Al Qaeda’s strategic communications
Apparently, the German elections sparked an al Qaeda propoganda campaign because last week numerous videos and messages came from the group in a concerted effort to sway German public opinion. First there was Osama bin Laden’s message to Germany, warning the government there to pull out from Afghanistan before “the dust of war clears” and America abandons NATO’s mission.
Reportedly bin Laden continued:
“You are aware that oppression topples those who commit it and injustice has unhealthy consequences for the unjust, and that one of the greatest forms of injustice is to kill people without right, yet this is exactly what your governments and soldiers are committing under the umbrella of the NATO alliance in Afghanistan.”
This message coincides with statements by fun-loving Taliban threatening to bomb Oktoberfest.
Additionally, an al Qaeda cell in Germany appealed to the government to form an implicit mutual security agreement, which would require German troops to leave Afghanistan in return for safety from attacks at home.
Speaking for the group, Bekkay Harrach said:
“Allah commands us in Quran — al Anfal Surah, Verse 60 — to prepare what is possible of power against our enemy. But, if the enemy is responsive and found a peaceful solution by which to protect human souls, then Allah commands us to be kind and forgiving.”
“If the Germans took the side of peace now, the mujahideen will also take peaceful means, and with the withdrawal of the last German soldier from Afghanistan, the mujahid in Germany will be pulled out. This is a promise from al-Qaeda.”
These statements follow recent Zawahiri messages to Pakistan, eulogizing Baitullah Mehsud and calling Pakistan’s army a bunch of “non-Muslim” “collaborators” plundering the country of its wealth. Then calling President Obama a “fraud” to the Muslim world.
The NATO – U.S. strategic communications process has adopted the mantra “first with the truth” implying that no message would be filtered and the ongoing operations will now be depicted to the public as they are. Here the basic rational is honesty is the best policy. Now, it is said that terrorists and rebel groups rely on “propoganda of the deed,” but these messages seem more like a bad adaption to NATO-U.S. principles, in what could be called “first with the threat.”