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CULTURE Arab and Middle East


Title: IF YOU LEARN NOTHING ELSE ABOUT ARAB CULTURE Author: KINGD Last modified by: EDWARDS Created Date: 4/13/2005 7:05:16 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: CULTURE Arab and Middle East

CULTURE Arab and Middle East
  • What is What
  • Mindset
  • CALL Arab Culture (Guerrilla)
  • CALL Mistakes to Avoid
  • Laundry Listing
  • Putting it All Together
  • Naming Conventions

Arabs, Middle East, SWA
  • Arabs
  • Persians
  • North Africans
  • Nubian
  • Jews
  • Turkman
  • Tajiks
  • Pashtun
  • Arab World
  • Middle East
  • Gulf States
  • (Al-Jehzeera)
  • Southwest Asia
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Arabian Gulf
  • Persian Gulf

Arab and Middle East Mindset
Pawns of Fate
  • Many Westerners see themselves as being in
    control of their own destiny
  • Many Middle Easterners believe that much of what
    happens to them (and others) in life is
    predestined and controlled by fate
  • Prevailing belief is that an individuals
    behavior has little effect on outcomes
  • No probable or likely, events are anticipated
    or hoped for with the proviso inshallah (God
  • Embedded within the Arabic culture is a normative
    acceptance of conspiracy theories as a means of
    explaining the reasons behind certain events

Collective Identity
  • Culture of most Middle Eastern and many Asian
    countries is oriented more toward collectivism
    than individualism
  • Individualistic cultures pride themselves on
    individual accomplishment and what makes them
    unique, special, or different from others
  • Collectivist cultures, however, believe personal
    value comes not from individual deeds, but from
    social standing and group affiliation
  • Value most about themselves not what is unique,
    but rather what makes them part of a larger group
    or collective
  • Ethics of responsibility centered on the greater
    benefit of the collective
  • The individuals identity is based on his family
    or tribe/clan roots and the group with whom he
    currently affiliates. This phenomenon is captured
    in the saying Who I am is who I am a part of,
    and whom I am with.

Importance of Relationships
  • Arab culture is built on relationships and
    connectedness to others
  • Incredibly important as a source of power,
    comfort, and worth
  • Persons from collectivist cultures rarely value
    alone time and they are rarely alone
  • As with identity, perceptions of self-worth are
    influenced strongly by the perceived status and
    value of their social network
  • Ones value is defined by whom you know and who
    is in your network Wasta
  • A person is fundamentally defined by, and valued
    for, belonging
  • This means that the group holds great power over
    the individuals behavior
  • In quest for personal meaning, direction, and
    structure a man will often suspend critical
    thinking and commit to a particular mosque,
    leader, or collective bunch of guys (and their
    ideology) that advocates militant Islam
  • Particularly in an environment where extremist
    ideologies are prevalent

Good Impressions
  • Persons from Middle Eastern and Arabic cultures
    often prioritize their social image and the
    harmony of relationships over directness or
  • Considered impolite to disagree with someone or
    to refuse a request
  • May express insincere sentiments in order to
    avoid conflict
  • Not regarded as an attempt to deceive, but rather
    appropriate behavior to preserve the relationship
  • Consequence is that individuals develop hidden
    agendas to ensure connectivity to others and
    enhance their value
  • Result, it is difficult to establish trust, as is
    expected in the West

Good Intentions
  • In the West, it is important to make good on
    ones promises.
  • Merit is earned through action
  • actions speak louder than words
  • Conversely, in the Middle East, intentions matter
    more than actions
  • A person attests that they will do something that
    they subsequently fail to do, it is not
    considered a transgression, so long as the person
    sincerely wanted to do it or intended to do it at
    the time
  • Thus, well-intended promises and anticipated
    actions may not carry the same weight for the
    source as for the Special Agent.

