Information Operations in Iraq: The Mufsiddoon Versus the U.S. and Coalition Forces   [open pdf - 1MB]

"The terrorists in Iraq have outperformed the United States and Coalition Forces in Information Operations (IO) throughout most of the Iraqi War. They have made great use of the media in projecting their messages. Of particular note is the degree to which they have used the internet to spread their propaganda. Currently there are thousands of web sites affiliated with or connected to the terrorists' major web sites. These web sites have helped to generate international media coverage promote the terrorists' cause. The terrorists also have taken advantage of the United States' IO blunders with the media. The United States has inadvertently helped the terrorists' efforts to legitimize themselves by using words such as mujahedeen, jihad, and jihadist to describe them. Other U.S. IO blunders include misunderstanding the Iraqi culture and poor use of public affairs. Despite the many difficulties the United States has experienced in its IO efforts, there have been successes, particularly in the use of ridicule to counter the propaganda of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The author sets forth several potential IO strategies that might help the United States in this war: (1) using the enemy's language (Arabic) against him; (2) branding the enemy as mufsidoon committing hirabah; (3) making better use of the media, particularly the local Iraqi media; (4) training U.S. and Iraqi forces on how to interact with the media; and (5) continuing to make the enemy an object of derision. Despite their initial blunders, the United States and Coalition forces can still wage a successful IO campaign in Iraq if proper training in IO is provided to all U.S. and Coalition forces and the power of words is better utilized in the media."

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