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Propaganda Wars: Russian Twitter Account Takes on American “Progress” in Iraq

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Iraq, Russia, U.S.A., Citizen Media, Humor, International Relations, War & Conflict, RuNet Echo
Obama and Putin beside the ISIS flag and US State Department seal. Images mixed by author.

Obama and Putin beside the ISIS flag and US State Department seal. Images mixed by author.

Someone writing in Russian has issued the latest Internet challenge to the US government, launching a Twitter account named @IraqProgress [1]. The account parodies one of the State Department’s official Twitter accounts, @UkrProgress [2], which is a Russian-language information feed Washington uses to counter Russian propaganda about events in Ukraine.

Whoever is behind the tweets is clearly implying that the United States observes a double standard when deciding whether to support mass insurgencies.

@IraqProgress was created on June 24 and within a day attracted more than 900 followers with just 11 tweets. Those posts clearly mimic the infographics found on @UkrProgress, where the State Department disseminates snazzy word art and dramatic photographs in counter-propaganda against Russian mass media.

@IraqProgress comically projects America’s support for Ukraine’s EuroMaidan [3]revolutionaries to Iraq’s anti-government insurgency, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [4] (ISIS), which is now fighting the US-installed government in Bagdad. The Twitter avatar for “Progress for Iraq” includes the ISIS’s flag and the hashtag “#UnitedForISIS.” The account’s tweets recast ISIS military atrocities as acts of democratic heroism, describing the jihadists as freedom fighters not unlike those who drove out former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The #truth about “executions” and “firing squads.” [Captions read, “They told you this was an execution of soldiers committed by ‘ISIS militants’? This is the lustration of collaborators with an authoritarian regime, conducted by supporters of democracy from the ISIS!” followed by the phrase, “Don’t believe everything you see.”]

#Kasparov on Putin’s actions in Iraq. #Truth [Caption reads, “’The current situation in Iraq is a direct result of Putin’s unilateral actions to erode the foundations of global security.’ – Garry Kasparov, Grand Master.”]

Despite its early popularity, @IraqProgress might not last very long on Twitter. By using the State Department’s official seal on many of its tweets, and describing itself as “information about the situation in Iraq presented by the State Department,” the account is in fact violating Twitter’s internal policies. Indeed, there are strict guidelines for “parody, commentary, and fan accounts [12],” which require such users to clarify their affiliations in their profiles. @IraqProgress doesn’t do this.

Until Twitter turns its attention to this new account, however, many on the RuNet are sure to enjoy this latest episode in the never-ending propaganda war between Russia and the United States.