This article claims that the visual image contributes to, reflects and supports the dominant discourse of two powerful armed groups that have operated in Iraq and Syria: the US military and the Islamic State (IS). This research uses multimodal discourse analysis to explore two crucial insights into the ideological power of the visual image: the power of the image as spectatorship or spectacle and the sublime or transcendental nature of the visual image. The authors conclude that US and IS recruitment and propaganda videos share these two crucial ideological elements: pride in the spectacle of their military power, discipline and technologies, and sublime commitment to the act of killing and dying for the cause. In this sense, the US military and IS are brothers in arms.
Phillips, L. and Ghalwash, M. (2019), Brothers in arms: Visual commonalities between US and IS recruitment strategies, Journal of Media, War and Conflict, November, https://doi.org/10.1177/1750635219887775