Shame, not Guilt
  • In the West, guilt and the anticipation of
    feelings of guilt influence the individuals
    overt behavior and decision-making processes
  • Guilt is personal -- distress experienced by the
  • Mitigation usually requires owning up
  • Confessing to someone, taking responsibility for
    ones actions, and possibly taking further action
    to correct or compensate for the offending
  • Conversely, collectivist societies are more
    driven by the phenomenon of shame
  • Shame is the distressing emotion one seeks to
    avoid or has to bear for wrongful behavior
  • Shame is social it is a reaction to the
    responses of others.
  • Confession acknowledges or makes others aware of
    the undesirable behavior, and therefore, is
    generally avoided.
  • Others awareness that brings about the sanction
    of shame

Associative Thinking
  • Middle Eastern persons are raised and
    acculturated to think associatively
  • Westerners tend to think in a the linear,
    goal-oriented, structured, sequential way
  • Westerner telling a story about a life experience
    would likely do so chronologically, in a way that
    created a beginning, middle, and end
  • Associative thinkers are not bound by these
  • go off on tangents or relate segments out of
  • It may make sense in their big picture of what
    they are trying to communicate, but it can be
    difficult for linear thinkers to follow
  • Source or Subjects thinking may appear to jump
    from point-to-point throughout the conversation

Emotional Info Processing
  • Individuals from the Middle East tend to be
    emotional processors of information
  • As they take in information and experiences, they
    tend to organize data and events around the
    context of relationships and collective value,
    rather than by topic or category
  • The information tends to have enhanced value and
    is communicated in more dramatic terms with
    enhanced texture and emotion
  • Information may be distorted in an attempt to
    increase the communicators value to the listener

Arab Culture Condensed to 15 Slides
For Official Use Only
Basic Arab Values
  • A persons dignity, honor, and reputation are of
    paramount importance (honor and shame are often
    viewed as collective, i.e., pertaining to the
    entire group or family). If you shame an Arab
    you have shamed his entire extended family, clan,
    tribe, etc.
  • It is important to always act in a manner that
    will make a good impression on others.
  • Loyalty to family takes precedence over personal
  • Social class and family background are the major
    determinants of ones personal status. The next
    most important is individual character and
  • Arabs value conversation and long discussions.

For Official Use Only
Basic Arab Self-Perceptions
  • Everyone believes in God, acknowledges His power,
    and has some religious affiliation.
  • Humans cannot control events things depend on
    God and fate.
  • Piety is one of the most admirable
    characteristics in a person.
  • In Islam there is no separation between church
    and state (some Arabs may not agree with this).
  • Established religious beliefs and practices are
    important and liberal interpretations which
    threaten them are rejected.

For Official Use Only
  • If an Arab helps you he will expect you to
  • Never openly refuse a friends request.
  • Arabs will extend many invitations while it is
    acceptable not to maintain them at the same pace,
    it is considered rude not to reciprocate.

For Official Use Only
Basic Rules of Etiquette 1 of 3
  • Good manners constitute the most salient factor
    in evaluating a persons character (remember this
    point during official meetings).
  • Failure to shake hands when greeting someone or
    when saying goodbye is considered rude. Between a
    man and a woman, it is the womans choice whether
    or not to shake hands.
  • Do not slouch or cross legs on top of a table.
    Sitting in a manner that shows the soles of ones
    shoes to another person is an insult
  • When standing or talking with someone, do not
    lean against a wall or keep hands in pockets.

For Official Use Only
Basic Rules of Etiquette- 2 of 3
  • Men stand when a woman enters the room everyone
    stands when a new guest enters the room at a
    social gathering, or when a high-ranking or
    elderly person enters or leaves. Men allow women
    to precede them through doorways and offer their
    seats if no others are available.
  • When saying goodbye to a guest, a gracious host
    accompanies them to the outer gate or to their
  • If a guest admires something small and portable,
    an Arab may insist that it be taken as a gift. Do
    not express admiration for something expensive.
    Gifts shouldnt be opened in the presence of the
  • Never use the left hand.

