Friday, September 28, 2012

“Game Over” Text To Syrian Rebels – What’s the Message Behind The Message?

Imagine my surprise when I picked up local newspaper (the San Jose Mercury News) this morning and see the article “Syrian military's text to rebels: 'Game over'” (See: The same article appeared in a number of other publications such as the Boston Globe (see (which is also the photo source).

The article describes a MISO campaign wherein the Syrian government has texted various rebels. The first reaction is that this is perhaps another one of those campaigns that I call the ‘surrender now and avoid the rush’ campaigns where the goal is to convince the enemy to surrender. The article makes it clear that the predominant feeling is that the campaign is not likely to influence any of the rebels to surrender or even diminish their activities. In fact the spike in rebel activity is partially attributed to the provocation of the text messages (see photo).

We can see that today’s battlefield is truly a 5 dimensional one (air, land, sea, space & cyber) as clearly expressed by the Economist (see Just as the domains of war have blurred, it is important to remember that other aspects of the battlefield have evolved as well.

For example, the fact that the texts were delivered could also mean:  “we know who you are, we know where you are and because we control all communications, we are listening to every word you have to say.” It’s implied that SIGINT can be used to find the enemy and that the Syrian government can effectively deny the rebels their mobile phone communications.

While no one disputes the notion that the best defense is a good offense, it would be prudent for influence and kinetic warriors to consider the multi-level effects found on the 5th dimensional battlefield.

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