Iran's Aggressive Information Campaign

(Now-Lebanon) Tony Badran - The Islamic Republic of Iran is managing an aggressive information campaign capitalizing on President Obama's war against the Islamic State. Take, for instance, the photo shoots Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani has been doing in Iraq. There's Soleimani the General visiting his men on the front, with fighters from the Shiite militias he runs. Soleimani's photo shoots were designed to make clear that not only were the Iranians and the Americans in alignment, but also that the Iranians were the real force on the ground. Hence, U.S. air power serves only to shore up the Iranian order. Earlier this month, the Iranians set in motion a play centered around support for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in its role against Sunni armed groups. At the end of September, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, arrived in Beirut where he met Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam as well as Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. Following his talks, Shamkhani declared that Iran was ready to offer military aid to the LAF. The Saudis have already pledged $3 billion to Lebanon. The Iranians deliberately specified what types of weapons they were ready to provide, free of charge, as soon as the Lebanese government consented. They also offered to provide training. The objective was to contrast the Iranians' concrete offer with the yet unfulfilled Saudi promise. The whole Iranian campaign, as retired Israeli Brigadier General and Hizbullah scholar Shimon Shapira put it to me, was "a wily trick." They orchestrated the whole affair, framed it, and controlled the flow of information about it. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2014-10-17 00:00:00

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