British troops in Libya seem to have found an unlikely weapon in Bollywood music as part of their psychological warfare against the Islamic State (ISIS). Apparently, blasting tunes from India’s largest film industry, Bollywood, “un-nerves” the terrorists, who consider the music to be un-Islamic.
This bizarre tactic was adopted after a Pakistan-born intelligence officer of the British Army tipped them off how Bollywood music annoys the terrorists, who consider it an apostasy. The style of music that Bollywood is popular for has been banned in many strict Muslim areas for being un-Islamic. Ironically, the music is a hit among Muslim communities in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
This strategy is currently being implemented in the coastal town of Sirte, the home town of Libya’s deposed dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The British forces there are training Libyan forces to fight ISIS. They aim to train troops in order to drive ISIS away from the town of Sirte and from a 115-mile stretch of the Libyan coastline.
A part of this force known as JSOC, or the Joint Special Operations Command, managed to intercept the communication lines used by the terrorists and feed them with hit Bollywood music. The British Special Boat Service (SBS) and Special Air Service (SAS) troops in Libya are deployed in a non-combat role. This has forced them to resort to creative solutions such as these in dealing with the Jihadists.
The town of Sirte has turned into a recruitment and training camp for ISIS. Also, ever since they sieged the city, ISIS militants have enforced a strict Sharia Law whereby anything that is viewed as being Western or un-Islamic is banned. As such, Bollywood songs playing in their radios, and in empty cars around the city, is seen as a huge insult.
While British Forces are definitely first in using Bollywood music for the purpose of annoying Muslim fundamentalists, there have been instances in the past where American forces have used other forms of music to break people. For instance, when the United States invaded Panama in December of 1989, dictator Manuel Noriega took refuge in the Holy See embassy. The building was immediately surrounded by U.S. troops, but jurisdictional restrictions prevented them from doing anything more. So they resorted to a more creative approach. After being continually bombarded for several days with hard rock music, including the Van Halen hit “Panama,” and The Howard Stern Show, Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990.
More notably in recent times, U.S. interrogators have played heavy metal music and popular American children’s songs to make uncooperative Iraqi prisoners talk. They have sought to break their prisoners’ resistance through sleep deprivation whilst simultaneously playing music that was culturally offensive to them. Tracks from Metallica and music from children’s TV programs such as Sesame Street and Barney were used for the purpose.
Organizations such as Amnesty International have criticized these methods used by the American forces. But the British forces’ use of Bollywood music in fighting ISIS can hardly be classified as torture. It is more of a creative way of defying their regime of terror. In fact, people on social media seem to be quite amused by the idea, with some people even suggesting artists and songs that they think would be more infuriating to the terrorists.
[Photo by Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock]