Image: Elliot Brown.
Australia must be better prepared for an influx of terrorist propaganda as ISIS enters a new strategic phase following their loss of territory in Iraq and Syria, according to ANU research being presented at the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) on Wednesday.
Dr Haroro Ingram, a leading expert in terrorism propaganda, said it would be a big mistake for policy makers to assume the threat of ISIS is over.
Dr Ingram said the next period of the terror group's operations will see them push into new territories and ramp up their propaganda efforts in an attempt to inspire and direct terrorist attacks in the West, with Australia seen as a priority target.
"The fight isn't ending, far from it. They are going to place their propaganda machine at the forefront of their efforts to survive," Dr Ingram said.
"Australia is an important part of their campaign, it is still very important for ISIS propaganda efforts to try to influence Australian supporters.
"Issue one of their new flagship magazine in September 2016 featured an Australian, and the latest issue featured an article purportedly written by an Australian female who travelled from Australia to live under ISIS rule."
Dr Ingram said Australia and its allies need to start developing strategies to counter this next phase of the battle against the terror group.
"We need to be far more sophisticated in how we confront this propaganda than we have in the past," he said.
"What Marawi has demonstrated to the world is that ISIS will deploy networks to different locations in an effort to stretch the focus and resources of its enemies.
"If we are not co-coordinating our efforts transnationally, we may be contributing to the conditions they require to survive and perhaps rise again."
Dr Ingram's presentation will reflect on his work in the field interviewing foreign fighters and analysing terrorist propaganda.
The AIIA is an independent organisation committed to the promotion of informed discussion on international issues and their impact on Australia.