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ISIS’s New Media Narrative is Oddly Historical: Appropriating the Sykes-Picot Agreement to Claim Legitimacy

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Abstract:

There is wide agreement among diverse public figures – from Glenn Beck to bin Laden to Condoleezza Rice – that contemporary Middle Eastern instability is due to the Arab state system’s descent from the secret Sykes-Picot agreement (1916) between France and the UK. The two WWI Entente powers drew the region’s borders to divvy up the Ottoman Empire. A content analysis of English, Arabic and French news and social media reveals “Sykes-Picot” is used as a “condensation symbol” (Edelman, 1985) for a) the current state system; b) its inherent artificiality as an imposed arrangement; and c) the dangers of foreign intervention (new “Sykes-Picot plans”). ISIS’s strategic narrative is that it’s the native, Islamic remedy to Sykes-Picot’s legacy of artificiality. However, ISIS’s appropriation of this Sykes-Picot narrative to legitimize its violent state formation fails to win Arab public support. Many in the region interpret ISIS, ironically, as analogous to Sykes-Picot: a foreign conspiracy.
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference
URL:
http://www.icahdq.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p981253_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Youmans, William. "ISIS’s New Media Narrative is Oddly Historical: Appropriating the Sykes-Picot Agreement to Claim Legitimacy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico, <Not Available>. 2018-02-13 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p981253_index.html>

APA Citation:

Youmans, W. L. "ISIS’s New Media Narrative is Oddly Historical: Appropriating the Sykes-Picot Agreement to Claim Legitimacy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico <Not Available>. 2018-02-13 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p981253_index.html

Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: There is wide agreement among diverse public figures – from Glenn Beck to bin Laden to Condoleezza Rice – that contemporary Middle Eastern instability is due to the Arab state system’s descent from the secret Sykes-Picot agreement (1916) between France and the UK. The two WWI Entente powers drew the region’s borders to divvy up the Ottoman Empire. A content analysis of English, Arabic and French news and social media reveals “Sykes-Picot” is used as a “condensation symbol” (Edelman, 1985) for a) the current state system; b) its inherent artificiality as an imposed arrangement; and c) the dangers of foreign intervention (new “Sykes-Picot plans”). ISIS’s strategic narrative is that it’s the native, Islamic remedy to Sykes-Picot’s legacy of artificiality. However, ISIS’s appropriation of this Sykes-Picot narrative to legitimize its violent state formation fails to win Arab public support. Many in the region interpret ISIS, ironically, as analogous to Sykes-Picot: a foreign conspiracy.


 
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