ISIS Loves Forests

As I have discussed twice before, ISIS periodically puts out propaganda photos of nature. The reason for it is still not entirely certain, although multiple experts speculated that the point is to show how ISIS rule has created an idyllic, euphoric caliphate.

And it turns out that, based on an item in this week’s propaganda, ISIS cares so much about nature that they want to make more forests. Because they proudly displayed a photograph of their reforestation project.


According to accompanying text, via Google Translate, the reforestation project is taking place in the countryside west of Raqqa. The objective is to plant 60,000 seedlings of two types of trees, and according to ISIS the project is 20% complete. Presumably that means 12,000 trees have been planted, although it is unclear what metric they are using to calculate the 20%.

I have personally been to a reforestation project in my day, and I will acknowledge that the photograph above does resemble such a project. Based on checking other reforestation projects’ metrics, it seems feasible that Daesh’s project could have reached the benchmark mentioned above, and that the 60,000 goal is relatively modest compared to some other reforestation projects.

Growing trees may have greater propaganda significance, because ISIS is fond of using tree growing as a metaphor for their state. As reported by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, they have on at least two occasions erected billboards using the slogan “Together we cultivate the tree of the Caliphate.”

Here in Ninawa Province:


And also in Aleppo, Syria:


And on a mural in Mosul:


Of course, there is also the possibility that ISIS is simply taking credit for an existing reforestation project. Or that they are just making this up.

Nevertheless, I suppose they deserve kudos for environmental conservation.