Sun, 28 Nov 2021

Tel Aviv [Israel], November 17 (ANI): A disinformation campaign was launched against India, targeting its economic interests, using the violence during an anti-encroachment drive in Assam as bait to trigger the campaign, according to a new report.

Although the target appears to be India the actual targets of the campaign were Saudi Arabia and the UAE, particularly crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia for supporting India, writes Italian political advisor, and geopolitical expert Sergio Restelli in an opinion piece for the Times of Israel.

Last month, a Twitter trend was observed calling for a boycott of Indian products. The trend was mostly in Arabic, except for a few handles which used English to tweet. According to Restelli, this was reminiscent of a similar campaign launched from the Arab World trending IslamophobiaInIndia in 2019, in the aftermath of the Tablighi Jamaat incident.

The writer said this campaign comes at a time when a major tectonic shift is taking place in the Islamic world. A nexus of Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan, dominated by Muslim Brotherhood, a radical political-religious organisation based in Qatar, is becoming the new hub for radical Islamists.

He also explained why the Taliban invited Qatar, Turkey and Pakistan as three of the six countries for the inauguration ceremony of its interim government and left out its previous friends and supporters Saudi Arabia and UAE, who supported them in their first rule in the 1990s.

Stating that the India relations angle is just a ploy, Restelli added the actual target of the information war are Saudi Arabia and the UAE. "This campaign is not a single isolated one, the Qatar-Turkey-Pakistan alliance has been targeting Saudi Arabia and UAE for quite some time now, questioning their 'right' to be the leaders of the Islamic world," the writer said citing a report by the Dis Info Lab.

According to the writer, the main aim is to discredit the Crown Prince in order to pave the way for Erdogan, the leader of Turkey as the rightful leader of the Umma.

Furthermore, the Dis Info report suggests that India alone was not targeted for this economic boycott. "The campaign also targeted France, with a call to boycott French goods. This social media trend was not only in a virtual realm."The report further claimed this was not the first time that this was attempted. "It was started in 2018, and since then it had been an annual event for the Muslim Brotherhood to launch such disinformation campaigns with the objective of giving it gradual momentum," said Restelli and added that a number of these handles are run from Pakistan and Turkey, by Muslim Brotherhood influencers.

According to the geopolitical expert, Pakistan has now moved its strategy of using terrorism as a tool for foreign policy to the cyber world. "Moving from proxy wars to Information warfare seems to be its current strategy of statecraft. Although the players remain the same, terrorists and radical Islamists, the theatre of war is now undergoing a radical addition of cyber," he said.

He further argued that countries like India, Israel, UAE and Saudi Arabia now need to now develop capacities to counter disinformation and protect their economies. (ANI)

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