Jul 8, 2007

Al-Qaida: The brand

While perusing the NPR site, I came across this interesting piece. Among the fledgling extreme jihadist set, the "success" of Al-Qaida, understandably, is perceived as the winning team:
For a local terrorist group, joining al-Qaida makes it harder for members to move around — and harder to raise funds openly. But, on the plus side, publicity will increase, which is good for recruitment. A link to al-Qaida may bring other monetary investment. And, seen through the eyes of would-be jihadi, Al-Qaida means prestige.

"Al-Qaida, because of its perceived success — especially in Iraq — is the team you want to be on," said Daniel Benjamin, of the Brookings Institution, who was formerly a director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council.

The appearance of new offshoot groups across the Middle East and North Africa is good news for al-Qaida's core leadership, believed to be holed up in Pakistan, Benjamin said.

"Remember, what al-Qaida wants most is to mobilize the Muslim world. And so every time a new group signs on, particularly takes the name, then it's — it's a coup for them," Benjamin said.
In other words, the more successful Al-Qaida is perceived among fledgling terrorist groups, the more they'll want to have the same success. So, in order to gain an instant reputation of importance --- a sort of terrorist "street cred," if you will --- they attach the Al-Qaida name to their group.

And there you have it: The Al-Qaida brand is born.

Unfortunately, the longer this war in Iraq continues, hatred toward the U.S. will grow, and the stronger the Al-Qaida "brand" becomes; such that the Al-Qaida problem will not be confined to the Middle East. In fact, it's already happening:
"For many years, we had worried about the east-west axis — the threat coming from the east, be it Afghanistan, Pakistan or, even now, Iraq and the Gulf — moving to the west," [Former White House Counterterrorism Official Roger] Cressey said. "Now, what we've seen is a north-south axis — and that from North Africa, we've seen groups and individuals moving into Europe. So, in some respects, it's the worst of both worlds."
Great. Now all Al-Qaida needs is a logo.


Awais said...

I'm glad you realize the fact that the war on Iraq is creating more terrorists. You can't expect to finish of terrorism if you keep hurting the sentiments of the muslims. The religion and the people deserve respect, this is the only way of insuring that no new terrorists are created. One one hand the coalition if fighting this war on terror and trying to finish off terrorist organizations on the other, with the war on Iraq and the granting of knighthood to controversial writer Sulman Rushdie more terrorists are being created. the war needs to be fought on both ends.

Anonymous said...

Great. Now all Al-Qaida needs is a logo.

I gotta believe that some enterprising brand management firm is already hard at work on this.