For Official Use Only
Basic Rules of Etiquette- 3 of 3
  • Arabs will almost always insist on paying when
    out to dinner it is appropriate to let them
    pay, but should be reciprocated later.
  • People should not be photographed without their
  • One who lights a cigarette in a group must be
    prepared to offer one to everyone.
  • Staring at one of the same sex is not considered
  • Most Arabs do not like to touch or be in the
    presence of household animals, especially dogs.
  • Arabs get very personal, very quickly. Do not
    however, ask about female members of the family.
    Do not flirt with Arab women.
  • Do not stand or walk in front of a praying Muslim.

For Official Use Only
Hospitality 1 of 2
  • Generosity to guests is essential for a good
  • A drink will quickly be offered. Accept and hold
    the cup with right hand. Not to accept the drink
    is consider ill mannered.
  • If a guest arrives while others are eating, they
    will offer to share, but an unexpected guest
    should feel free to decline.
  • Ahlan wa Sahlan or Marhaba means welcome and
    will be stated when a guest arrives and usually
    several times throughout the visit.

For Official Use Only
Hospitality 2 of 2
  • Guests often are given a seat of honor and will
    be asked frequently if they are comfortable.
  • Even under inconvenient or unexpected
    circumstances, a guest would never be refused
    entrance. Exception being if a woman was at home
    alone and the guest was a man. In this situation,
    the guest should refuse to enter, regardless of
    how soon the male member of the household is
    expected to be home.
  • Many Arab homes have a separate room for
    receiving guests, called a salon.

For Official Use Only
Meals 1 of 2
  • Dinner should be planned for a late hour. After
    the evening prayer.
  • Invitations are almost always verbal and
    frequently spontaneous.
  • Guests should arrive early for conversation
    before the meal.
  • Arabs will present abundant amounts of food to
    display generosity and esteem for the guests.
  • Water may not be served until after the meal.
    Some people consider it unhealthy to eat and
    drink at the same time.

For Official Use Only
Meals 2 of 2
  • The guest is expected to show admiration and
    gratitude for the food. Eat sparingly on the day
    you are invited because out of politeness you
    will overeat! Alhamdu lillah means Thanks be to
    God say this when you have had enough to eat.
  • When leaving the table, it is customary to say
    sufra dayma may your table always be thus.
  • When guests express an intention to leave, the
    host will always encourage them to stay
    consider this ritualistic you will not offend
    by leaving.

For Official Use Only
Official Meetings 1 of 2
  • A good personal relationship a successful
  • At the beginning of meetings, time is set aside
    for light conversation. Inquire about illness
    and other personal matters (weddings, vacation
    plans). Wait for them to start talking business.
    Arabs dont like to be hurried or pressured into
    an agreement.
  • Arabs mistrust people who do not appear to be
    sincere or who fail to demonstrate an interest in
    them personally.
  • Do not mistake good manners for an indication of
    your success.
  • A noncommittal reaction is not negative or
    positive be patient.
  • Inshallah means If God Wills in other words,
    they may express good intention, but they are
    leaving a way out.

For Official Use Only
Official Meetings 2 of 2
  • Often intermediaries are used to represent
    another. In situations of conflict, it is
    particularly important to use an intermediary for
    whom the person you are in conflict with holds in
    high regard.
  • Most Arabs are habitually late. Therefore, a
    person who arrives late and has kept you waiting
    may not even realize that you have been
    inconvenienced. Deadlines are often not met
    expect delays and be patient
  • A positive response is merely a declaration of
    intention and an expression of goodwill.
  • Arabs often disregard no smoking signs and will
    often disregard you if you ask them to refrain
    from smoking.

For Official Use Only
  • Quickly determine social status. Then treat them
    with the respect due for their status.
  • Never omit greetings of Good morning/afternoon,
    how are you? etc.
  • Do this for my sake attached to a request for
    a favor implies indebtedness.
  • Importance is placed on direct praise for strong
    character or a job well done. Criticism is taken
    very personally, so it is important to phrase it
    carefully. Do not give criticism in front of
    others. Begin with the good points and be sure
    to include your high regard for them as an
  • Do not discuss politics or religion. Stick to
    safe topics, such as the Arabic language,
    literature, poetry etc.

