Perception Challenges Faced by Al-Qaeda on the Battlefield of Influence Warfare

James J.F. Forest


Many kinds of entities—including terrorists and insurgents—seek to influence perceptions and behavior among various target audiences, and have become increasingly reliant on the Internet in their efforts, incorporating social media, blogging, public video sharing and other online tools. This article is focused on the ideological messages that terrorist groups use to convey with these tools. Drawing from a study of Al-Qaeda, this discussion illustrates how ideologies of violence have certain vulnerabilities that can be exploited in order to degrade a terrorist group’s ability to achieve its objectives. While crafting and disseminating counter-narratives can be a critical part of a counterterrorism strategy, it is also important to identify ways in which terrorists undermine their own central narratives and exacerbate pre-existing “influence warfare” challenges

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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