July 17, 2008

Iran - Information Operation?

Over the past few years, Iran has repeatedly demonstrated its improving military capabilities in a series of tests and exercises. Most of these receive prominent coverage in the Iranian media. Some of the most extensive coverage is provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Arabic-language network.

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This is a screen shot of MSNBC's coverage of the event - it is a feed from IRIB's Arabic-language channel. The logo in the upper right is that of al-‘Alam (The World). The white lettering on red banner reads in Arabic “pictures of the launch…” The grey box to the right is cut off, but it appears to be the top portion of the Arabic word for “Urgent” (like Breaking News).

Given the intense coverage of the Iranian nuclear research and development program as well as all of Iran's military exercises and tests, one must assume that the intended audience is the other side of the Persian Gulf - the Arab states that are very concerned about the ascendancy of Iranian power and influence in the region.

It would appear that the coming issue in the region is not about Sunni versus Shi'a, it is about Arabs versus Persians.