Last week, Maryam al-Mansouri became - at least temporarily - the face of the international coalition that is bombing sections of the Middle East in accordance with Barack Obama’s alliterative pledge to “degrade and… destroy” the Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS or ISIL.
The 35-year-old native of Abu Dhabi and the first female pilot in the United Arab Emirates air force, Mansouri was reported to have led F-16 airstrikes against IS targets in Syria.
Following this revelation, social media entered into a fit of ecstasy; the Associated Press noted “many users taking delight in the rebuke [Mansouri’s leading role] implied toward the militants’ ultraconservative ideology.”
On 24 September, Oula Abdulhamid, a research assistant at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), tweeted: “Take that #ISIS!” The attendant image was a meme featuring the text: “Hey ISIS. You were bombed by a woman. Have a nice day.”