Counter-Terrorism: Re-Branding Al Qaeda

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May 20,2008: Osama Bin Laden recently released another audio message for the faithful, the third this year. The reason for all this activity is the bashing al Qaeda is taking in the Moslem media, and especially on pro-terrorist web sites. The al Qaeda suicide bombing campaign in Iraq killed the reputation of the group as a benefactor of the Moslem people. Although al Qaeda has all manner of tortuous logic to justify such attacks (especially the concept of "involuntary martyrdom"), the bottom line was that most Moslems did not appreciate that kind of attention. Al Qaeda attempts to justify all the killings only made it worse, and the popularity of the terrorist group has plummeted in the last four years.

Al Qaeda has tried to rebrand itself as an essential component in the struggle to destroy Israel and rescue the Palestinians from "Zionist oppression." This is also a hard sell, as few al Qaeda operatives have been active in the West Bank or Gaza, and most Arab states are growing tired of the Palestinian habit of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Moreover, Israel has been very effective in shutting down Palestinian terrorism activity, and continues to kill or arrest new terrorist groups before they can make any attacks inside Israel. The only place where al Qaeda is welcome is in the tribal territories of Pakistan (along the Afghan border). Not surprisingly, al Qaeda does not carry out many bombings in this area, lest they upset their hosts. But in neighboring Afghanistan, and the rest of Pakistan, al Qaeda is hard at it, killing Moslems in very newsworthy suicide bombings.

 


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