Jun 26, 2007

Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War Of Images And Ideas

The U.S. government propaganda agency Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) today released a report on the information operations being conducted by the Sunni insurgents in Iraq.

"Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War Of Images And Ideas" (76 page PDF) by RFE/RL regional analysts Daniel Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo.

Key Findings

■ Sunni insurgents in Iraq and their supporters worldwide are exploiting the Internet to pursue a massive and far-reaching media campaign. Insurgent media are forming perceptions of the war in Iraq among the best-educated and most influential segment of the Arab population.

■ The Iraqi insurgent media network is a boon to global jihadist media, which can use materials produced by the insurgency to reinforce their message.

■ Mainstream Arab media amplify the insurgents' efforts, transmitting their message to an audience of millions.

■ The insurgent propaganda network does not have a headquarters, bureaucracy, or brick-and-mortar infrastructure. It is decentralized, fast-moving, and technologically adaptive.

■ The rising tide of Sunni-Shi'ite hate speech in Iraqi insurgent media points to the danger of even greater sectarian bloodshed. A wealth of evidence shows that hate speech paved the way for genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

■ The popularity of online Iraqi Sunni insurgent media reflects a genuine demand for their message in the Arab world. An alternative, no matter how lavishly funded and cleverly produced, will not eliminate this demand.

■ There is little to counter this torrent of daily press releases, weekly and monthly magazines, books, video clips, full-length films, and even television channels.

■ We should not concede the battle without a fight. The insurgent media network has key vulnerabilities that can be targeted. These include:
• A lack of central coordination and a resulting lack of message control.

• A widening rift between homegrown nationalist groups and Al-Qaeda affiliated
global jihadists.

The RFE/RL report is really well done, with lots of unusually detailed information about the various insurgent groups, with screen captures of examples of their PSYOP products.

No comments: