Narrative Landmines in Syria

by Steven R. Corman

syriaOn Thursday, March 20, Small Wars Journal published Narrative Landmines: The Explosive Effects of Rumors in Syria and Around the World by Scott W. Ruston, Chris Lundry, Pauline Hope Cheong and Daniel Bernardi.  Ruston and Lundry are Assistant Research Professors at the CSC, and Cheong and Bernardi are former CSC affiliates.

The essay addresses rumors in Syria, based on the narrative approach to rumors that the authors present in their book Narrative Landmines: Rumors, Islamist Extremism and the Struggle for Strategic Influence. Building from the book, this article explores how rumors fit into and extend narrative systems and ideologies, particularly in the context of insurgency, civil unrest and terrorism/counter-terrorism; and the article provides four basic rules to help strategic communicators, diplomats, planners and development personnel deal with the dangerous effects of rumors.