For Official Use Only
Gestures 1 of 2
  • Moving the head slightly back and raising
    eyebrows no
  • Moving the head back and chin up no
  • Moving chin back slightly and making a clicking
    sound no
  • After shaking hands, placing the right hand to
    the heart or chest respect or sincerity
  • Holding right hand out, palm downward, and
    opening and closing come here
  • Right hand out, palm downward, and move as if
    brushing something away go away

For Official Use Only
Gestures 2 of 2
  • Right hand out, palm upward, closing hand
    half-way and holding it give it to me
  • Right hand out, palm downward, moving it up and
    down slowly quiet down
  • Right hand out, palm upward, touching thumb and
    fingertips together and moving hand up and down
    calm down be patient
  • Holding right forefinger up and moving it from
    left to right quickly several times never
  • Right hand out, palm downward, then quickly
    twisting the hand to be palm upward What? Why?

For Official Use Only
  • Cultural Awareness Training
  • University of Military Intelligence the Army
    Proponent for Cultural Awareness Training
  • http//
  • Language Training Resources
  • Various language Training Aides/Handbooks
  • http//
  • Arabic Online Training http//

For Official Use Only
For Official Use Only
All Muslims Are NOT the Same
  • About 10 of all Muslims are Shia. They are in
    the majority in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain. Iran, a
    non-Arab nation (i.e. they are Persian not Arab),
    has the largest Shia population. Osama Bin
    Laden (a Sunni) dislikes Shia Muslims nearly as
    much as he dislikes Westerners. Many of the
    Sunni extremists/Jihadists in Iraq are followers
    of the Wahabbi sect of Islam, but not all
    followers of the Wahabbi sect are terrorists.
  • Bottom line Arab culture is diverse and complex.
    Extend basic human dignity whenever possible and
    where the situation permits. Dont condemn every
    Sunni as a terrorist, every Shia as a
    pro-Iranian, Fundamentalist or every Pashtun as a
    member of the Taliban. The U.S. needs all Muslims
    in Iraq and Afghanistan to work together despite
    past differences many have learned to do so
    already. If you rely on bias and bigotry as your
    compass, versus taking the time to learn how
    groups in your local area function, you will
    never understand the culture. Last, use common
    sense and observe the Golden Rule.
  • This does not mean you are soft or weak it is a
    sign you are becoming culturally aware.

For Official Use Only
Intimidation vs. Humiliation
  • When entering/searching a home, do not man-handle
    the senior male of the household in front of his
    family unless it is necessary (i.e. put him face
    down on the ground with a boot in his back). In
    this way you have dishonored him in front of his
  • NOTE If the individual is a threat, do whatever
    is required to control the situation. When in
    doubt, err to the side of security.
  • This does not mean you cannot detain or question
    him forcefully. However, the simple act of
    allowing him to speak like a man for his
    family, versus humiliating him in front of them,
    has proven more effective and produces more
    cooperation. The average Iraqi family knows you
    (the American Soldier) are bigger, stronger and
    have more fire power. They are also unusually
    familiar with the power of intimidation.
    Therefore, they will respect your power and
    cooperate with you because of your power as long
    as you do not humiliate them. Once you humiliate
    them, you become a sworn enemy. Once humiliated,
    an Iraqi must get revenge in order to regain his

For Official Use Only
Misinterpretation of Arab honor
  • Honor, in the Arab context, does not translate
    clearly to the American (esp. the American
    Soldiers) definition. An Arab relates honor to
    his identity, self-esteem and position of respect
    within his Family, Clan and Tribe. Honor is to
    be defended at all costs.
  • The American view of honor is my word is my
    bond and I will not lie, cheat or steal.
    Given the Arab definition, an Arab WILL lie,
    cheat and steal to protect his honor.
  • For example, an Arab will promise things he can
    not possibly deliver, because he feels to admit
    this shortcoming or inability would damage his
    honor and that he would lose face among all
    observers. Keep this in mind if you need a firm
    commitment on anything.

