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“In the Words of the Enemy”: the Islamic State’s reflexive projection of statehood

Critical Studies on TerrorismJournal abstract

In this article, we examine how the Islamic State utilises direct quotations from prominent politicians, State leaders, authors and terrorism experts to position itself as a competitive entity that threatens the existence, borders and security of established States. Analysing a column in Dabiq entitled “In the Words of the Enemy” (published from July 2014 to August 2016), we establish that the Islamic State conscripts “enemy” utterances to progressively project its own identifications of statehood, positioning itself as a viable alternative to existing nation states. Overall, this analysis enriches current research on the Islamic State and offers contributions towards both counterterrorism efforts and an understanding of non-state actors operating in an era of intense mediatisation.