the international community. There is an urgent need to gather the necessary momentum and put ISIS on the road to self-destruction. As the world contemplates the next step, ISIS continues to cause unprecedented humanitarian suffering in the regions subdued by its forces (Lewis par. 2). The ISIS menace, according to Lewis (par. 3), shows the international community’s unpreparedness to fight movements of such magnitude. ISIS draws strength from the weaknesses of the international community to think to fast-forward and act. Clearly, it draws its strength from the failed strategies that the international community roll out to fight it.

The ISIS strategy, however, seems ambiguous for the international community to encrypt; it deals the international community intelligence a big blow by fortifying its grip on both Syria and Iraq by establishing sectarian cleavages and installing dictatorial regimes that work at their advantage. In much of the Middle East, ISIS continues to advance civil strife by advocating sectarian Jihadist mindsets that rapidly revitalize its radicalized foothold. It grows strength from polarizing the regional stressors, thus weakening the ties that bind nations together. The polarization approach, as Breeze (495) notes, is a new game changer that the ISIS employs to ensure Syria stands aloof from the international community so that it would be easy for the movement to instill its extremist ideologies.

An effective counter-strategy to claim victory over the ISIS demands a nuanced scheme that preserves all the international community’s foreign policy objectives to put an end to the Middle East century-old civil strife. The CDA strategy, according to Sheyholislami (2), only aims at deterrence, but a concerted approach of fighting the ISIS demands action that produces a double-digit impact on the ISIS’s lifeline. The parties concerned must pursue, fight, defeat, and destroy the ISIS movement with its loyalists, and sympathizers by any means necessary, appropriate, and possible including but not necessarily limited to force or militarization in Syria. As the ISIS movement continues to gather influence, Lewis (par. 4) offers that its mission is to destroy Syria and Iraq permanently.

In the event this becomes true, the international community in its oversight authority will have let down the population in these regions. This will further generate exponential threats to the international community’s trust in all regions of the world. In addition, the US being at the epicenter of the anti-terrorism war may have to lose its strategic positioning in regions that hold it in high esteem. America’s commitment to fight ISIS and liberate the Syrian population is paramount as the Syrian population looks upon the US to intercept this heinous terrorist group. Therefore, it is necessary and appropriate for the international community to consider ways of defeating ISIS not because it is appropriate to preserve its integrity but to answer to the call of humanity. People in all parts of the world look upon one another to make their lives better, and Syria and Iraq are not isolated cases so to speak. Preserving the security of any part of the word denotes the need to secure global tranquility and world peace.

Though CDA analysis provides a strategic approach to fight the ISIS through its strength and weaknesses, it needs to adapt the existing military frameworks to support the developmental conceptual framework to fight the ISIS menace. CDA does not necessarily formulate effective counter-terrorism strategies in light of the ISIS mechanisms. As Shirky (30) observes, it only provides a way of conceptualizing the group’s counter-strategies in light of the group’s strategies for military, religious, and political benefits. The socio-cognitive approach to CDA must include an overall evaluation of the group’s grand strategy and its military preparedness as well as intelligence shrewdness in the subdued regions.

The CDA-based Syrian situation must identify, analyze, and evaluate core sources of the group’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. According to Breeze (499), the CDA analysis must explore a rubric to conceptualize how the core efforts and auxiliary efforts can be merged to bring out the strategies capable of defeating the ISIS finally. Even though developing such a strategy is expressly hard, the possibility of defeating the ISIS rests on its benchmarking.

Van Dijk’s mental framework provides strategic analysis from which to evaluate and understand the relevance of global context models through cultural, historical, political, and social frameworks. In so doing, it equally validates a strategic analysis of the resources central to the ISIS lifeline. While adapting to the existing military frameworks, it attempts to formulate a comprehensive counter-strategy relevant to the CDA framework. However, its subjectivity could be problematic in analytical terms. In this case, the CDA’s approach on the ISIS situation must address two complementary issues. The first being the classical military aspect central to the ISIS, which the group uses to seize physical control of governments and stamp its authority on the subdued regions (Breeze 523). The second ISIS’s strength is its political capacity to nourish the governments it controls.

The strength of the group seems to emanate from its capacity to translate military might effectively into political hegemony capable of winning over the population to fight an impending danger. ISIS, according to Lewis (par. 5), uses religion as a tool to radicalize its followers drastically. Clearly, as it manifests the caliphate, the international community must embark on critical adjustments to face-off with the increasingly changing tactics employed by the ISIS. A plan of action aimed at defeating the ISIS must go beyond the very embodiment of Djik’s mental framework and break the group’s political network and regional synergy with other groups masquerading as proponents of peace.

A step forward aimed at defeating the ISIS means that the international community must realize that they are fighting a very courageous and cunning enemy that leaves nothing to extend the captivity of humanity (Lewis par. 7). As such, the international community must consider ways of integrating the modes of fighting organized terror groups to include Dijk’s model and CDA analysis as part of its approach. A strategy to defeat ISIS must aim at destroying the group’s multi-layered leadership and information infrastructure that makes it advance its objectives with the utmost ease.

Being at the center of events, the United Nations must consider ways of accomplishing their oversight roles to champion the cause of humanity while steering the defeat strategy of ISIS to liberate the population subjugated in Syria and Iraq. Since the group depends on its robust information flow, there is an urgent need to destroy the existing group’s critical capabilities by interfering with its information flow (Sarikakis 175). Apart from interfering with its information network, concerted efforts to fight ISIS must move a notch higher and seriously think of a way of denying the group the critical opportunities and requirements while cutting down on its strengths. There is an urgent need to identify the group’s weaknesses to exploit its vulnerability. America, the UN, and the international community must pull their resources and synchronize all these concepts to give ISIS a defeating blow.

Terrorism is a contemporary global concern that stifles people in many parts of the world. Many terror groups continue to sprout in different parts of the world. Most of these terror groups give governments headaches in managing the security of their people. Terror groups cause an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as a population to perish in terror attacks and war with a record migration as a desperate population flee war-torn regions. The ideology of terror groups is simply to cause panic, instill fear, displace the indigenous population, kill humanity, and destroy property. They achieve their objectives with preferential ease, as the people they target are usually very vulnerable to reciprocate. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) being a force to reckon with persists under these models. ISIS has struck deep roots both in Syria and Iraq, and its ideologies are rapidly diffusing to the vast Middle East and other parts of the world. While both the Djik’s mental framework and CDA analysis are factors winning strategies, the ISIS movement, its loyalists, and sympathizers must be pursued, fought, defeated, and destroyed by any means necessary, including but not necessarily limited to militarization and the use of force.

Works Cited

Breeze, Ruth. “Critical Discourse Analysis and its Critics.” International Pragmatics Association 21.4 (2011): 493-525. Print.

Castells, Manuel. “The New Public Sphere: Global Civil Society, Communication Networks, and Global Governance.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 616.1 (2008): 78-93. Print.

Lewis, Jessica. The Islamic State: A Counter-Strategy for a Counter-State. 2014. Web.

Sarikakis, Katharine. Powers in Media Policy: The Challenge of the European Parliament. Oxford: Peter Lang. 2004. Print.

Sheyholislami, Jaffer. Critical Discourse Analysis. 2001. Web.

Shirky, Clay. The Political Power of Social Media. Foreign Affairs 90.1 (2011): 8-41. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Terrorist Groups: Critical Discourse Analysis." July 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/terrorist-groups-critical-discourse-analysis/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Terrorist Groups: Critical Discourse Analysis'. 15 July.

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