Since the 2013 coup, Egypt’s posture vis à vis information and cyber warfare has evolved from a defensive one—geared toward domestic surveillance and blocking—to an offensive one also focused on influence operations abroad. This shift has pulled Egypt further into an open embrace of Russia.
The Middle East is increasingly awash with fake news and misinformation campaigns. Russia has become a major vector of these disinformation campaigns, affecting virtually every major flashpoint in the Arab world. It just opened a new info-war front in Libya.
“Word got around the department that I was a good Arabic translator who did a great Saddam imitation,” recalls the Harvard grad student. “Eventually, someone phoned me asking if I wanted to help change the course of Iraq policy.” So twice a week, for $3000 a month, the Iraqi student tells the Voice on condition of anonymity, he took a taxi from his campus apartment to a Boston-area recording studio rented by the Rendon Group, a DC-based public relations firm with close ties to the US government. His job: Translate and dub spoofed Saddam Hussein speeches and tongue-in-cheek newscasts for broadcast throughout Iraq.