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The portrayal of drones in terrorist propaganda: a discourse analysis of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire


Dynamics of Asymmetric ConflictJournal abstract

That drone warfare may cause “blowback” is a well-established argument – commonly used to contest drones’ effectiveness. One of the unintended consequences of drones includes the opportunity it provides terrorists who can use drones in their propaganda. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s e-magazine Inspire is demographically targeting Western Muslims, and aims to encourage to “homegrown” terrorism and/or recruitment of “foreign fighters.” This study examines how drone warfare is portrayed in Inspire, using a qualitative discourse analysis. It is found that the magazine, commonly portray drones as a failing policy that mainly causes civilian deaths and oppress Muslims. Drones are used to further polarize Inspire-readers and the USA, whereas drone warfare is portrayed as cowardly and inhumane. Overall, this portrayal may have implications for the overall effectiveness of drones.

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