Soft War (4): Psychological Operations and Strategic Deception

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Authors: Mansour Ebrahim Khousafi, Nadali Bai, Morad-Ali Sadouqi

Publisher: Tehran International Studies & Research Institute (TISRI)
Date of Publication: March 2008
ISBN: 978-964-526-079-6
Language: Persian
Pages: 467

“Deceptive operation” which has been used by many countries, especially during the World War I & II as well as the first Persian Gulf War has proven to be a fateful tactic and a watershed in the international relations. Examples of this operation include: the rearming of the German military between 1919 and 1939, deceptive operations carried out by the Allied against Germany in 1947 and final defeat of the country, deceptive operation carried out by Germany when attacking the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, deceptive tactics used by Israel against Egypt and Syria in 1967 and so on. In all those instances, both parties to a conflict have tried to achieve a lot without paying much by misleading the enemies.

Soft War (4) focuses on psychological operations and strategic deception in an effort to introduce its readers, especially state officials, to the most important issues related to psychological operations and strategic deception. It also aims to prevent rival and hostile countries from exploiting weaknesses in the country’s decision-making and policymaking processes as well as security plans. In other words, it seeks to reduce threats to the country resulting from the use of such operations against Iran's national interests. Increasing people and media awareness about psychological operations and deception as well as making analysts and decision-makers familiar with the issue of psychological and deceptive operations are other objectives of the book.

To achieve those objectives, the book has been organized in two parts and sixteen chapters.

The first part entitled, “Psychological Operations” consists of six chapters: an introduction to the concept of psychological operations and psychological war; history and developments in psychological operations and psychological war; types, levels and goals of psychological operations; planning psychological operations; psychological operations and US strategy in media wars; and psychological operations of the United States in Afghanistan. This part of the book discusses such topics as definition, principles and management of psychological operations; definition, types and mechanisms of psychological war; psychological operations during World War II, Cold War period, and post-Cold War period; levels, elements, goals and methods used in psychological operations; processes and challenges in planning psychological operations; US media war in the Balkans; and US psychological operations in Afghanistan.

The second part of the book entitled “Strategic Denial and Deception” comprises ten chapters. Chapters seven to sixteen have been titled: strategic deception; components of strategic denial and deception; history of strategic deception; principles of strategic deception; framework of strategic denial and deception; methods and theories for recognizing deception; the challenge of denial and deception for information; preventing strategic deception; conditions for success and failure of strategic denial and deception in democratic regimes; and conditions for success and failure of strategic denial and deception in totalitarian and transitional regimes.

These chapters discuss the concept of strategic deception and levels of strategic denial and deception; relationship between publicity and deception as well as methods, goals, and conditions for strategic denial and deception; various generations of strategic deception including traditional deception, chain deception, systematic deception and deception in asymmetrical warfare; principles of strategic deception including concentration, strategic integrity, concentrated management, protection of operations, risk and flexibility; definition and agents of strategic denial and deception as well as methods used to reduce relevant threats; preliminary theories of deception and anti-deception including case studies as well as deception and anti-deception in various historical periods and among different cultures; identification of foreign strategic denial and deception operations and assessment of vulnerabilities; common methods to fight back deception; denial and deception from viewpoint of scholars and objective experiences with denial and deception; in addition to deception and its discovery in closed and transitional societies.

Chapters seven, nine, ten and fourteen have been written by Mr. Mansour Ebrahimi Khousafi, a researcher with Tehran International Studies and Research Institute. Other chapters have been taken from the book “Strategic Denial and Deception: The Twenty-First Century Challenge” written by Roy Godson and James J. Wirtz and translated into Persian by Mr. Morad-Ali Sadouqi.

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