Propaganda- The Prevalent Form of Conflict

By Khurshid Ahmed

The most difficult hurdle to surpass the established human mindset is to induce a new social norm, custom, and habit against the existing one. The social construction of human thinking is so well zipped that nothing against predisposition can be induced.

Big Data algorithms might create digital dictatorships in which all power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite.

Twin revolutions in information technology and biotechnology confront us with the biggest challenges our species have ever encountered and these advancement has also brought a new dimension to warfare.

Information warfare is equated and equipped with the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) which attack human perception and creates doubts against its own country and its government

Big Data algorithms might create digital dictatorships in which all power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite.

The future wars between states and between states and non-state actors will be significantly dynamic in nature. The new form of warfare is called ‘Hybrid Warfare’ or 5th Generation’ war.

Information warfare, one of the biggest tool of Hybrid warfare, has been equipped and equated with the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) which attack human perception and creates doubts against its own country and its government. Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria are examples of successful hybrid conflicts.

Hybrid Wars are externally provoked identity conflicts within a target society. Underlying Identity conflicts do exist within every single country in the world.

Every nation is vulnerable to historical, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and geographic differences. These conflicts remain dormant unless exploited by external forces through various methods. Information warfare is the main tool that external actors seek to use for influencing domestic targets. Social media which has no boundaries is used to achieve dominance in the global world due to technological advances.

Pakistani Foreign Minister has pointed out clearly that India has established a special intelligence cell by spending $500 million to sabotage CPEC

India has unleashed all-out hybrid warfare against Pakistan. India is not only promoting terrorism in Pakistan but has opened all fronts including extensive firing on Line of Control to target civilians, Sabotage CPEC, exploit political fault lines, social divides, sectarianism, and promote unrest through fake news.

What Counts in Democracy?
Information warfare, one of the biggest tool of Hybrid warfare, has been equated with the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) which attack human perception and creates doubts against its own country and its government. Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria are examples of successful hybrid conflicts.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a project to connect Kashgar in China with the port city of Gwadar in Pakistan is being viewed crucial by the US and India as a destabilizing factor for the region. All possible efforts are being made by India to destabilize Pakistan through Hybrid means to disrupt, control, or influence CPEC and henceforth indirectly acquire a strategic advantage over China. US has a grand interest in disrupting, controlling, or influencing the Silk Roads and CPEC, because of their geostrategic significance for China in the New Cold War. Pakistani Foreign Minister has pointed out clearly that India has established a special intelligence cell by spending $500 million to sabotage CPEC.

Indian anti-CPEC cell which is funded heavily by the Indian government has created a wide network in Afghanistan, Europe, US, and some middle east countries

Pakistan has presented a dossier to UN having all the proof of Indian involvement in supporting terrorism in Pakistan. A host of Pakistani social media activists sitting in various countries have been helping their Indian collaborators for economic benefits.

Hybrid conflict also characterizes the tarnishing image of personals who are considered important for various important projects.

Their image is tainted through propaganda and fake news. A third country and low profile journalists are picked up for the job.  The recent campaign against Chairman CPEC authority is one such example.

Indian anti-CPEC cell which is funded heavily by the Indian government has created a wide network in Afghanistan, Europe, US, and some middle east countries. They planned and executed a campaign with the help of some Pakistani so-called journalists to defame Chairman CPEC through a fake site. Pakistani dissident journalists have developed nexus with some Indian and middle east officials working in cyber companies to project Indian propaganda lines in trends.

Pre-existing identity conflicts exist in every state but those might not reach to a level where it could bring a political change unless supported from outside. In Hybrid warfare outside forces act to ignite those historical, religious, geographic, ethnic or socio-economic conflicts.

Hybrid Warfare will be a preferred choice of states due to its lethality for the adversary and less risk for own forces yet achieving maximum objectives.

The toolbox of instruments that can be used in hybrid conflict is rapidly increasing such as data mining techniques, cyber programs, social media tools, algorithms, and artificial intelligence. It is presumed that by end of next year the ‘internet of things’ will reportedly connect 30 billion devices. Power will rest with the people who control these devices.

A nation that is unable to respond technologically and in the narrative domain will face turbulence to establish a stable political and social system. Social media proliferation is not less harmful than a pandemic. People tend to believe in juicy and hot stories. Those who have achieved expertise in social media tools are their own masters; they can write, produce fake video, and edit it accordingly. Artificial intelligence will further boost the threat of fake news and propaganda for nation-states. A quick, rapid, and efficient response on social media is need of the time.

 

Disclaimer:

Writer Khurshid Ahmed is a Ph.D. Scholar at Islamabad. The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.