In their just-released special report, "Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty regional analysts Daniel Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo take an in-depth look at the multi-layered media efforts of Sunni insurgents, who are responsible for the majority of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq. Insurgents and their supporters communicate with the world through daily press releases, weekly and monthly magazines, books, video clips, full-length films, countless websites, and even television stations. Mainstream Arab media amplify the insurgent message to a mass audience. The insurgency's media efforts are decentralized, fast-moving, and technologically adaptive, with the overall message emerging from the collective efforts of individuals and small groups, transmitted daily to an audience of millions. Anti-Shi'ite hate speech is an increasingly prominent part of the insurgent message. Kimmage and Ridolfo argue that popularity of online Iraqi Sunni insurgent media reflects a genuine demand for their message in the Arab world. At the same time, the greatest strengths of the insurgency's media strategy -- decentralization and flexibility -- have revealed vulnerabilities that can be exploited by forces interested in a free and democratic Iraq.
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