For Official Use Only
Use Of Euphemistic Speech.
  • When speaking with Arabs, keep in mind that they
    believe that words have power. Arabs shun
    speaking about unpleasant things out of fear that
    negative speech compels negative results. Also,
    they will use euphemisms when discussing the
    plight of others. For instance, say a mutual
    acquaintance is ill and near death. Should you
    inquire about recent news he will likely respond,
    he is well, but a little tired. In an
    operational situation, check the facts after
    being briefed by an Arab soldier because he may
    be sugar coating a bitter pill.

For Official Use Only
Understanding and Respecting Seniority System
The head of the family or clan is normally the
oldest male. When he dies or becomes
incapacitated, his place will likely be taken by
his oldest son or one of his brothers. When a
son succeeds his father as family head, he
thereby gains authority over his mother. Bottom
line, if the senior male is absent, defer to the
oldest present (NOT the senior women).
For Official Use Only
Interaction With Arab Women
  • Women typically have a private area in the
    household separate from men. When possible,
    female Soldiers should be used to search these
    areas, if only as a sign of respect. An
    alternate course of action, if there are no
    female Soldiers available, is to allow a male
    family member to observe the search.
  • Do not shake hands with an Arab woman unless she
    offers her hand first, or if you are a woman.
  • Do not flirt, hit-on, touch, hug or talk in
    private with women. It could endanger their
  • Do not talk in public to professional Arab women
    unless it is business related.
  • Do not try and engage a woman in conversation
    unless you have been formally introduced.
  • Do not stare at women or maintain eye contact.
  • Do not ask an Arab questions about his wife or
    other female members of his family.

For Official Use Only
Wearing Sunglasses when speaking to Arabs
  • Do not wear dark colored sunglasses when
    speaking, and especially when negotiating with an
    Arab. He will instantly assume you are trying to
    lie to him or hide your true intentions. If
    there are women present, they will assume you are
    staring at them. One of the reasons Arabs stand
    so close to people in which they are speaking is
    because they want to look at your eyes and see
    how you respond to their statements. To wear
    sunglasses inhibits a large part of their
    non-verbal communications skills.

For Official Use Only
  • Spitting (usually associated with chewing tobacco
    or chewing gum use) is considered extremely rude
    and unclean. When talking, interacting or being
    observed by Arabs, refrain from spitting on the

For Official Use Only
Hand Over The Heart Versus Finger To The Eye.
  • When affirming a commitment or guarantying to
    deliver on a promise, it has been observed that
    when an Arab gestures with a finger to his eye or
    facial area he is generally more likely to follow
    through on his commitment. When making this
    gesture, the Arab is saying, its my
    obligation. This is not to be confused with the
    thank you gesture described below. Americans
    seem to intuitively view the thank you gesture
    as a sign of commitment, similar to cross my
    heart. This is not the case and should not be
  • Its my Obligation - The gesture of placing the
    right hand or its forefinger on the tip of the
    nose, on the right lower eyelid, on top of the
    head, on the mustache or beard has the meaning of
    "its in front of me, I see it or its on my head
    to accomplish."
  • Thank You - Placing the palm of the right hand
    on the chest, bowing the head a little and
    closing ones eyes general means "Thank You" (in
    the name of Allah). 

For Official Use Only
Respect For Muslim Religious Practices
  • When possible, stop what you are doing and be
    respectful of the Salat (routine prayers). If
    indoors, stay there until the Salat is complete.
    If you must be out and about, refrain from
    standing directly in front of any Muslim in a
    prayer position.
  • Conversely, do not allow Muslims to use their
    religion against you. Do not allow a Muslim to
    get out of an incriminating line of questioning
    because he insists it is time for prayer. If one
    misses a prayer it is not the end of the world,
    they can make it up later.  Muslim teachings
    explain that Allah understands the situations
    people find themselves in.
  • Be respectful of religious fasting periods (not
    just during Ramadan). It is considered very bad
    manners to eat, drink, or smoke in front of
    someone fasting! In some Muslim nations,
    westerners can be arrested or deported for this.

