Comments have been all over the board about my “Meet a Jihobbyist” series, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts this morning. My conclusion up front is that, however painful this series might have been to endure for some of you, it has helped me provide the ONLY THOUGHTFUL ANSWER that I’ve seen out there to the question of why Bin Laden just issued two statements about global climate change. This “Meet a Jihobbyist” series spoke DIRECTLY to the issue of tomorrow’s al-Qaeda, an issue that I’ve seen very little nuanced or useful analysis about anywhere else.
So love it, hate it but you cant deny what it accomplished after you get through this post: namely, illustrating how:
- Bin Laden’s new tactic is focused on manipulating Muslim communities in the West by playing on grievances that are ok for them to have and using that to lower the fence by which they can feel ‘linked’ to others who share those ok grievances (anger about the effects of global climate change and the disproportionate amount of humanitarian relief effort expended in the Muslim world as opposed to other parts of the world, for example).
- The CT community has no metrics for distinguishing between acceptable support for AQ and unacceptable when talking about social/political/humanitarian issues
- There is a strong likelihood that the more AQ turns to various constituencies to support open causes in the name of AQ, the more mistakes law enforcement will make in trying to police the growth of AQ, which will invariably become self-fulfilling as those communities begin to feel alienated and start to buy into the nasty part of the ideology.
I’m headed toward the conclusion that the answer might actually be in giving guys like my “Meet a Jihobbyist” series subjects more discursive and political space to be angry, not less. Yeah, didnt expect that one, did you? Keep reading cuz it gets better.