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Swipe Left: U.S.-Russia Cooperation in Countering Digital Female ISIL Recruitment Open Access Deposited

This paper analyzes the feasibility of and proposes a strategy for cooperation between the United States and Russia in the field of countering ISIL in the digital sphere. In doing so, we have identified female recruitment through digital networks as a niche area in which both countries may have overlapping interests and face comparable challenges. Our research consists of a literature review of existing academic studies regarding ISIL and terrorist network recruitment, conversations with both American and Russian experts in public diplomacy and international counterterrorism , an examination of recruitment narratives in the media, and a content analysis of Russian and American social media channels. Our research shows that the US and Russia may increase awareness of this issue among the public in both countries by highlighting stories of women who have survived life under ISIL and have escaped. It is crucial to create digital content that shares forms and methods of ISIL recruitment, and potential warning signs on social media, in simple and understandable language. We propose the creation and regular management of a micro-site and accompanying social media campaign to aggregate the stories of these women authentically and credibly, encouraging buy-in from the communities that most need this information. The Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum commissioned this paper in a Track II diplomatic effort between young scholars in the United States and the Russian Federation.

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