Telegram Outlets Supporting Islamic State (ISIS) Perceive Escalation In Sudan As Opportunity To Exploit Chaos On The Ground, Discredit Rivals

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April 19, 2023

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The fighting in Sudan between the military forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that erupted in early April has been a recurrent theme of the social media content published by the Islamic State (ISIS) supporting entities which see in the violent clashes between the two sides an opportunity to exploit the chaos and discredit its rivals, including other jihadis and local governments.

While official media outlets affiliated with the Islamic State did not release content in this regard, pro-ISIS outlets have been very active in keeping their supporters informed about the latest developments in Sudan.

Although ISIS has no active presence in the country, local media occasionally reports that the Sudanese authorities have been arresting cells affiliated with ISIS.[1]

On April 16, some Arabic media outlets reported that during the ongoing clashes, the Sudanese Army has used some of ISIS and Al-Qaeda operatives held in its prisons in the fight against RSF.[2]

New Pro-ISIS Telegram Outlet For Sudan Coverage

In addition to instructing the group's supporters in Sudan to exploit the chaos to seize weapons and ammunition,[3] pro-ISIS Telegram outlets are providing extensive coverage of the violent clashes between the army and RSF such as fighting near the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, death tolls on both sides, and the international efforts to contain the crisis.

Although most of the coverage is straightforward, it reflects the growing interest among the ISIS supporters in exploiting the violence in Sudan to serve their agenda on the ground or their narrative against other jihadi opponents.

For example, a Telegram channel was created on April 17, 2023. The channel, which shares updates on the clashes mostly taken from western mainstream media such as CNN, has been promoted by other pro-ISIS channels.[4]

Supporters Mock Afghan Taliban's Reaction

ISIS supporters have also showed interest in monitoring reactions of other jihadi groups, such as the Afghan Taliban, whom they often discredit as part of their rivalry with Al-Qaeda, which maintains ties with the Afghan group.

In a Telegram chat group, an ISIS supporter shared a statement allegedly issued by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Afghan Taliban) on April 15 expressing concern about the escalation in Sudan and calling on the people and the fighting parties to end the clashes and resolves the differences through a political dialogue.[5]

Commenting on the Afghan Taliban statement, an ISIS supporter wrote: "[The statement] highlights the position of the Emirate of opium," in reference to accusation to the group of trading with narcotics.

Mocking Egypt's Military

Discussing reports that claimed that the RFS arrested Egyptian commando officers who were in Sudan to train the Sudanese military forces, a pro-ISIS channel saw in the news an opportunity to discredit the Egyptian government.

A post the channel published, made fun of the Egyptian commandos: "The trainer needs a trainer. Where did your 'Bear Grylls' skill disappear? What happened to eating snakes?" in reference to the British TV adventurer who is widely known for his survival skills in the wilderness.[6]

 

 

[1] Aljazeera.com/news, October 5, 2021.

[2] Middle-east-online.com, April 17, 2023.

[4] Telegram, April 17, 2023.

[5] Telegram, April 16, 2023.

[6] Telegram, April 15, 2023.


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