April 23, 2008

"Ohhh yes we did!"

Londonstani has been noticing that the understated - and wholly believable - malice al Qaeda used to infuse into its internet pronouncements has been on the wane as of late.

Take this recent statement from Ayman al-Zawahiri. The bit that really sticks out is this:

"We haven't killed the innocents, not in Baghdad nor in Morocco, nor in Algeria, nor anywhere else."
In a statement that came out a couple of weeks later Zawahiri says that, actually, yeah.. they do.
"If there is any innocent who was killed in the Mujahideens' operations, then it was either an unintentional error or out of necessity".
This to Londonstani - and doubtlessly to many in the Arab world - sounds like the kind of thing the Israeli, American and British militaries say when an over-sized bomb does some PR damage.
But the really interesting thing here is the tone of the questions to which Zawahiri was replying to and the ducking and diving he was forced to engage in. Many of the posters were pretty scathing about AQ's attack on civilians.
Londonstani might go as far as to say the link that ties the denial of engaging in wanton violence and the denouncement of Iran is that both are very real threats to AQ's popularity. Zawahiri has - as has been pointed out in a previous post - tried to reel in Zarqawi's bloodlust in Iraq. He is also doubtlessly aware that Jihadi salafis have historically alienated popular Muslim opinion when get too fond of slaughter - or when then get too overzealous when they get a chance to rule.
At the same time, Iran through its support for Hizbullah and resistance to Western diplomatic pressure has gained much goodwill among the average citizens of Karachi, Cairo and Damascus.
All of which has led Zawahiri to possibly the coolest confluence of Middle Eastern conspiracy theories.
If you haven't already, take a moment to savour his claim the widely held belief in the Middle East that Israel was behind 9/11 is actually all Iran's fault.