Authoritarian media and diversionary threats: lessons from 30 years of Syrian state discourse
Alrababa'h, Ala’ and
Political Science Research and Methods, 2021, vol. 9, issue 4, 693-708
Scholars have long argued that leaders manipulate foreign policy, sometimes even initiating wars in order to enhance their domestic political position. But diversionary wars are relatively rare given the high costs of conflict. In this project, we examine data from major Syrian daily newspapers over a 30-year period (1987–2018) to explore how autocratic regimes use diversionary rhetoric. We find that before the 2011 Arab Uprisings, Syria's state-controlled media concentrated on Israel as a security and political threat. Emphasis on Israel as a diversionary threat decreased during peace negotiations between Syria and Israel, probably in a bid to prepare the Syrian public for normalization of bilateral relations. After 2011, scrutiny of Israel—and other long-standing topics of state discourse—was displaced by discussion of foreign plots and conspiracies against the Syrian state. Our analysis illustrates how authoritarian regimes make use of diversionary strategies as well as how political shocks generate discontinuities in authoritarian rhetoric.
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/ ... type/journal_article link to article abstract page (text/html)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cup:pscirm:v:9:y:2021:i:4:p:693-708_2
Access Statistics for this article
More articles in Political Science Research and Methods from Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Keith Waters ().