20 June Christian Science Monitor commentary - In Battle for Hearts and Minds, Iraqi Insurgents are Doing Well by John Hughes.

In 2005 Al Qaeda's No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, wrote a letter to the then top insurgent leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "[M]ore than half of this battle," he wrote, "is taking place in the battlefield of the media.... [W]e are in a media battle, in a race for the hearts and minds of our umma [people]."

As the struggle in Iraq between the insurgents on the one hand and US military and Iraqi security forces on the other reaches a climactic phase, it is clear that the insurgents, far from being a band of crude guerilla fighters, have taken the Al Qaeda leader's injunction to heart and have coupled the tactics of terror with a sophisticated knowledge and use of modern media.

Their command of the Internet, their use of television, their release and timing of material calculated to be picked up and used by Arab and Western TV outlets and news agencies, indicates a high degree of planning and professionalism...