Interesting article at SWJ on child soldiers, specifically in a salafi-jihadi context.
In the terrorist mind, a child is not simply an expendable tool of war but a critical asset exerting an impact on the entire spectrum of 4GW networks, whether political, economic, social, or military.Cecilia Polizzi, Fourth Generation Warfare: An Analysis of Child Recruitment and use as a Salafi-Jihadi Doctrine of War
It includes a section that explores children as objects of propaganda:
Fundamental social constructions regarding children relate to attributes of innocence, vulnerability, apprenticeship or socialization. It derives not only the significance of the child within society but also the high-symbolic value of child´s imagery as an element of psychological operations in the form of media intervention.
Children depicted as victims of Western-aided violence:
The theme of childhood innocence – most particularly depictions of children as victims of Western-aided violence – was found the most prominent representation in ISIL´s magazine Dabiq.
Child victimization may lead to criticism of policies:
Hereof, the importance of media in shaping policy is highlighted. Since the media are the ´major primary sources of national political information´ and presented issues, events and topics shown in the media are deemed vital to society and public interest, the portrayal of child victimization may lead to criticism for policies or warfare conduct, whereas actual or perceived, create social fragmentation and undermine social or political consensus.
But it’s not just child-victimization, it’s normalizing the child-soldier:
Dissimilarly from Al-Qaeda, ISIL and ISIL-affiliated groups, shifted in recent years from representations of the child as victim to the one of child soldier. The majority of ISIL media broadcasts feature the participation of children being normalized to violence, witnessing violence, training for violence and perpetrating violence with the next most prominent theme being state-building.
Worth checking out.
Unfortunately, now I feel compelled to do a post that takes a look at “Fourth Generation Warfare.”
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