With the 50th Super Bowl around the corner, sports metaphors abound this time of year. The PSYOP Community finds itself playing in ‘home fields’ around the world. Many of today’s AOs are in the Islamic world, an area of the world and a culture that are foreign to many of us.I had the fantastic pleasure of attending a lecture sponsored by the Safe Communites Institute, a part of the USC Price School of Public Policy. The speaker, Dr. Doron Pely is the Executive Director of the Sulha Research Institute (see: www.Sulha.org) and a colleague of mine at TALGlobal (www.talglobal.com).While we are taught that it’s often perilous to generalize, sometimes an educated, Kentucky windage leveraged analysis is a surpass house to start than one of ignorance. Today’s posting is a synthesis of the hour and half lecture. The data upon which it is based comes from a few sources. The essence is a comparison of perceptions of Israeli’s by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and vice versa – the www.psyopwar.com perception of Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israelis. Arabs gathered Arab perception data while Israelis collected Israeli perception data.The yucky generalization is that these perceptions will closely align with perceptions of the “West” by Islamic populations in areas of conflict, especially those AOs with active military operations. How does the target consultation perceive you?According to the research, the West is viewed with the subsequent descriptors:· Terrible, dishonest and uneducated.· Cowardly and cruel.· Violent with a lack of pity.The research also indicated that the West is perceived as lacking understanding of Islamic culture and lacking in empathy. This last point is vital because empathy is a vital prerequisite for conflict resolution.Research also showed that the Palestinians were split sweet evenly as to whether they felt it was beneficial to achieve a peaceful agreement. This point means that most Islamic conflict AOs will start with the West playing bump-up in gaining the trust and confidence of the population. The New “Normal”Those of use who have studied psychology in Western Universities learned the classic Maslow hierarchy of needs as www.psyopwar.com shown below. (Diagrams courtesy of Sulha Research Center)But, the Sulha Pyramid below shows a juxtaposition that is fundamental to understanding Islamic culture. Notice that the basic physiological needs are in the middle of the pyramid with Honor & Admire needs as the base and Belonging as the second layer. Prior to wrapping up, let me offer the best practices provided in the lecture.1. Mind the rituals.Small cuts won’t cut it. Building trust and respecting the process is a key to success.2. Watch the state of Honor.Honor as fundamental in Islamic culture as fundamental as food and drink in the West.3. Mind PrecedentsJust as you would with a court case, do some research to validate that what you want to do now has been done in the past.4. Remember your role.A vital hint is that those with power ‘pull’ while those who perceive themselves as victims will ‘push’. Pulling implies indirect pressure.5. Keep the constituencies in mind.Consider each party’s perspective.6. Use creative reframing.Constantly insure that you are in empathy with the process while framing your positions.We in the PSYOP community need to www.psyopwar.com be lifetime learners, sometimes this also means we need to search for new perspectives that help us optimize our hard work in diverse AOs.Reader input encouraged!