For Official Use Only
  • Cultural Awareness Training
  • University of Military Intelligence the Army
    Proponent for Cultural Awareness Training
  • http//
  • Language Training Resources
  • Various language Training Aides/Handbooks
  • http//
  • Arabic Online Training http//

For Official Use Only
Key Considerations
  • Arab Israeli Conflict
  • Islam as a Prism
  • Proxemics
  • Attempt to Exploited All
  • Who you see
  • Who sees you with who?!
  • Wasta

  • Conspiracy Theorist
  • Heard, read or see it Believe it
  • Women
  • Wives
  • Girlfriend
  • Daughters
  • The Family Business
  • Diwaniya and Mahjlis

  • The Circle of Love
  • Loyalty Model

Understanding Middle Eastern Naming Conventions
James R. Richards, B.Comm., LLB BSA Compliance
Officer Director, Financial Intelligence
Unit FleetBoston Financial Group, Boston,
Massachusetts Presentation for the Practising Law
Institute New York, New York January 23, 2002
  • The Arabic language is divided into three groups
  • Classical written Arabic (used in the Koran)
  • Modern Standard Arabic (MSA, a modern version of
  • written Arabic used in newspapers and
    textbooks) and
  • Spoken, colloquial, or dialectic Arabic

The Arabic alphabet consists of 16 characters
which, when combined with one to three dots
placed above, below, or beside a character, form
28 signs or letters.
The Arabic alphabet is made up entirely of
consonants ...
Therefore, Mohammed is written in Arabic as
That is why we have so many different spellings
of Mohammad, Mohamad, Mohammed, Muhammed, etc ...
Arabic words are written and read right to left,
top to bottom. Arabic numbers are written left to
The first three letters of the Arabic alphabet
are alif, baa, and taa.
alif-baa-taa along with alpha beta from
ancient Greek, give you the origins of the
english word alphabet.
Why are there different spellings for certain
words? eg., Koran . Quran eg., Osama .
Ussama eg., Saddam Hussein . Tsaddam Hussein
There are two systems of converting Arabic into
English, known as systems of transliteration
Almost all nouns and the ten forms of verbs are
built around a stem or root or three consonants
called the triliteral root system
The root s l m means peace Islam, Muslim,
The name Mohammad Al-Ghamdi has at least 56
different spellings
And none of those 56 will enable you to identify
the person!
Arabic names must have 4 parts - first name, two
generational names, and a family, village, or
descriptive name ...
Osama bin Laden? Or Ussama bin Mohammad bin Awad
bin Laden
He is known as Ussama, son of Mohammad, grandson
of Awad, great-grandson of Laden
Abu, Ibn or bin, and Abd. Three key Arabic
These words mean Father, Son, and Slave,
respectively Abu Ibrahim means Father of
Abraham Ibn Mohammad means Son of Mohammad,
and Abd Allah or Abdullah means, literally
Servant of God
Classical Middle Eastern names require at least
four components. These are broken down into six
general categories ...
1. Honorific Name (kunya or agronem) - as the
father or mother of. Often reserved for the
eldest son. eg., abu Da'ud (Father of David)
or Umm Salama (Mother of Salama).
2. Personal Name (ism) - common Muhammad
(Mohammed), Ibrahim (Abraham), Hasan, Ahmad.
Rarely used socially, then only if the person
is famous.
3. Descriptive Name (lakab or cognomen) - usually
religious, relating to nature or some
admirable quality the person has or would
like to have. eg., 'Abd Allah (Servant of God,
often written Abdullah), Harun Al-Rashid
(Aaron the Rightly-Guided).
4. Patronymic Name (nasab or lineage) - denotes
the pedigree, as the son or daughter of a
certain person. eg., ibn 'Umar (son of
Omar) or commonly spelled "bin" Umar (as in Osama
bin Laden). Usually limited to three
5. Geographical or Tribal Name (hisba or nisba)
- derived from the place of residence or
birth or origin of the family by using the
prefix al or el and the suffix i, eg., Yusaf
al-Isfahani (Joseph of Isfahan) or Ahmed
Alghamdi (Ahmed of the Tribe of Ghamd).
6. Occupational Name or Nickname (laqab) -
derived from a person's trade or family
history, eg., Muhammad al-Hallaj (Mohammed
the Cotton Weaver) or by a nickname bestowed
posthumously or during the persons lifetime,
either as an honorific name or an insult or
distinguishing feature.
A great name using the laqab, or nickname is
Amr ibn Bahr al-Basri al-Jahiz, a famous Muslim
Known to most simply as al-Jahiz, his name
actually means Amr, son of Bahr from the Basr
region, also known as Amr The Google-Eyed!
One of the first OFAC lists includes the name
Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah with an alias Abu
Mariam is a female name adding Abu makes the
alias into an insult, as a man will never be
called Father of a girl. To do so is to insult
the man, implying he is effeminate or weak
Putting in Perspective
  • USMC

