IRAQ'S

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE CAMPAIGN

Saddam Hussein has an excellent environment to nurture a defensive psychological warfare campaign against his country's own population. His propaganda machine has the distinct advantage of total control of informational assets and sources within the country. With this advantage, Saddam Hussein is in a position to appeal to his target audience by making sure that what they see, hear, and/or read is exactly what he wants them to know and/or believe.

In addition to using propaganda to control and motivate the citizens of Iraq. Saddam has found willing listeners among other Arab nations. Using the themes of Arab nationalism, religion and morality he continues to work at gathering support while at the same time urging his listeners to disrupt and destroy the support that other Arab countries are giving to U.S. Actions.

PROPAGANDA CONTROL

Saddam Hussein delegated propaganda responsibilities to several government offices and to the Baath Party thus ensuring that no one office could accumulate too much power. While most of these offices reported to the Ministry of Culture and Information (MCI), they were actually being controlled through informal channels of the Baath party, the Revolutionary Command Council and Saddam Hussein

Within Iraq all broadcast facilities, television and radio, are owned and operated by the Broadcasting and Television Organization of the MCI. The print media within Iraq is also largely owned and operated by government. Al-Thawrah, the largest daily newspaper is published by the Baath Party. Al-Jumhuriyah, another popular daily newspaper which is printed in Arabic, and the Baghdad Observer, a daily newspaper which is printed in English, are both published by the MCI controlled Al-Jahameer Press House. Not to be outdone by the Ministry of Culture and Information, the Ministry of Defense publishes their own Arabic daily newspaper called Al-Oadisiyah while other ministries and agencies of the government sponsor some twelve weekly newspapers and magazines published in Iraq.

Now imagine, if you can, that all information is controlled. Censorship is so tight that controls require that even typewriters have to be registered with the government. The government controls everything you read in newspapers and magazines, see on television, or hear on the radio with little or no exposure to outside informational sources. Now couple this scenario with travel restrictions that limit the chance of you traveling outside the country without close scrutiny and you can begin to see why the people of Iraq are so quick to believe Saddam Hussein and so quick to dismiss the "lies" of the foreign infidels.

THE APPEAL

Iraqi propaganda appeals to the basic elements that are common throughout Iraq and other Arab countries - nationalism, religion, and morality. Utilizing those elements as a base, the Iraqi propaganda machine makes every effort to depict the United States as an enemy that is opposed to all that is good and sacred. The resulting portrait of America is not a pretty picture to Arab eyes.

GULF WAR
IRAQI PROPAGANDA THEMES

The PSYOP themes used by Iraq to bolster their own forces during the Gulf War and also gain the support of other Arab countries included:

American soldiers behave wildly, defiling the holy places of Islam, and clashing with Saudi Civilians.

America created Operation DESERT SHIELD and Operation DESERT STORM as an excuse to come to the Arab region to prop up corrupt Arab rulers.

America wanted war as an excuse to steal Arab oil.

American soldiers were all addicted to wine, women and song and openly violate Arab morals.

The morale of American soldiers was very low and they would not be able to stand the rigors of the desert.

American soldiers are afraid of the well trained Iraqi Army who is well trained thanks to their 10 year war with Iran.

American soldiers will break and run once they face the might of the Iraqi Army.

BAGHDAD BETTY & IRAQI JACK

Iraq began offensive PSYOP program developing leaflets and a radio program which started broadcasting thru it's National Radio and other relays in early August 1990 shortly after the arrival of the 82nd Airborne Division. The broadcast schedules were fairly consistent starting daily between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM and continuing to as late as 3:00 AM or 5:00 AM. The radio shows were taped and about two hours in length. The shows were replayed multiple times during the day in the hopes of getting their message to the largest possible target audience. Before each show signed off the announcer would inform the listeners specifically what time the next broadcast would be aired. This notification became more important with the initiation of the air campaign as transmissions became more irregular.

The radio personalities were a youthful sounding woman dubbed "Baghdad Betty" and a male voice which was quickly nicknamed "Iraqi Jack". In keeping with the historic traditions of "Tokyo Rose", "Axis Sally", and "Hanoi Hanna", "Baghdad Betty's" broadcasts were more frequent than those by "Iraqi Jack".

The shows were reported to have been broadcasted from downtown Baghdad (which is most likely how the origin of the nickname "Baghdad Betty" came about) which was about 500 miles from their target audience. Baghdad Betty began broadcasting in English to allied troops in Saudi Arabia in early September 1990.

The format for the broadcasts typically included a mix of popular top 40 hits, Oldies and some Blues music by contemporary artists. The choice of music was excellent and was better than what was locally available initially for Coalition forces encamped along points both west and south of Kuwait.

Unfortunately for Iraq, although the music selections attracted the target audience to listen, the broadcasts content was not only considered humorous but absurd. The Iraqi propaganda machine forgot the number one lesson in preparing a PSYOP campaign, "Know and understand your target audience thoroughly". Iraq's propaganda developers had a jaundice opinion of life in the United States and it clearly came across in their perception of American culture. Their unbelievable misguided presentations clearly destroyed any credibility that they could have hoped for. Her efforts to broadcast morale-busting messages to troops in the Gulf were, like most of Iraq’s military efforts, a failure.

The few American troops who heard her broadcasts say she was no Hanoi Hannah. Col. Jeff Jones, commanding officer of the Army’s 8th Psychological Task Force at Fort Bragg, NC., who directed U.S. Psy-Ops in the Gulf, says Betty’s broadcasts were laughable.

Her broadcasts proved the Iraqis didn’t understand us at all," Jones said. "Her ignorance was pervasive. She was never sure of her sources, and broadcast old information based on dated news.

Saddam Hussein also wasn’t impressed with Betty’s efforts. In mid-December 1990 she was sacked after only three months of broadcasting, and replaced by a collection of announcers who called themselves "Mother of Battles Radio" on the same frequency that Betty had used.

Mother of Battles Radio was near the top of the Allied target list and was bombed off the air in mid-January, when the mother of air wars began. The 4th Psychological Operations Group the used the same frequency, and in partnership with Saudi, Kuwait and Egyptian forces, made their own broadcasts in Arabic 18 hours per day for 40 days. They transmitted from two ground stations in Saudi Arabia, a platform in Gulf waters and a transmitter in Turkey.

NOTE: The cartoons and the linked leaflets that accompany this page are examples of some of Saddam's propaganda efforts during Operation DESERT SHIELD.

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