Islamists, Extremists, and the Fight for Cyber Supremacy
Author: Haroon Ullah
Publisher: Yale University Press
Category: Political Science
The role of social media in the events of the Arab Spring and its aftermath in the Muslim world has stimulated much debate, yet little in the way of useful insight. Now Haroon Ullah, a scholar and diplomat with deep knowledge of politics and societies in the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, draws the first clear picture of the unprecedented impact of Twitter, Facebook, and other means of online communication on the recent revolutions that blazed across Muslim nations. The author carefully analyzes the growth of social media throughout the Muslim world, tracing how various organizations learned to employ such digital tools to grow networks, recruit volunteers, and disseminate messages. In Egypt, where young people rose against the regime; in Pakistan, where the youth fought against the intelligence and military establishments; and in Syria, where underground Islamists had to switch alliances, digital communications played key roles. Ullah demonstrates how social media have profoundly changed relationships between regimes and voters, though not always for the better. Looking forward he identifies trends across the Muslim world and the implications of these for regional and international politics.
Two defense experts explore the collision of war, politics, and social media, where the most important battles are now only a click away. Through the weaponization of social media, the internet is changing war and politics, just as war and politics are changing the internet. Terrorists livestream their attacks, “Twitter wars” produce real‐world casualties, and viral misinformation alters not just the result of battles, but the very fate of nations. The result is that war, tech, and politics have blurred into a new kind of battlespace that plays out on our smartphones. P. W. Singer and Emerson Brooking tackle the mind‐bending questions that arise when war goes online and the online world goes to war. They explore how ISIS copies the Instagram tactics of Taylor Swift, a former World of Warcraft addict foils war crimes thousands of miles away, internet trolls shape elections, and China uses a smartphone app to police the thoughts of 1.4 billion citizens. What can be kept secret in a world of networks? Does social media expose the truth or bury it? And what role do ordinary people now play in international conflicts? Delving into the web’s darkest corners, we meet the unexpected warriors of social media, such as the rapper turned jihadist PR czar and the Russian hipsters who wage unceasing infowars against the West. Finally, looking to the crucial years ahead, LikeWar outlines a radical new paradigm for understanding and defending against the unprecedented threats of our networked world.
This fourth comprehensive study of international terrorist attacks covers 2017, during which the Islamic State suffered continued reversals yet retained its status as the most active, well-financed and well-armed terrorist group worldwide. Organized by region and country, the study covers domestic and international incidents around the world, outlining significant trends. The author offers several indicators of what to watch in the coming years. The single-year format allows readers access to the most up-to-date information on terrorism, while geographic focus more easily facilitates regional comparison.