  • Expectation Management
  • Steep learning curve mistakes
  • Frustration destroys relationships
  • Training achieves Awareness

No Cultural Training
Exuberance/ Idealism/Mirror Imaging
Cultural Understanding
Its never this simple, but our perceptions are
guided in this direction
  • Trusted
  • Same goals
  • Same intent
  • Same concerns
  • Same mission
  • Reliable
  • Non-threatening
  • Innocent
  • Not important
  • To be protected
  • Trustworthy?
  • Not trusted
  • Opposite goals
  • Opposite intent
  • Must be defeated

Pitfalls of the Standard Approach
  • Most groups and people dont fit neatly into
  • Outlook, attitude, and actions are not static
  • Same actor may commit friendly, enemy, neutral
  • on the same day
  • The act of categorizing can alter actions and
  • If you call someone enemy, they perceive you
    the same
  • The term enemy precludes many alternate
  • Calling someone friend blinds us to deceit
  • Categories prevent us from thinking outside the
  • Do we consider how to co-opt an enemy?
  • Are we sufficiently wary of friends and neutrals?

Who is an enemy, who is a friend?
Case Study A former Iraqi military officer was
conducting ambushes against U.S. forces, leading
to the death of a company commander. This Iraqi
officer was a former regime stalwart, Baath
Party official, and a Special Forces commander
with a reputation for extreme violence. He was
eventually captured and served time in Abu Ghraib
before being released on a technicality. He
probably went back to working with the insurgency
and conducting ambushes after his
release. Enemy, right?
Who is an enemy, who is a friend?
The rest of the story This officer was a
prominent tribal member and leader, and a trusted
friend of many local tribal figures. He was
unanimously chosen as the leading candidate to
take over an Iraqi National Guard unit. After
much debate, he was selected, inducted, and
placed in command of a large ING unit with the
approval of the central government. The new job
gave him a steady paycheck, a renewal of his
sense of honor, a position of influence, and a
feeling that he could help shape the direction of
his country in a positive way. He worked closely
with the same U.S. units he was fighting just
weeks before, and was a somewhat effective
commander. He was always carefully watched and
mentored because of his background. Friend,
or just person to be influenced?
Focus on actions rather than categories
  • Assist mission
  • Economy of force
  • Financial aid
  • Provide info
  • Allow mission
  • Non-violent
  • Non-intrusive
  • May provide info
  • Oppose mission
  • Violent or criminal
  • Intrusive, harmful
  • Divert resources
  • Provide no info

Same group/person may act across spectrum on same
What do we have to do to push from here
To at least here
- Every actor can be coerced to non-hostile
- and kinetic action is the most extreme form of
- Actions are fluid constant pressure needed to
push left
Maslows Hierarchy of Needs What motivates people
to act?
Long-Term FUTURE
Self-Actualization Needs Personal growth and
Esteem Needs Achievement, status, responsibility,
Most Americans
Outlook and Impact on Decisions
Belongingness and Love Needs Family, affection,
relationships, work group
Safety Needs Protection, security, order, law,
limits, stability
Most Iraqis
Biological and Physiological Needs Air, food,
drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep
Short-Term URGENT