Lebanon could have done without al Qaeda’s latest intervention, which has complicated matters even further.
Ayman al Zawahiri, the groups second in command, didn’t hesitate in exploiting the tragedy currently unfolding in Lebanon and the region. He quickly set about to put together a devilish plan, taking inspiration from Osama bin Laden.
In his televised message, al Zawahiri indicated that the entire globe was an open field for al Qaeda, as it reacts to the attacks in Palestine and Lebanon. It seemed as if he recorded his statement in the same studio where he made his previous speeches.
Al Zawahiri spoke about Lebanon and Palestine with the pictures of one of the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks, Mohammed Atta, and the former military official in al Qaeda, Abu Fahs al Masri, in the background, next to a photograph of the twin towers burning. The images were carefully selected with the lighting focusing on them.
His speech reminded me of one of bin Laden’s statements, where he prided himself with inspiring future attackers, through the use of background maps, during interviews with western journalists, such as when al Qaeda bombed US embassies in Africa . Is al Zawahiri’s choice of pictures or that of his media advisor, merely a coincidence or is al Qaeda sending a message?
Yet again, the production value on show in al Zawahiri’s latest appearance makes us wonder about the seriousness of US efforts to track down al Qaeda’s leaders, who, are able to convey their messages using the latest technology. The facilities available to al Zawahiri in his two last appearances suggest his isn’t very difficult to find.
Meanwhile, in Lebanon, coverage is focusing on the latest developments and their security, humanitarian and political implications. The media is focusing on the breaking news, which is understandable and necessary.
But, on the sidelines of the conflict in Lebanon, a number of events are developing. They might one day occupy the limelight. For example, other than the possibility of al Qaeda entering the fray, the Israeli war on Lebanon is bringing about great social and demographic changes. These deserve to be examined and reported.
By analyzing and covering a host of issues that are taking place in parallel with the main event, the continued Israeli attacks on Lebanon, the media can help alleviate some of the problems that Lebanon will witness as soon as the war ends.