Greater public assertiveness driving regional unrest: Author

The launch of the book took place at the Arab-British Centre in London on Thursday. (Supplied)
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Updated 07 February 2020

Greater public assertiveness driving regional unrest: Author

  • Vyvyan Kinross’ book tackles the information war in the region that has been at play since World War I, and that has been pivotal in shaping events across the Middle East

LONDON: The public’s increased willingness to express itself “has driven the uprisings of the Arab Spring,” and “is driving the current upheavals in Lebanon and Iraq,” said the author of a new book titled “Information Warriors: The Battle for Hearts and Minds in the Middle East.”

The launch of the book by Vyvyan Kinross, a former adviser to the Abu Dhabi government and to the Palestinian Authority, took place at the Arab-British Centre in London on Thursday, and was organized in association with the Council for Arab-British Understanding.

“The retreat of the West, and the ending of the age of large-scale interventions, are opening up spaces for new regional players, most prominently Russia, Turkey and Iran,” Kinross told Arab News.

His book tackles the information war in the region that has been at play since World War I, and that has been pivotal in shaping events across the Middle East.

The book aims to shed light on the major personalities, intellectual influences, propaganda campaigns, tactics and tools that have characterized this information war over the last century, said Kinross, a former senior advisor at the UN Office for Project Services.

“This more hidden, systematic war has often been passed over at the expense of a focus on the military and economic conflict,” he added.

“But it has used tools and techniques that should be more widely known about and understood if we’re to grasp the complexity with which ideas are packaged and sold in order to shape public opinion,” he said.

“Censorship and closed information cultures have stopped working in the traditional way, and command and control management is no longer as effective,” he added. 

“We’re beginning to hear voices that for too long have been hidden. I believe that the rising force of public opinion is the single greatest irreversible tide in the region’s history.”


French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

Updated 20 September 2020

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

DUBAI:Up-and-coming French-Tunisian singer, model and actor Sonia Ben Ammar has joined the cast of “Scream 5,”  it’s been revealed this week.

 According to Variety, production on Spyglass Media and Paramount Pictures’ upcoming relaunch of the  famous horror film franchise is set to begin later this month.

Filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who are behind “Ready or Not,” are directing the forthcoming film.

The first “Scream” film was released in 1996, well before Ben Ammar was even born.  A smash hit upon its debut, the movie helped to revive the horror genre, becoming the highest-grossing slasher movie of all-time. 

This will be Paris-born Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress. She along with other young franchise newcomers will be joining returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are all reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott.

Plot details for the new film, set to debut in theaters on Jan. 14, 2022, are still under wraps,  so it is not yet known what role the French-Arab star will be taking on.

“I’m SCREAMing of excitement!! (sic)” wrote the 21-year-old on Instagram, announcing the news to her 730,000 social media followers. “Incredibly grateful to be part of one of my favorite franchises. 2nd photo is my face when I got the call lol (sic),” she captioned a screenshot of Variety’s article announcing the news and a blurry snap of her clearly overjoyed. 

However, it’s not the multi-hyphenate model’s first foray into the film industry.

Ben Ammar, who is the daughter of Tunisian film director Tarek Ben Ammar and actress Beata, previously starred in Guillaume Canet’s French-language film “Jappeloup” as well as the stage musical “1789: Les Amants de la Bastille.”

She’s also appeared in several music videos, including “Drivin’ Thru the Night” by DJ Petit Biscuit, as well as clips for her own singles, such as “Joyride” from her debut EP.

In addition to music, Ben Ammar is also a rising model, and has worked for many major brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrera and Chanel, among other prestigious fashion houses.