The Information Confrontation with Radical Islam

Abstract

Information has emerged as a critical—potentially the decisive—front in both the global war with violent radical Islam and the overlapping but so far largely unadmitted Cold War with nonviolent radical Islam. In fact, the information front is undoubtedly the closest thing that al Qaeda has to a strategic center of gravity. Unfortunately, America faces an extremely hostile information environment in the Middle East and al Qaeda has proven far more effective at getting its message across than has the United States. A more effective U.S. information strategy would be one that stresses three themes: a democratic critique of radical Islam; an Islamic critique of radical Islam; and a critique of the crisis in Middle Eastern civilization. While these will not necessarily make the U.S. or its policies more popular, they may drive a wedge between radical Islam and potential supporters.

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