Realism and the Media in the age of Modern Terrorism

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Sascha Arai
The 9/11 attacks illustrated a cornerstone in the tradition of terrorism. Never had a terrorist attack accounted for so many lost lives or the utility of such unconventional weaponry. Al Qaeda’s aim to establish a caliphate by waging a holy war against the US and its allies, has threatened the sovereign state, but to what extent? The US responded by launching military action against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda network in Afghanistan. They were fairly successful in doing so; however there were still integral sources that needed to be destabilized in order to prevent other terrorist attacks by Al Qaeda. Their decision to go to war in Iraq has converged with their primary focus in the war on terrorism. By shifting their focus to Iraq, the US miscalculated their position with Al Qaeda and provided them with an opportunity to remobilize. Although, the US lacked the UN Security Council’s approval, they went ahead with the war in Iraq. This paper aims to investigate to what extent; Al Qaeda (non-state actor) has been able to jeopardize the power of a sovereign state. Furthermore, what this means for the realist paradigm. In addition, the media, in form of televised news and the internet, have become a vital tool for both terrorist and counter terrorist. Through the media, the US and Al Qaeda have attempted to influence their target audience. Al Qaeda has used the media to justify their actions, and to portray themselves as freedom fighters for the Muslim people. On the other hand, the US has used the media to elicit consent for the invasion of Iraq. In both instances, the media is being misused to manipulate their target audience into supporting their campaigns. This paper examines the way in which Al Qaeda has utilized their exposure on Al Jazeera to heighten their momentum. In addition, how the US, with the help of CNN, has been able to gain public support for the war in Iraq.
Publication date2008
Number of pages72
Publishing institutionAalborg University
ID: 14572099