Al Qaeda's Propaganda Machine

One of dozens of As Sahab videos available on YouTube.

"Al Qaeda propaganda outlets have been working at a high rate over the past year, with frequent and timely broadcasts from the group's No. 2, the Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri," report Dan Murphy and Jill Carroll. Evan Kohlmann, an author who tracks the propaganda efforts of Al Qaeda and other jihadi groups, says the increased media output reflects better technology, a more secure position, and competition from other jihadi groups. "When the Al Qaeda media wing, known as As Sahab, became active at the end of 2005, it might have been worried that producing too many videos would lead to capture," write Murphy and Carroll. When that didn't happen, "they were encouraged to produce more of them, in addition to outsourcing the distribution and improving their technological savvy. Sahab has released at least 63 audio and video messages so far this year, compared with 58 in 2006, according to the Associated Press. In many of those, Mr. Zawahiri has been able to respond to the news events within days, getting his group's perspective on radical Islamic websites."


This PR frenzy also reflects internal wars within islamist ranks.

A big chunk may abandon terror to focus on politics, surfing on demographics (the Bush-Bin Laden duet made fundamentalism mainstream).

Ayman al-Zawahiri is under pressure and losing ground, al Qaeda itself is torn between at least two currents.

Stephane MOT -