Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Al Qaeda's Super-Weapon : The Internet

Al Qaeda's Super-Weapon : The Internet

This is an interesting analysis of the boundaries of post-modern asymmetrical warfare and one of the technologies central to a smaller, weaker, more de-centralized force fighting a larger, stronger, more centralized one: the Internet.

"The Internet is a weapon of great power in twentieth-century warfare. To see just how effectively al Qaeda is using this weapon, let's look at one of the newest Qaeda affiliates, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group in Iraq.

For the whole of 2003, Zarqawi was known to the public only in leaks from American and Jordanian intelligence. Then in little more than a month, in April and May 2004, he rocketed to worldwide fame, or infamy, by a deliberate combination of extreme violence and Internet publicity.

In early April, Zarqawi published a half-hour audio recording which explained exactly who he was, what he had done, and why he was fighting. It was a comprehensive branding statement, and it showed incidentally that he views the world rather differently than Osama bin Laden.

Yes, he says he's fighting a jihad to defend Islam against an American-led Crusader campaign. America invaded Iraq to steal its wealth, block the expansion of Islam and protect Israel. But in Iraq, he says the real enemies are the Kurds and the Shi'ite Muslims as much as the American troops. The Kurds are in league with the Israelis. The Shi'ites are not "

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