Article published on Feb. 6, 2008
community published
Article published on Feb. 6, 2008
The director of national intelligence in the United States believes that al-Qaeda in Iraq is shifting its focus to other Middle Eastern countries. This is worrying but it is not surprising. While al-Qaeda's suicide missions in Iraq create a daily news ticker of death and destruction their impact as a tool of propaganda has worn thin outside of Iraq and has little ideological value.
Unfortunately, a suicide bomb that kills 50 people in Basra is less newsworthy than a cute white kid who gets kidnapped in Spain. When these attacks do get mainstream coverage they are framed within an 'Iraqi chaos' narrative rather than supporting the al-Qaeda narrative. This has driven a great deal of web activity which tries to contextualise these bombings into a Crusader-Mujahideen war.

Whereas al-Qaeda's early attacks in Tanzania, Kenya and New York as well as the bombing of the U.S.S Cole drew considerable coverage and therefore advertising for the Jihadi cause, the proliferation of al-Qaeda style cells and the ubiquity of attacks in Iraq has diluted their news-worthiness and European security services have prevented a number of possible high-profile attacks, lowering the visibility of the al-Qaeda franchise. This frustration has no doubt prompted a strategic rethink. This is not surprising but it is worrying.