- John Stupart
Islamic State propaganda must not be taken at face value. It is at all times directed to a specific audience with specific messages, irrespective of facts. IS hides inaccuracies or blatant lies behind brutality in execution videos, the impression of a perfect Caliphate or the perfect life in the Caliphate in photo reports, or exaggerated casualty statistics in official claims of attacks. The message is more important than fact, and because of its effective manipulation of emotions, like shock or being in awe, its lies are seldom exposed. By JASMINE OPPERMAN and JULIA SWEET.
On Friday, Pope Francis was awarded the prestigious Charlemagne Prize. The prize is conferred by the German city of Aachen to a public figure for his or her commitment to promoting European unity. The mayor of Aachen told those assembled at the award ceremony that “Pope Francis is a godsend for Europe”. As Francis emerges, for many, as an iconic contemporary leader, he faces, ironically, significant resistance from within the institution he leads. By RUSSELL POLLITT.
Iran’s new parliament has many new faces and, for the first time, more women members than clergymen. But with no clear victor after the 28 April completion of Iran’s parliamentary elections, Senior Iran Analyst ALI VAEZ argues in this Q&A that President Hassan Rouhani will face many challenges and that rapid change is unlikely. By INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP.