• Now Media,  Psychological Struggle

    Al Qaeda publishes an English language magazine

    Marc Ambinder reports at The Atlantic Al Qaeda is now publishing an English-language magazine. As the U.S. struggles to manage its efforts to influence opinion about Al Qaeda abroad, Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula has produced its first English-language propaganda magazine. … The table of contents teases an interview with the leader of AQAP who promises to "answer various questions pertaining to the jihad in the Arabian Peninsula."  It includes a feature about how to "make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom." AQAP’s first effort to post the magazine to jihadist websites failed Wednesday, as many of the pages were contaminated with a virus. (I half seriously…

  • Media,  Psychological Struggle

    Report: Al Qaida kills eight times more Muslims than non-Muslims

    A recently released and unreported report from West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center has some fuel for the struggle of minds and wills. Deadly Vanguards: A Study of al-Qa’ida’s Violence Against Muslims (PDF, 875kb) is a survey of attacks carried out by Al Qaeda that should be part of a counter-narrative to Al Qaeda’s broadly accepted proposal that they are the champions of Muslims. For too long we have accepted the propaganda of the enemy, allowing him to set the time, place, and vocabulary, all to his advantage. He declared the war was between us and them and we agreed. It wasn’t and it isn’t. From the report: The results show…

  • Counterinsurgency,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Al-Qaeda is not the only threat

    John Sullivan, the co-founder of the Los Angeles Terrorism Early Warning group and lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, focusing on emerging threats, reminds us that Al-Qaeda is not the only threat. As such, public diplomacy and strategic communication planning that focuses only on Al-Qaeda is too limiting. From Danger Room: While the public and media are occupied with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the potential conflict with Iran, the downward spiral in Pakistan, and a global economic meltdown, a new, rapidly-evolving danger — narco-cartels and gangs — has been developing in Mexico and Latin America. And it has the potential to trump global terrorism as a threat to…

  • ICT,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy

    Ayman al-Zawahiri’s racial epithet

    MountainRunner friend Spencer Ackerman nails it on Zawahiri’s use of "House Negro" in Al-Qaeda’s latest propaganda: With an American president as loathed as George W. Bush around the world, it’s easy for Al Qaeda to portray the U.S. as venal and stupid and brutish as he’s proven. Obama complicates the narrative significantly: the very color of his skin, precisely what Al Qaeda mocks, symbolizes America’s willingness to change. That’s exactly what Al Qaeda fears most. … Still, as Ilan Goldenberg notes at Democracy Arsenal, "Al Qaeda’s narrative is now under siege and it’s clearly uncertain about how to react." That sort of disruption is precisely what the U.S. needs to…

  • Events

    Event: New America Foundation conference on Al Qaeda 3.0 – with live webcast

    The pace of “what’s next” conference is picking up. From the New America Foundation: Al Qaeda 3.0 The ‘War on Terror’ After the Bush Administration At Al Qaeda 3.0, leading policy makers, law enforcement officials, scholars and journalists from around the world will assess the current threat posed by al Qaeda and its affiliates to the United States, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. The conference speakers will also explore what steps the next administration should take in combating al Qaeda and its affiliates both at home and abroad. The event is tomorrow, Friday, October 10, 2008. Start: 8:45a ET, Finish: 5p ET. The conference has an impressive list…

  • Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy

    Noteworthy

    "The media policy for the Islamic State [of Iraq] is using exaggeration, to the extent of lying." – one of a series of letters from Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s Number 2, to Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). ... "Mexico has the second-largest number citing the US government as the perpetrator of 9/11 (30%, after Turkey at 36%). Only 33 percent name al Qaeda." Results from the WorldPublicOpinion.org poll on who was behind 9/11.

  • Africa

    Hunting in East Africa

    News brief from the StrategyPage on Counter-Terrorism Operations on the Horn / East Africa: the leader of al Qaeda in East Africa, Harun Fazul (or Fazul Abdullah Mohammed), a native of the Comoro Island with dual citizenship in Kenya, is being hunted aggressively. One of the most wanted terrorists in the world (the US has put $5 million on his head), Fazul was a ringleader in the 1998 East African embassy bombings and other attacks in the region. In his early 30s, Fazul has been a member of al Qaeda since the early ’90s.