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Greater public assertiveness driving regional unrest: Author

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LONDON: The public’s increased willingness to express itself “has driven the uprisings of the Arab Spring,” and “is driving the current upheavals in Lebanon and Iraq,” said the author of a new book titled “Information Warriors: The Battle for Hearts and Minds in the Middle East.”

The launch of the book by Vyvyan Kinross, a former adviser to the Abu Dhabi government and to the Palestinian Authority, took place at the Arab-British Centre in London on Thursday, and was organized in association with the Council for Arab-British Understanding.

“The retreat of the West, and the ending of the age of large-scale interventions, are opening up spaces for new regional players, most prominently Russia, Turkey and Iran,” Kinross told Arab News.

His book tackles the information war in the region that has been at play since World War I, and that has been pivotal in shaping events across the Middle East.

The book aims to shed light on the major personalities, intellectual influences, propaganda campaigns, tactics and tools that have characterized this information war over the last century, said Kinross, a former senior advisor at the UN Office for Project Services.

“This more hidden, systematic war has often been passed over at the expense of a focus on the military and economic conflict,” he added.

“But it has used tools and techniques that should be more widely known about and understood if we’re to grasp the complexity with which ideas are packaged and sold in order to shape public opinion,” he said.

“Censorship and closed information cultures have stopped working in the traditional way, and command and control management is no longer as effective,” he added. 

“We’re beginning to hear voices that for too long have been hidden. I believe that the rising force of public opinion is the single greatest irreversible tide in the region’s history.”

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via AN