Dr. Amit Sheniak
The past decade marked a change in the centrality of Cyber-security policy and actions to inter-state and intra-state conflicts, shifting from a technical and intelligence issue to a main national security concern. In the Middle East cyber operations had become part of the strategic competition for political and military dominance and a tool for civil struggle and regime containment, which are specifically true for Israel as one of the leading cyber-defense powers in the world.
Yet it seems, that the study of the motivation for cyber conflict have yet to receive the adequate scholarly attention, especially with regards to the analysis of the processes of legitimization and nationalization of the cyber domain. Although the Middle East and the Israeli case had allegedly proven to be one of the main arenas for the use of cyber-operation to advance strategic security goals, no substantial academic attempts were made to explore the normative dimension for these conflicts and resolutions.
The proposed research will attempt to supply scholars and professional with knowledge and tools that might narrow this void, by employing a discourse analysis methodology of formal documentation, official statements and interviews with decision makers. The research objective will be to evaluate the extent to which during the past few years, Israel and the US, have increasingly sought to establish internal and external legitimacy to assert their control over Cyberspace by employing their security instruments in this realm, by describing the processes and instruments used to employ “soft power” through formal and informal institutions and networks using cognitive, symbolic and cultural dimensions.
The knowledge generated have a potential to advance scholars, leaders and professionals understanding of state’s actions regarding the Internet today, as well as the “Reason d’état” behind Middle Eastern and Israeli cyber security decisions, striving to mark the “possible location” of the region’s “National Cyber Domain”.