View Full Version : Franchising Al Qaeda

06-22-2007, 11:31 AM
22 June Boston Globe commentary - Franchising Al Qaeda (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/06/22/franchising_al_qaeda/) by Rita Katz and Josh Deven.

As the Lebanese Army continues to battle Fatah al-Islam, a jihadist group operating in the Nahr Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon, questions are being raised about the group's relationship to Al Qaeda and whether it is an official part of Osama bin Laden's network. Indeed, since 9/11, Al Qaeda's name has been applied liberally to numerous individuals and groups believed to be engaged in jihadist terrorism. However, while Al Qaeda does provide logistical and financial support to jihadist cells and continues to serve as the inspiration for countless jihadist groups across the globe, bin Laden does not allow any group to carry the brand name "Al Qaeda" without his approval. Groups wishing to join Al Qaeda officially must meet certain requirements before they are granted the right to adopt the name.

The path to receiving acceptance from Al Qaeda's leadership can take several months. Consider the process for the Algerian jihadist group, the Salafist Group for Call and Combat...

Rob Thornton
06-23-2007, 12:32 AM
The paragraph I found most interesting:

The decision to carry the Al Qaeda name is not an entirely easy choice for a group. Bearing the brand requires a certain amount of deference to Al Qaeda's leadership, both operationally and ideologically, which the leaders of some groups might find distasteful. On a security level, any group touting the Al Qaeda name will instantly become an international enemy to countries around the world combating the jihadist threat. At the same time, however, there are immense benefits. The name is so powerful and widely respected within the global jihadist community that merely being associated with it affords a group instant social support, grants it a worldwide audience, and ensures a steady stream of international mujahideen willing to fight alongside the group's members.

"Global Jihadist Community" - the choice of words shows a kind of professionalization of the jihadist. Its like placing a want ad on the WWW. We picked up a guy from Africa once who was not really what you'd think of when picturing a foreign fighter. He just expressed his dismay at having just gotten into country and not having even started work yet. I swear, you'd have thought he was a migrant worker. At first we laughed about it, then we were like - wow - this guy views this as just another job - and our wheels started turning. For these guys globalization of the jihad opens up a different set of doors.

The other thing that struck me about the article is that the group had went through a rational decision making choice about the pros and cons. Their local aims would have to take a back seat, but that was OK with them. I've seen that before too. It was hard for me to put into context then, but its starting to make sense now. As you start to think about it, what other benefits does a local business that goes public, or OKs a merger with a larger company? You could get intel on competitors (enemies), you might get insights from other branch offices (allies), access to corporate systems, maybe even benefits such as overnights in branch offices (safe houses). The power of networking - personal contacts in related fields such as the Narco Terror branch, the Transnational Crime syndicate, etc.

06-25-2007, 06:24 PM
sort of like going from a regular Boy Scout to Eagle Scout