Ayman al-Zawahiri – al Qaeda’s Number 2.0 Man
(N.T.A.R.C.) We’re fairly certain some questions such as, “what’s your address?”, will be off-limits however; Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy leader of al-Qaida and one of the most hunted men on Earth, plans to stage an online chat session. During the interview, al-Zawahiri says that he will answer questions submitted to Jihadi Web sites “by individuals, organizations and all information media outlets”.
The as-Sahab Foundation, which publishes audio-visual messages from al-Qaida leaders and videos of the group’s terror attacks, announced the plan at the end of a 90-minute TV interview with Zawahiri released over the weekend.
U.S. officials said this was a new technique for the al-Qaida leader and further evidence of the growing sophistication of the group’s propaganda operation.
“It’s a good PR move by Zawahiri,” said Jarret Brachman, the director of research at the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center, comparing it to a Western politician going on MTV. “He’s trying to show he knows where the kids are at.”
He said it was the first time Zawahiri would engage directly with his followers in this way, although al-Qaida leaders in Saudi Arabia had held similar Q&A sessions before.
“You don’t see it nowadays,” he said of the technique, which is not a real-time online discussion. “He is trying to revive it.”
Brachman said Zawahiri had previously attempted to address topical issues by answering questions posed by an as-Sahab interviewer, as he did in the lengthy interview released Sunday.
There is also apparently no truth to the rumor that al-Zawahiri has secured a second round of venture capital to promote a new social networking site for young jihadists wanting to connect. (yes, we’re kidding)
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