Friday, May 31, 2013

Syria: An Interesting PSYOP Puzzle

As the two year struggle continues in Syria, the stakes appear to be growing. Reports indicate that Russia is or will be supporting President Asad with weapons and the Lebanese based Hezbollah is heavily committed to his support as well. The US and the EU have so far remained on the side lines for the most part, but as we know all too well this can change at any moment.

The Influence War goes on almost below the radar as media, politicians and others try to push their respective agendas. Internet research revealed an article in a publication I’ve never heard of with a very intriguing May 31, 2013 headline: “The BBC Promotes Assad Propaganda in Syria Reports”  (see:
Another article on 20 March  2013 was “Syria ‘chemical’ attack leads to propaganda war” (see:

Thanks to the Internet almost anyone with an Internet connection can be a cyber-journalist. Of course there’s no guarantee that anyone will read what’s out there, but there is a possibility that a person of influence would use your material to support their points much like traveling executives use in-flight magazines as a source of brilliant ideas that they inflict on their staff when they get back to the office.
I have devoted the lion’s share of my posts to offensive influence operations, today I’m offering a change of pace, it is Friday after all. Media or Propaganda Analysis if you prefer is an essential part of what we do, and as intelligence professionals rate their sources, so should we.

In the case of these two articles, I didn’t have a clue as to the nature of “the algemeiner”, so I did a bit of digging and found that it bills itself as “The fastest growing Jewish newspaper in America, the NEW Algemeiner serves as a valiant media voice addressing the most compelling issues of our time, with vision, integrity and moral clarity.” and is based out of a PO Box in my old home town, Brooklyn.

The Gulf Times is based out of PO Box in Doha, Qatar. They describe themselves a group of good citizens who were inspired by patriotism to establish the Gulf Publishing and Printing Company. Who describe themselves this way - “It is fair to say that our Company is a cornerstone of the Qatari information media. Since its inception it has been dedicated to reflecting events at home and abroad. Always, our watchwords have been truth and accuracy”

A couple of key points. First of all, I have no idea if either or both are purely objective given the nature of the two articles I picked out more or less at random. Secondly both of these publications are likely to have their readership who were attracted to them because of their coverage and its appeal. Third, it is likely to be a very difficult task to start a publication – digital or print – from scratch so that we need to understand this new class of publications and determine the best way to work with them or credibly counter them in order to accomplish the mission.

Note: The two cited publications are also the respective photo sources.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

(Unrelated, but you may want to think about this possibly unofficial bit of Israeli PSYOP and the impact it has on the village and also broader public opinion: )