#learn power wednesdays: Information warfare – How to fight Djihadist groups

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The Ecole de Guerre Economique in Paris has just published a report (in French) titled Can France beat Daech in informational warfare?

This timely report is both encouraging – The so-called Islamic state terrorist group can indeed be beaten on a key battle ground, the terrain of information warfare, and the report gives solid pointers how to do just this. But it is also discouraging – because government and the media, albeit for different reasons, have not adequately responded to the challenge posed by djihadist groups in the information realm. 

Information warfare can be defined both
by the technological means employed – pirating of sites, the use of
viruses, paralysis or construction of communications, as well as by
the content diffused – propaganda and counter-propaganda,
techniques of psychological pressure or manipulation, with the help
of material produced by government institutions, research bodies, media, as well
as NGOs.

In contrast to traditional war,
information war is characterised by the absence of a declaration of
war, by an attacker who cannot be identified with certitude, and by
having no end point, nor peace treaty. In information war, strategic advantage goes to the attacker. 

Western governments fail to grasp the urgent need to engage the enemy on this
battlefield, and to counter arguments of the attacker as quickly as
possible. According to the authors, governments are hampered in their response by the post-1945 norm of non-aggression. 

Media shy away from critically analysing their role in information warfare, often serving as vectors of the message of the aggressor.

When it comes to countering Daesh, numerous incongruities and contradictions exist in the group’s message waiting to be exploited.

Johanna M

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