Understanding master narratives can be the difference between analytic anticipation and unwanted surprise, as well as the difference between communications successes and messaging gaffes. Master narratives are the historically grounded stories that reflect a community’s identity and experiences, or explain its hopes, aspirations, and concerns. These narratives help groups understand who they are and where they come from, and how to make sense of unfolding developments around them. As they do in all countries, effective communicators in Syria invoke master narratives in order to move audiences in a preferred direction. Syrian influencers rely on their native familiarity with these master narratives to use them effectively. This task is considerably more challenging for US communicators and analysts because they must place themselves in the mindset of foreign audiences who believe stories that — from an American vantage point — may appear surprising, conspiratorial, or even outlandish.
U.S. Department of State Humanitarian Information Unit map from July 19, 2012 depicting locations and numbers of internally and externally displaced persons as a result of the current conflict in Syria.
Conflict between government and opposition forces continued during the week, generally following the established pattern of government military attacks and security raids against centers of opposition, on the one hand, and ambushes and bombings by opposition forces on the other. The Syrian conflict also continued to spark clashes in neighboring Lebanon. Further turmoil among the top leadership of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) reflected the opposition’s continued difficulty in unifying ranks. Syria and the United Nations traded accusations on the subject of human-rights violations.
OSC has recently observed two Facebook pages and a popular blog that promote the recently established Syrian jihadist group Al-Nusrah Front and jihadist attacks in Syria. As these pages are the top results for a Google search in Arabic of “Al-Nusrah Front,” they are likely to be visited by Arabic-speaking Internet users interested in the group. Observed activity on these pages suggests expanding interest in Al-Nusrah Front.
A “Sales Playbook” for distributors of Blue Coat equipment includes pricelists and a guide to selling web filtering technology including some of the very same models discovered by Telecomix to be in use by the Syrian government for spying on their population. These models include the SG-400 and SG-810, among others, which have a price range of $3,999 up to $34,999 depending on the specific model.
List of Martyrs/Victims of the Syrian Revolution produced by the Committee of Martyrs of 15 March Revolution.