Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


The next target: A sort of prediction

If Al-Queda was a company or a political party in a Western City somewhere, the board would soon have a meeting with a grave agenda: The latest popularity-polls among the potential consumer-voters are low. But the board would have expected these news, as their latest ventures had gone astray and recieved bad publicity. A local branch had screwed up in public.

Al-Queda is not a company or a party - but it would be reasonable to think that they will react to bad publicity somewhat like the two kinds of organization - by launching a PR campaign to straighten it's image.

After the kidnapping of the French Journalists with the demand of lifting the headscarf-ban in France and the horrible hostage-shootout in Beslan I think it would be safe to say that a lot of moderate muslims have been appalled and has moved away from "The Cause" that Al-Queda amongst others is fighting for. And the great mass and majority of moderate muslims is an important target-group for Al-Queda. This is because of the fact, shown by Chairman Mao amongst other, that a small guerilla force is only able to enact a revolution if they are able to move "the people" - they just can't do it alone.

So if Al-Queda is going to try a PR campaign to straighten its image, it must attack targets that symbolise the repressive aspects of their regimes and the West. It cannot allow more footage of dead children, killed by muslim holy warriors (a sidenote: the dead Palestinian children has been used as a strong argument, topos, by these groups. It must have lost much of its strength after the recent incident). My guess is that the best target would be a high profile military target - just like the USS Cole bombing in Aden.

There is a lot of "buts" to this prediction, though:

* Al-Queda and its supporters could not be said to be a rational entity to the extent that it will be able to control all its operations to a PR end.
* The recent incidents might not look just as grave from the fundamentalist viewpoint - so maybe they don't see a problem.
* A terror attack might take a long time to plan - so the possibility of a swift response might not be possible. Other, already planned attacks, might alter the overall image of Al-Queda.


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