Owning ‘the Means of Communication’ in Insurgency


Relevant to the recent discussion here on this site regarding the propaganda of the deed in contemporary insurgency is a post by Brigitte Nacos over at the CTLab site. Nacos, who has written extensively on terrorism and the media, cites the recent engagement in Lebanon to illustrate the value for insurgents today in owning ‘the means of communication’, as well as having a deed-driven message to communicate.

Once upon a time, Karl Marx assigned power to those who own the means of production. Today it’s safe to say that power is in the hands of those who either own the means of communication or otherwise manage to communicate their messages directly to their target publics. Governments and influential interest groups have always understood this, and so have terrorists. This point was once again driven home in the latest clash between the Lebanese government and its backers and Hezbollah, the terrorist organization that has actually grown into a mighty guerilla and de facto ruling force. While Hezbollah’s own al-Manar television and radio networks carried the threats and hard-line rhetoric of Hezbollah’s leader Sheik Nassan Nasrallah, the organization’s fighters silenced the Sunni majority party by taking its television station off the air and setting its newspaper offices on fire.

Read the whole post here.


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One Response to “Owning ‘the Means of Communication’ in Insurgency”

  1. Alexander Olteanu Says:

    What struck me most two years ago, in the middle of the 2006 Israeli Lebanon Campaign, just as I was applying to the online MA – War in the Modern World Program of King’s College, London, was how much this war had become about people: not the members of the Israeli Defence Force or the Hezbollah actually engaged in the conflict, but about the average Lebanese and Israeli citizens, and beyond them the people in the Middle East, Europe, America and the world actively following this conflict.

    Here indeed we were confronted with the paradigmatic asymetric conflict: while the IDF’s strategic goal in this campaign was to neutralize Hezbollah’s ability to mount military operations against Israel from its Southern Lebanon’s base – a classic strategic military objective, the Hezbollah’s strategic aim was to remain standing at the end of the conflict and be seen as having survived the IDF’s overwhelming military force. This, combined with daily images, video and blog reports pouring every day out of Lebanon documenting the civilian casualties, destruction of homes, cites, infrastructure and sheer human toll of this latest Israeli incursion in Lebanon would help the militarily inferior Hezbollah attain its ultimate strategic objective: win the war for the hearts and minds of the Lebanese people and, indeed, of the wider global public.

    To read on, please go to recently set up “Warrant for War – Legitimate Force and the Force of Legitimacy in the Global Arena”, at:


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