«

»

Sep 12

Ugg kensington

The delay between his death and the announcement was unusual. Typically, al Qaeda is quick to publicize the death of a leader and hail him as a martyr. In 2006, Ayman al-Zawahiri, then al Qaeda’s second in command, practically canonized Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, on the al Hesbah and Ikhlaas forums after he was killed by a U.S. air strike in Iraq. Similarly, when Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al Qaeda’s alleged financial chief, was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan last year, al Qaeda wasted little time in eulogizing him. Bin Laden and Zawahiri both released official statements of mourning.

Al Qaeda uses such announcements to inspire a wide audience of members –- and potential recruits –- with tales of heroism and the promise of paradise if they participate in jihad. But just how much does the chatter on these forums actually matter? Although jihadi forum members were once considered benign, evidence in recent years suggests that some are anything but armchair jihadis. Take the example of Humam Khalil al-Balawi, who claimed the lives of seven CIA personnel working at Camp Chapman in Afghanistan in December 2009. It was the deadliest attack against American intelligence officers since the 1983 bombing of the American embassy in Beirut, and Balawi became a forum users’ hero because he was one of their own.Although Balawi had long been associated with extremism, he was also an enthusiastic participant on al Qaeda—linked forums.

Of course, forum participants do not always become killers in order to serve the jihadi cause. From 2003 to 2005, a young Moroccan in London, Younis Tsouli, ran sophisticated Web sites for the Iraqi insurgency under the pseudonym Irhabi 007 (Terrorist 007). Shortly before British police arrested him, in October 2005, he published a twenty-page document explaining how to hack Web sites. When the controversy surrounding Jyllands-Posten’s publication of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammed flared up the following year, jihadi hackers systematically bombarded the newspaper’s servers, causing them to overload and crash. On an al Qaeda forum, one member acknowledged, “I am certain that I see his [Younis Tsouli’s] fingerprints on numerous projects.”

Kommentera