NATO Strategic Comm and Narrative in Afghanistan

by Steven R. Corman I am currently in Izmir, Turkey attending the 5th NATO SHAPE Conference on Strategic Communication.  Narrative has been an important theme at the conference. Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, addressed the topic in his keynote. A panel (on which I presented) was devoted to it as well.  Both dealt with issues of considerable interest, namely how NATO and ISAF would handle strategic communication […] Read more »

Taliban Threatens to End Polio Vaccinations in Pakistan

By Chris Lundry According to a CNN report Monday, the Taliban in Pakistan released a statement threatening to cut off all polio vaccinations for children in the North Waziristan region if the US continues drone strikes there. From the Taliban statement: Almost every resident of North Waziristan has become a mental patient because of the drone strikes, which are worse than polio… On one hand, the U.S. spends millions of dollars to eliminate polio, while […] Read more »

Taliban Casualty Inflation Reaches a New High

By Chris Lundry We in the CSC have documented the predilection for the Taliban to exaggerate the number of casualties it inflicts on the ISAF in Afghanistan (in this blog post, and in Studies in Conflict in Terrorism). The latest Taliban figures for the Islamic month of Jumadil Akhir (April 24 – May 23), however, are astonishing and unbelievable: 888 Crusaders killed; 418 Crusaders wounded; 616 vehicles destroyed; 1720 Afghan puppet soldiers killed; 1042 Afghan […] Read more »

Extremists Rebrand the Conflict in Afghanistan

by Chris Lundry Indonesian extremist site Prisoner of Joy recently posted the announcement by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that operations against the United States and its allies will now be named Al Farooq Operations. From the post: The invaders should be made aware that the names of these operations are not merely accidental rather they have a special meaning and interpretation. This new name, however, may carry broader connotations of conflict within the Muslim […] Read more »

CSC Sponsors Strategic Communication Events at ICA

by Scott W. Ruston The International Communication Association (ICA) holds its annual conference later this week here in Phoenix 24-28 May, and the CSC is sponsoring two events focused on strategic communication.  If you’re interested in strategic communication and in town for ICA, please consider these events. First, the CSC has put together a back-to-back panel series on strategic communication in the public sector.  The first panel addresses theoretical and ethical issues and the second […] Read more »

Wahhabi Perspectives on Pluralism and Gender

The CSC has released a new white paper by Inayah Rohmaniyah and Mark Woodward entitled Wahhabi Perspectives on Pluralism and Gender: A Saudi – Indonesian Contrast.  The paper is available here and the executive summary follows: In public discourse about Islam, “Wahhabi” is usually a synonym for intolerance, misogyny, and extremism.  Though this is sometimes true it is an over-generalization.  In this paper we contrast two very different forms of Wahhabi Islam focusing on education, […] Read more »

Critics Fret About Smith-Mundt Modernization Act

by Steven R. Corman The House of Representatives has been working to amend the laws that govern the dissemination of “propaganda” materials in the U.S.  What seemed like a good idea to me and others–one long overdue–is being spun by some observers as a dark effort by the DoD and State Department who want authorization to brainwash Americans. Last night Buzzfeed posted an article claiming that the changes were being quietly inserted into a defense […] Read more »

Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #61

by Bruce Gregory* ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller, “Arab Youth Survey 2012,” May 2, 2012.  In this fourth annual survey of young Arabs in 12 countries, 82 percent say economic concerns, “fair pay and home ownership,” are their top priority, displacing “living in a democracy” as their greatest concern.  Other findings: optimism about the future and trust in government have increased; lack of democracy and civil unrest are viewed as obstacles to progress; the UAE is seen as […] Read more »

Review: “De-Legitimizing al-Qaeda”

by Jeffry R. Halverson The Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) has released a short monograph, De-Legitimizing al-Qaeda: A Jihad-Realist Approach, by sociologist Paul Kamolnick, a professor at Eastern Tennessee State University. Kamolnick criticizes current US efforts to counter al-Qaeda’s messaging and recruitment strategies as ineffective, and proposes an alternative two-fold solution to marginalize and defeat al-Qaeda. However, Kamolnick’s proposed strategy is problematic for several reasons. In the first component of his proposed strategy, Kamolnick suggests that […] Read more »

Corman speaks at 5th NATO SHAPE Strategic Communication Conference in Izmir, Turkey

CSC Director Steve Corman addressed the 5th NATO SHAPE Strategic Communication conference on June 21st in Izmir, Turhey. The conference gathered over 140 practitioners from NATO member countries.  The conference featured a keynote address by Gen. John Allen, commander of ISAF in Afghanistan. Narrative was a prominent theme at the conference, and Corman was invited to share insights from the CSC’s work on narrative applied both to NATO and extremist groups.  He discussed narrative problems […] Read more »