In his most recent appearance, Al-Qaeda’s Second-in-Command Ayman al-Zawahiri stressed the importance of “jihad media”, describing it as a critical tool in the battle against the “Crusader-Zionist Enemy”.
Zawahiri’s emphasis on “Jihad” media illustrates that it is a part of a larger declared strategy, which his movement needs to ensure its continuity.
Mimicking the format used by numerous Jihad websites, Al-Zawahiri for the first time invited visitors to pose their questions to him promising to answer them by the middle of next month.
Promoting this endeavor is the As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication; Al-Qaeda’s media production house, which in the last year has produced over 90 Jihadist videos, three times its total production of the previous three years. As-Sahab issued a statement inviting all parties, individuals and institutions to participate in Zawahiri’s so-called “Open Forum”, with the promise of a reply by the man himself. Dozens of questions have already started piling up on Islamist websites affiliated with the Al-Qaeda movement, which in turn is monitored by governments and intelligence agencies globally.
This is a huge step for the terrorist movement, which for the last several years has been striving to build a modern communication infrastructure, to the degree that al-Qaeda resembles more a fully fledged media outlet rather then just a militant group.
Undoubtedly, Al-Zawahiri’s latest request requires pondering. Besides the vagueness in the methodology there is a communication paradox between leaders of Al-Qaeda movement and its supporters on one hand and the “opponents” of Al-Qaeda that monitor the groups every move in order to pinpoint the whereabouts of its members and its leadership in an admirable manner on the other!!!
A number of analysts have classified this step from Al-Zawahiri and the As-Sahab Foundation within the context of a media war between Washington and al-Qaeda, but in reality, this so-called media war is nothing but a tedious game by all parties involved, however it does bring up a bigger question; how can we believe that it is impossible to find the two most wanted men in the world, at a time when they are communicating with both their supporters and enemies?