Cyberwars in the Middle East (War Culture) (Hardcover)

Cyberwars in the Middle East (War Culture) Cover Image


Cyberwars in the Middle East argues that hacking is a form of online political disruption whose influence flows vertically in two directions (top-bottom or bottom-up) or horizontally. These hacking activities are performed along three political dimensions: international, regional, and local. Author Ahmed Al-Rawi argues that political hacking is an aggressive and militant form of public communication employed by tech-savvy individuals, regardless of their affiliations, in order to influence politics and policies. Kenneth Waltz’s structural realism theory is linked to this argument as it provides a relevant framework to explain why nation-states employ cyber tools against each other.

On the one hand, nation-states as well as their affiliated hacking groups like cyber warriors employ hacking as offensive and defensive tools in connection to the cyber activity or inactivity of other nation-states, such as the role of Russian Trolls disseminating disinformation on social media during the US 2016 presidential election. This is regarded as a horizontal flow of political disruption. Sometimes, nation-states, like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, use hacking and surveillance tactics as a vertical flow (top-bottom) form of online political disruption by targeting their own citizens due to their oppositional or activists’ political views. On the other hand, regular hackers who are often politically independent practice a form of bottom-top political disruption to address issues related to the internal politics of their respective nation-states such as the case of a number of Iraqi, Saudi, and Algerian hackers. In some cases, other hackers target ordinary citizens to express opposition to their political or ideological views which is regarded as a horizontal form of online political disruption. This book is the first of its kind to shine a light on many ways that governments and hackers are perpetrating cyber attacks in the Middle East and beyond, and to show the ripple effect of these attacks.

About the Author

AHMED AL-RAWI is an assistant professor of news, social media, and public communication at the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. He is the director of the Disinformation Project that empirically examines fake news discourses in Canada on social media and news media. Al-Rawi previously worked as a communication officer for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Iraq. He is the author of several books including News 2.0: Journalists, Audiences and News on Social Media

Praise For…

"Cyberwars in the Middle East offers a much-needed and astute take on the increasingly crucial role hacking and cyberoperations are playing across the Middle East. With empirical breadth and assiduous attention to detail Al-Rawi documents the multiple forms of ‘online political disruption’ that have become an inextricable part of the new digital authoritarianism that has arisen in the post-Arab Uprising milieu. A hugely important read."
— Marc O. Jones

Product Details
ISBN: 9781978810112
ISBN-10: 1978810113
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: July 16th, 2021
Pages: 192
Language: English
Series: War Culture