Middle East

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Al Qaeda's Internet problems:

One Bin Laden tape in four months has a tremendous impact, a dozen Zawahiri tapes in two months has considerably less. In Zawahiri's Q+A, he repeatedly answered questions with an irritated "I already answered that in last month's speech" or "bin Laden already answered that in his speech." That suggests that too many messages dilutes the impact. It also reduces the likelihood of massive media coverage, since the messages become routine. The same applies for the Iraqi insurgency videos: the first exploding hummer might be thrilling, but the 76th not so much.

That's the always-interesting Marc Lynch writing about the limits of the jihadists' online efforts. They bear a striking resemblance to the limits of everyone else's online efforts. Here's some more:

I come across quite a bit of posturing and bravado in these forums, hating on 'enemies' and back-patting of 'allies'. The recent initiation of an 'al-Jazeera watch' feature on one of the forums tracking perceived slights and misrepresentation by the now maligned station reminds me of nothing so much as the partisan media criticism found on so many political blogs. There's a lot of posting of articles or news reports clipped from the media, with long comment threads of cheering or jeering. I remember seeing a bitter post on one of the main forums a few weeks ago (al-Boraq? I forget) complaining that the "internet jihad" had failed since the forum had degenerated into personal attacks and what we would call flame-wars.

Whole thing here.

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  1. There’s a lot of posting of articles or news reports clipped from the media, with long comment threads of cheering or jeering.

    When did FARK become a jihadi site?

  2. We ought to have known that this war would be won like Russia was defeated.

    Rock and roll. Bikinis. Western Decadence.

    Had we spent a couple billion buying everyone a computer and net access, we could have resolved the Palestinian problem years ago by pointing out that suicide bombers wouldn’t be able to blog about it after they were done.

    We need to get that yelly dad guy from the Twisted Sister videos to dress up as a mullah and yell at some fat kid with a kafiya and finish up with “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?” and the fat kid yells “I wanna rock!” and the rest of the video can be a scene for scene re-enactment of “We’re not gonna take it”.

    This war is still winnable.

    We just need Dee Snider.

  3. Perhaps UBL will start a jihad against internet trolls.

  4. Why doesn’t Zawahiri just get a MySpace page and be dome with it? Ask the same question too many times and you are no longer a “friend.” Makes dsitributing the videos easier too.

  5. “I remember seeing a bitter post on one of the main forums a few weeks ago (al-Boraq? I forget) complaining that the “internet jihad” had failed since the forum had degenerated into personal attacks and what we would call flame-wars.”

    So Al Quada has become the Daily Kos?

  6. It would all be very comical were it not for, you know, the exploding people and stuff. If only Al Qaeda would get behind something we all hate: spam. Whoever defeats spam will become the new messiah. I would happily bow to him the requisite number of times per day.

  7. So, what’s the corollary of Godwin’s Law in their world?

  8. I think a distinction should be made concerning goals. Looking at the article Marc Lynch links to, I think it muddies the waters to conflate the use of the web to “attract and indoctrinate” new recruits from the use of it to “share tactics and technology with new recruits”. Having a messy public face via argumentative forums may put a limit on their recruitment value, but having a mechanism for identifying “true believers” in those forums and then moving them to proxy server sites where serious discussions (i.e. action-oriented, not ideology-oriented) take place is not necessarily a weakness. This distinction between the use of the internet for “chatter” versus the use of the internet for disseminating actionable items (e.g. travel routes in Iraq) isn’t acknowledged enough, even though it seems clear to the folks on the ground.

    Anon

  9. I never knew that AdBlock was saving me from terrorist propaganda. Thanks AdBlock!

  10. Do you think terrorist message boards have trolls that pose as “Crusaders” and Jews and make fun of Mohammed? Or if they use funny handles like “Zawahiri’s Turban”?

  11. The LOLterrorists pics ruined the war on terrorism for me.

  12. Rimfax,

    So, what’s the corollary of Godwin’s Law in their world?

    Someone drops the Godfrey of Bouillon bomb.

  13. I like to post there as Viking Camel.

    NIEDERMEYER!!!!!!!!

  14. Perhaps UBL will start a jihad against internet trolls.

    Urkobold Akbar?

  15. So, what’s the corollary of Godwin’s Law in their world?

    Godwinstein’s Law?

  16. MmmDates | Rajab 12, 1429 AH, 12:34 p.m. | #

    First! (on the Israeli bus, lol!)

    IUD Ali | Rajab 12, 1429 AH, 12:31 p.m. | #

    Uh, jihad is spelled with a “j”

    Al-Edward | Rajab 12, 1429 AH, 12:34 p.m. | #

    You shiites are a bunch of Nazi-worshiping scum.

    MoBombHad | Rajab 12, 1429 AH, 12:38 p.m. | #

    You shiites are a bunch of Nazi-worshiping scum.

    No we’re not, proof heir.

    IUD Ali | Rajab 12, 1429 AH, 12:40 p.m. | #

    Dude, you totally Rickroll’d Al-Edward!

    Win!

    Zawahiri’s Foil | Rajab 12, 1429 AH, 12:46 p.m. | #

    You guys need to be serious. When I used to hang out with Yassir Arafat (praise be to Allah) and bin Laden, I would come to this board for good jihad discussion.

    Now it’s clogged up with (probably Christian) trolls and idiots.

    I’m canceling my account.

    MoBombHad | Rajab 12, 1429 AH, 12:34 p.m. | #

    DRINK WATER!

  17. Ha ha, nicely done Taktix.

  18. Al-Queda Message Board

    ????.

  19. “Taktix’ Wit-Blitz a Hit!” — Variety

  20. It’s a tough call, but I think R C Dean wins the thread with “Urkobold Akbar.”

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