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Information war in Syria. May 2013.
Material posted: Publication date: 08-06-2013

Media as an important element of the information space, have an impact on the political system of modern society, become especially important during the war. Carried out in this review a comparative analysis of information materials in Arabic and the Arabic-speaking media during the period from 18 April to 31 may, devoted to the Syrian crisis, demonstrate this fact.

The review included the materials of electronic publications "Orient news"[1], "Zaman-Alasl"[2], "Arabi-Press"[3], "al-Manar"[4]. The first two online publications are a mouthpiece of the "Syrian opposition", the last two editions, respectively, Express the official position.

The analysis revealed a recurring theme of sustainable and outline the motivational patterns of the Syrian state, trying to form in the information space of the Syrian government, and States and regional powers involved in the Syrian crisis.

Content analysis of publications highlights two opposing models of the Syrian state, proposed by the Syrian government and the opposition, which can be called "pyramid" and "funnel" or inverted pyramid. The first metaphor States used and maintained by Syrian media, the second reflects the position of the anti-Syrian press. In both models, each party forms its images of the external and internal enemies, other elements of information warfare. Anti-Syrian press is widely used substitution, distortion, and fragmentation of traditional concepts and images. Widely used black PR, methods of intimidation, when reported sentenced to death by Syrian officials, the massacre of Baathists from the "Shariah committees", murdered women and children[5]. The information is designed to evoke feelings of hatred and hopelessness. Popular political cartoons (wrapped in a shroud dead Syrians built in a row in one another, below an inscription in English: "Syria from Russia with great love"[6]). It is possible to note one more peculiarity of the anti-Syrian media – there is almost no coverage of international political events and initiatives on the Syrian issue, except those on which the opposition is involved. The main topic is the settlement of the Syrian crisis, and the unification of the "opposition forces" or a new President is elected to the SNC.

Syrian press uses as alternative to the national idea, upon which is formed the response to external and internal threats.

In the model of "the pyramid" at the top is the state. In Syrian state media portrayed the role of acting within international law subjects foreign and domestic policy, which is ready to dialogue with the opposition [7]. Very revealing response-Syrian and anti-Syrian press at the Russian-American initiative to convene an international conference and the statements of UN envoy in Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. In the Syrian press in the article entitled "Lakhdar Brahimi welcomed the initiative of Russia and U.S. to convene a conference to resolve the Syrian issue", under the header photos Brahimi[8]. In antiirish the press in the article titled "Brahimi: the Geneva 2 conference is a great chance, but..." printed a caricature of Brahimi, with taped mouths and the UN badge on his jacket and pointing down with his thumbs of both hands[9] .

In the model of "funnel" the state is at the bottom and subjected to powerful pressure, in order to suppress and distort traditional images and concepts. This intensive use of external actors and power centers, attracting to the problem of global mass media. Here, the state and the people are only as objects of foreign policy and "Assad regime", i.e. does not play any role in the future or the present.

The model "funnel" for its formation and consolidation seeks to displace and shatter the traditional images and concepts. The term "Syrian" is replaced by the concepts of "alvit", "Kurd", "Sunni", "Shia" etc., the concept of "Syrian Arab army" is transformed into "free Syrian army" "Syrian government" - in the "Assad regime". The concept of "Arab" persistently displaced and deformed. The "enemy" that has previously been associated with Israel expanded and spread to Iran, Russia and China (until China figures in the cartoons and the readers ' comments). Moreover, Israel is seen as an acceptable refuge for Syrian refugees[10].

Attempting to tie the term "Holocaust" to the person and work of Asad, which should deprive him of the world community[11]. In the article entitled "Holocaust-Assad against Syrians," President al-Assad and "shabiha" are charged with burning the corpses of dead Sunnis and even children. Are the words of a Sunni Sheikh in the Sunni veneration of the dead is expressed in the burial of their corpses, as for the alawites, "I don't know whether there is in this community laws, justifying the burning of the bodies of the Sunnis, because it has no sacred Scriptures or religious authorities who would be able to explain it...". The theme developing in the comments to the article, where anonymous "Syrians" continue to Express doubts about the "beliefs of the alawites", calling them "weird", "disgusting", "trashy". Simultaneously published an article about 41.000 alawites killed as the victims of the civil war[12].

The attack on the Syrian identity is manifested in a rather aggressive way. On the website "Zaman-Alasl" placed the icon-sponsored by the Qatari government site of the Syrian opposition of culture "Rodina opens for freedom"[13], which describes what is happening and planned cultural events in Qatar and other countries with the participation of art workers of Syrian descent. It is important to indicate that all figures have emigrated to European and Arab countries long before the Syrian war. In addition, in "liberated" from Assad's troops territories, began broadcasting and publishing new media to "erase forever from the memory of the Syrians, "national" press in" and to fill the vacuum after the fall of the Syrian official publications"[14]

Thus, around the notion of "state" each party involved in an information struggle that builds the group's strategic and cognitive elements, around which are drawn the other elements of the information war. The strategic group includes the issues of foreign and domestic policy, military and socio-economic processes. Second, the images and concepts of the national idea, traditional values, culture, and methods of emotional pressure.

 

The full text of the analytical monitoring of regional media available here: http://csef.ru/files/csef/monitorings/1593/1593.pdf

 

Armine Hakobyan

An expert on the Middle East, orientalist-Arabist


[1] "Orient news" is positioned as an independent electronic newspaper, opinion and policy which do not always coincide with the opinion of authors of articles published on the site. Place and date of the founding of the edition are not specified. 04.06.2013, <http://www.orient-news.net/?page=news&id=9>

[2] "Zaman-Aluk" is positioned as an independent Syrian electronic edition. Based in the city of HOMS in 2005, 04.06.2013, <http://www.zamanalwsl.net>

[3] "Arabi-press" is positioned as led by Arab journalists of the media network with offices in various capitals of the world. The Arab world and especially the Palestinian issue named the Central themes of the publication. The publication of "Arabi-press" based in Paris. 04.06.2013, <http://www.arabi-press.com>

[4] "al-Manar", the head office is based in 1991 the newspaper is located in the city of Jerusalem. 4.06.2013, <http://www.manar.com>

[5] "Orient news", 04.06.2013, 14.05.2013, http://www.orient-news.net/?page=news_show&id=3434

[6] "Orient news", 04.06.2013, 18.05.2013, http://www.orient-news.net/?page=news_show&id=3496

[7] "Arabi-press", 04.06.2013, 21.05.2013, http://www.arabi-press.com/?page=article&id=73112

[8]"Arabi-press", 04.06.2013, 21.05.2013, http://www.arabi-press.com/?page=article&id=73094

[9]"Zaman-Alasl", 04.06.2013, 21.05.2013, http://www.zamanalwsl.net/readNews.php?id=38514

[10] "Orient news", 04.06.2013, 21.05.2013, http://www.orient-news.net/?page=news_show&id=3546

[11]"Orient news", 04.06.2013, 07.05.2013, http://www.orient-news.net/?page=news_show&id=3326

[12] "Orient news", 04.06.2013, 15.05.2013, http://www.orient-news.net/?page=news_show&id=3455

[13] "Syria", 04.06.2013, http://syria2012.net/video.php


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