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SEMINAR: The effect of drone strikes in Pakistan on terrorism and anti-US sentiment

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Today's date is Saturday, August 15, 2020
The effect of drone strikes in Pakistan on terrorism and anti-US sentiment Other events...
This paper analyzes the consequences of the 425 drone strikes the US has conducted in Pakistan from 2006 – 2016. The existing literature provides arguments both in favor of and against the use of drones in combatting terrorism: On the one hand, drones are lauded for being a low-risk, affordable option that has killed key terrorist leaders and destroyed their communication channels. On the other hand, the civilian casualties termed as collateral damage are suggested to increase trauma in the civilian population, thereby facilitating the recruitment of prospective terrorists and inciting further terrorist attacks. We aim to isolate the causal effect of drone strikes on subsequent terrorism and anti-US sentiment. To do so, we employ an instrumental variable strategy using wind gust as an instrument which substantially affects the employability and effectiveness of drones, but is otherwise orthogonal to the terrorists’ actions. Data on drone strikes and terrorism are obtained from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), while data from Google trends and a leading Pakistani newspaper, The News, are used to capture radicalization and attitudes of Pakistanis toward the US. Our results suggest that maximum wind gust provides a powerful instrument in the first stage, predicting the day-to-day use of drone strikes by the US. Second-stage results produce a positive and statistically significant coefficient in predicting terror attacks in the upcoming weeks, suggesting that drone strikes encourage terrorism. The corresponding magnitudes are sizeable. Finally, data from Google trends and The News suggest that US drone strikes are increasing radicalization and anti-US sentiment in Pakistan.

Keywords: drone strikes; terrorism; anti-US sentiment
Speaker(s) Rafat Mahmood & Michael Jetter
Location UWA Social Sciences building, room 2.63
Contact Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Start Tue, 05 Mar 2019 13:00
End Tue, 05 Mar 2019 14:00
Submitted by Karen Eichorn <[email protected]>
Last Updated Tue, 05 Mar 2019 12:12
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