The Enemy of My Enemy Is Not My Friend: Arabic Twitter Sentiment toward ISIS and the United States

ISIS flag.


A counter-intuitive finding emerges from an analysis of Arabic Twitter posts from 2014 to 2015: Twitter participants who are negative toward the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) are also more likely to hold negative views of the United States. This surprising correlation is due to the interpretations of two sets of users. One set of users views the United States and ISIS negatively as independent interventionist powers in the region. The other set of users negatively links the United States with ISIS, often asserting a secretive conspiracy between the two. The intense negativity toward the United States in the Middle East seems conducive to views that, in one way or another, cause citizens to link the United States and ISIS in a conspiratorial manner.

International Studies Quarterly 65 (4): 1176–1184
David Romney
David Romney
Assistant Professor

Studying ethnic politics and conspiracy theories in the MENA and SE Asia regions.