Losing Arab Hearts and Minds

The Coalition, Al Jazeera and Muslim Public Opinion

Steve Tatham



‘Brilliant … that officers like Tatham have published such books speaks volumes about the British armed forces who will have lost less of their honour in Iraq than members of the Labour and Conservative parties who voted for Blair’s disastrous policy.’ — Francis Ghilles, L’Economiste 

Bibliographic Details
Losing Arab Hearts and Minds Hardback
March 2006£20.00
9781850658115256pp
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Description

From November 2002 to May 2003, Steve Tatham worked alongside American military planners in the Gulf, coordinating the huge media campaign that foreshadowed and accompanied the eventual invasion of Iraq. From first hand experience he witnessed how, in advance of the outbreak of hostilities, the US planned to win over sceptical Arab hearts and minds. Yet as the campaign unfolded, Tatham, the Royal Navy’s public spokesman in Iraq, saw how differently the British and Americans regarded the media and how badly journalists from the Arab world, in particular from Al-Jazeera satellite television, were treated in comparison to those from coalition nations. His book is highly critical of how the United States handled its information war. Notwithstanding the best efforts of well meaning senior US officials, the mounting death toll, both military and civilian, saw the Americans all but ignore the Arab media , focusing instead on a largely acquiescent domestic press, one still obsessed with Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the homeland and only too happy to fly the Stars and Stripes. Images of dead and captured coalition servicemen led to Arab channels being accused of bias against Western forces, and such was the demonisation of some channels that many observers began to wonder if President Bush’s declaration that ‘you are either with us or against us’ applied not just to nation states but also to the world’s media.

Author

Steve Tatham is a serving officer in the Royal Navy. He has participated in military operations in Sierra Leone, the Northern Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq—the latter as the Royal Navy’s public spokesman.

Reviews

Losing Arab Hearts and Minds is a riveting insider’s account of how the war behind the war for Iraq was waged. A combination of personal military experience and a comprehensive understanding of the modern media come together to shed new light on this most divisive of wars. It is fascinating to look again at what the press told you at the time—from the other side of the military curtain. Tatham has written a gripping first hand account of how the coalition planned, conducted and subsequently managed to lose the media war.’ — Hugh Miles, author of Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenged the World

‘A timely, insider’s account of how the military can lose the war of words.’ — Martin Bell, former war correspondent and independent MP

‘This is a rich and insightful book.’ — Professor Fred Halliday, LSE

‘Brilliant … that officers like Tatham have published such books speaks volumes about the British armed forces who will have lost less of their honour in Iraq than members of the Labour and Conservative parties who voted for Blair’s disastrous policy.’ — Francis Ghilles, L’Economiste 

‘On a recent visit to NATO’s HQ in Kabul, I was greatly heartened to see Losing Arab Hearts and Minds standing in a row of books belonging to the ISAF Public Information Staff in their busy office. Hopefully it is well thumbed and its lessons energetically put into practice.’ — John Mackinlay, RUSI Journal 

‘The issues Tatham raises need to be heeded by soldiers and politicians alike.’ — Colonel Tim Collins