You might look at this photo and think it’s remarkable an Arab Woman – Maj Mariam Al Mansouri – is a fighter pilot for her country: the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

While many will marvel at the UAE’s progressive outlook on women’s rights; and how this photograph will be a beacon for women in the Arab League of Nations – there is a larger play here. And it’s an exceptional masterstroke of Info Ops.

The story behind the photograph is at it’s core, counter-jihadism at it’s most powerful.

Many ISIL militants believe they won’t go to heaven if they are killed by a woman; thus they won’t become martyrs. The UK’s Telegraph aptly reported earlier this week:

“These ISIL soldiers apparently believed that if they were killed in battle, they went to paradise as long as they were killed by a man,” he told The New York Post, citing reporters of Kurdish female fighters laughing as they repelled attacks by the extremist group…”

By leading an airborne attack on ISIL and Khorasan targets in Syria – Maj Mansouri is actively countering the online narrative AND messing with the hearts and minds of enemy combatants. This is a exceptional example of PSYOPS in action.

Fighting women. The achilles heel of ISIL and Khorasan combatants.